Admission Requirements

Master’s Level Applicants

Class Schedule ImageA person, who holds a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university or its educational equivalent, can be admitted into the Master’s level degree program at HGST, provided the GPA for that degree is at least 2.5 for MDiv, MAC, MASD, and MAML or at least 3.0 for MTS. An applicant must:

    1. Submit the completed application form, including a nonrefundable application fee of $50.
    2. Have official transcripts of all post-secondary work sent directly to HGST from the registrars of each school previously attended. International transcripts must be evaluated by an approved evaluation service (see “International Transcripts” above).
    3. Have three completed reference forms, which must include a pastoral reference and an academic reference, sent directly to HGST attesting to the applicant’s ability to do graduate-level work. References from family members will not be accepted. These forms are downloadable from the HGST website or available from the Admissions Office.
    4. Submit answers to admissions questions for the degree to which the prospective student is applying.
    5. The Admissions Committee may require a personal interview with the applicant.
    6. Complete the English Proficiency Examination as part of the admissions process (see page 8 for full discussion of the English Proficiency Exam and scoring policy).
    7. Applicants for whom English is not their first language must complete the TOEFL examination with a minimum score of 550 (PBT–written), 213 (CBT–computer-based), or 79 (iBT–Internet-based).
    8. Applicants to the Master of Arts in Counseling degree must take and then submit scores from the GRE® General Test. Scores will be accepted from up to five years prior to the date of application. The minimum GRE score accepted for admission is 281 combined. Scores will be evaluated as part of the admission process.
    9. Students may be exempt from taking the GRE® Test with evidence of previous graduate-level courses meeting all of the following criteria:
  • For students who do not have earned graduate degrees:
  1. 12 hours minimum from a program accredited by a CHEA-approved accrediting agency
  2. Applies to courses taken during the last 5 years
  3. Coursework must reveal no course grade below “C” and a cumulative 3.0 GPA minimum

For students who have earned graduate degrees:

The earned graduate degree is from a program accredited by a CHEA-approved accrediting agency in which the student has earned a cumulative 3.0 GPA minimum.

Non-Degree Students – Applicants may be admitted as non-degree students at HGST. Academic qualifications and application procedures necessary for regular student admission are the same for non-degree students, except that the entering GPA requirement is 2.5 (minimum) for all non-degree students.

Students enrolling in certificate programs or seeking MDiv equivalency for admission into the DMin program are classified as non-degree students. A maximum of 30 credit hours may be taken by non-degree students unless MDiv equivalency requires more than 30 hours for completion.

Non-degree students are not to be confused with audit students. Course work requirements for non-degree students are the same as requirements for degree students. Non-degree and degree students are expected to do the course work, which is graded, and, upon satisfactory completion of the work, they receive credit for the course. Credit is normally transferable to a degree program at HGST or to another graduate-level institution.

Exceptions to Regular Admission Process for Non-Degree Students

  • Students who are currently enrolled in a degree program at a seminary accredited by a CHEA-approved accreditation organization (e.g., ATS, ABHE, TRACS, or regional accreditation) may take up to 10 credit hours at HGST following submission of the HGST application for admission and a letter of good standing from the other seminary. The student must be planning to utilize the HGST hours toward the degree at the other seminary.
  • Students who are required to take courses to meet denominational requirements may register for courses following submission of the HGST application, most recent transcript (bachelor’s or master’s), and a letter from the denominational supervisor, which states the nature of the requirement.
  • Students who need to take additional courses to meet state licensure requirements may register for courses following submission of the HGST application, a master’s degree transcript (or higher), and communication from the State Regulatory Body which states the requirement.
  • HGST graduates who wish to return to HGST to take additional master’s courses will have to submit an updated application form and fee to the Admissions Office for processing.

Certificates – Students who wish to enter a certificate program without entering a degree program may be admitted according to the following process:

  • Completion of the HGST admissions application.
  • Submission of two references from church/ministry leaders that attest to a person’s observable call and/or giftedness.
  • Submission of official transcripts from all post-secondary work, sent directly to HGST from the registrars of each school previously attended. A minimum 2.5 entering GPA is required.
  • Completion of the Certificate or Non-degree Admission Questions.
  • Under certain circumstances, the English Proficiency Exam and/or faculty interview may be required.
  • A student who is enrolled in a degree program must petition the Academic Office in order to become a candidate for a certificate.

Provisional Admission – Provisional admission is defined as a student’s conditional, probationary, or tentative acceptance into a degree program at HGST. An applicant may be granted provisional admission when the applicant does not fully meet all of the necessary requirements for full admission. Such cases include the following:

1.   Incomplete admissions file – The student will not be permitted to enroll in a second semester unless the file is completed.

Undergraduate GPA below required minimum for admission

  1. Applicants in this category will be considered for provisional admission only.
  2. The Committee must weigh the overall strength of other factors against an applicant’s academic performance in the past, taking into consideration such things as life experiences including compelling life stories, professional experience, military service, continuing education units, community involvement, and church or ministry service. An admissions interview, therefore, will be required.
  3. Students admitted with low undergraduate GPAs may be required to demonstrate their ability to complete graduate-level academic work by satisfactorily completing up to two semesters of HGST coursework, subject to Academic Office approval.
  4. Baccalaureate degree is incomplete or insufficient
  5. English Proficiency Exam below required minimum – Probationary requirements will vary depending upon the score as defined in the Catalog, including passing the RE 400 English Lab.

Bachelor’s Degree Equivalency – An applicant for admission may be considered to have the educational equivalent of a baccalaureate degree if one of the following is demonstrated:

  1. The applicant holds a bachelor’s degree from an unaccredited and/or unrecognized college or university where it can be demonstrated that actual courses were taken and academic credit was awarded.
  2. The applicant has accumulated 120 semester hours or more in one or more accredited and/or recognized undergraduate or graduate programs, provided that at least one-third of the hours accumulated are at or above the junior-year level (of a four-year program).
  3. The applicant holds one associate’s degree (sixty plus hours) from an accredited and/or recognized program along with at least forty additional semester hours at or above the junior-year level (of a four-year program) in one or more undergraduate or graduate programs where it can be demonstrated that actual courses were taken and academic credit was awarded.

“The Fifteen Percent Rule”

  1. The accrediting standards of the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) give member schools discretion to admit as many as fifteen percent of candidates into a professional master’s degree program (e.g., MDiv, MASD, MAML) who do not possess a bachelor’s degree or its educational equivalent provided that the school can demonstrate by some objective means that such persons possess the knowledge, academic skills, and ability generally associated with persons who hold the baccalaureate degree.
  2. Applicants in this category will be considered for provisional admission only.
  3. In addition to factors such as professional experience, technical school experience, military service, continuing education units, church or ministry service, and/or any prior academic record, the Committee will require an admissions interview and may require additional evidence to support the applicant’s assertion that he or she is capable of producing graduate-level work.
  4. Terms of Provisional Admission

GRE score below 281 combined for entrance into the Master of Arts in Counseling program.

  1. A maximum of ten hours of study per regular semester or six per summer term
  2. Achieve the standards of satisfactory academic progress (SAP)
  3. Must not receive a failing grade in any course or an unsatisfactory grade (D or lower) in any required course during the provisional period
  4. Full admission is granted automatically at the conclusion of the provisional period as long as the student has achieved SAP

Doctoral Level Applicants

An applicant for the DMin program must:

    1. Have completed the MDiv degree or its educational equivalent, with a minimum 3.0 GPA from a school accredited by an agency recognized by the U. S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

MDiv Equivalency Policy – Following submission of official transcripts indicating the granting of a theological Master’s degree, MDiv equivalency will be granted once a student has met the guidelines indicated below: 

    1. Biblical Studies – 12 hours
      1. Old Testament – 6 hours
      2. New Testament – 6 hours
    2. Theological Studies – 18 hours
      1. Theology – 6 hours
      2. Church History – 6 hours
      3. Spirituality – 3 hours
      4. Philosophy/Ethics – 3 hours
    3. Studies in Ministry Practice – 12 hours
      1. Pastoral Care – 3 hours
      2. Preaching – 3 hours
      3. Pastoral Leadership – 3 hours
      4. Practicum – 3 hours (may be waived with 3 years of full-time ministry)
    4. Totals
      1. Required – 42 hours
      2. Electives – 30 hours
      3. Total hours – 72 hours
  1. In addition, HGST may accept students who have earned an MDiv degree or its educational equivalent from non-accredited schools according to the following guidelines:
    1. Qualified students from schools with associate or candidate status with approved accrediting agencies in the United States, or students from highly ranked and/or recognized seminaries or colleges/universities in other countries (e.g., Korea, United Kingdom), are typically considered for full admission.
    2. Students from schools located in the United States that are branch campuses of highly ranked and/or recognized seminaries or colleges/universities in other countries (e.g., Korea, United Kingdom), or students from institutions that have received denominational endorsement for the training of candidates for ordained ministry, shall typically be considered only for provisional admission.
    3. Students with MDiv degrees from institutions without accreditation or endorsement of any kind may be considered for MDiv equivalency assessment and provisional admission on a case-by-case basis under the following provisos:
      1. A review of all previous academic work, GPA(s), and references; and
      2. The satisfactory completion of up to nine additional hours of MDiv work at HGST or another approved seminary with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.

HGST reserves the right to determine whether an institution meets any of these criteria. Students admitted provisionally must maintain a 3.0 GPA or higher while at HGST and will be evaluated for full admission following the successful completion of the second Doctor of Ministry seminar.

  1. Have at least three years of experience in ministry subsequent to completing the first graduate theological degree. To be considered for admission into the Doctor of Ministry degree program under the ATS 20% Exception Rule, which exempts a prospective student from this requirement, meeting one or more of the following criteria would be required:
    1. Underrepresented Constituency: ethnicity and gender will be considered on a semester by semester basis, according to the demographic of the DMin program at that time
    2. Age: 60 years or above
    3. Academic Excellence: An earned 3.8 GPA or higher in MDiv degree coursework (or its equivalency)
    4. Ministry Experience: 10 years or higher
    1. Be currently involved in ministry that will be related to the functional major and the final document.
    2. Submit three reference forms: one each from a supervisor in ministry (denominational administrator), a past professor, and a current colleague in ministry.
    3. Have official transcripts of all post-secondary work sent directly to HGST from each school previously attended.
    4. Submit answers to admissions questions for the Doctor of Ministry degree.
    5. Have an evaluative interview with the Director of the DMin program (or an assigned alternate). The interview will be conducted after all admission documents, including the admissions questions, have been submitted. The applicant will be notified of the meeting by the DMin Director.
    6. Complete all general admission procedures and requirements through the Admissions Office before the application can be approved by the DMin Oversight Committee. Allow a minimum of 30 days for processing.
    7. Applicants for whom English is not their first language must complete the TOEFL examination with a minimum score of 550 (paper-based Test), 213 (computer-based test), or 79 (Internet-based test). 

Provisional admission may be allowed, for one semester only, for a student who enrolls in the program after the published enrollment deadline. Such a student will be considered a “for credit” student and must meet all requirements for the courses. Any exceptions to the above admission requirements must be approved by the Doctor of Ministry Oversight Committee.