Graduate Theology Master Degree Requirements

Admission Requirements

Prospective students must have a baccalaureate degree from a regionally-accredited college, university, or equivalent, and have earned a cumulative GPA of 2.5, or 3.0 in the last 30 semester or 45 quarter credits.

Prospective students with academic deficiencies because of low GPA may be admitted to the program on a provisional basis. All deficiencies must be met during the first year of the program.

Ideally, prospective students should have some experience in ministry, either professionally or as volunteers. All students must be prepared to apply their coursework to their present ministry context and be accountable to ecclesiastical supervision.

During a student's program orientation, Northwest Nazarene University performs systematic national criminal and sex offender background checks on all students involved in ministry settings. In conducting systematic background checks on all students, NNU seeks to ensure there is full disclosure between our students, the university, the ministry setting and supervisor, as well as the professor teaching supervised ministry courses. We believe this is not only our duty but a way to ensure the health and longevity of pastors and leaders in our churches and ministry organizations by modeling truth-telling and accountability.

Student Authentication

NNU ensures the integrity of its online programs by authenticating all graduate students through a process that includes the following:

  1. References are required from an academic official or former professor and a verified ecclesiastical supervisor.
  2. A high-quality digital copy of the prospect's government-issued photo identification.
  3. A criminal and sex offender background check is required during every student's orientation course.
  4. To ensure ongoing academic integrity and the development of an online digital repository of student writing, assignments are submitted to the university's TurnItIn system and stored in the learning management system if a review of student writing is ever deemed necessary.

Application Process

  1. Submission of an online application with a nonrefundable application fee.
  2. Submission of an official transcript from the undergraduate institution from which the applicant graduated. Official transcripts for graduate work should also be submitted if they relate to theological disciplines.
  3. Enlist references from:
    • Supervising ecclesiastical official (e.g., district superintendent, supervising pastor, elder board chair, etc.) and 
    • Someone who is willing to evaluate the applicant's previous academic performance (e.g., a college professor or administrator). In cases where an academic reference is not possible, applicants may submit a 450-550-word essay outlining the reason for their interest in theological studies, as well as how they might put their education into practice following graduation.
  4. The director of the Graduate School of Theology will notify the applicant of official acceptance into the program through NNU’s graduate admissions office. Forms for application and financial aid are available online at Financial aid cannot be awarded until prospective students are officially accepted in the program.

Typical Program Progress and Graduation Requirements

Once an applicant has received official acceptance into the program:

  1. Register for courses and pay tuition in full, on a monthly basis, or arrange for payment through federal financial aid or other sources.
  2. Most students enroll in a maximum of eight graduate semester credits per session. Six graduate credits are considered full-time status, and three graduate credits are considered half-time status for student loan and Veterans Administration requirements.
  3. Complete all course work during the span of each online course.
  4. A student who has been admitted to the graduate program and is currently enrolled in at least one course is considered to have active status. Students dropping a course may not be able to continue with their current learning community, but could subsequently join another learning community by working with the graduate program coordinator.
  5. Complete a Master of Divinity program in 54-60 months, or a Master of Arts program in 21-30 months, depending on the program.
  6. Completion of a degree requires the satisfactory completion of the prescribed curriculum with an overall GPA of at least 2.5 for all credits applicable to the degree. Only credits receiving a "C" or higher grade may be applied toward the degree.
  7. Completion of the approved program within seven years of beginning course work. 
  8. The candidate must apply for graduation one full semester prior to anticipated degree completion. Deadlines: June 1 for Fall; October 15 for Spring; and January 15 for Summer.

Enrollment Status

Active Status - A student who has been admitted to a program in the College of Graduate and Professional Studies and is enrolled in at least one course.

Inactive Status - A student who does not register for a course applicable to the degree for one calendar year will be removed from active status and must make arrangements with the program coordinator by applying for readmission to the program.  This policy does not apply to students who are not enrolled due to disciplinary reasons.

Academic Standing and Dismissal

In order to continue in good academic standing, students in NNU's Master of Divinity and Master of Arts programs must maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5 and pass all courses in the program with a grade of 2.0 (C) or better. Students must re-enroll and pass any course with less than a 2.0 (C) in order for it to contribute to graduation requirements. Students may repeat a course once; those who do not pass a course on the second attempt may be academically dismissed from the program. 

Students with semester GPAs that fall below 2.5 for two consecutive semesters will be placed on academic probation. Students who are accepted provisionally because of a GPA below 2.5 must earn at least a 2.5 by the end of their first semester or they will be placed on academic probation. Students with a cumulative GPA below 2.5 are also subject to academic probation. Students who fail to maintain these standards may also be subject to academic dismissal from the program.

Transfer and Dual Degree Policies

Transfer: Students may transfer comparable course work from a regionally- or ATS-accredited institution, provided the student earned a "B" or better in each course, and the credits were earned within ten years preceding the date of admission at NNU. Upon approval by the Program Director, the maximum allowable proportion of transfer credits may not exceed two-thirds of the total credits required for a student's specific program in the NNU Graduate School of Theology.

Dual Degrees: The Program Director may approve a previously earned graduate theological degree from a regionally- or ATS-accredited institution for use in a second master's degree as long as at least one-third of the total credits required for the second degree are completed in that degree at NNU and students are able to achieve all of the learning outcomes required for the second degree. 

Program Tuition Discounts

In recognition of the continuing and significant support by the Church of the Nazarene and the denomination's Northwest Field, the following tuition grants are being offered:

  • Partial tuition discounts may be offered to members of the Church of the Nazarene.
  • Partial tuition discounts may be offered on a case-by-case basis to missionaries serving outside North America.
  • Partial tuition discounts may be offered to indigenous Nazarene leaders in other world areas where an American tuition rate is economically impossible.