Satisfactory Academic Progress Guidelines

Satisfactory academic progress is measured by both the quality and quantity of academic work.  It is certified by the successful completion of 70% of a student’s attempted, non-repeated course load.

Due to the nature of theological education, students are strongly encouraged to gain ministerial experience during their training and to avoid accumulating debt while doing so. Students need time for practical experience, but they also need to earn money to pay for their education. Students are therefore given specified timeframes within which to complete their degrees.

Students enrolled in Urshan Graduate School of Theology Master of Theological Studies or the Master of Arts in Christian Ministry degree program are required to complete 48 credits to be completed in 6 years. The average student completes the work in 2 to 3 years. Students enrolled in the Master of Divinity program are required to complete 72 credits in 8 years. The average M.Div. student completes the work in 3 to 4 years. fThese timeframes begin with the first course after full matriculation into the program. The timeframe for students with transfer credit usually begins with the semester in which the transferred coursework was taken.

Students who change degrees prior to completing the previous degree will be judged to have begun their degree with their initial coursework.

Successful Course Completion (for both on-campus and distance-learning students): Successful completion of courses taken in the combined fall, October, and January terms will determine satisfactory completion for the fall term. Successful completion of courses taken in the spring, March, and June terms will determine satisfactory completion for the spring term.

To compute satisfactory academic progress, audit courses are not included in the course load. Courses with grades of P are successfully completed. Successful completion is defined as follows.

  •         MDiv, MACM, and MTS students must receive a grade of C- or higher in each course and have a combined term GPA of at least 2.5.
  •         Grades of I, W, and F will be included in the combined course load and are not considered successfully completed courses.
  •         Transfer credit will not be included in qualitative work evaluated for satisfactory academic progress. Only credits earned at Urshan Graduate School of Theology are used to calculate grade point average.
  •         For a repeated course, the higher grade stands as the official grade. (See Repeating Courses.)

The registrar will check each student’s level of satisfactory academic progress at the end of each term. A student not progressing toward completion of a degree in an appropriate manner (taking the appropriate courses for a degree) as determined by the registrar shall be placed on academic probation. (See Probationary Status.)

Students must meet with their academic advisors at least once a semester to review progress toward their degrees. For most students, this is covered in academic registration when they also pre-register for courses for the upcoming year.

Loss of Eligibility

A student who fails to meet satisfactory academic progress after the probationary semester is ineligible for financial aid in the following semester and will be notified by mail. A student who was full-time in the semester when eligibility was lost must successfully complete a full-time semester of non-repeated work to be eligible for reinstatement. A student who was half-time in the semester when eligibility was lost must successfully complete a half-time semester of non-repeated work to be eligible for reinstatement.

If satisfactory academic progress is maintained for the requisite term (s), eligibility for financial aid may be reinstated for the following semester. The student is required to apply to the Financial Aid Director for reinstatement prior to registration for the semester in which financial aid is desired.  


A grade of Incomplete (I) indicates that the required work for the semester has not been completed due to circumstances beyond the student’s control (such as illness). Incompletes are not given simply because students fail to hand in work by the assigned deadline. Students who fail to complete work on time or to make satisfactory arrangements to submit work late will be given the grade to which the work submitted entitles them. Instead of getting extensions of time to complete work, students who run into routine difficulties (ordinary illnesses, busyness, etc.) should complete as many courses as possible on time. In most cases, students who are behind in their work at the end of the term should simply turn in the work late and accept the penalty assigned by the instructor.

Students who wish to request an incomplete must talk with the individual professor(s) involved. Students will submit a completed request for incomplete form to the registrar. Granting of incompletes will be at the discretion of the academic dean. If the work is not submitted within six weeks after the end of the semester, the grade will be changed to “F.” Extensions beyond this six-week period must be must be approved by a faculty committee and student is responsible to file a request for approval.

Probationary Status

Academic probation serves as a warning that the student’s work is not of sufficient quality to receive the desired degree. Students on academic probation may be advised to limit extracurricular activity. A student will remain on academic probation as long as the cumulative GPA remains below the required level (2.5). In certain cases, students may be accepted provisionally. In that case, a student will enter the program on academic probation.

A student is placed on academic probation at the end of any term in which the cumulative

GPA falls below the minimum required for good standing (2.5) in the particular degree program, and will be notified by the registrar before the next semester begins. Any student already on academic probation who does not maintain the required GPA for his/her degree program for two semesters will be suspended from Urshan Graduate School of Theology.

If a student is on probation and the term GPA falls below the required minimum, the student will be suspended from further academic work at Urshan Graduate School of Theology. If a student’s short-term course grade causes them to fall below the required minimum in a semester, the student will not be forced to withdraw, but will remain on academic probation the following semester. A suspended student has the right to appeal to the academic dean for reinstatement. If the academic dean, upon consultation with members of the faculty, feels the student has potential to complete a program, re-entry on probation may be allowed.

Repeating Courses

Urshan Graduate School of Theology allows students to repeat courses. The higher grade earned stands as the official grade. Only the higher grade and its corresponding hours attempted will be calculated in the cumulative GPA. Students may repeat only courses in which they received a grade of C+ or lower.

Academic Due Process

Students dissatisfied with classroom or academic procedures or decisions should use the following procedure:

Students will attempt to settle differences with an instructor within two weeks of the disputed issue, or in the case of a disputed course grade, within six weeks after the end of the semester.

Students who are dissatisfied with the outcome of the instructor conference may file a written complaint with the academic dean within one week after the conference. The written document should fully describe the issue in dispute and steps taken to resolve the conflict. The academic dean will consult with the instructor before any decision is made. The academic dean will decide within two weeks.

Students who are dissatisfied with the academic dean’s decision may file a written complaint with the Academic Affairs Committee via the academic dean within one week of the academic dean’s decision. The Academic Affairs Committee will review the steps taken by the student, instructor, and academic dean prior to deciding. The Academic Affairs Committee will make its decision within two weeks. The decision of the Academic Affairs Committee is final.

Testing Out of Language Requirements

Matriculated students with prior experience learning a biblical language may opt to test out of that language at UGST. Students intending to do so should arrange with the language instructor to take the requisite proficiency exam, which includes both written and oral components, to test out of Greek I and II and Hebrew I and II, respectively. The exams are graded on a pass/fail basis. Students who successfully pass an exam will be awarded three graduate credits for the respective course. The non-refundable registration fee per exam is $100, and students may take each of the four exams no more than once.

Time Limits

The Master of Theological Studies and Master of Christian Ministry degrees have a six-year limit; the Master of Divinity degree has a time limit of eight years for completion. If additional time is needed to complete a degree, the student must submit a written rationale for the request and a proposal for the completion of the degree. The appropriate faculty committee reviews the request and makes a recommendation to the full faculty for action.