1.1 ARE YOU ACCREDITED?
Not any longer. From 1979 through 2010, we were accredited with the Accrediting Commission International. This agency is not recognized by the Federal Department of Education so it is not considered regional accreditation. They deal only with colleges like us that are strictly religious in nature, and therefore to not fit under regional accreditation.
For many years we were their flagship college, being the largest and, by far, the most recognized and respected. In 2010 we chose not to renew our membership, deciding instead to rely on the high level of recognition and acceptance we have earned based on our own merit.
For most of our students, accreditation is not relevant since they are in ministry and are pursuing their degree for religious or personal reasons. Of more importance to our students is the acceptance of our degrees and credits by religious organizations, and we have been accepted by virtually every major faith group.
Our students have successfully transferred to other religious colleges, including several liberal arts Christian colleges that are regionally accredited. Our students have also been accepted into many chaplaincy areas including law enforcement, hospital, and the U.S. military. In addition, we are listed in the Directory of Postsecondary Institutions, a publication by the Department of Education.
1.2 DO YOU HAVE A CAMPUS? WHERE ARE YOU LOCATED?
Yes. We have a modest 41 acre campus located in Plymouth, Florida just north of Orlando. For directions go to www.mapquest.com and input International Seminary or the physical address of 3927 W. Orange Blossom Trl., Apopka, FL. NOTE: Do not use this address for mailing packages as the Post Office does not deliver to this rural area. For USPS use: PO Box 1075, Plymouth, FL 32768. For all other delivery services use 3927 Hwy. 441 N., Plymouth, FL 32768. The GPS coordinates for our entrance are: 28 degrees, 42 minutes, 01.41 seconds north 81 degrees, 34 minutes, 28.82 seconds west.
1.3 I AM A FOREIGN STUDENT – CAN I GET A STUDENT VISA TO COME TO THE UNITED STATES
AND ATTEND CLASSES ON CAMPUS?
No. Since all of our programs are available through home study, residency is not a requirement, so we do not qualify for student visas.
1.4 OTHER COLLEGES WILL ENROLL ME INTO A MASTER DEGREE EVEN THOUGH I DO NOT HAVE
A BACHELOR DEGREE. WILL YOU?
Enrolling into a master degree without the prerequisite bachelor degree has been compared to a time bomb, as it almost always comes back to hurt you, and usually at a very inopportune time. Normally, even the colleges that do this will not allow you to use that degree to get into a doctoral program. You then have to go back and complete a bachelor degree anyway. Then, since your bachelor degree is dated later than the master, the master is useless and you end up having wasted your tuition, time, and work for that original “easy” master degree. We do not allow students to enroll in a master degree without having an earned bachelor degree first. By doing this in a manner that is academically sound, your degrees are more valuable to you, and will not hinder you in your later educational pursuits, nor will it come back to haunt you.
1.5 I HAVE AN EARNED MASTER DEGREE BUT NO BACHELOR DEGREE. CAN I ENROLL IN A
This practice is becoming more and more common, and causes nothing but problems for the students down the road. Most colleges that allow this won’t accept their own master degree for doctoral level studies. Our policy is that we can allow such an enrollment into our doctoral program only if the master degree is from a regionally-accredited college.
1.6 MY DEGREES (OR CREDITS) ARE FROM A NON-ACCREDITED COLLEGE. WILL YOU ACCEPT THEM?
International Seminary accepts credits and degrees from many non-accredited colleges. If your college is not listed in any of our books and has not been reviewed by our Admissions Office, we would need to perform an evaluation to determine if we can accept them. This evaluation requires a copy of their most recent printed catalog (online catalogs are not acceptable) and an official transcript of your studies. If the college is approved it will be added to our list, and future students will also be accepted.
1.7 HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO EARN A DEGREE?
There is no simple answer to this question, as there are too many variables involved. The three main variables are: 1) how many courses you need to take to complete, 2) how much time you have to devote to your studies, and 3) how easy this type of study is for you. If you have much time to study, you will probably move quicker. If you have little time to study, you will probably move much slower. If you have transferable credits or qualify for experience credits, it will be less. Here is a very basic outline of how the programs are designed:
Pr.Dip. program (freshman year) eight months
Pr.Adv. program (sophomore year) eight months
A.A. degree program (optional) four months
Th.G. program (junior year) eight months
Bachelor program (senior year) ten months
Master degree program eighteen months
Master of Divinity program three years
Doctoral program two years
1.8 IF I HAVE QUESTIONS OR NEED HELP, DO YOU HAVE REAL PEOPLE AVAILABLE?
Yes. Depending on what type of help you need or what your question may be, we have several different people who will be able to help you. We have a full staff of employees ready to assist you in all areas. You can get help through the phone, email, fax, or regular mail.
1.9 DO YOU HAVE AN ANNUAL COMMENCEMENT?
Yes. Every year, usually at the end of June, we hold our annual commencement. Graduates from around the world will be in attendance. Any graduate who has ever completed a program (any program, any year) is eligible to attend. If you have already received your degree certificate, you would receive a commemorative certificate for your participation.
1.10 HOW CAN YOU TEACH RELIGIOUS SUBJECTS AND REMAIN INTER-DENOMINATIONAL?
At the degree levels, most work is completed through the writing of research papers. We allow you to use books and other resources produced by your own denominational authors. Your work is graded based on how well you have read and understand the material, not on how closely you agree with the professor.
1.11 CAN I COME VISIT THE CAMPUS?
Absolutely. We are open almost the entire year, only closing for a week during the Christmas holidays. Our office hours are:
Monday through Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Friday 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
It is always prudent to make an appointment ahead of time, just to assure that the person you wish to speak with is here.
1.12 CAN I CHECK OUT YOUR CLASSES BEFORE PAYING ANY FEES?
We allow students to visit our class up to three times with no charge and no obligation. In fact, we actually encourage our enrolled students to bring visitors with them to class.
2.1 DO I HAVE TO ATTEND ANY CLASSES OR COME TO THE CAMPUS FOR ANY REASON?
For 99% of our students, the answer is no. All of our programs are available through home study, and we do not have any residency requirements at all. You can complete any program with us without leaving your family, your ministry, or your current job. The only time an appearance on campus is required is when a student is having the oral defense for the doctoral dissertation, and even then, only if he lives within a two-hour drive. Otherwise, the defense is done via a telephone conference call. In addition to home study, the first three years of our bachelor degree are also offered in class at our main campus or through our Satellite Class division. Classes like this are offered in many locations around the U.S.
2.2 CAN I DO MY WORK THROUGH THE INTERNET?
At this time, we use the Internet primarily as a communication tool. The work is not currently submitted via email, but through regular mail. We are working on changes to our methods that will allow students to submit their work by email, but it will be a while before this takes place.
2.3 HOW IS MY WORK COMPLETED?
The first three years of our bachelor degree involve lectures that are sent to the student. The student then completes some homework on them, and returns the homework to us. This process is repeated until all program requirements have been met. The senior year of the bachelor program, the master programs, and the doctoral programs are completed mostly through the writing of research papers. Students are assigned various topics, and then must produce a written research paper on that topic. There are a few courses that involve taking an exam, producing an audio or video tape, or doing some translation work as opposed to doing a research paper.
2.4 CAN I GET CREDIT FOR EXPERIENCE?
Since we only offer religious courses, the credit we give for experience is limited to ministerial experience. If a student has over five years of ministry, we can do a free evaluation to determine what, if any, credit can be awarded. Credit for experience is not automatic. We do not give “block” credit (which is a certain number of unspecified credits depending on years of ministry). We actually give credit in the specific areas that you have demonstrated an expertise. This is more complicated for us, but results in a transcript that is much more accepted. Credit toward a bachelor degree is common for those who have at least 8 years of ministry. Credit toward a master degree is more difficult to qualify for, and typically requires a minimum of 15 years to even be considered. Credit toward a doctoral degree is very difficult to qualify for. We can only give credit for experience at the doctoral level if the experience has been reflected in some type of written work produced by the student. This work must be of similar length and depth of research as the normal doctoral requirements, and must be in a subject area similar to a course required for that program. The work cannot have been used for credit at any other college. Once enrolled, a student may submit any such work for review by our professors.
2.5 CAN I EARN A DEGREE WITHOUT TAKING ANY ADDITIONAL COURSES?
No. There are minimum work requirements for every degree so some courses will be required. The exact number of courses needed vary from person to person depending on transferable credits and credit for experience. We can perform a free evaluation to determine what is required for you.
2.6 IS THERE A TIME LIMIT FOR COMPLETING A PROGRAM?
There is no specific time limit on any program. We do assign a due date for the next due course, but if you have a problem and need more time, we freely give extensions. The due date is primarily to give us a system to keep up with each student. If the due date is not met and we do not receive a request for an extension, we will contact you with a reminder. If you ignore these reminders you will be placed on probation, and if no response is received, you will be made inactive. As long as we see continual progress, however slow, you will be fine.
2.7 CAN I DO A MASTERS DEGREE AND A DOCTORAL DEGREE CONCURRENTLY?
No. There is no benefit to pursuing two degrees at once, only problems. When multiple programs are taken concurrently, the final result is two degrees that are issued within a short time frame. This usually equates to a degree that is not readily accepted. We recommend that all energy is put into one program at a time. Then, once it is completed, all energy can be put into the next program. Not only does this provide a normal space of time between degrees, it also allows you to keep your focus on one course at a time.
2.8 I DON’T WANT TO DO A FULL DEGREE PROGRAM. CAN I TAKE JUST A COURSE OR TWO?
Most of our degree level courses (those with course numbers in the 400 – 699 range) are available as a CEU. With this program you pay an enrollment fee, and then pay only for the courses you wish to take. At completion, a CEU certificate is issued; however, these credits are not transferable to a degree at a later date.
2.9 CAN I CHOOSE MY OWN MENTOR FOR THE M.A. AND PH.D. PROGRAMS?
For the M.A. and Ph.D. programs, mentors are required primarily to guide you through the selection of the elective courses, and guide you through the production and submission of the thesis or dissertation. Since our professors will be grading you based on the requirements here at International, we only allow our own professors to act as mentors for our students. You are free to receive advice and assistance from other ministers or elders; however, keep in mind that the final acceptance and grading of your work will be done here. You can request a particular professor as your mentor; however, the final decision is made by our staff. We take into account each student’s background when choosing a mentor, but the primary decision is based on the major chosen.
2.10 CAN I CHANGE MAJORS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PROGRAM?
Yes. You must, however, understand that if you are well into a program, you might be required to do additional courses which would include additional tuition.
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2.11 CAN I CHOOSE A DIFFERENT MAJOR FOR MY NEXT DEGREE?
Yes. Since all of our programs are religious in nature, you can change to a different major for your next degree program. On occasion, however, you might be required to take additional courses.
2.12 WHO CHOOSES THE TOPIC FOR MY THESIS/DISSERTATION?
The topic for the master thesis or dissertation must be in the exact subject area as the major of your program. The choice is made by the student; however, it must be pre-approved by the Seminary
3.1 DO YOU HAVE ANY SCHOLARSHIPS?
At this time, our scholarship fund is depleted. However, since we keep all financial arrangements internal, we can allow you to prepare a written proposal of how you can pay the tuition. Perhaps you need to make a couple of payments to pay the enrollment fee, or maybe you need to stretch the payments out longer than our extended payment plan offers. Just prepare and submit the proposal and we will take it to our Directors for review. They approve virtually every reasonable request. We do offer discounts under certain circumstances. We offer a 20% discount on most programs for paying in full. We offer a discount to full-time overseas missionaries. Some undergraduate programs offer a spouse discount when both the husband and wife enroll together.
3.2 WHAT DO YOU CHARGE PER CREDIT HOUR?
We do not charge on a per credit basis. Our tuition rate is per program. Each program has a different cost. All costs and payment plan options are reflected on our current Tuition Payment Plan.
3.3 WHY ARE YOUR PRICES SO EXPENSIVE?
Our cost is much less than what state universities charge, and only a fraction of what private colleges charge. If it seems expensive, it is probably because you are comparing it to the tuition rates of other colleges that do not have the widespread acceptance of credits that our students enjoy. Our students have been accepted into virtually every ministry function and every faith group. They have been able to transfer to several regionally-accredited colleges, get into military chaplaincy, and even teach in other Bible Colleges. Be careful in looking for a “bargain” because you might end up with a degree that is has no value.
3.4 WHY ARE YOUR PRICES SO CHEAP?
Our cost is much less than what state universities charge, and only a fraction of what private colleges charge. There are a number of reasons for this. One of the most important ones is that we are debt-free, and have no property or building mortgage. We own a 40 acre campus and are developing it without borrowing funds
3.5 DOES THE TUITION INCLUDE THE COST OF BOOKS?
No. The tuition listed for each program covers only the tuition cost; however, we have designed all of our programs in such a way as to minimize the high cost of books. The cost of books can vary greatly depending on a couple of factors. The first factor is the program in which you are entering. The first three years of the undergraduate program are completed primarily with lecture material that is included in the tuition cost. There are some outside reading requirements, but the book cost for any of those programs is usually under $100 for the year. For the degree programs, the cost of books can be as little as nothing, or be as much as the tuition. We do provide students with a suggested list of textbooks for each course, but we also allow students to use other books that are not on the list. Many of our students use local libraries (public and private) and are able to complete their studies without buying any books at all. Others are striving to develop their own personal libraries and will spend more on books than they do on tuition.
3.6 HOW DO I SEND MY TUITION PAYMENTS FROM A FOREIGN COUNTRY?
Tuition payments may be made via check, money order, bank draft, or credit card. For foreign students the most convenient method is to send a money order or use a credit card