Applying for Seminary Admission

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Admission to Seattle Pacific Seminary is a two-way process of discernment. You, the applicant, must determine whether SPS offers the kind of theological education and spiritual formation appropriate to your vocational objectives. You do so by studying our promotional materials, by visiting campus (if possible), by talking with our faculty, staff, and students, by praying for God’s guidance, and by consulting with trusted spiritual advisors. Conversely, the SPS Admissions Committee must determine whether you are spiritually and academically prepared to succeed in one of our programs. We do so by carefully and prayerfully studying your application materials and by assessing how your gifts, graces, and sense of vocation fit with the mission and ethos of the Seminary. We admit women and men who can demonstrate a vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ, a commitment to the proclamation of the reign of God, an ability to succeed academically in master’s level work, and an emotional and spiritual readiness to undertake graduate theological study.

You can apply for admission into the Master of Arts (MA) or Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree program by following the general admissions requirements for master’s degree programs. With your application, include these items specific to Seattle Pacific Seminary:

A typed personal statement

Your statement should be three to four pages in length, and should include:


  • Your career objectives.
  • A narrative of your personal Christian experience. In your personal statement, you may consider reflecting on those people (e.g., parents, pastors, friends, teachers), institutions (e.g., schools, congregations, ministries), and/or "mountaintop experiences" (e.g., retreats, conferences, life-changing conversations) that have most influenced your spiritual growth.
  • Your rationale for seeking the degree and choosing Seattle Pacific Seminary.
  • Other insights you deem appropriate.

Two letters of recommendation

(Forms are downloadable from the application page or available from Graduate Admissions.)

We ask you to secure letters of recommendation from two persons, both of whom know you well, but in different capacities, and who can therefore speak to different aspects of your preparedness for the challenges of graduate theological education.

  1. Spiritual/emotional preparedness: This letter should be from a pastor, church staff person, chaplain, parachurch professional, youth leader, Bible study leader or college religion professor. It should describe the depth of your Christian faith, as evidenced by the way you live your life, serve your neighbors, and participate in the ministry of a Christian community (local congregation, parachurch organization, chapel program, etc.).
  2. Academic Preparedness: This letter should be from a former college professor who knows your academic work well and can describe your intellectual curiosity and your skills in research, writing, critical thinking, problem-solving, and time management. If you cannot secure a letter from a former professor, a letter from an employer or manager who can address these matters will be accepted with approval from the Seminary's Academic Dean (lcsholmes@spu.edu); in such cases, an interview may be required. You may request permission to submit an alternative letter of reference by emailing seminary@spu.edu.


Application deadlines

Students can apply to Seattle Pacific Seminary to begin Autumn, Winter, and Spring quarters, and to begin during Summer Sessions, though most students choose to begin their program in Autumn Quarter.   

  • Autumn Quarter (beginning courses in September), the application deadline is July 31.
  • Winter Quarter (beginning courses in January), the application deadline is November 15.
  • Spring Quarter (beginning courses in March), the application deadline is February 15.
  • Summer Sessions (beginning courses in June), the application deadline is May 1.  

Transfer credits

If you wish to apply graduate-level coursework that you completed at a regionally accredited university, divinity school, or seminary into the MA or MDiv degree programs, you must provide applicable transcripts and/or syllabi with your application.

Applicants may transfer up to 26 quarter credits from another ATS-accredited institution into the MA degree program, and up to 36 quarter credits into the MDiv degree program.

To receive transfer credit:

  • Each course must be at least three graduate quarter credits and be equivalent to courses taught in Seattle Pacific Seminary.
  • Each course will be considered on a case-by-case basis as to the fulfillment of specific curricular requirements.
  • A minimum grade of B is needed for transferred work.
  • Transferred courses must have been taken within seven years of admission.

In all cases, the final 40 MDiv credits or 26 MA credits must be taken at SPU.

Non-degree students

You may take up to nine credits of graduate theology courses as a non-degree student, if you:

  • Have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university.
  • Fill out a short application form with the Seattle Pacific Seminary office.
  • Receive permission from the dean or associate dean of the School of Theology.

Contact the School of Theology at seminary@spu.edu or 206-281-2342 for more information.

International students

  • Applicants who are not citizens or permanent residents of the USA must provide an official confidential affidavit of financial support covering the first year of intended enrollment. Without this document, SPU cannot issue an I-20 immigration form.
  • Students holding undergraduate or graduate degrees from colleges, universities, and/or seminaries located outside the United States of America are expected to have their transcripts evaluated by a professional credential agency. Such an evaluation is required before an application for admission to SPS can be granted and before any graduate credits taken elsewhere can be applied to an SPS degree. Following University-wide practice, SPS accepts professional transcript evaluations from agencies recognized by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO), the Foundation for International Services (located in nearby Edmonds, WA), or any of the agencies belonging to the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES).
  • English Language Proficiency: Applicants whose first language is not English must submit scores on the TOEFL. A minimum score of 600 on the TOEFL paper, 250 on the TOEFL-CBT, or 100 on the TOEFL-IBT is required. ACE scores will not be accepted.

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What Makes SPS So Great?

The Rev. Dr. Scott Dudley, senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Bellevue, WA, talks about why Seattle Pacific Seminary is unique.

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Academy, Abbey, Apostolate®

Seattle Pacific Seminary professors and students talk about SPS's unique model: Academy, Abbey, and Apostolate®.

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Vocational Discernment and Discipleship Course

Professor of Theology Doug Koskela discusses one of the required courses at Seattle Pacific Seminary, "Vocational Discernment and Discipleship." 

"It is a critical question for all students -- those who have questions about their vocation and those who have a clear sense of where God might be leading them -- to address now and throughout their lifetime."

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