Online Education

ACCESS:  Central Seminary Online

The core mission of Central Seminary is to prepare “women and men to transform churches and communities by educating and forming them as Christian leaders who are biblically knowledgeable, theologically articulate, spiritually healthy, humanly sensitive and professionally competent.”  For over a hundred years, this mission has been accomplished by students coming to Central’s campus and engaging in face-to-face classes.  In the last decades, however, sociological, economical, and theological changes have happened.  With the advent of the Internet and e-learning, boundaries and borders have crumbled.  As the name of Central’s online program indicates, ACCESS, we believe theological education should be available to everyone, everywhere, at all times.  It should not be limited only to prescribed locations, set times, or narrow modes of delivery.  Theological education should also utilize the latest tools in shaping knowledge and competence in ministry.  For this reason, Central Seminary has created an online learning environment that allows students to learn in and for a new era.

Are You a Candidate for Online Learning?

Each student needs to evaluate his or her own goals, needs, and aptitude for online education.  Three criteria are important characteristics for engaging online learning and being successful:

  • Highly Self-Motivated
  • Well Organized and Disciplined
  • Willing to Explore New Technological Options

Online + On Campus

Central offers an MDiv (Master of Divinity) of 75 credits and the MA (Theological Studies) of 48 credits.  Students may take most of their classes in an online format, but some courses are residential at Central’s campus or one of its centers (Milwaukee and Murfreesboro).  For the MDiv and the MA, 24 hours (8 courses) are required in residence.  All other courses can be taken online.  

Course Delivery

Central utilizes MOODLE (http://moodle.cbts.edu) for its online learning environment.  MOODLE is an open source program developed specifically for delivering online education.  The seminary’s version of MOODLE is hosted through ClassroomRevolution (http://www.classroomrevolution.com).

Schedule

Program

Course

Format

Frequency

MDiv/MATS

CH501 Christian Heritage I

Online

Every Two Years

MDiv/MATS

CH502 Christian Heritage II

Online

Every Two Years

MDiv/MATS

HB501 Hebrew Bible I

Online

Every Two Years

MDiv/MATS

HB502 Hebrew Bible II

Online

Every Two Years

MATS General Track

MA501 Living World Religions

Online

Every Two Years

MATS General Track

MA502 Sociology of Religion

Online

Every Two Years

MDiv/MATS

NT501 New Testament I

Online

Every Two Years

MDiv/MATS

NT502 New Testament II

Online

Every Two Years

MDiv

PR501 Homiletics

Online

Every Two Years

MDiv

PR502 The Practice of Preaching

Online

Every Two Years

MDiv

PR504 Biblical Exegesis and Hermeneutics

Online

Every Two Years

MDiv/MATS

TH501 Constructive Theology I

Online

Every Two Years

MDiv/MATS

TH502 Constructive Theology II

Online

Every Two Years

Technology Requirements

Minimum recommended technology standards are:

  • Laptop, Desktop, Netbook, Tablet
  • Mac or PC (newer operating system)
  • 2GB RAM
  • Up-to-date Web Browser
  • Up-to-date PDF Reader (Adobe PDF Reader recommended)
  • Up-to-date Anti-Virus Protection
  • Webcam and Microphone (Integrated or External)
  • High Speed Internet Connection (3Mb downstream or faster recommended)

FAQs

How do Central’s online courses compare with on-campus courses?

While the format of the online class will be different based on computer mediated learning, the content and overall contact hours will be the same.  A student receives the same credit for online courses and face-to-face courses. 

How does Central work to provide the experience of community for online students?

Online professors work at creating and maintain the ethos of Central as a community of learners sharing personal relationships.  Different mediums are used to foster this sense of community and hospitality, such as, synchronous sessions via conferencing tools.  An important insight is that community and presence is not just about physical proximity.  Just as the early Christians maintained intimate community and relationships by way of letters, contemporary Christian students can also facilitate class relationships by way of computer technology.  To this end, each professor works to create the possibility for an engaging community during the semester.

What kind of access can I expect to the library?

Central’s library provides an extremely high level of access to a wide variety of sources for classes.  Several of these resources are in the form online databases.  These databases include ATLA Religion Database, Christian Periodical Index, ProQuest Dissertations and Theses to name a few.  For the extensive list of available resources, follow this link:   http://libguides.cbts.edu/content.php?pid=296814&sid=2547678.  If particular books are needed and are not available online, they can easily be requested from the library via email.  For any questions about access to resources, Vance Thomas, Director of Library Service (vancethomas@cbts.edu), can provide assistance.

How much does the online program cost?  Is financial aid available?

Online course and on campus course have the same cost of tuition. (Click here for current costs.) There are no extra fees for taking online classes, and students registered in online classes are eligible for scholarships and the federal loan program.

What about other online courses taken at other accredited seminaries?  How would these credits be handled?

As long as these credits are from accredited seminaries, they will be handled in the same way as transfer credit from another institution.  The registrar will advise students about the best way to proceed with transfer credit.

How much work is involved?

Online courses are three-hour credit courses. These courses typically have 45 contact hours when taken as face-to-face courses.  A rule of thumb is that each credit hour represents about three to four hours of learning time. This means that the total learning hours for a course are between 135-180 hours. For an online course, the latter figure is more realistic. While these hours may seem large, students are working towards nationally recognized qualification from an accredited institution:  The Association of Theological Schools (http://www.ats.edu/) and the Higher Learning Commission (http://www.ncahlc.org/). These estimates are only a guide; each student has his or her own learning style.