Admissions Policies


Eastern Mennonite Seminary seeks to provide a setting for a study-fellowship-service experience which will prepare persons for ministry in a variety of settings. Anyone who is academically, personally, and spiritually prepared for serious and diligent graduate study of the Bible and theology is invited to seek admission.

A baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution (or its educational equivalent) and a minimum grade point average of 2.5 are required for admission to a degree program or a graduate certificate program. Students who apply with a baccalaureate degree from an international non-accredited college or university will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to ascertain whether the work completed was commensurate in kind, quality, and amount typical of North American baccalaureate degree programs. Persons without the baccalaureate degree or its educational equivalent may be admitted into a Certificate Program provided they show by maturity of age and experience in Christian ministry that they can benefit from graduate-level studies. All persons seeking admission must have a high school diploma or its equivalent. 

A student admitted from a non-accredited school or on an exceptional basis with a grade point average below 2.5 will be conditionally admitted for the first semester. If the required GPA is achieved, the conditional status will be removed. If the desired GPA is not achieved, continuation at seminary will be reviewed. All students, including those with a conditional admittance, are evaluated after the completion of 20 SH for degree candidacy. The faculty together decide whether or not a student appears qualified to successfully complete a given degree program and makes a decision about degree candidacy.

Pre-Seminary Curriculum

Eastern Mennonite Seminary recognizes the importance of carefully planned pre-seminary studies. While it is desirable that all who pursue theological training have been exposed to certain basic disciplines, it is understood that not all will have chosen that option. In cases where deficiencies exist, the seminary reserves the right to request that such be met.

Differing ministries demand a variety of patterns of pre-theological preparation; therefore it is unnecessary to insist upon specific requirements for all students. In general, however, there are certain basic educational exposures that are considered highly significant for one entering theological education.

The general areas of concern are that the undergraduate studies of a pre-seminary
student should prepare one to:

  1. use the research and writing tools of the educated person;
  2. grow in increased understanding of and insight into the world in which one
    lives; and
  3. develop a sense of achievement and mastery in selected areas of

Formational Commitment

Each student is asked to subscribe to the following pledge: “I understand that the seminary is a formational experience in the context of a Christian community. I will engage this formational experience with respect for faculty members, other students and staff, as well as the larger EMU community.”   EMU welcomes persons into community without discrimination on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or any legally protected status.


Selecting a seminary is an important decision. Prospective students are encouraged to visit the campus and confer with the seminary admissions staff. Application should be made at least two months before the anticipated time of entrance. Deadlines for financial assistance may be earlier.

An application is complete when the following documents are received:

  • application with essays
  • official transcript(s) of credit
  • non-refundable tuition deposit
  • references from three persons named by the applicant

A shorter form will be provided to applicants who are not pursuing a degree and who wish to take only part-time studies (12 hours or less). After completing four courses a student will be asked to complete the full application process before continuing studies.

The Committee on Admissions reviews each application and notifies the applicant of the action taken.

For a campus visit or admission application, write to:
Director of Seminary Admissions
Eastern Mennonite Seminary
Harrisonburg, VA 22802-2462
e-mail: fax: (540) 432-4598

Transfer Credit

Transfer applicants who plan to complete degree requirements at EMS shall communicate with the admissions office as soon as possible. A personal interview is desirable in order to clarify the transfer process and the amount of credit needed to complete the program. Any credit from an accredited seminary or other accredited graduate school will be considered for transfer. A grade of "B" (or equivalent) or better must be earned for any course to be considered for transfer.  However, a majority of credits for a degree from Eastern Mennonite Seminary must be earned from EMS. Transfer courses will be recorded with the same titles and grades as appear on the transcript from the previous school. Transfer grades will not apply toward the EMU grade point average, except for instances in which the student’s enrollment at the other institution was sponsored by EMU.

The Associate Dean determines which graduate-level credits meet our degree requirements and which are appropriate as elective credit. Any graduate level credit from a non-accredited institution is judged on a case-by-case basis by reviewing course descriptions, faculty credentials, and if needed, course syllabi to determine the academic strength of the school. Credit from a university is judged on the basis of its similarity to seminary course content.  Any transfer of credit will be finalized only after the student has been admitted and their tuition deposit has been paid. 

International Students

Completion of the online application form constitutes the first step in the application process for the international student. Applicants whose native language is other than English must demonstrate competency in the English language by achieving a score of 550 on the paper version or 80 on the internet-based version or higher on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). A score of 7.0 or higher on the IELTS is also acceptable. The institutional code for having scores sent directly to EMS is 5181. In addition to the above requirements, an international student must demonstrate “ability to pay” before a letter of admission or an I-20 form can be issued.

Application for Readmission

EMS students not enrolled in seminary classes for more than 2 semesters may be asked to complete an application for readmission prior to re-enrollment. Applications for readmission may be obtained from the receptionist or admissions office. Students who were not on conditional status in their previous period of study at EMS may be granted unconditional readmission. Conditional readmission on a semester-by-semester basis may be granted to students who were on conditional status at the point of termination from their previous period of study at EMS.

Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA)

The complete description of Eastern Mennonite University's compliance with Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is found in the Graduate and Seminary Handbook.

Nondiscriminatory Policy as to Students

Eastern Mennonite Seminary admits students of any on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or any legally protected status to all the rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the university, regardless of handicap.

It does not discriminate on the basis of on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or any legally protected status in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic or other university-administered programs.

EMU’s designated coordinator for matters related to nondiscrimination policies is the provost, telephone 540-432-4105.

Intellectual Property

The purpose of this policy is to clarify issues related to the ownership, use, and sale of intellectual property created by university personnel.

Eastern Mennonite University wishes to foster an intellectual environment that encourages creativity, innovation, and excellence while managing its resources for the benefit of all constituents. In this policy the university seeks to foster these goals and honor traditions in the academic setting while recognizing federal laws.

Intellectual property refers to any copyrightable or patentable work.

This policy with respect to students attempts to balance student and institutional needs. Intellectual property created by students is considered the property of the student. The university, however, reserves the right to use such material, with appropriate discretion and attribution, in promotion of the university. Intellectual property created by students and employees jointly is considered to be jointly owned by the creators. (The employee shall have decision-making powers in regard to permissions and sales of jointly created property.)

To view the complete Intellectual Property Policy, contact the provost office at

Grievance Procedures

The Seminary follows the Conflict and Grievance Procedure found in the Graduate and Seminary handbook.

Title IX

The Seminary follows the Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct Policy (Title IX) found in the Graduate and Seminary handbook.