Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary

Academic Issues
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Admissions | F A Q | Academic Issues

  • Doctrinal agreement and graduation requirements
  • Balancing work & ministry responsibilities
  • Compare M.Div. and Th.M. programs
  • Transfer of graduate theology credits
  • Distance learning or correspondence?
  • Transferability of correspondence courses

    Are there specific doctrinal beliefs or an examination required in order to graduate from DBTS?

    Every student must affirm his belief in the truths stated in the Seminary Creed before registering for classes each semester and before graduation. Though the faculty will teach consistently toward the truths stated in the Seminary Statement of Faith, allowance is made for honest and defensible differences on areas not specifically stated in the Seminary Creed. In addition, every student must now complete a two-credit course called Senior Doctrinal Seminar. However, graduates will no longer be required to stand for a formal senior doctrinal examination.

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    Is it possible for me to maintain my current ministry or work responsibilities and still attend DBTS?

    We have many men studying here who are currently serving as a senior pastor or assistant pastor in a local fundamental Baptist church. We have a number of men who travel down regularly for classes from several areas of southeast Michigan. Some men commute as far as two hours each way in order to take classes at DBTS.

    Our courses are offered in a block scheduling format to assist men who must commute and balance ministry responsibilities. This means a two credit course meets one day a week for two hours. A student could reasonably take eight to ten credits by attending classes only two days a week.

    Our daytime classes are offered Tuesday through Friday, beginning at 7:30am and ending by noon (by 11:20 a.m. on Tuesday and Friday). This allows men in the ministry to use Monday as a school preparation or ministry catch up day. Each semester at least one class is also offered on Monday evening. Summer school course work is concentrated into three different two-week blocks (Tue.—Fri.), attending daily from 8:00am - 12:00 noon. Currently, a total of six courses are taught each summer.

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    What is the difference between the Master of Divinity and the Master of Theology programs?

    The standard seminary program in pastoral preparation is the Master of Divinity (M.Div.). In the first half of this century it was often called the Bachelor of Divinity. But even then those taking that course of study had already completed a bachelor's degree program. The M.Div. is a three year, 96 semester hour graduate level program. It includes studies in the original languages, theology, Bible content, church history, homiletics, practical theology and more.

    The Master of Theology (Th.M.) degree is granted for advanced graduate study of one year, 32 semester hours, beyond the M.Div. The Th.M. is also very useful for pastors but is specifically designed for those preparing for academic service either as a teacher or church leader who will also serve in an academic setting. The Th.M. program also requires the completion of a scholarly thesis.

    Sometimes other degree names are given for similar work. Also, similar degree names are sometimes used for very dissimilar programs. That can be very confusing. This is especially the case in Bible institute programs or correspondence schools. The standard form described above is widely recognized as an excellent pattern and is the one used in established residence programs and accredited programs. Sometimes an institution will roll the M.Div. and Th.M. courses together to make an enhanced Th.M. degree of four years, 128 semester hours. For example, if someone transfers in from another institution with an M.Div. they receive an S.T.M. or Master in Sacred Theology for the fourth year of study. Those who complete all four years in their program receive the Th.M. degree.

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    If I have taken graduate classes at another fundamental seminary, especially courses in theology, will they transfer to DBTS?

    Generally, the answer is yes, provided the credits were earned at an academically reputable institution. The Registrar at DBTS will make the final decision as to how those credits transfer, whether as electives or in fulfillment of required courses. That decision will be based on several factors, including the number of credits earned, course description, and grade received.

    DBTS normally requires all graduates to take Systematic Theology at our seminary. That is because many seminaries, even some Fundamental ones, do not always present theology from a consistently Baptist, dispensational perspective, with a strong emphasis upon the sovereignty of God. These are theological principles to which we are deeply committed. M.Div. graduates must complete three semesters of Systematic Theology at DBTS, while Th.M. graduates must complete two semesters of Systematic Theology at DBTS. Graduate theology credits taken elsewhere will be credited toward graduation requirements as electives. Requests for exception to this policy must be presented to the Registrar.

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    Does DBTS have any alternative education options like distance learning or a correspondence school?

    Currently we do not offer any classes or degrees by correspondence. Although we are aware of the trend toward distance learning, we still believe that traditional education is superior in quality, especially when it comes to training for the ministry. Although we are sympathetic to the desires of people already in ministry to further their training, correspondence education just does not fit into our understanding of God's plan for us as an institution at this time. Distance learning credits earned at recognized institutions may be transferred to DBTS.

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    Can I transfer credits earned by taking correspondence courses?

    A general rule of thumb used here at DBTS to determine the transferability of distance learning or correspondence courses is as follows:

    • If the school is strictly a correspondence-only institution then the credits generally are NOT transferable.
    • If the school has a credible resident program and also offers distance learning or correspondence courses under the same academic standards then the credits generally are transferable.
    Other requirements apply in determining if courses will transfer and how many credits will be granted. If you are contemplating taking a distance learning or correspondence course it will be to your advantage to obtain an advance ruling on the transferability of those course credits. For a specific evaluation you will need to follow-up directly with the Registrar, Dr. McCabe. You can contact him by phone at (313) 381-0111 or by e-mail at Send written correspondence to:

    Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary
    Attn: Dr. Robert McCabe, Registrar
    4801 Allen Rd.
    Allen Park, MI 48101

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    4801 Allen Road  •  Allen Park, MI 48101  •  313.381.0111  •