Policy on Satisfactory Academic Progress

Satisfactory Academic Progress  
In order to demonstrate satisfactory academic progress (SAP), students must maintain a minimum GPA and progress towards their degree in a timely manner.

Grades and Academic Progress
• Ministerial Formation (M.Div., M.A.P.M.) – A minimum curriculum grade-point average (curriculum GPA) of 2.35 is required for satisfactory progress toward completion of the student’s program. Satisfactory progress is required for a student to be eligible for Field Education (internship) assignment and for eligibility to receive the theological diploma and the academic degree.
• Programs where any course is a prerequisite for another course also require satisfactory completion of each course before taking the next course in the sequence.
• Advanced Studies (Academic M.A., D.Min.) – Individual courses will be credited toward degree requirements only when completed with a grade of “B–“ or better.

Academic Probation
Academic Probation status serves as a warning that the student is not making satisfactory progress and, unless improvement is achieved, will be subject to dismissal from the Seminary.

Ordinarily a student who continues on academic probation for two consecutive quarters will be dismissed because of academic deficiency. Probationary status for the specific programs is determined as follows.
• Ministerial Formation (M.Div., M.A.P.M.) – A student whose curriculum GPA falls below 2.35 or whose grade-point average in any quarter (term curriculum GPA) falls below 2.0 will be placed on academic probation.
• Advanced Studies (Academic M.A., D.Min.) – A student whose cumulative curriculum GPA falls below 3.0 will be placed on academic probation.
• A student who has experienced dismissal from the program may petition the Academic Dean and the Director of the Masters Programs for reinstatement to active academic status after a hiatus from the seminary for at least one academic term following dismissal.

Time Frames for Completion 
According to ATS standards, all course credits applied toward degree requirements should be earned within 10 years of the awarding of the degree. This ten-year period is inclusive of all leaves of absences and summer terms. Changing programs within Master’s programs will not extend this maximum timeframe – students wishing to change to a different program must consult with their advisor to ensure they will be able to meet the program requirements within the given timeframe.
Students who maintain active status but have not completed their degree program by the end of seven years will be notified by the seminary in writing.

There are three chronological bench marks for the completion of the M.Div. and the M.A.P.M.: required core courses, field education, and remaining required courses and electives. Based on a ten-year limit to completion of degree, required core courses must be completed within the first five years, the field education requirement must be completed by the seventh year, and remaining required courses and electives must be completed between the eighth and tenth years.


For the Academic MA, students should seek to finish required coursework (with the exception of the Master’s Thesis) within five years, electives by the eighth year, and their thesis in the final years.

Pursuit of a second degree
When pursuing a second Master’s degree, the maximum timeframe will be calculated based on the percentage of courses the students will be required to take at ETS. For example, if the student is transferring in 25% of the required courses for the program of study, the maximum time allowed will be 7.5 years.

Students moving from a Master’s program into the Doctor of Ministry degree will still have the ten year maximum time.

An instructor may record an initial grade of “Incomplete” (“I”) when the instructor determines that events or circumstances beyond the student’s control have prevented the student from submitting course requirements completely and on time (with “on time” referring to published or announced due dates) or by the last day of the term. The student must complete a “Request for Incomplete” form (secured from the Registrar’s office or on the seminary’s web site). The signatures of the course instructor, the student’s advisor, and the Academic Dean are required. When an “I” has been recorded, the student must complete all incomplete course work by the end of the fourth week after the end of the term during which the course was taken. After that time the “I” is changed on the permanent record to the grade entered by the instructor on the “Request for Incomplete” form. In other words, the instructor, based on the amount of work that was completed, will determine the student’s grade for the course. Only under extreme extenuating circumstances that prevent the student from completing the work required to remove an “I”, in consultation with the instructor, the Academic Dean, and the student’s advisor, may the time for completion of work required to remove the “I” may be negotiated between the student and the instructor. In such a case of extenuating circumstances, a student may not enroll for new courses until all required work has been completed and every “I” has been removed. The purpose of this policy is not to punish the student but to enable faculty and staff to work with the student toward successful completion of all course requirements.

Unresolved incompletes do not affect satisfactory academic progress. However, if they are not resolved by the specified timeframe, the grade will be converted to an F, which will affect the student’s status in regards to academic progress and probation.

Repeated Courses
Students may choose to retake a course if they have received a grade of C or lower. When a course is retaken, the new grade will replace the previous grade, but the old grade will still remain on the student’s transcript. Decisions regarding academic progress will be based on the revised grade. Retaking courses does not affect the maximum timeframe allowed for the program of study.

Appeal procedures
Students wishing to appeal any decision falling under the heading of SAP should first consult with their advisor to see if a satisfactory resolution can be reached. If the student is still unsatisfied, they may petition for a review.

The review will consist of the student’s advisor, the academic dean, the program director, and any instructor involved in the student’s situation. During this review, the student’s file will be examined and discussed. The student may provide, in writing, a statement describing mitigating circumstances which may be considered. Such circumstances may include, but are not limited to, the following:

1) Medical conditions, either of the student or close family members
2) Other family situations
3) Work situation
4) Financial insecurity
5) Military deployment

The decision arrived at by this review process is final and will be communicated to the student in writing.

Download the Policy on Satisfactory Academic Progress

Policy on Academic Integrity

The seminary maintains high standards for integrity in academic work and in community relationships. Given these standards, ETS cannot overlook failures of personal integrity in members of the seminary community and will deal with them on an individual basis.


The faculty at ETS expects that the academic work students submit will be their own.  Without this presumption, the work of our community loses vision, meaning and purpose. A cardinal principle of the academic community is that people must present work that, unless otherwise identified as belonging to someone else, is their own when they write or present assignments as a part of their degree program. While students are expected to consult the works of others in the formulation of their own submitted work, it is vitally important to document such sources in a manner consistent with the principles of academic honesty expected of all members of a scholarly community. This assumption of honesty is central to academic freedom and responsibility. All work, which is used in the development of papers, presentations, assignments, dissertations, and theses, must be properly cited when it derives from an external source.


ETS Academic Misconduct Policy

 Academic misconduct involves presenting the ideas and/or work of others as one’s own, without giving proper credit to the original source.


I. Examples of academic misconduct:

A. Cheating

Cheating is committing fraud or deception on a record, report, paper, examination, or other course requirement. Examples of cheating include:


·         Obtaining work from another source, or allowing another person to do one’s work, and submitting it under one’s own name.

·         Submitting work or a paper for two or more courses without the specific approval of both professors.

·         Fabricating data either by violating the research design and data collection methods agreed upon for a project or failing to include a substantially accurate account of the method by which the data were collected.


B. Plagiarism

Plagiarism is the use of another person’s spoken or written words, ideas, concepts, programs, opinions, models, theories, results, graphs, charts, art work, drawings, photographs, video, or any other intellectual property, whether by quoting, summarizing, or paraphrasing without giving proper credit to the author of the material being used.  Plagiarism may be avoided by citing references according to the style manual, MLA 7th edition (DMin, APA 6th edition).


Examples of plagiarism are:

  • Copying word for word or taking phrases or a special and unique term from a source without proper attribution.

  • Paraphrasing another person's written words or ideas in one's own words without attribution and presenting them as if they were one's own.

  • Borrowing facts, statistics, or other material without proper reference unless the information is common knowledge and/or in common public use.

  • Use of Internet sources without proper citation.


C. Falsification of data records and official documents


It is a violation of the principles of proper academic conduct to alter any academic or official institutional record used in the admission or academic records process.

D. Aiding and abetting dishonesty


Providing information or materials with the knowledge that it will be used in academic misconduct is prohibited.


It is the policy at ETS that any documented case of academic dishonesty may be cause for a conference with one’s instructor, faculty advisor and the Vice President for Academic Affairs and could lead to failure of the course or dismissal from the Seminary.


II. Procedures for handling alleged academic misconduct

A. Complaint procedure

  • Initial Discovery. Faculty members who believe academic misconduct has occurred should first confront the student with the information that supports a finding of academic misconduct.
  • If the matter is resolved, a record of the incident should be placed into the student’s file in the event another incident occurs.
  • If the matter is not resolved, a formal written record of the allegation will be filed with the VPAA. 
  • The VPAA will review the case to determine if there is sufficient evidence for the claim that a violation of the policy may have occurred.


   "If the VPAA decides that there is sufficient evidence, she/he will forward the case to the Academic Council of the Faculty for investigation and recommended course of action. The Academic Council will schedule an administrative hearing with the student, Program Director and Faculty member. The hearing will take place at the next regularly scheduled monthly Academic Council meeting, "The student, after being fully informed of the allegation, may present evidence to the Academic Council.  Legal representation is not allowed.

         After review of the evidence and consultation with appropriate personnel, the Academic Council will communicate its recommendation for action in writing to the VPAA. The recommendation will include clarification of the status of the student during this process:


  • Will the student be allowed to attend class?
  • Will the student be allowed to register for future classes?
  • Will other Faculty members be informed of the student’s status?


          If there is a difference of opinion or a need for interpretation of the Council's intent, the VPAA may consult with the Academic Council for clarification.   

          If the student is found guilty of a violation, an appropriate sanction will be applied, including expulsion from the seminary for a first-time violation when warranted.

          The sanction will be communicated in writing by the VPAA to the student and the appropriate Faculty member. 

    A copy will be placed in the student’s file. This written record will be destroyed at the time of the student’s graduation.

   A second instance of documented academic dishonesty will be cause for automatic expulsion from the seminary.  In the case of expulsion, all records will be retained.

B. Sanctions

Sanctions may include, but are not limited to, the following and may be used in combination:

  • A letter of reprimand

  • Probation for the remainder of the degree program, with the understanding that a repeat offense will be dealt with severely

  • Failure in the class in which the violation occurred

  • Suspension for a specific period of time

  • Notation on the student’s official transcript

  • Expulsion from the Seminary


C. Appeals

Students or Faculty wishing to appeal the decision of the VPAA must do so in writing citing specific reasons for the appeal (e.g., severity of the sanction, appeal about a specific interpretation of the facts, etc.). Appeals of the VPAA’s decision will be conducted by the Academic Affairs Committee of the Board of Trustees. Appeals must be filed within two weeks of the time of the VPAA's notification to the student of the decision and action. Under normal circumstances appeals will be resolved within 30 days. The decision of the Academic Affairs Committee is final.

​Download the Policy on Academic Integrity


Many traditions. One Spirit.