Wesley At A Glance

Seated in the nation's capital, centered in Christian faith, Wesley Theological Seminary prepares more than 700 students annually, representing more than 30 denominations, to become exemplary teachers, preachers, and leaders in the world today.

The mission of Wesley Theological Seminary is to equip Christians for leadership in the church and the world, to advance theological scholarship, and to model a prophetic voice in the public square. Wesley is a teaching seminary and a service-oriented community. Our graduates are in ministry in all 50 states and in 20 countries as leaders of churches and other service organizations.

Wesley has come to have a strong impact through its commitment to service and to congregational partnerships. As vectors of creative, collaborative and scholarly practice, the members of Wesley's 2013 graduating class alone will minister to more than half a million people in the course of their careers. I welcome you to join them.The Rev. Dr. David McAllister-Wilson, president

  • Student Body
  • Residence Life
  • Facilities
  • Degrees
  • Tuition & Aid
  • Class Size
  • History

Wesley is one of the most diverse seminaries in the world. Within the community of about 700 students, 56% are women, 43% are an ethnic minority, and 38 denominations are represented. Clubs and organizations on campus include Association of Black Seminarians, Episcopal Student Union, Korean Student Association, Open Room, Of Sacred Worth, LOGOS, Multicultural Fellowship, Plumbline, Presbyterian Student Organization, Student Council, Unitarian Universalist Student Association, The Writing Group, Wesley Student Fellowship, and Wesley Ambassadors. New student groups are regularly formed based on the needs and interests of the community.

Many of our student groups have Facebook pages. Look them up, see what each one offers, stay connected!

Wesley offers a variety of housing options for students and their families. There are currently four Residence Halls that students can choose from, each with an unique feel. About 30% of the student body lives in one of these buildilngs:

  • The as yet unnamed New Residence Hall (NRH) is newley opened for the Fall 2013 semester. This building offers 76 beds, suite style bathrooms, and large community kitchens, study rooms, and lounges.
  • The Intentional Community at Birch Hall is located at our Wesley Downtown location and offers 18 beds, suite style bathrooms, and spacious community areas.
  • Carroll Hall offers Efficiency, 1, 2, & 3 bedroom apartments for students whose families live on campus with them.
  • Straughn Hall is a traditional-style dromitory hall with 49 double occupancy rooms and community bathrooms on each floor, available to commuter residents and non-Wesley permanent residents.

Community Life at Wesley is not just a place to live, but a way of life. Residential and non-residential students find the community at Wesley an exciting part of their experience. 

Wesley has two locations in the District of Columbia; one in Upper-Northwest D.C. directly adjacent to the American University Campus, and the other in Downtown DC at Mount Vernon Square. Both locations have classrooms, residence halls, and faculty and administrative offices. Wesley’s Northwest D.C. campus also houses a dining hall, Oxnam Chapel and campus library, and a brand new residence hall. All Wesley students also have the privilege of using the library and wellness facilities at American University.

As a member of the Washington Theological Consortium, Wesley students have the opportunity to take classes at and use the library facilities of all other member institutions. Wesley has long been a leader in promoting the intersection of Arts and Theology, and in that vein boasts The Henry Luce Center for Arts and Religion, which manages the Dadian Gallery with changing exhibits and several artists in residence each semester.

Wesley offers 4 degrees including Master of Divinity, Master of Arts, Master of Theological Studies, and Doctor of Ministry. In addition, Wesley offers a dual degree program with neighboring American University combining a Master of Theological Studies from Wesley and a Master of Arts degree in International Peace and Conflict Resolution or International Development from American University. The Master of Divinity degree includes a Practice in Ministry and Mission (PMM) placement, Spiritual Formation for Ministry, and an Intercultural Immersion. Optional specialties within the Master of Divinity degree include Youth Ministry, Student Pastor Program, Emerging Ministry, and Urban Ministry. Master of Arts and Master of Theological Studies offer many options for specialization. More>

A sense of financial well-being enables students to better focus on preparation for ministry. With that in mind, Wesley is committed to making education here financially feasible through both institutional and federal aid programs, as well as part time job opportunities.  Students are often also able to receive scholarships through their denomination, local church, or other outside resources.

Wesley offers both need-based and merit-based financial aid, and 34% of current students receive merit-based aid. Wesley employs approximately 45 students in part-time, on-campus positions through the federal work-study and Wesley work-ships programs. During the admissions process, an attempt is made to connect incoming students with local churches who have open part-time, off-campus ministry positions.

For more information, visit our Finances @ Wesley page.

At Wesley students encounter a world class faculty engaging them in a range of educational programs. Introductory lecture classes average 30-60 students in size, while discussion based classes are generally 6-10 students. Throughout their time at Wesley, students find that classroom and field learning become one in preparation for their real practice of ministry.

Current class offerings can be found here. What does Field Education mean to you? Check out Wesley’s Practice in Ministry and Mission Program.

Wesley Theological Seminary enjoys a vigorous and healthy life, rooted in a proud tradition and looking to a future of challenge and excellence. Our origin was in the 1881 meeting of the Maryland Annual Conference of the Methodist Protestant Church. Enabling legislation of that year led to a charter on the campus of Western Maryland College in Westminster, Maryland. For more than half a century the seminary thrived there as the training center for ministers of the Methodist Protestant Church.

In 1939, with the union of the three major branches of Methodism, Westminster Seminary became one of ten schools of theology of the new Methodist Church. The new union enhanced the seminary’s growth and helped it define a role of service to both the Methodist Church and the broader Christian communion. After careful study of many pertinent factors, it was decided in 1955 that the seminary should move from Westminster to the present site in Washington, D.C. In 1958, the seminary took up residence at its new campus and was renamed Wesley Theological Seminary.

In 1968 the Methodist Church merged with the Evangelical United Brethren Church to form The United Methodist Church. Simultaneously, Wesley Theological Seminary became one of thirteen seminaries of the new United Methodist Church.

Wesley continues to celebrate its move to the city of Washington through these early years of the new millennium. In 2009, a new downtown presence and center of faithful learning opened with Wesley Downtown. At the 4500 Massachusetts Avenue campus, the revitalization of Oxnam Chapel in 2010 signaled the merging of traditional and contemporary liturgical space in an educational setting. Across the courtyard, the library underwent major renovation in 2011. In the same year, the Board of Governors affirmed the seminary’s decision to build a brand new dormitory on campus. This new residence hall opened for residency in the 2013 fall semester. The seminary continues to work toward the restoration of the church through varied strategic initiatives, taking advantage of both our location in Washington, D.C. and our connections across the globe.

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