The mission of Wesley Theological Seminary is to equip persons for Christian ministry and leadership in the church and the world, to advance theological scholarship, and to model a prophetic voice in the public square.
About Wesley Theological Seminary
Wesley offers four degrees including the Master of Divinity, Master of Arts, Master of Theological Studies, and Doctor of Ministry.
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 field education (Practice in Ministry and Mission) placement, Spiritual Formation for Ministry, and an intercultural immersion. Optional specialties within the Master of Divinity degree include Student Pastor Program, emerging ministry, arts and theology, missional church and urban ministry. Master of Arts and Master of Theological Studies offer many options for specialization.
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. Wesley employs approximately 40 students in part-time, on-campus positions through the federal work-study and Wesley work-ships programs.
During the admissions process, we often connect incoming students with local churches who have open part-time, off-campus ministry positions.
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.
In 1955, institutional and church leaders determined 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 13 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.
Wesley is a graduate theological school of The United Methodist Church and a member of the Washington Theological Consortium, and theological education at Wesley reflects our joint commitments to our Methodist heritage and to the ecumenical movement. At the beginning of the 21st century, Wesley Theological Seminary embraces a renewed global vision of ministry, as we learn from the experiences of Christians in other lands. We are open to dialogue with all the world's varied communities, and welcome cooperation with all who work for peace and justice.
At Wesley Theological Seminary, we seek to ground learning in the scripture and traditions that provide the church's identity in the gospel, and to prepare students for the practice of ministry. Therefore, every part of the curriculum is theological in character, and practically related to the church's life.
The educational process is designed to bring classroom and field learning into complementary relationship. To accomplish this, the seminary actively collaborates with local churches, hospitals and agencies to provide contexts for the practice of ministry. Church officials, pastors and laity help in the training, supervision and evaluation of Wesley students.
Since the whole church is called to be in ministry that engages the gifts and talents of lay and clergy alike, our degree programs are tailored to fit varying vocational goals. All reflect an emphasis on preparing those called to leadership in the church.
The range of educational programs at Wesley displays our understanding that all ministers - elder and deacon, lay and ordained, professional and nonprofessional - are called to proclaim the reconciling and liberating gospel of Jesus Christ to a broken world. Beyond our degree programs, the seminary's work of preparing persons for ministry is carried out in programs of continuing education for pastors, in lay certification programs, and through educational programs offered to the community at large. Wesley's commitment is to equip the whole people of God for the work of ministry.
Accreditation is a voluntary, non-governmental process that gives public recognition to institutions that meet published standards of academic and administrative quality. The purpose of accreditation is to assure the public of the quality of an institution and its dedication to high standards, as well as its commitment to continuous improvement.
The U.S. Department of Education formally recognizes accrediting commissions that meet all federal standards. Further, the Council on Higher Education Accreditation extends recognition to accrediting bodies and their institutions that meet established quality standards.
Wesley Theological Seminary is accredited by The Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada, and the following degree programs are approved: Master of Divinity, Master of Arts, Master of Theological Studies, and Doctor of Ministry.
The Commission's contact information is: The Commission on Accrediting of The Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada, 10 Summit Park Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15275-1110. Their phone number is (412) 788-6505 and their fax number is (412) 788-6510 and website is www.ats.edu
Wesley Theological Seminary is accredited by: The University Senate of The United Methodist Church's Board of Higher Education and Ministry, P.O. Box 340007, Nashville, TN 37203, (615) 340-7400.
Wesley Theological Seminary is accredited by The Middle States Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, 3624 Market Street, 2nd Floor Annex, Philadelphia, PA, 19104, (267) 284-5000.
As an accredited institution, Wesley is eligible to participate in federal educational entitlement programs such as Title IV financial aid including Pell Grants, military tuition assistance, government tuition reimbursement programs, the Department of Veterans Affairs GI Bill and Yellow Ribbon program, and many corporate education assistance programs. Credits and degrees earned through Wesley are therefore recognized for promotion, assignment, and position qualification standards within the military and federal government.
Every ten years Wesley Seminary goes through the reaccreditation process from two major accrediting bodies: the Association of Theological Schools and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
In the fall of 2020 Wesley will host two accreditation teams to learn about Wesley’s mission and goals, our performance and our resources. We welcome this visit as an opportunity to improve ourselves and better fulfill our mission “to equip persons for Christian ministry and leadership in the church and the world, to advance theological scholarship, and to model a prophetic voice in the public square.”
In preparation for the reaccreditation process, the faculty, staff, administrators, as well as some students and governors have formed five working groups to write a self-study report that we will submit to these two accrediting agencies. On Wednesday, March 11, Wesley welcomed on campus Dr. David Mellott, the chair of the Middle States accreditation team.
Middle States Commission on Higher Education Accreditation Process
“Middle States accreditation is an expression of confidence in an institution’s mission and goals, its performance, and its resources. An institution is accredited when the educational community has verified that its goals are achieved through self-regulation and peer review. The extent to which each educational institution accepts and fulfills the responsibilities inherent in the process of accreditation is a measure of its commitment to striving for and achieving excellence in its endeavors.
The Middle States Commission on Higher Education Accreditation Standards and Requirements of Affiliation are comprised of seven standards and 15 requirements which serve as an ongoing guide for those institutions considering application for membership, those accepted as candidate institutions, and those accredited institutions engaged in self-review and peer evaluation. Accredited institutions are expected to demonstrate compliance with these standards and requirements, to conduct their activities in a manner consistent with the standards and requirements, and to engage in ongoing processes of self-review and improvement. Four principles guided the development of these standards: first, the mission-centric standards acknowledge the diversity of institutions; second, the focus of the standards is on the student learning experience; third, the standards emphasize institutional assessment and assessment of student learning; fourth, the standards support innovation as an essential part of continuous institutional improvement.”
Wesley Theological Seminary is licensed by: The Government of the District of Columbia Education Licensure Commission, 441 - 4th Street, NW, Suite 350 North, Washington, DC 20001, (202) 727-6436.
Independent Quality Reviews:
In order to ensure academic quality, currency and relevance, institutions of higher education frequently request a review of their curriculum by outside agencies or subject matter experts. Wesley's programs are audited or reviewed on a regular basis by subject matter experts as an integral part of the accrediting process. Wesley has also sought the expertise of two independent agencies to validate the quality of its institutional administration, financials, and curriculum.
Evaluation Visits Fall 2020
Wesley is hosting two evaluation visits this fall for reaffirmation of accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) and the Association of Theological Schools (ATS). These visits will be done virtually due to COVID-19. The MSCHE visit will be October 25-28 and the ATS visit will be November 16-19. The purpose of these visits is to verify that the school meets all applicable standards. If you have comments or questions about the process or would like to send comments about Wesley Seminary’s compliance with MSCHE and ATS standards please email the Office of the Dean at firstname.lastname@example.org(202) 885-8611. See below a link to the MSCHE and ATS standards.
The MSCHE Standards of Accreditation can be found here: https://www.msche.org/standards/
The ATS Standards of Accreditation can be found here: Standards of Accreditation.
Comments regarding how well Wesley Seminary meets these standards and/or generally demonstrates educational quality may be sent to the ATS Director of Commission Information Services at least two weeks before the visit. All comments will be shared with the onsite evaluation committee.
Wesley Theological Seminary is committed to complying fully with all applicable federal and District of Columbia non-discrimination laws. In accordance with this commitment, the seminary shall not discriminate against any individual in the provision of educational services (admission, financial aid, etc.), student housing or employment, including but not limited to, by reason of that individual’s actual or perceived race, color, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, familial status, family responsibilities, genetic information, disability, or political affiliation.