COS Information

The Course of Study Program is a year-round experiential and classroom learning process for licensed Local Pastors of the United Methodist Church required by the 2012 Book of Discipline (¶ 602, 315) .  The five year program meets in the summer and consists of two terms of two weeks each, with two classes taken per term.  Course instructors include both full-time and adjunct faculty of Wesley Theological Seminary as well as clergy from around the surrounding area.  Before attending the Course of Study, students will have at a minimum a high school diploma and have completed the license to preach school offered by their annual conference.  Most students are also actively engaged in a congregational ministry setting. Weekend Course of Study is offered for part-time local pastors to assist them in completing the education requirements. Additional information about the program can be found on the website of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry.

Wesley Theological Seminary has put together a Course of Study Student handbook to assist students in completing the program and knowing the policies of the school.  View it here. 

Registration Form and Program Information

Registration for July 2016 is now OPEN.  Download form here.

The deadline to register for the July Intensive term is April 1.  Students who complete licensing school after the deadline should contact Sara Sheppard.  202-885-8688

Before you start:

  1. Register for the courses you are working on.
  2. Obtained all the required signatures – including your DS and the conference registrar.
  3. Enclosed the $35.00 non-refundable registration fee per course and mailed it to: Sara Sheppard, Course of Study, 4500 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20016.
  4. Order books and make sure you understand the pre-course assignment, found below by term.

Links to prepare you to travel to Wesley:

Pay by Phone Directions

Map to Campus

Housing Fee Sheet (will be posted in March)



Purchase Books

Wesley now has a virtual bookstore.  This is where you will find textbook lists and be able to order your books directly from Amazon. Required textbooks are listed in the syllabi or pre-course assignment posted on the website and on Blackboard


To access Wesley's e-bookstore, click here.  
If you would like to order your books from Cokesbury, click here.

 Note:  The following hardback books are only available through Cokesbury.  You may still purchase Kindle versions through Amazon:

  • 2012 Book of Discipline
  • 2012 Book for Resolutions
  • UM Hymnal
  • UM Book of Worship


Term One Pre-Course Assignments

Course No. Time Course Title Faculty
CS-122 8:00am Theological Heritage 1: Introduction  coming soon Andrew Thompson
CS-124 1:30pm Transformational Leadership   Ann Michel
CS-221 8:00am Bible 2: Torah and Israel's History  coming soon Denise D. Hopkins
CS-222 1:30pm Theological Heritage 2: Early Church Charles Harrell
CS-322 8:00am Theological Heritage 3: Medieval-Reformation David Evans
CS-321 1:30pm Bible 3: Gospels Mark Schaefer
CS-421 8:00am Bible 4: Prophets, Psalms and Wisdom Literature Becky Wright
CS-424 1:30pm Ethics Joe Bush
CS-522 8:00am Contemporary Theology Jim Noland
CS-524 1:30pm Theological Reflection: Practice of Ministry  coming soon Beverly Mitchell

Questions about the assignments should be directed to the faculty.  Click on their name above to open an e-mail window. Pre-course assignments can be downloaded and printed off by clicking on the highlighted course name.  We will continue to post assignments as they are received from faculty. All assignments are to be posted to Blackboard. Blackboard courses will be available beginning in March 2015. (updated 9/30/14)

Term Two Pre-Course Assignments

Course No. Time Course Title Faculty
CS-121 8:00am Bible 1: Introduction Becky Wright
CS-123 1:30pm Formation for Discipleship coming soon Janet Craswell
CS-223 8:00am Worship and Sacraments Rachel Cornwell
CS-224 1:30pm Administration and Polity  Tim Baer
CS-324 8:00am Preaching Asa Lee 
CS-323 1:30pm Congregational Care Michael Koppel
CS-423 8:00am Mission Heather Colliver
CS-422 1:30pm Theological Heritage: Wesleyan Movement coming soon Doug Tzan
CS-523 8:00am Evangelism Doug Powe
Cs-521 1:30pm Bible 5: Acts, Epistles and Revelation Shively Smith

Questions about the assignments should be directed to the faculty.  Click on their name above to open an email window. Pre-course assignments can be downloaded and printed off by clicking on the highlighted course name.  We will continue to post assignments as they are received from faculty. All assignments are to be posted to Blackboard. Blackboard courses will be available beginning in March 2015(updated 9/30/14)

Advance COS

Local pastors interested in completing the Advanced Course of Study need to complete a total of 32 semester hours of graduate theological studies or the equivalent as determined by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) in order to qualify for probationary or full conference membership. Advance work enables local pastors to meet the educational requirements for full conference membership and ordination as an elder. This work is done after a local pastor has completed the five year Basic Course of Study School.

A minimum of six semester hours of credit in United Methodist History, Doctrine and Polity are required for this curriculum. These courses are available through correspondence with the GBHEM, a University Senate approved seminary and on-line at Wesley Theological Seminary.

How to enroll in Advanced Course of Study at Wesley Theological Seminary:

  • Local pastors interested in advance work should complete a seminary application for admission indicating their program as Special Student. Course work must be taken for academic credit. click Apply Now! to begin the process.
  • Once admitted, students should enroll in classes along with regular MDiv students. Wesley offers summer school class in an intensive format of one or two weeks as well as regular 14 week semesters. Summer course schedules are usually published in February and are available here.

Registration will begins in April of each year. Questions? Contact Sara Sheppard at 202-885-8688.

Course Schedule and Important Dates

Important Dates:

  • Registration forms due April 1
  • Program begins the Monday after the Fourth of July (Check the brochure for exact dates)
  • Graduation and Conference Registrar Day the evening before the last day of class

For 2015:

Term 1: July 6 - July 16, 2015

Term 2: July 20 - July 30, 2015

Graduation: Wednesday July 29, 2015 at Metropolitan Memorial UMC

Curriculum Revision Information

Basic Five Year Curriculum

Revised Course Descriptions  New course objectives and descriptions approved by the GBHEM which will go into effect August 2015.

Curriculum Conversion Grid  to assist you in planning.

Program Guide: This document will assist those of you already taking courses under the current curriculum.

Five Year Course Schedule Projection

Weekend Course of Study registration information and deadlines are located on the Weekend page. Click here.


New Curriculum

The GBHEM has approved a new curriculum for the COS Program.  Click on these links to views the course descriptions, planning guide for students, program overview.

Using the new curriculum it is very important that you complete the course in order, so that all the 100s are finished before moving to the 200s, the 300s, and the 400s.  You should complete all course in the 100, 200, 300, and 400 levels before beginning any 500 level courses.

Paper policy:  All students will have two pre-course assignments due prior to coming to Wesley in July.  The first assignment (approx ten double spaced pages) due June 1 and a second assignment of a similar length due the first day of class. Both papers should be posted to Blackboard.  Please schedule time each week to work on your pre-course assignments.  If you are able to do this you will have the opportunity to come to DC next summer and enjoy some sabbath time with us.  Please let Sara Sheppard or Doug Powe know if we can help you in any way.
Papers turned in late will receive a grade reduction. No papers will be accepted after the last day of class.  No exceptions. 


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