Online Learning

Online classes give students the opportunity to receive a quality WBS education wherever there’s a high-speed Internet connection.

Asynchronous vs. Real-time Classes

WBS offers two types of online classes: asynchronous and real-time.

  • Asynchronous: Through the use of Populi, our online platform, professors and students learn from lectures, share resources, engage in conversations, and submit assignments. Classes don’t meet at set times, but assignments must be turned in according to dates on the course syllabus.
  • Real-time: Using video-conferencing (via Zoom), students are brought together in a virtual classroom setting at decided class times for lectures and class interactions. Assignments are submitted electronically.

 

Classes Offered

Most WBS M.A. and M.Div. classes are offered online in either real-time or asynchronous formats. Some classes, such as Greek and Hebrew, may only be offered online in real-time. Some M.Div. Teaching and Honors Research concentration classes are offered solely on campus as summer intensives. Please email academics@wbs.edu for more information.

Residency Requirements

A certain number of credit hours must be completed on campus in order to meet ATS requirements and to promote community in our body.

Master of Divinity (M.Div.) students must complete nine on-campus courses
Master of Arts (M.A.) students must complete two on-campus courses

On-campus courses can be completed in several formats:

  • Weekday Courses
    Courses that meet once-a-week on the Jackson campus for fifteen weeks during the fall and spring terms.
  • Zoom Courses
    Each term, several courses meeting on-campus will be made available via Zoom. An M.Div. student may take up to three (3) Zoom courses as a part of his/her residency requirements. Zoom courses may not be used to fulfill part of the M.A. residency requirements.
  • Weekend Courses
    Courses meet on three or four weekends (Friday evenings 6:30 to 9:20 pm and Saturdays 8:00 am to 4:00 pm) during the fall and spring terms.
  • One-week Intensive Courses
    On-campus courses meet for one week, Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm each day. Consult the current course schedule for course date and times.
  • Fall All-Seminary Retreat
    Up to three (3) all-seminary retreats (not for credit) may be used to reduce residency courses by one per retreat (M.Div.). One retreat may be used to reduce the number of residency courses required for the M.A. by one.

Example of Residency Fulfillment:

Master of Divinity (nine residency courses required):

  • Come to three October all-seminary weekend retreats (reduce by 3).
  • Take the one-week module course offered immediately after each of these three retreats.
  • Take three classes by Zoom.

Master of Arts (two residency courses required):

  • Come to a fall all-seminary weekend retreat.
  • Take the one-week module course offered immediately after the retreat.

Note: Only Shepherd Project students are exempt from residency requirements.

Program Length

The online program is designed to be part-time to allow for study while continuing ministry. Generally speaking, part-time students taking two classes each semester (including two during the summer) will generally need about three years to complete an M.A. and four to five years to complete an M.Div.

Students taking approximately three classes per semester (and two to three during the summer) may be able to complete the M.Div. in three years (residency requirements apply) and the M.A. in two years. Please check course offerings carefully when planning your schedule each semester.

WBS is an accredited seminary, and our distance learning program is approved by the Association of Theological Schools.