5.0 Academic Policies and Procedures

5.0  Academic Policies and Procedures

5.1  Online Courses

5.1.1  Edvance360: Lexington Theological Seminary uses Edvance360 as its learning management system. Within this learning management system, students will participate in online discussions, take quizzes, correspond with faculty and classmates, join online communities, and view interactive PowerPoint presentations. Students who are admitted to the program will be required to have access to: a computer, DSL internet connection, webcam, and microphone.

5.1.2  Course Closing and Due Dates and Times: All academic program times are Eastern Time. The closing of courses and the completion times for assignments for courses are the assigned time on Eastern Time (unless a professor makes other arrangements). Usually, the latest a professor will make an assignment due is 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time on the last Saturday of the course. Tests and other timed assignments completed through the course learning platform are always due Eastern Time. Instructors may choose to allow other types of assignments (e.g., written projects or papers) to be due in accordance with the student’s time zone. Such exceptions should not be expected. Late penalties will be assessed in accordance with Eastern Time, unless the instructor has granted a time zone extension. The course syllabus is the final authority for due dates and deadlines.

5.2  Advisors and Program Responsibilities: Upon enrolling in the Seminary, each degree-seeking student will be assigned a Faculty Advisor. Advisors are available to help students to plan their academic programs (see Appendix Forms: Curriculum Worksheets) and to counsel on academic and professional matters. Students should be aware that final responsibility for their academic program and its successful completion rests with the student, not the advisor or any other representative of the Seminary.

Master in Pastoral Studies and Doctor of Ministry students will be advised by the respective program directors throughout their program of study. Non-degree seeking students should consult with the Office of the Dean regarding academic programs.

5.2.1 Change of Advisor: M.Div. students may request a change of advisors after completing 18 hours.  M.T.S. students may request a change in advisors after completion of 12 hours of study. To request a change of advisors, the student must notify the Dean’s Office.

5.2.2 Faculty Availability: One of the traditions of the Seminary is the faculty’s availability to students.  Members of the faculty want to be helpful and to work with students to enhance their theological education. Students should not hesitate to contact or make appointments with faculty.

5.3  Registration Procedures: Registration for courses is done online. Students may register for courses any time during the three months prior to the month in which the course takes place. The registration deadline for a course is the end of the first week of the month prior to the month in which the course takes place. A late fee is charged for registration after that deadline. The late fee may be waived for new students who have just been admitted.

5.3.1  Consultation with Advisor: For each new registration period, students must initiate conversation with their faculty advisor about their progress in the program and their selection of classes. They must have this conversation with their advisor before registering for classes listed in that registration period. Following that conversation, students may proceed to the website to complete their registration for courses.

5.3.2  Course Enrollment Limits: Online courses have a limit of twelve students during the 2010-2011 year and fifteen students in subsequent years. For registrations received during the pre-registration period, priority will be given first to degree-seeking students, persons graduating in the current year and then in the order of pre-registration. Courses with less than 5 students registered will be cancelled.

5.3.3 Changes in Registration: Students may add, drop or withdraw from courses after the course has begun. To add a course students complete the online registration form (used to register for the course) and submit it. This must be done within the time limit noted below. To drop or withdraw from a course students must fill out the “Drop Form” posted online (_________) and submit it to the Registrar within the time limit noted below. Dropping a course after the drop time limit constitutes withdrawal from the course. (See the following Section 4.3.3)

Reimbursement of tuition can be received through the drop date. A course which is officially dropped by the drop dates receives no grade and is not recorded on the student’s transcript.

Time Limits For Adding/Dropping/Withdrawing

0.5 Hour Modules1.0 Hour Modules1.5 Hour Modules2.0 Hour Modules
Add: 1 dayAdd: 2 dayAdd: 3 dayAdd: 4 day
Drop: 3 daysDrop: 1 daysDrop: 2 daysDrop: 3 days
Withdrawal: 1 weekWithdrawal: 2 weekWithdrawal: 3 weekWithdrawal: 4 week

5.3.4 Withdrawal: The following conditions apply to course withdrawals:

  • Withdrawals from courses within the time limited noted in 4.3.2 occur without academic penalty.
  • There will be no reimbursement of tuition for withdrawn courses.
  • Courses from which a student withdraws are counted towards the number of hours of financial aid awarded; therefore, withdrawal from a course ultimately results in the student’s having to pay full tuition for the equivalent hours in order to complete curriculum requirements.
  • Withdrawn courses accrue no hours and do not receive a grade; they do, however, appear on the transcript.
  • Students who need to withdraw from a course for medical reasons must submit a letter from his/her doctor to the Dean. Medical withdrawals may be given beyond the withdrawal date.
  • If a student elects not to complete a course and the withdrawal date has passed, the course grade will be recorded as a failure; it will appear on the transcript.

5.3.5  Withdrawal from Seminary: Voluntary withdrawal from the seminary occurs when a student sends a written notification that he/she is withdrawing from the seminary to the Office of the Dean.

A student will be considered withdrawn after a year of no activity on the part of the student. (See Section 4.5.9 for readmission).

5.4 Grading Policy:

5.4.1 Pass/Fail and Letter Grades: The courses of Level I, the MTS thesis, and the D.Min. project are graded on a Pass/Fail basis. The competency exercises, the electives of Level II, and the capstone of Level III are graded with a letter grade. (See also Section 4.4.6 for explanation of the retroactive application of the competency exercises grade to the Level I courses.)

The use of plus/minus with the letter grades allows faculty members to distinguish levels of performance more carefully and accurately. Pluses and minuses for B, C, and D grades and minuses for A grades are recorded on the official Seminary transcripts. There are no pluses awarded for A or F grades.

5.4.2 Required GPA for Graduation: A grade point average of 2.3 is needed for graduation in the M.Div. and M.T.S. degree programs; 3.0 is required for D.Min. Students performing C level work in a specific course does not disqualify a student from further study; however, students are expected to perform at a higher overall level.

5.4.3 Principles of Grading: Students should remember the following realities about the grading system:

  • Poor grades are not punitive in intent. Grades are expressions of a faculty member’s judgment on the quality of the student’s work and, thus, are intended to serve as indicators of performance and progress. A poor grade should be understood as a “red flag” signaling the need for improvement.
  • The time and energy spent on a course or assignment are not the determining factors in evaluation of the quality of work accomplished.
  • Grading cannot be objective; i.e., without the subjective values of the professor entering into the judgment. Evaluating another person’s performance always involves the subjective values of the one doing the evaluating.
  • No “objective” standard has been, nor will be, devised to ensure that every faculty member evaluates student performance identically. Students should expect a range of consistency among the faculty in giving certain letter grades for a certain quality of academic performance, but there will always be variability among individual teachers.
  • A grade is not a moral assessment of the student’s ontological status.
  • The level of work required in seminary, as in all graduate and professional schools, should be substantially higher than that required for completion of an undergraduate degree.

5.4.4 Incomplete Work: Should extraordinary circumstances exist which preclude the student from finishing work and receiving a final grade, faculty may opt to not record a grade for the student for up to 30 calendar days following the date grades are due. If a grade has not been submitted at the end of the 30-day period, the Registrar will record a grade of “no pass” or F for the \  course. The grade of “no pass” or F may be changed at the faculty’s discretion.

Under special circumstances, grades may be left blank for more than 30 days and up to 90 days if the faculty member and student have entered into a written agreement which outlines completion of the work. A copy of this written agreement must be provided to the Registrar prior to the initial 30-day deadline to prevent recording of a “no pass” or F.

Courses for which grades are left blank past 90 days will have a grade of “no pass” or F recorded with any and all resultant penalties imposed.

For an M.T.S. thesis which is not complete at the end of the term for which it was registered, a No Credit (NC) will be reflected on the transcript until the thesis is successfully completed.

  • If the grade point average for a student with a missing grade places the student on probation or causes dismissal, that action will be suspended until the end of the 30 day period mentioned above.
  • If no grade has been recorded by the end of the 30 day period, a grade of no pass or F will be factored into the grade point average for the course. If the grade point average results in probation or dismissal, the action will be taken immediately.

NOTE: Students may be billed late for tuition when being placed on probation. (See Section 5.5 Academic Probation.)

5.4.5 Letter Grades and GPA– The definitions of letter grades are provided as follows:

A: Indicates work is at a level substantially above that required for successful completion of the course.

B: Indicates work is above that required for successful completion of the course.

C: Indicates work meets but does not exceed basic course requirements and expectations.

D: Indicates work may complete basic course assignments but is not at an acceptable graduate level.

F: Indicates work does not fulfill basic course requirements and expectations for the course.  Courses for which an F is earned are part of the Grade Point Average (GPA) calculation but do not accrue hours.

The GPA is calculated based on the following values: A: 4.0; A-: 3.7; B+: 3.3; B: 3.0; B-: 2.7; C+: 2.3; C: 2.0; C-: 1.7; D+: 1.3; D: 1.0; D-: .7; F: 0.0.

5.4.6 Grading in Level I Courses – The courses of Level I are graded as Pass/Fail. Students must achieve a 73 or higher to pass a course. If a student does not pass a course he/she can take it again, as many times as needed to pass it. Scholarship funds will pay for only the first retake of a particular course. Other retakes of that module must be paid for by the student.

Faculty may allow up to one assignment/quiz within a Level I course to be retaken if a student does not pass it the first time.

When students take their competency exercise in an area the grade achieved in that competency exercise will retroactively be given to all the previously taken Level I courses in that area. Thus, the “pass” recorded for each course in that area will be changed to that letter grade.

5.4.7 Grading Criteria — The following academic factors influence a student’s grade:

  • The ability to identify, select and use resources and research methods pertinent to the course.
  • The grasp of basic content of the course, including appropriate data, theory, and skills and proficiency in demonstrating them.
  • The ability to communicate ideas and insights material to the course, demonstrating skills in the use of language, organization, and clarity of thought.
  • The ability to interpret and integrate ideas and insights creatively, responding with originality to others’ ideas, and demonstrating skill in theological reflection across disciplinary lines.
  • The ability to conceive appropriate applications of the course to the profession and practice of ministry.
  • Personal maturity, i.e. demonstrating a sense of personal freedom, empathy for fellow students and faculty, a sense of integrity in coursework, a commitment of energy to the work, and openness to dialogue, and a sense of responsibility to the course and fellow members of the class.

5.4.8 Additional Grading Criteria, Doctor of Ministry Program– In addition to what has been previously stated, Doctor of Ministry students will be graded on a series of criteria, including the following standard assessment of doctoral level work. D.Min. students at LTS will demonstrate their abilities to do critical thinking and sound theological reflection by:

  • doing careful, thorough research,
  • interpreting evidence accurately,
  • identifying salient arguments,
  • thoughtfully analyzing and evaluating alternative points of view,
  • drawing warranted, non-fallacious conclusions,
  • explaining assumptions and reasons,
  • justifying key results and procedures,
  • being fair-minded in following where evidence and reason lead,
  • demonstrating integrative thinking, and
  • writing with correctness, clarity, and coherence.

[Adapted from Peter A. and Noreen C. Facione, Holistic Critical Thinking Scoring Rubric (Millbrae, California: The California Academic Press, 1994.)]

5.4.9 Doctor of Ministry students who take elective M.Div. courses not offered through the D.Min. curriculum will be required to do additional work for credit. The “conversion” of a Masters level course to D.Min. status should include:

  • Approval by the professor and the D.Min. Director,
  • Attendance and full participation in the class, including completion of all requirements,
  • Additional requirements assigned by the professor such as readings, book reviews, case studies, reflection papers, or classroom presentations,
  • An advanced level of theological thinking,
  • A major research paper/project, approximately 30-40 pages in length, as assigned by the professor.

5.4.10 Institutional Forgiveness/Grade Bankruptcy—Level I courses receive a NC (no credit) when the Student’s grade is below 73. The following policy and procedure apply:

  • Level I courses may be repeated as many times as necessary to pass ( with the restriction of probation policies – See 4.5)
  • An NC (no credit) is recorded on the transcript and remains there even after the course has been repeated and passed
  • When the course is repeated and passes the P (credit) is recorded
  • When the competency exercise is taken the grade will replace the P on the course passed, but not the NC on the course failed
  • The GPA will be calculated using the grade of the passed course; the NC remains on the transcript but is not used in calculating the GPA.

5.4.11 Institutional Forgiveness/Grade Bankruptcy– An elective (Level II) may be repeated in order to increase the grade reflected in the student’s GPA. The following requirements and restrictions apply:

  • In order to repeat an elective, the student must obtain written approval of both the course professor and the Dean.
  • An elective may be repeated only one time.
  • A maximum of six hours may be repeated within a M.Div., M.T.S., or M.P.S. program.
  • Courses must have been completed within ten years prior to the repeat.
  • Courses must have a grade of D+ or lower to be repeated.
  • Courses must be repeated prior to granting of the degree.
  • Courses for which low grades have been received due to dishonesty, e.g., plagiarism or cheating, may not be repeated.
  • Repeated electives are not eligible for any form of financial aid.
  • When a student repeats an elective, the first grade will remain on the transcript but will not be used in calculating the GPA.
  • The second grade earned will become the official grade.

5.4.12 Honor Roll: Full-time (nineteen hours or more per year) degree-seeking students who achieve a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher will be placed on the Honor Roll.

5.5 Academic Probation and Academic Dismissal: While on probation, students will not be considered for degree candidacy, will not graduate, and will not receive financial aid.

5.5.1  Probation in the Master of Divinity Program: During the Apprentice Level (the first 50 hours) an M.Div. student is placed on probation after failing 7 hours.  To be removed from probation, a student must pass all courses taken in six sequential (but not necessarily consecutive) months in which he or she is registered for courses. The student must pass a minimum of 3 credit hours spread throughout the six months without any failures and is allowed to register for a maximum of 1 credit hour per month until he or she has been removed from probation. Dismissal from the program occurs when a student fails more than 12 hours (that is on the 13th failure).

Probation at Level II occurs when a student falls below a cumulative GPA of 2.3. A student on probation in Level II must raise the cumulative GPA to a 2.3 or higher within the next 10 hours of course work. A student must have a cumulative GPA of 2.3 or higher before moving to Level III. Failure to achieve both of these requirements for raising the cumulative GPA results in academic dismissal.

During Level II a student who was on probation at Level I can only have one more probation.

5.5.2 Probation in the MTS and MPS Programs: After the first 12 hours, the MTS student must have a cumulative GPA of 2.3. A cumulative GPA below 2.3 places a student on probation.

After being placed on probation, the student must raise his/her cumulative GPA to a 2.3 or higher within the next 10 hours of course work. Failure to do this results in academic dismissal.

5.5.3 Probation: Students in the MTS/MPS and M.Div. programs can only be on probation twice during their degree program. Dismissal from the program occurs at the third probation.

5.5.4 Full Tuition on Probation: Students pay full tuition while on probation. Because grades are sometimes posted after new courses begin, students placed on probation at the end of the prior course may be billed late for tuition balances currently due. Students on probation who have not paid in full by the “Add/Drop” registration deadline will be dropped from their courses with no opportunity for reinstatement in those courses at that time.

5.5.5 Probation in the Doctor of Ministry Program: Probation occurs for Doctoral students anytime their GPA falls below 3.0. Once on probation, students have 4 credit hours to raise their GPA to 3.0. If they are unable to achieve this GPA, they will be dismissed from the D.Min. program.

5.5.6 Dismissal: The Seminary reserves the right to dismiss students at any time due to unacceptable academic work or for other reasons by vote of the faculty. Dismissals may be appealed according to procedures outlined in Section 5.6.2, Appealing Other Academic Matter. Reasons for dismissal are not shared with students. See section 3.1.3 for readmission after non-academic suspension.

5.5.7 Application for Re-Admission after Academic Dismissal: Application for re-admission after   \     \    academic dismissal is through the full faculty. Students dismissed for academic performance may apply for re-admission after a lapse of one academic year. Students dismissed a second time for academic reasons may not re-apply for a period of three calendar years and must provide a compelling argument for improvement in their academic abilities or circumstances.

  • Requests for re-admission after expulsion or study that has been terminated by action of the faculty shall be made, in writing, to the faculty.
  • Requests for re-admission to the program from which the student was terminated shall be made, in writing, to the full faculty, after one calendar year has passed.
  • Requests for admission to a different program after termination from another program shall be made, in writing, to the full faculty.

A student dismissed from a degree program can be accepted into a certificate program.

5.5.8 Probation for Students Returning After Dismissal: Students returning to Level I after academic dismissal can only fail three hours before being dismissed again.

Students returning to Level II after dismissal retain their record of probation occurrences. (The total number of probationary occurrences counted against the maximum allowed does not re-start upon re-admission. The record is cumulative.)

5.5.9 Readmission After an Absence: Students who seek to enroll in courses after more than one year of absence must submit a request for re-admission. A letter must be sent to the Director of Admissions requesting re-admission to the seminary. The Director of Admissions may ask for additional information depending upon the length of absence and the circumstances at the time of the student’s departure.

5.6  Academic Appeals

5.6.1  Grade Appeals: The LTS grade appeals policy strives to balance the values of academic freedom for faculty in determining grades and the protection of students from unfairness in grading. A student is ordinarily expected to raise a grading issue with the faculty member. If the student is unable to find an acceptable solution, she or he may appeal the grade. A student’s dissatisfaction with a course grade is not, in general, sufficient grounds for warranting an appeal. Appeals are normally only brought forward on grounds such as discriminatory treatment of the grade determination process significantly departing from the syllabus.  An appeal must be initiated within thirty days following the posting of the grade to the LMS. Only grades that appear on the official transcript may be appealed.  Students use the following procedure to appeal:

  • The student submits a written statement to the Dean with evidence explaining why the grade appears unfair, with copies to the student’s Faculty Advisor and the professor whose grade is being appealed.
  • After consulting with the professor and the student, the Dean proposes a resolution to the matter which may be either that the grade will stand or that it be changed by the professor. The Dean’s recommendation will be communicated in writing to the student, the professor, the student’s Faculty Advisor, and the Registrar (for inclusion in the student’s file). The professor will make a decision about the grade after receiving the Dean’s recommendation.
  • If the faculty member’s response to the Dean’s recommendation is unacceptable to the student, the student may request in writing that an appeals committee be convened. A committee of two regular or affiliate faculty members and a student will be appointed by the Dean to investigate. The student appealing the grade may make a recommendation to the Dean for one of the two faculty members. The appeals committee will interview the student appealing, the professor whose grade is being appealed, and/or gather other information as deemed necessary, including the Dean’s recommendation. The committee will then arrive at a recommendation, supported by a rationale, that the grade either stand or be changed by the professor. The committee’s recommendation will be communicated in writing to the student, the Dean, the professor, the student’s faculty advisor, and the Registrar (for inclusion in the student’s file). The professor will make his or her final decision after receiving the committee’s recommendation.
  • If the student does not accept the professor’s final decision, he or she may submit a further appeal in writing to the President. The President will review all materials from the prior proceedings and gather additional information as deemed necessary. The decision of the President will be final.

5.6.2  Appealing Other Academic Matters: The following other academic matters may be appealed: termination of study; expulsion – unless by the President or the Dean – for disciplinary reasons; or refusal of the faculty to re-admit a student.

These academic appeals are handled by a sub-committee of the Appeals/Grievance Committee (see Appendix B, Grievance Procedures) in addition to the Dean and the student’s Faculty Advisor.

The faculty chair of the Appeals/Grievance Committee acts as chairperson of the sub-committee unless that faculty member is the appealing student’s Faculty Advisor. In such a case, the Dean shall appoint another faculty member to act as chair. Should the Dean be the appealing student’s Faculty Advisor, the sub-committee chair shall appoint another member of the faculty as alternate to the Dean. Two student members of the Appeals/Grievance Committee will be appointed to the academic appeals sub-committee by the sub-committee chair, or, the Dean shall appoint one or two other students to the sub-committee if such action is necessary to ensure neutrality of the student members with respect to the appealing student, i.e., no compromising relationships may exist between appealing student and sub-committee member(s).

5.6.3  Notification of Intent to Appeal: The student must notify the Dean in writing that he/she wishes to appeal a specific action within thirty days of the action. By virtue of this notification, the student is automatically granting release of relevant information to the members of the committee. A hearing will be scheduled at a time convenient to both the student and the committee. After having received written notice of the faculty action with a list of specific reasons for this action, the chair, in consultation with the Dean, will provide a summary of all relevant information which contributed to the faculty’s decision. The student should then prepare his/her appeal as follows:

  • The student must prepare a written statement (approximately 1,500 words, double-spaced, and in 12-point font) outlining the major points of the appeal and must submit this statement to the chairperson of the sub-committee at least one week before the hearing date.

NOTE: The student should remember that a specific faculty decision is being appealed and should answer the specific points of the faculty decision. Thus, the student should show that: the faculty misunderstood the facts, or pertinent facts were not considered by the faculty, or circumstances and personal character have changed sufficiently so that the faculty’s decision should be reconsidered. (This latter argument applies only to appeals for re-admission.) A plea for a second chance is not grounds for an appeal to this sub-committee. Nor is disagreement with the decision made by the faculty acceptable as grounds for appeal or as a defense.

  • The student must arrange for evidence or witnesses that will speak on his/her behalf, including making arrangements for the release of any psychological evaluation(s) to be submitted to the committee.

NOTE: References to psychological test(s) or evaluation(s) are not admissible. Written records must be signed by the attending psychologist or psychiatrist, or, the psychologist or psychiatrist must appear as a witness. Submission of such data in any form is strictly voluntary. The chairperson may limit the number of witnesses that can appear and the time that each can speak. Written statements may be submitted in lieu of personal appearance(s) of witnesses.

NOTE: Any data or witnesses must speak directly to the issues involved in the appeal. General character evaluations will be ruled out-of-order.

  • The student may ask one person to attend the hearing as his/her personal counselor. This may be a fellow student, a faculty member, a minister, or a close personal friend. Because the appeal process is strictly within the structures of the Seminary, the appellant’s counselor may not be an attorney.

5.6.4  Hearing Procedure:

  • The hearing will open with a statement by the chairperson regarding hearing procedures.
  • The Dean (or an alternate) will read the statement of the faculty’s action.
  • The student will read his/her summary statement.
  • The student may introduce data or call witnesses in support of the appeal.
  • The members of the committee will have the opportunity to question the student and/or the witnesses.

NOTE: The chairperson may rule as out-of-order any question which probes beyond the scope of the appeal, or which would require an answer in violation of privileged communication or the right of privacy.

  • After evidence has been submitted and witnesses examined, the student may make a summary statement.
  • The student and witnesses will be excused during the committee deliberations.
  • The committee will submit a report of its decision to the President who may or may not accept the decision. The committee can make one of three recommendations: to uphold the faculty decision, to reverse the faculty decision, or, to refer the question to the faculty for reconsideration in light of new or clarified evidence.
  • The President will decide upon an action. In informing the student of an action, the President may include the committee’s recommendation, at her/his discretion.

5.6.5  General Regulations Governing the Hearing Procedure:

  • The committee’s decision will be made by a simple majority vote. The vote will be included in the recommendation to the President without reference to how individual committee members voted and without any dissenting opinions.
  • Committee members will hold all committee proceedings in strict confidence, even after the decision is made.
  • The appellant student should not discuss the appeal procedure or the content of the appeal with any committee member except the chairperson. Attempted communication with or any form of harassment of committee members will be grounds for denying the appeal.
  • The committee will keep no record of its proceedings. The only written document will be a report of the decision to the President.
  • The student may invoke her/his right to privacy at any time; however, in doing so, he/she may be denying the committee essential information and thereby be undermining the appeal.

5.7  Courses 

5.7.1  Course Loads: Normally, students will take 18-26 hours each year. Full-time is considered as 19 hours per year since it allows one to graduate in 4 years. In determining a reasonable course load, students must consider their ministry site and other obligations and responsibilities, such as family, health, employment, etc. Some church positions take more time than others and students must strive to achieve a reasonable balance between church work, academic life, family life, and community life.

5.7.2  Course Numbers: Course numbers for Masters level students belong to the 500, 600, and 700 series. The 500 level courses are the two, four, and six-week courses. The 600 level courses are eight-week electives. The 700 level course is the capstone course of the M.Div. The D. Min. courses are 800 level.

5.7.3  Waiver of Requirements: Students with strong backgrounds in particular subject areas may have the requirements of particular courses waived upon approval of the faculty in the given area. The faculty member must provide written notification to the Dean that the requirement has been waived. The Dean will provide notification of waiver to the Registrar. The hour requirement must still be fulfilled by taking an optional course in the area or an upper-level course in the area.

5.7.4  Directed Studies: Normally, directed studies are undertaken only in areas not offered, or not offered on a regular basis in the regular curriculum. Directed studies may be taken by students in any degree program, subject to the agreement of the professor, completion of a Directed Study Agreement form (see Appendix Forms), and approval of the Dean. Students who wish to take directed studies with a person who is not on the faculty of LTS must receive prior approval of the Dean before completing and submitting the Directed Study Agreement. The student should be prepared to demonstrate to the Seminary that the course professor possesses an appropriate terminal degree and qualifying credentials.

  • Directed studies are only allowed for elective courses at the 600-level or higher.
  • Credit may be for 1 to 2 hours. The professor and student sign a Directed Study Agreement (See Appendix Forms), accompanied by a detailed syllabus, which must be submitted to the Dean for approval at the time of registration. The Dean will notify the student of approval, disapproval, or tentative approval with changes. The Dean forwards the signed Agreement to the Registrar.
  • Directed studies are subject to the same deadlines (registration, Drop/Add, grade submission) as other classes and must be completed by the end of the period for which they are registered.
  • Normally, Masters students may register for no more than four hours of directed study work within their degree program.

5.7.5  Auditing Courses: Auditing provides students the opportunity to benefit from a course without being subject to credit requirements. No credit is awarded (nor would be transferred to other institutions) for audited courses. Normally, auditing students neither submit course assignments nor do they complete course examinations; however, the professor may state specific expectations regarding an auditing student’s participation in the syllabus. Auditors must register for courses using the online registration process.

5.7.6  Course Evaluations: Course evaluations are very important to the Seminary’s program for continuous improvement of the learning experience. They are a means for students to share their opinions about the courses they have just completed. Every student in a course is required to complete a standard form at the conclusion of the course. The Registrar will not record a student’s grade for the course until the student has completed the course evaluation. All evaluations remain anonymous. The professor will be able to access the evaluation after he/she has turned in the grades for the course. The evaluations are reviewed by the Dean.

5.7.7  Seminary Assessment: All student work may be used as a part of the Seminary’s assessment program. The assessment use of student work in no way affects the grade the student receives. This is an evaluation of the work of the Seminary in terms of the work of the student. Students’ names are commonly removed from the work used in assessment. This evaluation is intended to help the Seminary improve its education programs.

5.8  Clinical Pastoral Education: A student in one of the seminary’s Masters degree programs may receive 2 credits for successful completion of a Level I unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) subject to the following terms and conditions:

  • The unit is/was completed at an ACPE-accredited CPE program.
  • If taken during the student’s program, the student has registered for course LC6## on entering the unit. The unit can count in this only if taken after the student has met the requirements of their degree program to begin taking 600-level electives. Upon successful completion of the unit, the student receives a grade of “CR” for the course, providing she or he submits to the dean a copy of his or her final self-evaluation and the final evaluation by the CPE supervisor as documentation of successful completion. If the student does not complete the unit successfully, the student receives a grade of “NC” for the course.
  • If the unit is taken within 5 years of the student beginning his or her program at the seminary, she or he may apply for 2 credits of advanced standing, reckoned as a 600-level elective. Such application should be addressed to the dean, and be accompanied by the student’s final self-evaluation and the CPE supervisor’s final evaluation of the student as documentation of successful completion.

5.9  Transfer Credit: The Seminary accepts credits transferred to or shared from other institutions according to the policy guidelines indicated below. Grades from transferred courses are not used in the calculation of the GPA and show on the transcript simply as the number of hours transferred and the name of the institution. Individual courses transferred are not listed.

5.9.1  In general, to be accepted for transfer, credits must meet the following criteria:

  • Must be earned within the last 10 years;
  • Must be graduate level, earned at a seminary or graduate school accredited by the Association of Theological Schools. Credit earned at non ATS accredited but regionally accredited institutions may be approved.
  • Must carry a grade of B or above; and,
  • Must be judged by the Registrar and the Office of the Dean as appropriate to the degree sought at Lexington Theological Seminary.
  • Div. students may transfer up to 24 hours. However, transferred credits may only be applied towards required courses. In order to determine the adequacy of the transferred credit for particular courses the syllabi may be requested by the Dean.
  • M.T.S. students may transfer up to 15 hours toward required courses.
  • Up to 18 hours of credits transferred from a residential program at another ATS-accredited seminary may be counted toward the residency requirements of LTS Masters degrees.
  • D.Min. students may transfer up to 6 hours.

5.9.2 Shared and Transfer Credit Within Degree Programs:

  • When students transfer in from outside LTS, no more than 24 (appropriate) hours of a master degree or higher from the outside institution will be accepted for the M.Div. degree.
  • Students may use a portion of the hours from their LTS degree for a Master of Divinity degree. No more than 35 appropriate hours from the previous degree will be accepted for the M.Div degree.
  • Students who transfer degree credits within LTS in the M.Div. program must take at least two out of four competencies.
  • For LTS shared programs with the University of Kentucky, sharing of credits between two degree programs are administered on a program-by-program basis. Students must consult the Registrar and their Faculty Advisor for details about allowed courses and shared credit limits. Shared and transfer credit limits may not be combined.

5.9.3 If the student is already enrolled in a degree program at Lexington Theological Seminary and desires to take an elective course at another institution, the student’s request must be approved ahead of time by the student’s advisor and the Office of the Dean. Written notice of the approval must be submitted to the Registrar prior to the taking of the course. Shared and transfer credit limits may not be combined.

5.9.4 Transferred and shared credits earned in courses taken on the quarter system are converted using one quarter hour equal to .667 of a semester hour.

Work taken through the TEAM-A exchange is not considered transfer work. (Grades are used in the calculation of the GPA.) The number of courses taken as TEAM-A may be limited for each student based on individual circumstances.

5.10  Academic Conduct and Policies

5.10.1  Policy Regarding Plagiarism: All sources (whether copyrighted or not) including monographs (books), essay collections, dictionaries and encyclopedias, journal articles, internet articles, audio and video recordings, computer files, lectures, and private communication (letters, conversations, e-mails, etc.) that are incorporated into a student’s work must be cited. LTS makes use of a Plagiarism Review Board (PRB) to review plagiarism violations and to determine penalties for these violations. (See Section 2.6.5, Plagiarism Review Board and Appendix J, Policy Regarding Plagiarism.)

5.10.2  Honor Code: All students registered for courses are expected to do their work with the highest ethical standards of intellectual integrity. As a part of their admission process they are asked read and sign the honor code. (See Appendix I).

5.11  Seminary Writing Support Policy

Lexington Theological Seminary is committed to forming students in all areas of ministerial life, including their success in written communication. To help them achieve this success, all newly admitted degree-seeking students and certificate for credit students must submit all designated written assignments to the Seminary’s online writing center prior to submitting a final draft to the professor. It is expected that students will revise their drafts based on the tutor’s feedback before submitting the assignment to the professor. Even when working with the writing center, students are required to turn in assignments by the dates listed in the course syllabi.

The process for submitting drafts to and receiving feedback from the writing center is outlined in the LTS Common Syllabus and introduced during the Orientation Course. During that course, all students working on the Certificate for Pastoral Studies for credit and all degree seeking students will submit a writing sample to be evaluated. This sample will provide a base line for comparing later improvement.

5.11.1  Completion of Requirement

The Seminary will periodically review students’ writing tutor assessments to determine when a student has reached a level of proficiency meriting release from the requirement. Students may request review of their records for possible release at any time.

Degree seeking students must reach a level of proficient writing before advancing beyond specific points in their programs:

  • MDiv students must receive notification that this requirement has been completed before they will be allowed to take their first competency exercise.
  • MTS students must receive notification that this requirement has been completed before they will be allowed to take their competency exercise.
  • MPS students must receive notification that this requirement has been completed by the time they complete their Catholic Studies courses.
  • DMin students must receive notification that this requirement has been completed before they will be allowed to take their first elective.

5.11.2  Continued use of the Writing Center

Once students have received notification that they are no longer required to work with the Writing Center, they are still allowed and encouraged to use the Writing Center as desired for writing support.

Instructors can require individual students who continue to struggle with writing or entire class rosters to use the writing center for any assignment.