At the Advising Center, we strive to serve students by helping them make theologically informed decisions in light of their current realities and future ministry goals. We love helping students plan toward successful completion of their academic and ministerial goals. This page provides general information to aid students in creating a personalized degree plan. For advice tailored to your specific situation, please schedule an appointment with an Academic Advisor today!

Planning for successful completion is as easy as 1-2-3!

Step 1 – Know Your Degree Course Requirements!

It’s important to know that you are only required to complete the requirements for your degree as described in your particular catalog year. Your catalog year is determined by the date you first began taking classes at DTS.

Each catalog pertains to one full academic year (Fall – Summer). For example, if you first started classes, reclassified, or added a degree at DTS in Fall 2016, you are required to complete the requirements for your degree as shown in the 2016-17 catalog. If you started, reclassified, or added a degree during Summer 2018, however, you should refer to the 2017-18 catalog. For help determining to which catalog you should refer, please contact the Advising Center.

You should also visit the advising page to your specific degree.

Step 2 – Know Your Time Limit and Residency Requirements!

Each degree must be completed within a specific amount of time, with a certain number of credits hours face-to-face at an approved campus or extension site. For example, the MACE degree must be completed within 7 years, with 22 hours completed at a DTS location (Dallas, Washington D.C., Houston, Atlanta, etc.) where at least 49% of the course is taught at that location. Note: You can check if a course meets face-to-face requirements on the schedule page. If a course does not meet that requirement, it will likely be marked with an * and stated in the description by clicking “info” to the right of the course. 

Though 7 years are allowed for MA programs and 8 years for the ThM, the Advising Center recommends planning to complete the degree in no more than 5 years or 6 years for the ThM (better safe than sorry!). For example, students in the MACE should attempt to complete about 13 credit hours per academic year (65 hours ÷ 5 years = 13 hours).

Step 3 – Create A Plan!

Start planning for completion with our Degree Completion Planner. Use the following guidelines as you prepare your plan:

  • Each catalog includes a basic degree plan that can be used as a guide. If you intend to complete a degree within the time indicated in the catalog, use the plan provided, making adjustments as necessary. See our planned course offerings for help determining when courses are typically offered. There is a “Search Courses” feature allowing you to identify when certain courses will be offered in future semesters at all of our locations.
  • Check your previously completed courses using your degree audit (available on the Student Portal).
  • Contact academic departments to find out which electives may be offered in the future.
  • Check out common pre- and co-requisites.
  • Contact faculty members and Academic Advisors for assistance choosing electives.
  • Calculate how many hours you can afford to take using our financial aid calculator.
  • Consider how many hours you can take in light of your family, ministry, job, and other responsibilities.
  • Attempt to create a schedule that will enable you to remain spiritually healthy during your time in seminary.

Submit your plan to the Advising Center for review by a professional Academic Advisor who will respond with feedback!