Academic Progress and Graduation

University Policy

School of Theology Policy

Students who fail to make satisfactory academic progress in any semester are subject to examination by the appropriate student review committee of the School. MDiv, MTS, and MSM students are reviewed by the Academic Policies, Procedures and Fellowship Committee, and STM, DMin, and PhD students are reviewed by the Advanced Studies Committee. The results of the review may be probation, course load reduction, or termination from the degree program and School.

In the case of the Master of Divinity degree students, the School has additional expectations in the areas of character and personal fitness for the ministry—what the United Methodist Church refers to as “gifts and graces”—that are also significant factors in the review of students’ status and progress.

The Advanced Studies Committee undertakes a formal review of any STM grade lower than B–. The Advanced Studies Committee undertakes formal review for any PhD student’s academic status when: (a) the student receives a grade lower than B or (b) when any faculty member, in writing, requests a review. Two grades lower than B lead to termination from the degree program, except by petition to and approval of the Advanced Studies Committee. Failure to complete the program requirements in the manner and time outlined in the Doctor of Philosophy Handbook is also cause for review by the Advanced Studies Committee.

The Advanced Studies Committee undertakes a formal review of any DMin candidate’s standing when: (a) the candidate receives a grade lower than B in any course or (b) when a faculty member makes a written request for a review. Two grades lower than B lead to termination of the student’s degree program, except by petition to and approval of the faculty of the Advanced Studies Committee.

Time Limitations

Students must observe the following time limitations:

  • Credits earned more than seven years before admission or readmission to a degree program in the School of Theology may not be applied toward a degree.
  • Master of Divinity students must earn the degree within five years (ten semesters) of the semester of matriculation (exclusive of approved leaves of absence).
  • Master of Theological Studies and Master of Sacred Music students must earn the degree within four years (eight semesters) of the semester of matriculation (exclusive of approved leaves of absence).
  • Master of Sacred Theology must earn the degree within two years (four semesters) of the semester of matriculation.
  • Doctor of Ministry students must earn the degree within five years (10 semesters) of the semester of matriculation.
  • Doctor of Philosophy students must earn the degree within seven years (14 semesters) of matriculation (exclusive of approved leaves of absence).

Academic Progress

Students are required to maintain satisfactory academic progress each semester of their study at Boston University School of Theology. To comply with this requirement, MDiv, MTS, and MSM students must maintain a semester and cumulative grade point average of 2.7.

  • MDiv and MTS students can receive no grade lower than C, and carry no incompletes into the next semester.
  • MSM students can receive no grade lower than B– in all music requirements, no grade lower than C in all theology requirements, and carry no incompletes into the next semester.
  • STM students must maintain a semester and cumulative grade point average of 3.0, receive no grade lower than B–, and carry no incompletes into the next semester.
  • DMin and PhD students must maintain a semester and cumulative grade point average of 3.0, receive no grade lower than B, and carry no incompletes into the next semester.

Students whose GPA falls below these minimums, who receive a grade below the minimum allowed, or who fail to remove an incomplete by the published deadline are subject to review by the appropriate committee of the School.

Degree & Graduation Requirements

Students who have met degree program requirements are eligible to graduate from that program with the degree and honors associated with it. The basic degree program requirements that must be met for graduation from each degree program are described under Programs. Minimum grade point averages are required. It is the student’s responsibility to know and understand the requirements for graduation.

Graduation Procedure

Students use the following procedure to indicate their intention to graduate in the final semester of their degree program:

  • Graduation Transcript Review with the Registrar: All students initiate the graduation procedure by submitting a graduation application to the registrar in the final semester of their program. No student will be approved for graduation without submitting a graduation application packet, which includes a Graduation Application Form, an unofficial transcript, a check for $30 made out to Boston University, and a completed plan of study for the MDiv, MTS, MSM, and STM degrees. A confirmation of up-to-date religious affiliation and denominational information is also required. Unofficial (student-issued) academic transcripts are available online at the Student Link, or from the Office of the Registrar at 881 Commonwealth Avenue.
  • Application: Applications for Graduation are submitted in the final semester of a student’s degree program. The registrar will provide information about the application process to students who are eligible to graduate.
  • Graduation Fee: Students pay a $30 graduation fee, due upon submission of the Application for Graduation.

Honors Eligibility

Master of Divinity, Master of Theological Studies, and Master of Sacred Music students are eligible to earn honors upon graduation, based on the following cumulative GPA scale:

  • 3.7–3.79  cum laude
  • 3.8–3.89  magna cum laude
  • 3.9–4.0  summa cum laude