The Palmer Theological Seminary accepts international students into its graduate degree programs out of a desire to train Christian leaders throughout the world for ministry, recognizing that the Palmer Seminary community is enriched by the presence of international students. Because a student's theological training for ministry is best undertaken in the context where the student's ministry will be exercised, Palmer Seminary encourages international students to thoroughly investigate seminaries (theological colleges) in their own country. If, after that investigation, Palmer Seminary remains the seminary of choice for theological training, an application can be submitted online to the Seminary by graduates of a recognized/accredited college or university who have already received a baccalaureate degree, such as a Bachelor of Arts or its equivalent.
Instructions and all necessary forms for this admissions process can be found and downloaded from Palmer’s website at: www.palmerseminary.edu.
In addition to the application, international applicants must submit the following information:
1. Academic Transcripts: full and complete transcripts of all post-secondary education in recognized/accredited colleges or universities, demonstrating the completion of an undergraduate or graduate degree. They must come directly from their respective schools and have the school seal stamped on it.
Evaluations of International Transcripts: a comprehensive credential evaluation by a reputable agency is required. If the degree was earned in the United States, this requirement does not apply. Palmer Seminary has 2 recommended agencies for evaluations:
World Education Services Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc.
Phone: 212-966-6311 Phone: 414-289-3400
2. Personal Statement: There are eight questions that can be downloaded from Palmer Seminary’s admissions application website. Each question must be fully developed.
3. Student Health Form: Complete and sign, include the immunization record, proof of a recent tetanus vaccine (within the past 10 years) and proof of recent PPD (tuberculosis) test (within the past 2 years). If the PPD test was positive, then evidence of a chest x-ray must also be sent.
4. Two Reference Forms: One reference should be from the applicant’s pastor, mentor or a pastoral colleague, and one from another Christian leader who is able to assess strengths and weakness for ministry. Click here to download Reference Form.
5. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL): Classes at Palmer are in English, students need to demonstrate written and oral proficiency. Therefore, international applicants whose primary language is not English will need to submit the TOEFL scores to the Seminary’s Admissions Office. Applicants must achieve a minimum score of 550 (paper-based) or 79 (internet-based) on this test. More information about the TOEFL and where to take it can be found at www.ets.org/TOEFL. If the IELTS is taken, then the minimum score must be 6.5.
If the minimum score is not achieved or it becomes evident– during the admissions process or after commencing study – that a student has significant difficulty in the use of the English language for purposes of graduate study, he/she will be required to successfully complete an English language program.
Although successful completion of a language program satisfies the Seminary’s TOEFL requirement, an essay may be required to determine readiness for course work in English. Also, the cost of any language program is the responsibility of the student.
The application and the other 5 requirements mentioned above must be received by April 30 for Fall admission and October 31 for Spring admissions.
Two Statements of Support: One from the applicant and one by each of the sponsors providing support to an incoming student. This information should reflect adequate financial resources for meeting the cost of the applicant’s educational and living expenses. Click here for estimate of expenses. This information reflects a discount up to 50% of the tuition expense. The Seminary does not offer additional discounts or scholarships to international students.
The forms must be notarized with an official signature and stamp/seal from a bank officer or other legal authority. This process is more than a formality, but rather a commitment or obligation that needs to be fulfilled. The Seminary expects that a sponsor will pay their first annual pledge a few months prior to the student’s intended arrival. Each succeeding year should be paid during the same time period of that year. A student will not be issued an I-20 until the initial deposit is received.
For those who commit monies during the first year of study, there must be a verification that these particular funds exist. One way to accomplish this requirement is to attach a bank statement or other proof of assets, and have it notarized along with the Statement of Support with the signature and stamp/seal of a bank officer. It should be sent to the Seminary Admissions Office.
The applicant must prepare 2 sets of originals, notarized financial documents. One set will remain in the possession of Palmer Seminary. The applicant will keep the second set to take to the visa interview.
The Statements of Support, verification forms and deposit must be received by May 31 for Fall admission and November 30 for Spring admission. If financial information and the deposit are not received by the deadline, then the date of potential matriculation may be deferred until the next semester.
Health Insurance: The United States does not have public health services for non-citizens. Therefore, all international students MUST have health insurance. Palmer does offer a student health plan at a reasonable cost, or the student may purchase insurance through a reputable international insurance company.
It is strongly encouraged that ALL of the above information about application items and finances be sent to the Seminary as soon as possible to facilitate the evaluation process. Yet, a preliminary admissions evaluation could occur before the financial information is received. If an applicant is accepted during this phase, it would be on a provisional basis to the degree program. Final acceptance for matriculation will be dependent on adequate financial support.
Financial constraints or unexpected rejection of visa requests for family members have prohibited many international students from bringing their families to the United States. This separation can cause a lot of stress for these members and could even result in medical and/or behavioral problems among them.
Because the cost of living in the U.S. is high, most students find it difficult to pay their expenses and also send money home to support their families. If the potential applicant has a family, Palmer Seminary is concerned about these possible difficulties and urges the potential applicant to prayerfully consider them before any decision is made about applying to the school.
I20 Form, Employment Opportunities, and Academic Studies
Please note that the I20, necessary for the F1 student visa application, will not be issued to the applicant until final acceptance has occurred. Final acceptance not only includes acceptance into the degree program but also means that verification of adequate financial support and sufficient deposit have been received. The I20 will then be mailed along with its accompanying documents to the accepted applicant. Once received, the accepted applicant must submit these items and his/her copies of all financial support affidavits to a United States Embassy or Consulate official. It is the accepted applicant’s responsibility to pay all required fees related to the F1 visa application process. Additional information regarding immigration procedures and travel is available from the International Student Services Office of Eastern University.
There are very limited opportunities for employment at Palmer Seminary or Eastern University. Therefore, a student should not expect to be able come here to study and also work to send money home.
The F1 visa does not permit any offcampus employment except in the case of a required internship. F1 visa employment restrictions will be enforced and closely monitored by the Seminary. Admission is granted for a specified period, usually for the duration of a degree program. The continuation of study at Palmer Seminary and the renewal of the financial discount for international students, like national students, will depend upon satisfactory performance during each year of study. If an international student successfully completes one year of study at Palmer Seminary but is unable to stay in the United States, a transcript with earned academic units (credits) will be awarded. These academic units will be valid for transfer to other accredited institutions should the student continue studies in the future. Along with this transcript, a "Certificate of Theological Study" will also be awarded.