Distance Education

The PRTS distance education program aims to bring the Reformed tradition of biblical, experiential, and Christ-centered theology to as many as are interested, regardless of location. PRTS desires to train future leaders around the world who will serve the church with hearts and minds that have been trained for ministry in the Reformed, Puritan tradition.

The following table lists the available distance learning courses (by semester) and independent study courses offered at PRTS. If you are a current student at PRTS, or have taken classes at PRTS before, please contact the registrar for enrolling in one of these courses.

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Fall 2016Language CoursesIndependent StudiesCertificatesPoliciesFAQ
099 - English Grammar & Syntax
130 / BS802 - World of the Bible
314 - Modern Church History
CH857 / CH982 - John Knox & the Scottish Reformation
411 / ST881 - Prolegomena
412 / ST882 - Theology Proper
613a - Teaching Children (Catechetics)
IS-111 Online Hebrew I
IS-112 Online Hebrew II
IS-211 Online Greek I
IS-212 Online Greek II
A number of courses taught by resident faculty may be taken as independent studies. To determine if a course as listed in the catalog can be taken as an independent study, please contact the registrar.

The necessary steps to request an independent study are as follows:

  1. Complete the Independent Study Request Form.
  2. Submit the request form to Dr. Michael Barrett (the academic dean) in person or via email (michael.barrett@prts.edu). You will be enrolled in your desired course only after approval has been granted and the necessary syllabus and course material is in place. Once enrolled, you will be notified by the registrar.

A maximum of 15 credits of independent study courses can apply towards the MAR and MDiv degrees, whereas a maximum of 6 credits of independent study courses can apply towards the ThM degree.

Systematic Theology
Historical Theology

Taken from the Academic Catalog

Distance Education

Our distance education program aims to bring the Reformed tradition of biblical, experiential, and Christ-centered theology to as many as are interested, regardless of location. PRTS desires to train future leaders around the world who will serve the church and society with hearts and minds that have been trained for ministry. A limited number of our courses can be taken without coming to the seminary. These courses are the same courses taught in our seminary by our professors.

Credits earned through distance education can be applied to our traditional MDiv, MAR, and ThM degrees. PRTS uses an online course management system to engage students, facilitate interactions between students, and to distribute course materials.

Students who are not able or interested in pursuing a traditional degree can enroll in the courses that best suit their interests and time availability. Whether you wish to take a course in New Testament Greek, or study Ancient Church History, we will work closely with you.

Another valuable opportunity is our certificate program, which allows non-matriculating students to complete a series of courses on a concentrated subject and receive a certificate. See below for detailed information on the available online certificate programs.

Tuition for distance education courses is the same as the normal seminary tuition. If it is necessary to drop or withdraw from a course, the refund policy as described in the “Tuition Refund for Dropped/Withdrawn courses” will apply. Should a certificate student decide to pursue a master’s degree, he or she must go through the application process. On-campus students must have the permission of the registrar before they take a distance course.

All distance education classes are overseen by Chris Engelsma, Director of Distance Learning (chris.engelsma@prts.edu or phone 616-977-0599 ext. 137).

Distance Education Policies

Any new or visiting student who desires to take a course via distance learning should submit the “Start Your Application” form available on the seminary website. This will initiate the process of enrolling in your desired course. The student will be given his/her own unique login and password to the seminary’s online course management software. The student will be billed $225 per credit hour for the course, as well as a non-refundable distance learning fee of $50.00. For distance learning students, the refund policy for a dropped/withdrawn course is as follows:

  • Within two weeks, an 80% refund is granted
  • Within four weeks, 60%
  • Within six weeks, 50%
  • After six weeks, 0%.

Notification of a dropped or withdrawn course (as outlined in “Drop/Add Policy” and “Withdrawal from Course[s] Policy”) should be provided by submitting a written statement to this effect (email is fine) to the registrar. The appropriate refund will be sent promptly. If a student fails to notify the registrar of a withdrawn course within the established deadline, an “F” will be noted on the student’s transcript and no refund will be granted.

The distance learning student is subject to all the same requirements, deadlines, and penalties as set by the instructor for the on-campus students in the course instance. If the course requires a student to take a closed-book exam, the student must obtain a proctor. The exam will be emailed to the proctor who will oversee the integrity of the exam-taking process. When the exam is complete, the proctor should email the exam(s) to the director of distance education; these will be submitted to the instructor for grading. The student’s graded work will then be scanned and returned.

Independent Study Policies

For all language courses (online Greek and Hebrew):

All students enrolled in an online language class have a one month trial period during which they may freely take the course and benefit from the instruction and guidance of the course instructor. After one month has passed, however, the student will be billed $225 per credit hour for the course, as well as a non-refundable distance education fee of $50.00. The seminary’s drop/add policy (as outlined above) begins to apply after the student’s trial month is over.

Notification of a dropped course (as outlined in “Drop/Add Policy” and “Withdrawal from Course(s) Policy”) should be provided by submitting a written statement to this effect (email is fine) to the registrar. The appropriate refund will be sent promptly. If a student fails to notify the registrar of a withdrawn course within the established deadline, an “F” will be noted on the student’s transcript and no refund will be granted.

All students have fifty-two weeks (one year) to complete the course(s). If the course is incomplete after this point, the student will be charged a 30-day course extension, assessed at 20% of the course(s) tuition cost. A maximum of two extensions are allowed; if the course is still incomplete after this time, the course will be finalized and any incomplete assignments will receive a failing grade. Should the student request to be withdrawn from the course before the extensions expire, however, a “W” may be granted with the approval of the academic dean.

Non-language Independent Study Courses

Any new or visiting student who desires to take an independent study course should submit the “Start Your Application” form available on the seminary website. This will initiate the process of enrolling in your desired course. The student will be given his/her own unique login and password to the seminary’s online course management software. In addition to a short application, persons interested in an independent study must submit the independent study request form to the academic dean (forms are available from the registrar or the seminary website). Upon approval of the request, the registrar will notify the student of his or her enrollment; the governing syllabi and material that will establish the requirements and deadlines of the course will then be made available. A maximum of 15 credits of independent study courses can apply towards the MAR and MDiv degrees, whereas a maximum of 6 credits of independent study courses can apply towards the ThM degree.

A student who has received approval to enroll in an independent study will be billed $225 per credit hour for the course, as well as a non-refundable distance learning fee of $50.00. On the date the registrar enrolls the student, the student is considered to have begun the class.

Should the student fail to meet the deadlines as established by the syllabus, the student will be charged a 30-day course extension, assessed at 20% of the course(s) tuition cost. A maximum of two 30-day extensions are allowed; if the course is still incomplete after this time, the student will receive an “F” for the course. Should the student request to be withdrawn from the course before the extensions expire, however, a “W” may be granted with the approval of the academic dean.

The seminary’s policies concerning dropping and withdrawing from a course are effective on the date of enrollment. The refund policy for a dropped/withdrawn course is as follows:

  • Within two weeks of enrollment date, an 80% refund is granted
  • Within four weeks of enrollment date, 60%
  • Within six weeks of enrollment date, 50%
  • After six weeks of enrollment date, 0%.

Notification of a dropped course should be provided by submitting a written statement to this effect (email is fine) to the registrar. The appropriate refund will be sent promptly. If a student fails to notify the registrar of a withdrawn course within the established deadline, an “F” will be noted on the student’s transcript and no refund will be granted; exceptions must be approved by the academic dean. No independent study may exceed 26 weeks in duration.

If the independent study course requires a student to take a closed-book exam, the student must obtain a proctor. The exam will be emailed to the proctor who will oversee the integrity of the exam-taking process. When the exam is complete, the proctor should email the exam(s) to the director of distance education; once all coursework has been submitted to the director of distance eduction, the exams and other assignments will be submitted to the instructor for grading. The student’s graded work will then be scanned and returned.

Can I complete the MDiv or MAR degree entirely from a distance?
What is the difference between a distance learning course and an independent study?
How is the typical course administered?
Are the same services available to the distance student as for the on-campus student?
What sort of computer do I need in order to take a distance learning course?