The international student community at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary is diverse, thriving, and valued by the entire Gordon-Conwell community. Our Doctor of Ministry international students represent over 10 countries including the UK, South Korea, Brazil, China, Nigeria, India, the Philippines, and Indonesia.
Gordon-Conwell takes seriously the task of providing quality education for international students who are preparing themselves for gospel ministry leadership in their own countries. Applicants are selected on the basis of potential for significant contribution to the Christian Church in their own homelands. International students are expected to return to their native countries between residencies to provide leadership in ministry.
Please review all the information on this page carefully. Click the links below to go directly to the information that most pertains to where you are in the application process:
- Policies Regarding Admissions for International Applicants
- Completing the Application for I-20/Visa Certificate
- Applying for an F-1 Student Visa
- Other Important Information for Incoming F-1 Students
- Visa and Other Immigration Related Information
Types of Visas
International students must obtain the appropriate immigration status in order to be a student in the Doctor of Ministry Program at Gordon-Conwell.
- Students are expected to return to their home countries between residencies.
- Students are allowed to come to the US no sooner than 30 days prior to the residency and cannot stay more than 60 days after the residency.
- Students must apply for a new I-20 and F-1 visa for each residency
R-1 or Green Card:
- Students are responsible for providing documentation that shows an R-1 visa or a Green Card either has already been obtained or that it is in process.
Potential for Contribution to the Church
Applicants are selected on the basis of potential for significant contribution to the Christian church. International students must commit themselves to remaining in their countries to give leadership upon completion of their studies at Gordon-Conwell.
Competency in English
No TOEFL testing is required of our applicants. International students are expected to be able to participate fully in the language of the track to which they have been accepted. Language competency is determined, in part, through the writing portion of the application. Currently, most of our tracks are offered in English with Liderazgo Pastoral taught in Spanish.
An M.Div. degree, with a 3.0 GPA, from an ATS accredited school is required for all applicants. M.Div. degrees from institutions of other accreditation will have their degree programs reviewed by the D.Min. office. Applicants without an M.Div., but rather another theological master's degree, may be accepted on the basis of M.Div. equivalency. Applicants may be required to provide further information regarding their degree program or to provide a statement from a college official explaining particular aspects of the education received.
Applicants must provide transcripts from all previously attended academic institutions. Previous Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary graduates are allowed to only provide their GCTS transcripts.
Three years of post theological master's degree ministry is required of all students. Applicants seeking equivalency should include a listing of their ministry experience, emphasizing years and responsibilities, with their application.
Our vision is to nurture passionate, reflective practitioners to think theologically, engage globally, and live biblically. A ministry context through which an applicant may apply what they are learning in the program is required of all applicants. Students in our D.Min. program must work in their home ministry context between residencies. International students must commit themselves to remaining in their countries and ministry contexts throughout the course of their program.
Financial Support and Certification
All international applicants are required to complete a financial certification process when applying for a Form I-20 and F-1 student visa in order to show evidence of financial support for educational and living expenses (see Financial Certification below). Serious consideration of the high expense of traveling to and from and studying in the United States must be made. We recommend that international students first consider the use of personal funds, and when needed seek support from family members, friends, denominational agencies, local churches, and missions boards.
Each supporter must complete an Affidavit of Support and submit original bank statements providing their ability to support you in the amount pledged. In some cases, Gordon-Conwell and/or the embassy/consulate may request additional information from supporters.
There may be a limited number of scholarships available. You can discuss these options with the Doctor of Ministry Admissions Coordinator throughout your application process. However, you should not plan to include these opportunities in your first year of financial support documentation.
The F-1 student visa is a non-immigrant visa issued by a United States Embassy or Consulate abroad to international students coming to the United States for the purpose of pursing full-time studies at an academic institution. While DMin studies are mostly carried out in your home country, an F-1 student visa is still required. Click here for more information about the F-1 student visa.
After you are accepted to Gordon-Conwell, you will begin another application process for receiving a Form I-20 to use in support of an application for an F-1 student visa at a United States embassy or consulate.
Once you have reviewed all the information on this page, have met all the requirements for receiving a Form I-20 (including the financial certification portions of the application), and are ready to comply with all regulations and provisions for the F-1 student visa while a student in the U.S., you may submit your completed Application for I-20/Visa Certificate, Financial Plan, financial certification documents, and any other supporting materials required to the following address:
Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
ATTN: Doctor of Ministry Office
130 Essex Street
South Hamilton, MA 01982
Any questions regarding F-1 student visas and the Application for I-20/Visa Certificate should be addressed to the Assistant Director of Doctor of Ministry and Designated School Official, Bridget Erickson at 978-646-4132 or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
When completing the Application for I-20/Visa Certificate, you are required to show full proof of funding for one academic year in the amounts specified on page 2 of the application. To meet this requirement, you must submit all documents, including bank statements, support letters/affidavits of support, and any other information requested of you. Please note that the embassy/consulate will require original documents; therefore we recommend that you request two sets of financial documents form each source of funding.
All documents must have been prepared within the last 3 months and should indicate reasonable means of support for future years.
- If you are using personal funds, please submit a copy of a bank statement in your own name, or letter from a bank official, prepared within the past three months showing available balances sufficient to meet your expenses.
- If your parents, family, or a private sponsor are supporting you, please submit the affidavit of support signed by your parent or family member guaranteeing your support. You must also submit your parent's or relative's bank statement or letter from a bank official indicating the amount of money (U.S. $) available to your parent or relative for financial support.
- If you are receiving support from an international organization, government agency, foundation, church, or other ministry, please submit an affidavit of support, stating the conditions of the award.
- If you are receiving a scholarship from Gordon-Conwell, please submit a copy of your Gordon-Conwell scholarship award letter.
Please note that Gordon-Conwell and the embassy official will subject financial documents (especially private sponsor guarantees) to careful review and consideration. Especially during your visa interview, be prepared to explain all financial sources and if requested, submit additional documentation as needed.
All documents must be presented in English using U.S. $ (USD) conversion. Include any conversion rates used in determining U. S. dollar equivalency.
Please submit the appropriate financial documents. Read, sign, and date the Statement of Understanding of Financial Responsibility on page 2 of your application. To ensure that you have sufficient time to receive your F-1 student visa, we urge you to submit a completed application along with all required financial documents no later than 3 months prior to your degree program start date.
Canadian citizens are not required to obtain an F-1 visa. Canadian citizens must, however, receive an I-20 and pay the SEVIS fee. Canadians are also required to abide by all other provisions and restrictions for lawfully maintaining F-1 status, including provisions for employment and full time enrollment each residency period. Click here for more information regarding the visa exemption for Canadian citizens.
After you complete the Application for I-20/Visa Certificate, Gordon-Conwell will send your I-20 to you through regular mail (if you are in the U.S.) or certified mail (if you are outside the U.S.). Once you receive the I-20, read it carefully, including the "Instructions to Students" portion on page 2 to ensure that you are prepared to comply with all the provisions of the F-1 student visa.
Paying the SEVIS Fee
To obtain a visa, you must first pay a fee (called the SEVIS fee) before applying at a U. S. embassy or consulate. Some embassies or consulates will accept the online generated SEVIS fee receipt, while others may require the official receipt generated by SEVIS and sent to you via mail.
Visiting the U.S. Embassy or Consulate
Schedule your appointment at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate as soon as you receive notice that you have been granted an I-20.
- Locate the nearest embassy in your home country
It is difficult to estimate how long you will need to wait until your visa interview. Many embassies/consulates recommend that appointments be made no more than 90 days from the intended date of travel, but some can make earlier arrangements for interviews.
- Estimated visa wait times at the embassy or consulate you plan to visit.
When you visit the embassy or consulate, bring your passport, Form I-20, and all financial documents used to apply for your I-20. You will also need two passport-size (37mm x 37mm) photographs. You will complete Form-OF 156 (Nonimmigrant Visa Application Form) along with any supplementary forms required by the particular embassy or consulate. On occasion, a Visa Officer may require evidence of English proficiency sufficient to pursue your proposed program of study as well as proof of economic/social ties to your native country.
In most cases applications must be made in person. Remember, the Officer has the final word on your application; his or her judgment is not subject to review. Standards for visa eligibility may be considerably more rigorous than the standards you must meet to qualify for a Form I-20. Use good judgment as to whether to submit additional information with your entry visa application.
Students currently holding a tourist visa (B-1/B-2) or students arriving in the United States from a member country of the Visa Waiver Program must still obtain an F-1 student visa in order to pursue a degree program at Gordon-Conwell. U.S. regulations do not allow persons who enter on a tourist visa or the Visa Waiver Program to enroll in an academic program while in the U.S.
Lawfully Maintaining F-1 Visa Status
As an F-1 student at Gordon-Conwell, you must lawfully maintain visa status throughout your entire course of study. In order to pursue study in the U.S. it is your sole responsibility to comply with all immigration regulations that apply to F-1 visa students.