The international student community at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary is diverse, thriving, and valued by the entire Gordon-Conwell community. Our current international students on all our campuses represent 56 countries, including Australia, the UK, South Korea, Brazil, China, Nigeria, Macedonia, Haiti, the Philippines, Ethiopia, and many more.
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 Church in their own homelands. International students are expected to return to their native countries to provide leadership in ministry upon completion of their studies at Gordon-Conwell.
General comments and queries can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions about receiving an F-1 student visa can be directed to the International Students Office at email@example.com.
Information for Master's Level Applicants (M.Div., MA, Th.M.)
Please review all the information on this page carefully. If you are an international student interested in pursuing the Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) degree program, click here.
|Admissions Policies for International Students|
Potential for Contribution to the Church
Competency in English
Master of Arts in Counseling (MACO) & Master of Theology (Th.M.) Candidate
When applying into the Master of Theology degree program, please specify which track you are pursuing. Applicants applying to the Master of Theology (Th.M.) must have obtained an M.Div. or its equivalent with a grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Appropriate knowledge of the biblical languages is also required.
Vocational Goal and Christian Witness
Alternate Visas (non F-1)
|Submitting the 1-20 Visa Certificate Application|
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 pursuing full-time studies at an academic institution.
All of the relevant forms for applying for an I-20 and arranging for shipping:
Click here to learn more about the F-1 student visa.
Complete and Submit the Application for 1-20/Visa Certificate
Once you have met all the requirements for receiving a Form I-20 (including the financial certification portions of the application), please submit your completed application materials to the following address:
Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
ATTN: Assistant Director of Student Life Services
130 Essex St.
South Hamilton, MA 01982
Any questions regarding F-1 student visas and the Application for I-20/Visa Certificate should be addressed to the International Students Office at (978) 646-4062 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Complete the Financial Affidavit Form
All documents must have been prepared within the last 3 months and should indicate reasonable means of support for future years. Gordon-Conwell will not accept any financial documents more than 3 months old. 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.
Students are recommended to use e-Ship Global for receiving their documents. If you are in the United States, you may still use e-Ship Global or choose to have all documents shipped through the United States Postal Service at no charge. Follow directions here:
If you are not in the United States and/or do not have online capabilities or a credit card, or if you do not feel comfortable using e-Ship Global, Gordon-Conwell will ship all documents to you and charge your student account. Please remember that this charge must be paid to Student Financial Services in full upon arrival on campus.
Submit Affidavit of Support Forms (if applicable)
Transfer Students (if applicable)
Canadian Students (if applicable)
|Preparing for F-1 Student Visa Embassy Appointment|
Paying the SEVIS Fee
To obtain a visa, you must first pay a fee (called the I-901/SEVIS fee) prior to applying at a U.S. embassy or consulate. Only the primary applicant is required to pay the SEVIS fee, meaning if you have family members that will accompany you to the U.S. you do not need to pay this fee for each family member. 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.
Scheduling and Preparing for an Appointment
When you visit the embassy or consulate, bring your passport, Form I-20(s), all financial documents used to apply for your I-20, as well as passports for each dependent that will accompany you to the U.S. You will also need two passport-size (37mm x 37mm) photographs of each visa applicant. If your family name is different from your dependents, be prepared to show documents that prove your relationship (e.g. marriage certificate or family registry). You will complete Form-OF 156 (Non-immigrant Visa Application Form) along with any supplementary forms required by the particular embassy or consulate. On occasion, a Visa Officer may require evidence (in addition to the certification on your Form I-20) 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. The length of visa validity, number of entries permitted, and application fee are based on reciprocity and generally reflect your country’s policies for granting visa privileges for full-time study in the U.S. 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.
|After You Receive Your Visa(s)|
After you receive your F-1 (and F-2) visa(s), please notify the Admissions Office and/or International Student Services at Gordon-Conwell to confirm your plans and receive further instructions. As you begin to make travel arrangements, please remember that by U.S. law, you are permitted to enter the U.S. no more than 30 days prior to the start date listed on line #5 of your I-20.
|Other Important Information for Incoming F-1 Students|
Essential Registration and Academic Information for New Students
The Office of International Student Services at Gordon-Conwell
Post-Arrival Guide for International Students and Families
Click here to view the Post-Arrival Information Handbook. Please note that you can refer to the table of contents on pages 2-4 to locate various topics. You can click each link in the table of contents to go directly to each section, and easily search for relevant topics such as "clothing," "food," or "shopping" using the search feature of your PDF file reader.
Information about New Student Orientation
F-2 spouses and children are not permitted to work while in the United States under any circumstances at any time.
Non U.S. Based Insurance: Students with non-U.S. based health insurance plans are not permitted to waive coverage. This means any insurance provider that is not based in the U.S. and does not have a U.S. based claims payable address cannot be used to waive the student insurance requirement.
Family Members: It is important that students obtain adequate health insurance coverage for each member of their family. While the seminary plan is available to dependents at additional costs, coverage is available through other sources as well. However, we encourage students to determine what other plans cover and whether this coverage will be sufficient for their family. Regardless of the cost, students must ensure that family members are covered under a comprehensive medical plan.
Maintaining Lawful Visa Status
Full Time Enrollment Requirement: F-1 visa students are required to register full time each semester (fall and spring) at Gordon-Conwell. Full-time status at Gordon-Conwell is equal to 7.5 credit hours per semester. At Gordon-Conwell, most classes are 3 credits each, so this generally means you need to take at least three classes per semester to be considered full time. Only one Semlink (i.e. Gordon-Conwell's distance learning format option) course per semester can count toward full-time status.
Employment Restrictions: F-1 student visas have strict employment restrictions. Employment is broadly defined by the U.S. Department of State as “any service provided in exchange for financial or material compensation.” F-1 students must not accept any form of off-campus employment unless prior USCIS authorization is granted, which may be granted to students who apply with the Designated School Official/International Student Adviser in the Office of Student Life Services for training related to their degree program. This training is referred to as Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT). Authorized on-campus employment is permitted for F-1 visa holders only, though it is limited.