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 ministry leadership in their own countries.
Which program is right for me?
International students have several options available to begin their theological education at Gordon-Conwell.
- International students are strongly encouraged to consider our South Hamilton, Massachusetts campus, which offers a full range of services for the international student. The Charlotte, North Carolina campus also serves a significant number of international students, particularly those who do not require provided room and board.
- The Online Certificate in Christian Studies can be completed fully online without any need to travel to the United States.
- The Online Masters in Religion with a Concentration in Christian Studies can be completed 50% exclusively only and 50% with a combination of online coursework and intensive residency experiences. A valid F-1 visa (see admissions policies below) is required anytime a student wishes to enter the country to complete residency requirements. International students who are intent on applying for this degree program should speak with our Admissions Team prior to applying. Please contact email@example.com to set up a phone or Skype meeting.
Prospective international students have the same core application requirements as American students, with a few exceptions. Prospective students should familiarize themselves with these application requirements. In addition, prospective international students must demonstrate:
Competency in English
Alternate Visas (non F-1)
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.
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
14542 Choate Cir.
Charlotte, NC 28273
Any questions regarding F-1 student visas and the Application for I-20/Visa Certificate should be addressed to the Admissions Team at (855) 211-2474 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Submit Financial Affidavits
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.
Any financial support coming from family, friends, sponsors, church or mission organization must be validated by the supporting party(ies). Each supporter should submit an original, dated and signed letter on letterhead (if applicable) indicating their relationship to the student, the reason for their support and the amount (in dollar figures) which they will contribute to the student each month/year and for how long this support will be provided. These letters should be sent directly to the Admissions Office at the Charlotte campus. Any private supporter (i.e.. friend, family, sponsor) should also include documentation, such as bank statements, showing their ability to provide the amount pledged.
If prefered, supporters can complete and submit one of these affidavit forms, along with supporting documents:
Transfer Students (if applicable)
Canadian Students (if applicable)
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. Click here to pay the SEVIS fee.
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 F-1 (and F-2) visa(s), please notify email@example.com 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.
F-2 spouses and children are not permitted to work while in the United States under any circumstances at any time.
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 for the Online MAR program is equal to six credit hours per semester. Only one online or distance education course per semester can count toward full-time status. Due to this requirement, for those in the online MAR program, we recommend that students complete their residency requirements at the beginning or end of their program.