Application Process for International Students - Gordon Conwell

Before You Apply

Check the requirements for the specific program you’re interested in applying to:


Admissions Policies for International Students

English Competency

For any applicant for whom English is not your native language, Gordon-Conwell requires a TOEFL score of 90 or better (IBT). We also accept IELTS scores of 6.5 or higher, or a Duolingo score of 110. Applicants whose native language is not English, but who have completed an undergraduate or graduate degree in English through a university in the USA, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, or Anglophone Canada do not need a TOEFL or equivalent test.

Learn More »

College Education

College Education

A four-year college degree at the bachelor’s level is required for all international applicants. Normally, a diploma is not the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree. Superior academic work should be evident. Where an educational system differs in structure from that of the United States, Gordon-Conwell may require the applicant to submit a catalog from the school where the degree was received. An applicant may also be asked to provide a statement from a college official explaining particular aspects of the education received.


Each year, Gordon-Conwell is able to offer a limited number of scholarships to highly qualified international students for full-time study, beginning in the fall semester. 

Learn More About Scholarships for Degree Programs »

Please note that our Graduate Certificate programs are not eligible for federal aid.

Visas (F-1 and Others)

For information on the F-1 visa process, please visit the “Additional Instructions” section of this page.

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. This restriction applies to all degree programs at Gordon-Conwell, including short-term programs and summer and inter terms. Students with immigrant or non-immigrant statuses other than F-1 or B-1/B-2 must contact the Admissions Office to provide further details. Students will be required to provide a copy of their visa or other related information upon admission to Gordon-Conwell and are solely responsible for lawfully maintaining their visa status.

Graduate Certificates

Unfortunately, our Graduate Certificate programs are not eligible for F-1 visas or federal financal aid.

Family Members

Accepted students who desire to bring their family members with them to Gordon-Conwell must receive approval from the seminary prior to arrival in the United States. They must show proof of sufficient funds to cover living expenses and all transportation costs for family members. The United States government requires that proof of financial support be given before the proper forms for entrance to this country can be granted.

Standard Application Process

During the application process, applicants must affirm both Gordon-Conwell's Statement of Faith and Community Life Statement.

In general, you will be asked to complete the following:

  1. Application Form
  2. Application Fee (Learn More »)
  3. Three References (Learn More »)
  4. Official Transcripts (Learn More »)
  5. Two Written Essays (Learn More »)

Also, if English is not your native language, you may be required to submit an English competency score through TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo. Learn More »

Additional Instructions for International Students

Submitting the I-20 Application After You're Accepted to Gordon-Conwell

Complete and Submit the Application for Form 1-20/F1 Visa Certificate

After you are accepted to Gordon-Conwell, you begin another application process to receive a Form I-20 to use in support of an application for an F-1 student visa at a United States Embassy or Consulate. 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.

Complete and submit the all of the relevant forms for applying for the Form I-20/F1 Visa Certificate:

When completing the Application for I-20 Certificate of Eligibility, you are required to show full proof of funding for one academic year in the amounts specified on the application Financial Certification form. You must submit all original documents, including original bank statements, support letters/affidavits of support, and any other information requested of you. Because Gordon-Conwell and the embassy/consulate both require original documents, request two sets of financial documents from 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. 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.

If you are receiving financial support, each supporter must complete an Affidavit of Support form. Complete and submit these forms, as needed, along with your application. You may also choose to provide another affidavit of support format, provided that the affidavit contains all of the information contained in the forms provided.

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 (PDF format) to [email protected].

Canadian Students

Canadian citizens are not required to obtain an F-1 visa. Canadian citizens must, however, receive an I-20 Certificate of Eligibility 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 semester. Click here for more information regarding the visa exemption for Canadian citizens.

Steps After You Receive Your Visa(s)

After you receive your F-1 (and F-2) visa(s), please notify the International Student Office ([email protected]) 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 your I-20.

  • Applying for on-campus housing: Housing information and application, which must be submitted by April 1 to be given priority for assignment for Fall semester housing or November 1 for Spring semester.
  • Arriving on-campus: Your arrival date and time must be approved by Gordon-Conwell. Rides from Boston’s Logan airport may be available by request, please complete the Arrival Planning survey to request a ride in advance.
  • Preparing for life in the United States: We offer a mandatory orientation for all international students during New Student Orientation, which will include information about lawfully maintaining your F-1 visa status.

International Student Services

Incoming F-1 students should also be aware of the following: 

Post-Arrival Guide

Post-Arrival Guide for International Students & Families

A guide containing helpful information has been prepared to assist you (and your family) with the transition from your home country to the United States. While it is not comprehensive, it should provide a useful guide to adjusting to student life at Gordon-Conwell, American culture and ways, and life in New England.

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.



Serious consideration must be made with regard to the employment provisions and restrictions of the F-1 (and F-2) student visa. 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 are not permitted to accept any off-campus employment (including employment by a church or ministry) without prior United States Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) authorization, which may be granted to students who apply first through the Office of Student Life Services for curricular or optional practical training related to their degree program.

F-2 spouses and children are not permitted to work while in the United States under any circumstances at any time.

Health Insurance (Massachusetts)

Massachusetts law mandates that all full time students (6 or more credit hours) at Gordon-Conwell’s Hamilton campus have health insurance coverage. Gordon-Conwell students are, therefore, required either to purchase the Student Accident and Sickness Insurance Program through University Health Plans, or demonstrate proof of sufficient health insurance coverage for each semester enrolled (also referred to as “waiving coverage”).

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

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 non-immigration regulations that apply to F-1 visa students (and F-2 dependents). Lawfully maintaining F-1 visa status includes, but is not limited to, the following:

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.

The International Student Services is part of the Registration Office, which is located in Kerr 371 on the Hamilton campus. Please contact the International Students Office for more information: (978) 646-4062 or [email protected].

Have Questions?

Someone from our friendly admissions team would be happy to reach out to you.

Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary does not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, national or ethnic origin, age, handicap or veteran status. A complete statement of compliance with federal laws and regulations can be found in the Gordon-Conwell Student Handbook.