International Students

Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary takes seriously the task of providing quality education toward preparation for leadership in gospel ministry for international students who have taken full advantage of the best theological education available 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 to provide leadership in ministry upon completion of their studies at Gordon-Conwell.

Policies Regarding Admission

Requesting Application Materials

  1. Formal application is made directly to Gordon-Conwell–Boston (CUME).
  2. The following items must be received before action will be taken on any application:
  • Completed application form including:
    • Personal Statements addressing questions about vocational goal, church involvement, previous ministerial experience, encouragement from others, and an assessment of strengths and weaknesses.
    • A brief autobiography
  • Application fee of $50 (U.S.).
  • Official Transcripts from any educational institution where at least one course was taken for credit.
  • Three written recommendations on forms supplied online, attesting to the applicant’s commitment to Christ, capacity for leadership, emotional maturity and stability, personal integrity and responsibility, social sensitivity, communication skills, and motivation.

Potential for Contribution to the Church

Applicants are selected on the basis of potential for significant contribution to the Christian church in one’s homeland. Also, letters of endorsement are required from a denominational official and a local church leader.

Competency in English

Competency in understanding and using the English language is necessary for international students. The ability to handle graduate studies requires facility in English. Students whose native language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and submit the results to Gordon-Conwell as part of the application process. This test must be taken even if English is the applicant’s second language.

A TOEFL score of 570 (230 computer-based, 90 internet-based) or better is required for masters students. Applicants showing a particular weakness in English may be required to complete an intensive language program at a local college prior to enrollment at Gordon-Conwell. Please click here for more information about the TOEFL test. The Gordon-Conwell-CUME code number is 0200.

College Education

A four year college degree at the bachelor’s level is required for all international applicants applying to all Masters Programs in Boston. Normally, a diploma overseas 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.

Vocational Goal and Christian Witness

The vocational goal of the applicant must be clear and the Christian testimony must be strong. Gordon-Conwell desires to help train Christian leaders who have a sure sense of call from God to a particular task and who evidence consistent Christian living.

If you would like to receive the application materials, simply fill out our forms. Comments and queries can be directed to [email protected]

Course of Study

Under the terms of an F-1 student visa one is required to pursue a full-time course of study during the academic year, September through May. For immigration purposes, Gordon-Conwell, Boston commonly defines full-time study as registration for nine or more credits each semester (3 courses each per Fall and Spring semesters).

Process for Obtaining a Student Visa

Step 1 – Fill out Application for I-20

Once you are accepted as a GCTS-Boston Campus student, the International Student Advisor will contact you in regards to the F1 visa process. In order for us to create a Certificate of Eligibility document, also known as an I-20, we will need some additional information from you. All students, whether currently in the US or applying from abroad, must complete this step.

Be sure your application is completed and your acceptance has been granted at least 4 months prior to the start of your program to ensure there is enough time to process your information and obtain a student visa. Please see visa processing times for your country here.

We will send you the Application for the I-20 in order to collect information related to the immigration process such as your current visa status (if in the US) and finances. This form will include the updated cost of living and studying in Boston at GCTS-Boston.

Financial Support

All international applicants must show evidence of financial support for educational and living expenses. Serious consideration of the high expense of living and studying in the United States must be made. We recommend that international students seek support from family members, friends, denominational agencies, local churches and mission boards.

Affidavit of Support

If you have financial sponsors they must submit an Affidavit of Support along with their financial documentation. The electronic Affidavit of Support document for them to fill out will be emailed to you along with the Application for the I-20.

If support is from family/friends affidavit must include:

  • Their written confirmation of support
  • The duration of their support
  • The amount of their support
  • Their relationship to you

If support is from company/church/government/organization affidavit must include:

  • Official letter on letterhead dated within last 6 months
  • Signature of designated official
  • Statement in regards to total amount covered, which expenses will be covered, for what duration, and whether the amount includes dependent support

Financial Documentation

When submitting financial documentation, whether personal or from a sponsor they must:

  • Be issued on official bank letterhead
  • Be issued within the last 6 months
  • Be signed by a bank official
  • Verify that funds are currently available from checking/draft, savings, or certificate of deposits accounts ONLY. Certificate of deposit accounts must mature by the program start date of your initial term in order to be considered.
  • All funding from the acceptable sources must be readily available.
  • All documents must be in English OR include certified translations along with original documents
  • Documents may be submitted with your country’s currency listed, but please convert the currency for completing the Application for the I-20.

Note: Please keep all original documents as you will need them during your visa application process.

Dependents Information

If you are applying for an F-1 visa you can include your spouse and children on your application. They will be granted an F-2 visa, which means they are dependent on your F-1 visa. The F-2 visa prevents people from working and studying full time. Include their information on your Application for an I-20 and ensure that you are able to provide the additional financial documentation for their expenses. Please check the chart on the Application for an I-20 for more information on financial costs associated.

Transferring I-20 from another school

If you are already in the U.S. at another academic institution on an F-1 visa status AND you wish to stay in the same visa status, submit the Sevis Record Transfer In-Form sent via email from the International Student Advisor at your current college/university.

If you are planning to travel outside the US before starting at GCTS-Boston please contact your International Student Advisor as you may not need to process a “Transfer” I-20 but rather a new “Initial Attendance” I-20.

Please read the form carefully for additional information.

Changing Visa status to F-1 from another visa type

If you are currently in the US under a different visa (other than F-1) such as F-2 or B-2 please contact the International Student Advisor for more information. Please keep in mind that when applying for a Change of Status (COS), using form I-539, you may not be able to begin studying until you receive your official approval notice from USCIS. Processing times may vary, so applicants should plan accordingly or plan on returning to your home country to apply for a COS.

More information will be given by the International Student Advisor once an applicant has been accepted.

Step 2 – Schedule & Prepare for your Visa Interview

Once you receive your I-20 from the International Student Advisor you should contact the U.S. Embassy/Consulate closest to where you live to schedule a visa interview. You can find a list of the U.S. Embassies/Consulates online at Instructions on how to schedule a visa interview, the application form (Form DS-160), and clarification of documents required for a visa interview are included on each consulate’s website.

In general however you should bring the following documents:

  • Current Passport
  • I-20 Form
  • Letter of Admission
  • Copy of financial documents submitted with your I-20 application
  • Printed confirmation of SEVIS payment

Please read the instructions and tips for your interview sent by the International Student Advisor. GCTS cannot guarantee receipt of a visa and the issuance of a visa is at the sole discretion of the Consular Officer.

Step 3 – Pay the required SEVIS Fee

The I-901 SEVIS Fee is mandated by Congress and funds the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) and SEVIS. The SEVIS fee is different from visa fees and school SEVIS administration fees. You may pay your fee online at this website:

Please make sure you print confirmation of your payment to bring with you to your Visa interview. The payment confirmation can be printed from the FMJFEE website any time after entering your SEVIS ID, Last Name, and Date of Birth. Your SEVIS ID can be found on the top left of your I-20.

Step 4 – Pre-Arrival Information

  • Please make sure to arrive in the United States up to 30 days prior to the start date indicated on your form I-20. Do not arrive earlier than 30 days before the date indicated on your form I-20 and do not arrive after this date.
  • Always carry important documents with you when traveling (do not put them in checked luggage).
  • For additional information please see “Arriving at US Point of Entry” document sent via email by International Student Advisor.

Step 5 – Arrive on Campus

  • Once you arrive in Boston you must report to the Boston Campus for F-1 Orientation and New Student Orientation. Both of these will be vital for you to succeed in your studies and learn how to maintain proper F-1 status.
  • We will go over the following topics:
    • Full time registration
    • Health Insurance Requirement
    • How to obtain Social Security Number / Driver’s License
    • On Campus Employment / Unauthorized Employment
    • Taxes
    • Paying tuition
    • Banking in America
    • Adjusting to Life in Boston
    • Etc.

Any questions regarding international study at GCTS-Boston should be directed to the International Student Advisor, Marie East at [email protected].

You Can Afford Seminary

Financial aid is available.

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