Additional academic policies
A student who wishes to register at another college while in attendance at this institution may do so without formal approval.
All courses at GCS must be completed within ten years. Requirements for a degree are based on GCS policies on the date that the student first enrolled, or the current Catalog, whichever the student chooses. We keep electronic copies of our older catalogs, but students should download a copy for themselves when they first enroll.
Since most of our students are part-time students, it often takes them three years to take the first seven courses, when they can matriculate into a master’s degree program. After that, it is usually necessary to take another three years to complete the MPS or MTS, or another six years for the MDiv. Fulltime students can complete the degree in less time.
The maximum length of time is ten years (which may be extended if a formal leave of absence was obtained). We recommend that new students take only one course in their first semester. A student must get advance approval to take more than three courses per semester. Students also need advance approval to register for another course if they have not yet completed a course from the previous semester.
Students must register before the first week of the course and pay for the tuition and fees with credit or debit card at the time of registration. Students should consult the short syllabus online to order textbooks in advance of the start of the course. GCS does not sell textbooks; they must be obtained from online booksellers or local bookstores.
Students auditing a course receive no grades or course credit for the class toward completion of the degree. Access to lectures and other course materials will be granted throughout the semester. Instructors sometimes require audit students to read the textbooks and participate in the discussions. Students who are enrolled in a course and wish to change their status to an audit can do so at any time before the final assignment is due. Some tuition may be refunded if this change is made in the first two weeks; see “Tuition and Fees.”
Auditing students should introduce themselves in the first discussion forum; instructors may have additional requirements for those who audit. Auditing students should treat the course materials and discussions as confidential (see Student Code of Conduct, part 6.)
In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, we will provide reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities on a case-by-case basis. If special services are needed, please contact the Dean of Faculty, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students may change their own email address on the GCS website, but such changes should also be sent to the Registrar. Students should also notify the Registrar if there is a change in phone number or physical mailing address.
GCS does not issue student ID cards. We can set up a gcs.edu email address if the student needs one.
GCS offers education from a specific theological perspective. Our courses are biblically based, and representative of the tenets of our sponsoring denomination, Grace Communion International. For the Statement of Beliefs, go to https://www.gci.org/articles/the-gci-statement-of-beliefs/.
In course content where GCI does not have a denominational position, we endeavor to present a balanced evangelical, orthodox view. Instructors may present their own position on areas that are speculative, on which GCI has not taken a position.
Students may exercise academic freedom in critical thinking. Therefore, in research papers, discussion forums, etc., students are permitted to argue in favor of a position different than that promoted by the course. When GCS instructors grade such submissions, they should grade on the quality of the research and analysis, not solely on the specific conclusions that have been reached.
When papers are evaluated by academic criteria, the acceptance of a paper as sufficient for the program does not necessarily imply that the conclusion has been accepted by the instructor, the seminary, or the sponsoring denomination.
If a student believes that the instructor is teaching something false, the student should first discuss the matter with the instructor. If the student and instructor cannot agree, the student may appeal to the Dean of Faculty. The Dean will discuss the matter with the instructor, and respond to the student within 14 days. If a satisfactory resolution is not reached, either the Dean or the student may request that the matter be discussed by the Curriculum Committee, which will then make a recommendation to the President. Depending on the meeting schedule of the Curriculum Committee, this may take several months. In any case, the student should realize that we do not have time to write detailed responses to all the theological controversies that exist within Christianity, and even the most detailed of responses would not convince everyone. No further appeal is possible.
U.S. federal law (FERPA) mandates that:
1. Students have a right to see what is in their educational files.
2. Students have the right to challenge information in the file, or to insert a statement into the file if the student believes that the records are inaccurate, misleading or a violation of privacy.
3. Students can, but are not required to, waive the right to see certain items in their educational files, such as letters of recommendation.
4. Grades are confidential. If faculty use student assignments as samples for future classes, all identifying details must be removed from the document. Grade information may be shared with other GCS faculty and staff for academic purposes.
5. GCS has the right to release basic facts about the student to anyone who asks:
· student’s name and years in which the student took classes at GCS.
· whether the student is currently enrolled in a class.
· whether the student has earned a degree.
6. Additionally, we may release more information about our students to an accreditation agency or government agency so they can contact those students to verify what we are doing. This includes names, addresses, email addresses, telephone numbers, and previous educational qualifications. We will not release this information for other purposes.
7. Other than the above-listed information, GCS will not release additional information about the student without signed consent. Transcripts, grades and other personal information will not be released without written permission.
8. If students believe that GCS is not complying with the requirements of the federal law, they may file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education.
Transcript requests & grades
Student records are confidential, so we cannot process a transcript request unless we receive a signed request and the appropriate payment. We cannot send a transcript if you have any outstanding obligations to the Seminary, such as library fines. Send all requests to the Registrar and include instructions on where the transcript should be mailed. We will retain your academic records permanently. You are allowed one transcript at no charge for your own records.
You can obtain your GCS Program Course Fulfillments (your grades/progress report) by logging into your GCI account (online.gci.org). Once you are logged in, locate the “Education” tab at the top of the screen. If you click on it, it will take you to the GCS website — but don’t click. Just position the cursor over “Education” and a dropdown menu will appear. Click on “My GCS Program Course Fulfillments.” Your Course Fulfillments form will then appear, and you can print and/or download the form for your records.
A student will be given an Incomplete grade when all the following conditions apply:
1) whenever required course work is missing,
2) when that missing work would result in the student receiving a lower final grade and
3) when the student has formally requested an extension and paid the extension fee.
In all other instances, a regular letter grade is given with the missing work counted as “zero” or “fail.” If the extension is granted, all missing course work must be made up in consultation with the instructor within three weeks after the final paper was due, unless otherwise arranged. In cases of health or other personal difficulties, a grade of W may also be given.
Students cannot register for more courses if they have an incomplete.
Courses may be dropped any time prior to the due date of the final examination or paper. These requests should be conveyed in writing to the Registrar and the instructor(s). (See “Course Enrollment Agreement,” above, for our refund policy.)
If a student drops a course before the tenth lecture is scheduled to be posted online, a refund will be made and a grade of W will be assigned whether or not the student is passing.
If the withdrawal is initiated after materials have been posted for the tenth week of the semester, a mark of W for Withdrawal will be assigned if the instructor informs the Registrar that the student had a passing grade at the date of the official withdrawal. A mark of F will be assigned if 1) the student is failing at the time of withdrawal and 2) the student withdraws after the tenth lecture is posted.
In general, we do not allow students take an examination again. We do allow students to take a course again (if they pay the tuition again), and only the highest grade is then counted in the GPA.
If health or other unforeseen circumstances make it impossible for you to continue your GCS studies for six months or more, please contact the Registrar for a leave of absence. There is no charge for this, and it will extend the length of time you have to complete your degree.
The granting of a leave of absence indicates a continuing relationship with the Seminary and allows students to resume studies at a specific time without reapplying for admission to the Seminary. A leave of absence generally does not exceed four semesters in length. GCS courses taken more than ten years previous will not be counted toward degree requirements unless a formal leave of absence was requested.
If a student in Master’s Level Courses has not taken a course in the past two years, or a student admitted to a master’s degree program has not taken a course in one year, the student will be considered “inactive.” A student may re-activate their status by contacting the Registrar and registering for a course.
Although a GPA of at least 2.7 is required for the degree (3.0 for the MDiv), students are not put on academic probation unless their GPA falls below 2.5. Academic probation serves as a warning that a student is in danger of academic disqualification. A student who has not achieved both a term and cumulative grade point average of 2.5 (C) or higher at the close of a semester will be placed on academic probation. The student will be notified of this probationary status. The student may take only one class per semester, or two, with permission from the Dean.
A student becomes academically disqualified and may not continue enrollment under any of the following conditions:
1) A student fails in six or more hours of course work in any given year.
2) A student on academic probation fails to achieve both a term and cumulative grade point average of 2.0 (C) or higher.
The student will be notified within one week of any disqualification. The President and Dean may waive academic disqualification if individual circumstances warrant such action.
A student who becomes disqualified may appeal the disqualification by filing an appeal at the Registrar’s Office within two weeks of the date of notification of disqualification.
After the appeal has been considered by the President and Dean, the Registrar will notify the student of the decision. Once this decision has been made, no further appeal is allowed.
Disqualified students are not eligible for readmission until at least three semesters have elapsed. If readmitted, the student will be on academic probation and will be expected to satisfy the requirements for removal from probation by the end of the term.
If students have repeated failures in academic honesty, repeated violations of student conduct (see above), or repeated failures of a course, GCS will terminate them as a student, and they will not be allowed to register for any more courses.
If students wish to withdraw from the Seminary, they may send that request in writing to the Registrar. They will no longer be counted as a student, and they will not receive any email information about upcoming courses or registration.
Student records may be placed on a hold status because of financial or other obligations to the Seminary. While a student’s records are on hold, registration will not be allowed, nor will transcripts of credits be released. Records will be held until the obligation is cleared.
Students must have a minimum GPA of 2.7 in order to graduate (3.0 for the MDiv). A student cannot graduate if there are any outstanding obligations to the Seminary, such as library fines. In order to graduate, students must complete a thesis and inform the Registrar that they want to graduate (in some cases MDiv students might complete a thesis well before they want to graduate). A diploma will be sent to the student when all requirements have been met.
Formal GCS graduation ceremonies will be held in conjunction with GCI denominational conferences, for all students who completed degree requirements since the previous ceremony. Attendance is not required. For those who want to participate, there is a fee to offset the costs of the ceremony. GCS does not give graduation honors or participate in an honor society.
GCS does not offer any career services, job counseling or placement services. We do not promise any ordination, pastoral appointment, or employment. Our program is designed to assist personal and professional development in the roles in which our students are already serving, or those who simply want to learn more about the Bible, theology, and ministry.
GCS allows alumni to audit courses for half price; we also give alumni electronic access to the GCS thesis library.
 If you are unable to do a particular task of ministry well, and yet we make you think that you are fully capable of the task, and we thereby encourage you to accept ministry responsibilities that exceed your capabilities, then we have done a disservice to you and to all those affected by that ministry. If you attempt further academic work at another institution because we have overrated your academic abilities, then we have done a disservice to you and to the other academic institution.
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