Graduate Programs

Graduate programs are offered leading to the Doctor of Philosophy in Biblical and Theological Studies, Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology, the Master of Arts in Teaching (Elementary Education and Secondary Education), and the Master of Arts in the following disciplines:

  • Biblical Archeology
  • Biblical Exegesis
  • Biblical Studies
  • History of Christianity
  • Theology
  • Christian Formation and Ministry
  • Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  • Evangelism and Leadership
  • Humanitarian and Disaster Leadership (beginning in Summer 2018)
  • Intercultural Studies
  • Marriage and Family Therapy
  • Ministry and Leadership
  • Missional Church Movements
  • Outdoor and Adventure Leadership
  • TESOL and Intercultural Studies

The graduate programs are arranged to allow maximum flexibility for each student to individualize a program to best meet the student's interests and goals. A student can develop a program in a variety of concentrations within these broad areas of study.

In addition to the degree programs, there are also some non-degree, graduate-level certificate programs available:

  • Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)
  • Certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language
  • Certificate in Global Engagement
  • Certification in Cross-Cultural Ministry


Students must be officially registered for all courses they attend. Newly admitted and readmitted students for Fall and Spring register via Banner Self Service or on registration day during Orientation. After the official registration day, a late registration fee is charged to the student. For quad courses and other deadlines, see Registrar’s Calendar in this catalog.

Students who expect to enroll in subsequent semesters must complete advance registration during the scheduled time. Financial accounts must be paid and all holds remedied before students may advance register. Information regarding registration is sent to campus post office boxes two weeks prior to Advance Registration. Before going online to register via Banner Self Service, students must obtain an additional “semester PIN” from their advisors.

Schedule Changes

Schedule changes should be made during the two weeks of the semester in the Registrar’s Office or via Banner Self Service. (For quad courses and other deadlines, see Registrar's Calendar in this catalog.) Full semester and quad courses may be dropped without a grade during the first two weeks of the semester. After that time a student withdraws with a "W" grade. Full semester courses may be dropped through the twelfth week of the semester; quad courses, through the fifth week.

To drop a course after the second week of the semester, each student must submit the appropriate drop form to the Registrar's Office. The student's transcript will indicate a grade of "W" (withdrawal) for such withdrawals after the second week of classes. Students who do not officially drop classes will automatically be assigned a grade of "F" (failure) by the instructor. Refunds will be given according to the schedule listed in the Financial Information section of this catalog.

M.A. Thesis/Applied Thesis/Action Research Paper

All M.A. or M.A.T. candidates who desire to write a thesis/applied thesis must follow the proposal process established by the Graduate School and their academic department (see Wheaton College Graduate School M.A. Thesis Proposal Process). An M.A.T. candidate writing an action research paper must submit a proposal to and receive approval from the Education Department before beginning the project. Once the student reaches Thesis/Applied Thesis/Action Research Continuation status, registration for Thesis/Applied Thesis/Action Research Paper Continuation will be coordinated by the student's academic program and the Registrar's Office. Continuous enrollment in Thesis Continuation is required for the student to retain status with the College, including the use of the College's learning resources, facilities, and other benefits. A $50.00 fee will be charged for each semester (fall, spring and summer) of thesis/applied thesis/action research paper continuation.

Students will not receive a degree until their work has been accepted by Buswell Library, except in cases where the Thesis/Applied Thesis was not required for the degree.

An M.A. program change from thesis/applied thesis/action research (after initial registration) can be made by written request to the major department and the Registrar’s Office to substitute additional course work and comprehensive exams. The major department and Registrar will determine whether or not it is appropriate to grant the request. In the event that the request is granted, and if the additional course work requested is an independent study based on the original registration for thesis/applied thesis/action research, a processing fee of 20% of the current fall/spring tuition will be charged. If additional courses are taken, current tuition is charged.

Students are hereby notified that copies of a student's thesis/applied thesis or action research paper will be made available to the public through the College's library and by other means as determined by the Graduate School.

Ph.D. and Psy.D. Dissertation

Ph.D. and Psy.D. students must follow proposal and approval processes established by their academic program. Registration for Dissertation will happen according to the student's academic program policies. Once the student reaches Dissertation Continuation status, registration for Dissertation Continuation will be coordinated by the student's academic program and the Registrar's Office. Continuous enrollment in Dissertation Continuation is required for the student to retain status with the College, including the use of the College's learning resources, facilities, and other benefits. A $50.00 fee will be charged for each semester (fall, spring and summer) of dissertation continuation. Students will not receive a degree until their work has been accepted by Buswell Library.

Requirements for the Ph.D. dissertation in Biblical and Theological Studies are specified in the Ph.D. Student Handbook and the Ph.D. Dissertation Manual.

Requirements for the Psy.D. Clinical Dissertation are specified in the Psy.D. Student Handbook and the Clinical Dissertation Manual.

Students are hereby notified that copies of a student's dissertation will be made available to the public through the College's library.


Any student carrying a full-time academic schedule (12 or more semester hours) may audit one course without charge by filing an approved audit application at the Registrar's Office. In addition, part-time graduate students who will complete all graduation requirements by the end of the current semester are entitled to a free audit. No credit is given for audited courses and the courses are not automatically recorded on the student's academic record. A transcript audit will be recorded on a student's transcript when the audit is completed in accordance with the guidelines for a transcript audit. Part-time graduate students auditing courses are charged the student audit rate.

Spouse Audits

The audit privilege for a full-time graduate student may be used by the student's spouse if the student is not auditing a course. Application for a spouse audit is made through the Graduate Records and Registration Office.

Course Load

To be classified as a full-time student, a master's-level student must be enrolled for a minimum of 12 hours and a Ph.D. or Psy.D. student, for a minimum of 10 hours per semester. A full-time load for a four-week summer session is considered to be a minimum of four hours; for Psy.D. students, a minimum of six hours for the entire summer session. Students desiring to enroll in more than 16 hours per semester must have the approval of the department chair. Since many graduate students work part-time or full-time, they should carefully consider their academic course load in relationship to the number of hours they must work. Students should consult with their advisors concerning the number of credit hours to register for each semester. Psy.D. students enrolled in the fifth-year Clinical Internship will be considered full-time students if working on the internship full-time. Ph.D. students working full-time on their dissertations (and confirmed by their dissertation advisors) are considered full-time students.


The chair of the department, or a member of the faculty designated by the chair, will advise students concerning their program. Only those courses approved by the student's advisor may be used toward the graduate degree.

Grading System

Eight grades are given for passing work, with significance as follows:  A, outstanding; A-, superior; B+, very good; B, satisfactory; B-, C+, C, acceptable but below average; P, satisfactory. B is the acceptable norm for graduate school study.

Grade points are granted on the following basis:

Letter Grade Grade Points
A 4 grade points per hour
A- 3.7 grade points per hour
B+ 3.3 grade points per hour
B 3 grade points per hour
B- 2.7 grade points per hour
C+ 2.3 grade points per hour
C 2 grade points per hour
F 0 grade points per hour
P Pass (B- or better); not computed in grade point average

(Students in Ph.D. courses are awarded grades of “High Pass,” “Pass,” or “Fail”.)

Courses officially dropped during the first two weeks of the term are not recorded. After that time the student will receive a W (withdrawal) grade for all courses which are dropped by the drop deadline. The W grade does not affect the student's grade point average.

A student should resolve any questions about grades as soon as possible after grades have been received. A student has four months from the day grades are issued to question the grade earned. After that date grades will be considered final. Within the four-month period, a grievance by the student should be resolved with the instructor of the course. (See grievance procedure in the Student Handbook.)

Incomplete Grades

An incomplete grade (INC) may be assigned only for deficiencies as the result of illness or situations beyond the control of the student and not because of neglect on the part of the student. An incomplete grade must be made up by the end of the sixth week from the end of the semester or summer session in which it was received. If the course is not completed within the six-week time limit, a grade of F will be assigned. The six-week time limit can be extended only by special permission of the Registrar in consultation with the instructor. The Incomplete Grade Request is available in the Registrar’s Office or on the Web at The Incomplete Grade application must be filed by the last day of final exams (or A Quad class) in the Registrar’s Office. Once the drop deadline has passed, a class cannot be dropped after an incomplete has been entered.

An In-Progress (IP) grade will be given when work cannot be completed by the end of a semester for non-classroom independent course work, such as an Independent Study, Internship, Thesis, Applied Thesis or Dissertation, or Tutorial. The completion deadline for finishing the work in order to receive a grade will lie with the professor. In-Progress grades will not affect the student's grade point average.


This privilege may be granted for general undergraduate deficiency courses or elective courses not used for the M.A. degree. In each case the student will need the approval of an advisor and the instructor of the course before the pass/fail option is granted. Students entering with an undergraduate deficiency in Bible must take the courses for a letter grade. Under the pass/fail option a student must receive a regular grade of B- or better in order to receive a pass "P" grade in a graduate course. Therefore, the possible grades for a pass/fail course are P (pass), C (calculated in GPA) and F (failure). The form for requesting the pass/fail option can be found at See Registrar’s Calendar for deadlines for submission to the Registrar’s Office.

Integrity of Scholarship

By affirmation of the Wheaton College Community Covenant, all students, faculty, and staff are expected to understand and subscribe to the ideal of academic integrity and to take personal responsibility and accountability for their work. Academic dishonesty is a serious offense against an academic community and against the standards of excellence, integrity, and behavior expected of its members. Academic dishonesty degrades the educational and research mission of the College. Truth and honesty are to be followed in all academic endeavors, including the taking of examinations and in the preparation of class reports and papers. Areas of concern related to academic integrity include plagiarism, cheating, fabrication of information or data, unauthorized collaboration, lying, defrauding, misrepresentation, or deception related to assigned or voluntary academic work. The definition of academic dishonesty, the method for reporting violations, and the procedures of the disciplinary process are stated in the “Policy on Academic Honesty” in the Student Handbook on the internet.

Gender Inclusive Language

For academic discourse, spoken and written, the faculty expects students to use gender inclusive language for human beings.

The policy is both theological and missional.

Evangelical Christians continue to have differences about how to interpret scripture in reference to many questions about what it means to be male and female, but we are united in the affirmation that both men and women are fully human, created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27).

The college seeks to equip students for service in the world for Christ. Students need to be ready to communicate in that world. We want our students to succeed in graduate school, in the corporate world, and in public communication, all settings in which gender inclusive language for human beings is expected and where the inability to use such language may well be harmful to the Christian witness.

Evangelical Christians are not separatists. Missionally, we have long been committed to being in the world and in the broader culture, following the example of Christ our Lord who does not “belong to the world” but who was sent into the world by the Father and so sends us (John 17:14, 18). We are commanded to be in the world for the sake of the gospel. Paul counsels Christians in Corinth to attend to the consciences of others giving “no offense to Jews or Greeks” (1 Cor. 10:32). Paul also draws on the doctrine of the goodness of creation (1 Cor. 10:26), reminding the church in Corinth that it will not be polluted by engagement in the world because the world is God’s.

Language remains fluid, and professors should discuss specific guidelines for practice with students.

Helpful resources for practice include:
National Council of Teachers of English guidelines,
Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th Edition) 61-76.
MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (7th Edition) 49-50; 259-260.
The Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition) 301-304.

The policy does not apply to language used for God nor does it require any rephrasing of quotations. The policy does not imply answers to contested questions about the best standards for biblical translation.


Each year several graduate students are selected by various departments to receive special recognition for unusually meritorious achievement. The awards take into consideration academic excellence, professional competence, and moral and spiritual character. The awards are:

The Mary LeBar Award in Christian Formation and Ministry
The Lois LeBar Award in Christian Formation and Ministry
Norton Award in Missions and Intercultural Studies
The Lonna Dickerson Award in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
The John A. Gration Gospel and Culture Award
The Dolores Gallagher Memorial Award
Rech Award in Psychological Studies
Schultz Award in Old Testament Studies
Tenney Award in New Testament Studies
Kantzer Award in Christian History and Theology
Waterman Award in Old and New Testament Studies
T. W. Wilson Award in Evangelism
William Hiram Bentley Award for Ministry to the African-American Community
The Richardson Award for Excellence in Biblical and Theological Studies
The Frances J. White Award for Psychology and Ministry
Hilligoss Award in Biblical Studies

Leave of Absence

The purpose of a voluntary Leave of Absence (LOA) is to provide students time away from Wheaton College for treatment of a medical or mental health condition that impairs a student's ability to function successfully or safely as a member of the Wheaton College community. Wheaton College has designed this policy to ensure that students are given the individualized consideration and support necessary to address their particular circumstances. All students are required to consult with the Director of Student Care, the Graduate Student Life Coordinator, or the International Graduate Student Coordinator before applying for an LOA. The LOA policy applies to all undergraduate and graduate students except for doctoral students (see below). Please see the Graduate Student Life office (BGC 227) for details of this policy.

Doctoral Degree Students. Continuous enrollment in the graduate programs is an expectation for doctoral students until all degree requirements are satisfied. However for extraordinary reasons a student may be granted a program leave. Students granted program leave will have their degree completion time-limit extended by the length of their approved absence, effectively stopping their degree completion “clock”. Students who have a lapse in enrollment without an approved program leave must withdraw from their program and will be subject to the normal entailments of such withdrawal. Please consult the corresponding Ph.D. Student Handbook or Psy.D. Student Handbook for further details.

In some situations, students taking a program leave may also qualify for the above mentioned institutional Leave of Absence policy which may qualify students to continue their health insurance (with limitations) and can be found in the Student Handbook with the full policy available in the Graduate Student Life office (BGC 227) and the Student Development office (SSB Suite 218).

If the circumstances for the program leave request are of a sensitive nature which the student prefers to not discuss in detail with the faculty, the student can first go to the Graduate Student Life Coordinator who will work with the student on initiating the program leave process and provide information and insight on the student rights to the PhD committee in the decision making process.

It is the responsibility of the student to understand the program leave and the ramifications of the leave on their loan repayment schedules, future financial aid/scholarship eligibility, health insurance coverage, re-activation of enrollment, etc.; and, to plan accordingly.

Withdrawal from Graduate School

A student who leaves the Graduate School during an academic term must officially withdraw from all classes, as well as secure approval from appropriate campus offices. Only those students who follow these procedures and return all appropriate documents to the Registrar will be classified as withdrawn in good standing. Withdrawal forms are obtained from the Registrar’s Office. For refund information see the Financial Information section of this catalog.

A student who leaves the College during the semester without obtaining permission to withdraw will be administratively withdrawn and may forfeit all fees or deposits paid to the College and "F" grades assigned.

If a student is asked to withdraw or is dismissed for disciplinary reasons, grades of "W" will be recorded on the transcript for courses in which the student is enrolled. The regular refund policy applies for a student who is dismissed for disciplinary reasons.

Academic Probation/Dismissal

Students are expected to pass enough hours and maintain a grade point average sufficient to be considered as making satisfactory academic progress. A student's academic status will be checked at the end of each semester and at the end of summer school.

When a student's cumulative grade point average falls below 2.80 (3.00 for Psy.D.), the student will be placed on academic probation for the following semester of enrollment. Any student who fails to pass three-fourths of the credits in which s/he was enrolled may also be placed on probation.

During the probationary semester, the student must receive a semester grade point average of 2.80 (3.00 for Psy.D.) or higher in order to be continued on probation. When the student's cumulative grade point average reaches 2.80 (3.00 for Psy.D.), the probationary status will be removed.

If the student's semester grade point average for the probationary semester is below 2.80 (3.00 for Psy.D.), the student is subject to academic dismissal. Students dismissed may apply for readmission after one year has elapsed. A student who wishes to appeal dismissal status must make a written appeal within three days from the time the dismissal notification is received.

Students must maintain satisfactory progress to receive financial aid. When a student qualifies for academic dismissal, financial aid cannot be awarded. If, therefore, a student appeals a dismissal status and the appeal is granted, the student will be allowed to enroll on a probation status but will not receive financial aid. If a student who has been dismissed applies at a later date for readmission and the application is granted, the student will enroll on probation status but will not be eligible for financial aid until the dismissal conditions have been remedied.

Graduate students who still have athletic eligibility for an undergraduate athletic team cannot participate in intercollegiate athletics if they are on academic probation.

Involuntary Leave Policy

It is the policy of Wheaton College to foster a campus environment that is conducive to learning, promotes the College's educational purposes, maintains reasonable order, and protects the rights and safety of all members of the College community. In extraordinary circumstances, the College may place a student on an involuntary leave of absence or take other appropriate action for reasons of personal or community safety. Such circumstances may include but are not limited to, engaging in physical or sexual violence, activity involving illegal drug or other controlled substances, disruptive conduct, conduct that threatens the safety of others, or conduct that demonstrates an inability to care of oneself.

The procedure will be initiated only (1) after reasonable attempts to secure a student’s voluntary cooperation for a medical or psychological evaluation or leave of absence have been pursued; or (2) if a student refuses to agree to, or does not adhere to reasonable conditions established for their continued presence on campus, or continued presence in college housing or other college program or activity.

The Involuntary Leave Policy applies to both undergraduate and graduate students of the College and to all College locations, programs, and activities. A full description of the policy is available from the Graduate Student Life office (BGC 227).

Academic Transcripts

All requests for academic transcripts must be made in writing to the Office of the Registrar. Transcripts will not be released to currently enrolled students and former students who have not paid their college bills in full or who are delinquent in loan repayments. The form for requesting a transcript is available at

Distributed Learning

A limited number of Distributed Learning courses are offered entirely on-line without a traditional classroom component. Such courses may include synchronous discussion with the teacher and peers. Students taking graduate courses complete assignments and examinations that are evaluated and graded by Wheaton College faculty.

The following courses may be available as Distributed Learning Courses:

BITH 546New Testament Book Studies from the English Text2,4
BITH 548Life and Teachings Of Paul4
BITH 638Old Testament Theology4
BITH 648New Testament Theology4
INTR 565Folk Religions2,4
INTR 567Spiritual Conflict2,4

Distributed Learning Courses may be used in the following ways:

Students in modular and ELIC programs offered in Intercultural Studies and Evangelism and Leadership may apply up to 16 hours of Distributed Learning courses toward their degree requirements.

Students in non-approved degree programs may apply 8-10 semester hours of Distributed Learning course work to a degree program, provided they receive prior approval from the Graduate Academic Affairs Committee (GAAC) and the course(s) meet degree requirements. With the exception of the approved programs above, students enrolled in a Distributed Learning course after they have begun taking classes on campus will be billed on-campus, Graduate School tuition rates. Distributed Learning courses cannot be used to meet the Biblical and Theological Studies requirement for all degree programs.

Non-Wheaton students may enroll as Special students for their own enrichment or to transfer credit for these courses to degree programs of other institutions. Enrollment in a Distributed Learning course does not imply admission to Wheaton College Graduate School or any of its programs.

Distributed Learning courses will be billed at the time of registration and payable within 30 days of billing. Tuition refunds will be according to the following schedule if no work has been attempted:

Percent Refunded Schedule
100% refund within 30 days of registration
50% refund within 60 days of registration
0% refund after 60 days

Official Communication

Wheaton College uses Banner Self Service, a component of the College's administrative database system, and College-administered student email accounts for official communicaton between students and administrative offices.

Banner Self Service

Banner Self-Service provides online registration for classes and communication of class schedules, grades, student account balances, and financial aid information. Students access Banner Self Service through the Wheaton Portal at Data encryption and user authentication protect students' personal information.

Electronic Mail

Students are given College email accounts upon enrollment. Official notifications will be sent to these accounts. Students are responsible for reading their College email, and must use their College email accounts in official correspondence to ensure proper identification.