Quick Facts & FAQs

Quick Facts

Class Sizes

  • Our average class size is 25–30 students.
  • Our student-to-faculty ratio is 10:1.

Students

  • Approximately 106 students are enrolled in Westminster Seminary California. Approximately 70% of our students are enrolled in the Master of Divinity (MDiv). program; the other 30% are divided between our three MA programs: Biblical Studies, Historical Theology, and Theological Studies.
  • The WSC student community represents over 25 denominations.

Graduates

  • Since 1980, WSC has graduated over 1,250 men and women. WSC alumni are serving Christ and his church in several foreign countries including China, Singapore, Korea, Spain, Germany, England, Nigeria, Malawi, Romania, and South Africa.
  • You can meet some of our graduates and learn about their lives since graduating from Westminster here.

Faculty

  • Our full-time faculty consists primarily of ordained ministers from Presbyterian and Reformed denominations (PCA, OPC, URCNA) who have earned doctoral degrees
  • All WSC faculty members subscribe to the Westminster Standards (the Confession of Faith, and the Shorter and Larger Catechisms) and the Three Forms of Unity (Heidelberg Catechism, Belgic Confession, and the Canons of Dordt)
  • You can find more information on our faculty here.

Location

  • Located in beautiful Southern California, culturally rich Escondido is part of San Diego County. Westminster Seminary California is just 45 minutes north of the San Diego Airport. The sunny beaches, Mediterranean climate, and countless attractions make San Diego a popular vacation destination and a wonderful place to call home.
  • North San Diego County is an ethnically diverse region near Mexico and accessible to the Asian nations of the Pacific Rim. The WSC student body reflects the ethnic diversity of the region and of the church throughout the world.
  • Learn more about our location here.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is distinctive about WSC as an institution?

Westminster Seminary California provides a unique opportunity to study with an outstanding faculty of pastor-scholars, who are united in their commitment to Christ and his gospel as recorded in the Scriptures and expressed in our historic Reformed confessions of faith. Consider a few things that make WSC a special place to receive a theological education:

  • Our full-time faculty consists primarily of ordained ministers in Presbyterian or Reformed denominations who hold earned doctoral degrees from respected universities in their particular fields of study.
  • At the heart of our rigorous theological education is the study of the Scriptures in their original languages within the context of our confessional Protestant faith.
  • Our diverse student body from over 50 denominations, 40 states and numerous countries ensures an atmosphere of challenging and stimulating discussions about theology and ministry.
  • Our 10:1 student-to-faculty ratio allows for accessibility and a high level of interaction with renowned faculty members, both in and out of the classroom.
  • Our beautiful ten-acre campus in suburban San Diego County is a great place to study theology in community with other believers.

What is distinctive about the theological commitments of WSC?

Westminster Seminary California has several theological distinctives that set it apart from other seminaries:

  • Commitment to the inerrancy and infallibility of the Scriptures
  • Subscription to the system of doctrine contained in the Reformed confessions of faith
  • An understanding of covenant theology as the most coherent structure and explanation of biblical revelation
  • Emphasis on biblical theology in the tradition of Geerhardus Vos, with a focus on a Christ-centered and redemptive-historical approach to teaching and preaching the Scriptures
  • Commitment to presuppositional apologetics in the tradition of Cornelius Van Til
  • Appreciation of the history of the church and the development of doctrine throughout the catholic (i.e. universal) and Reformed tradition, an appreciation that informs our theology and practice

What is distinctive about the educational philosophy of WSC?

Westminster Seminary California provides face-to-face, in-person theological education with an emphasis on sound instruction and personal interaction between students and pastor-scholars. WSC is committed to:

  • Offering a quality faculty of pastors and scholars who are both ordained ministers and well-trained academics (PhD) in their specific fields of study
  • Maintaining adequate class sizes and a low student-to-faculty ratio, which allows students to develop formative relationships with faculty members
  • A well-rounded and rigorous academic curriculum that provides students with the tools they need in the various theological disciplines (Biblical Studies, Systematic Theology, Historical Theology, and Practical Theology) in order to teach the Scriptures and properly minister the Word of God
  • Training specialists in the Bible through extensive use of Hebrew and Greek texts throughout the curriculum
  • Complementing our academic curriculum with practical experience through an extensive MDiv field education program
  • The accreditation process both as a means of institutional self-evaluation and self-improvement and as a means of attesting the quality of a WSC education to students, our wider seminary constituency, and other academic institutions

Is WSC denominationally affiliated?

WSC is a multi-denominational seminary in the historic Reformed tradition. We are not officially affiliated with one particular denomination. Our graduates serve in a variety of Presbyterian and Reformed denominations, including the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC), the United Reformed Churches in North America (URCNA), the Korean-American Presbyterian Church (KAPC), and in nearly 50 other denominations.

What degree programs do you offer?

WSC offers the Master of Divinity and the Master of Arts in three possible concentrations: Biblical Studies, Theological Studies, and Historical Theology. Please visit our Degrees & Programs page for more information.

Do I need to be a member of a Presbyterian or Reformed Church to attend WSC?

No. Though the faculty and board of trustees at WSC are committed to the Reformed faith and practice as set forth in the Westminster Standards and Three Forms of Unity, we welcome students from a variety of denominational backgrounds and affiliations who may or may not agree with the theological positions held by our faculty. All applicants are required to provide evidence of a true profession of faith and hold membership (or the equivalent) in a local Evangelical or Protestant church.

What is the relationship between WSC and Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia?

Westminster Seminary California was planted by Westminster Philadelphia in 1979, at the request and provision of many local Reformed and Presbyterian churches who desired to have a Reformed seminary on the West Coast. Much like a church plant, WSC existed under the oversight and direction of WTS until 1982 when WSC demonstrated the ability to be a self-governing and self-supporting institution. While both institutions maintain a firm commitment to the Reformed understanding of Scripture, our distinct identities allow the two institutions to offer distinct services to Christ’s church.

What is WSC's Library like?

Our Library houses over 120,000 titles in paper and microform. Through membership in the Statewide California Electronic Library Consortium, the Library has online access to the premier religion and theological databases: ATLA Religion,  Religious and Theological Abstracts, New and Old Testament Abstracts, Early English Books, Historical Monograph eBook Collection, Digital Library of Classic Protestant Texts, TLG, and ProQuest Religion. The faculty consider themselves to be mentors to students. Our faculty take seriously both their tasks of instructing students in the formal classroom setting and the opportunity to mentor and advise outside the classroom.

What is beneficial about WSC's location?

Escondido, California not only features an excellent climate, but it also affords many opportunities in churchwork and missions as well as access to other academic institutions. The San Diego area is home to several major universities and research libraries. Southern California also has a strong Asian and Latin American presence. We are 50 miles from Mexico and accessible to the Pacific Rim, which gives our interns extensive opportunities in multicultural mission work.

How does WSC prepare students for missions?

WSC is committed to preparing men and women to serve in every part of the world. The purpose of our education is to prepare men and women for the propagation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, whether in domestic or foreign settings. Our graduates serve in Africa, Europe, South and Central America, as well as in North America. WSC gives students the tools they need to minister in cross-cultural settings. Our students who go into the mission field typically do so under the auspices of a missionary organization or a denominational committee. These organizations normally provide the specific cultural, social, and language training needed to adapt to the particular environment in which the graduate plans to minister.

Is the MDiv program open to men and women?

The purpose of our Master of Divinity program is to educate and form candidates for official, ordained ministries of instruction and leadership in the church as pastors, evangelists, and teachers. Because the seminary board and faculty believe the criteria set down in Scripture limits the candidacy for official teaching and leadership ministry in the church to qualified men, we admit only men to our Master of Divinity program. However, because God bestows on women as well as men gifts and calling to serve in non-ordained ministries, WSC’s Master of Arts programs admit both women and men.

What are common career paths for women who graduate from the MA programs?

WSC degrees have provided our female graduates with the biblical and theological foundations to pursue law and doctoral degrees, missions work in a variety of capacities, as well as teaching at the primary, secondary, and post-secondary levels. For others, the benefits have enriched their service in the local church, prepared them to lead Bible studies and women’s ministries, and to be better equipped to raise children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

Learn more about women at WSC here.

What percentage of WSC MDiv grads go into pastoral ministry?

The placement rate for WSC MDiv students is high—around 90%. More than 750 MDiv graduates have been trained from 45 states and over 30 countries. WSC graduates are ministering in over 50 denominations, and over 50 WSC graduates are serving in over 40 foreign countries.

Will WSC prepare me for a PhD program?

Both the MDiv and MA programs at WSC have excellent placement into a variety of PhD programs. WSC alumni have been accepted into prestigious programs such as Oxford University, Harvard University, the University of St. Andrews, the University of Virginia, and the University of Arizona. WSC’s rigorous academic standards and emphasis on biblical languages give its graduates the skills to excel in PhD programs.

Does WSC provide health insurance for students?

No, Westminster Seminary California does not provide health insurance for students.

Due to the inherent financial risks in the event of a student’s or a family member’s accident or illness, WSC strongly encourages all students and their dependents to possess adequate health insurance. It is recommended that students seek out private insurance options in addition to those offered through Covered California. International students must have health insurance throughout their enrollment at WSC and should consider the options provided by ISO Insurance or International Student Insurance.

For information regarding health insurance options, students should contact the WSC Financial Aid Coordinator.

Does WSC focus more on academics or training for pastoral ministry?

At WSC, academics are not seen as being in opposition to practical ministry. We believe that faithfully expositing the Word, administering the sacraments, and providing oversight to God’s flock are among the most practical activities in which one may engage. Serious academic training is necessary to prepare students to be able defenders of the faith who can engage the daily issues of the pastorate from a firm biblical foundation. At the same time, serious care is given to providing our students with opportunities for practical experience so they enter the pastorate prepared to work with real people.

What are the costs, scholarships, and financial aid options?

WSC offers a variety of financial aid options to students enrolled on a full-time basis (taking at least 12 units per semester), including needs-based grants and awards, merit scholarships, the Church Matching Grants, specialized ministry scholarships, and federal student loans. Typical financial aid packages (scholarships and grants) fall between 20–40% of tuition. For more information, see Cost & Financial Aid Options.

Can I still apply if I went to an unaccredited undergraduate institution?

In many instances, graduates of unaccredited undergraduate institutions are still eligible for admittance to WSC. In addition to official transcripts and other application materials, submission of supplemental documents and other evidence of the institution’s academic standards may be required. Contact our Admissions team to discuss your unique situation. For a full explanation of our approach to evaluating admissions eligibility for such students, see Graduates of Unaccredited Institutions under the Admissions Policies section of the Academic Catalogue.

Can I still apply if I don’t have a bachelor’s degree?

In extraordinary cases, applicants who have not completed a bachelor’s degree but whose gifts for ministry and service are evident may apply for admission to our MDiv or MA programs as a Special Student. We encourage you to contact our Admissions team to discuss your eligibility and unique story, in addition to reviewing the Special Student Program as outlined under the Admissions Policies section of the Academic Catalogue.

Does WSC offer online courses or degrees?

Because we believe that ministry preparation is not just taught but caught and that formation as well as information are needed for faithful and fruitful training, we are convinced that ministry preparation and academic study are best done in relationship and community. Therefore, WSC is committed to face-to-face, in-person education. To this end, the seminary maintains a 10:1 student-to-faculty ratio and fosters personal interaction between WSC professors and students. We also offer on-campus housing, which enables mutual support, community life, friendships, and relational growth among students and their families.

Still have questions?

Please contact the Office of Admissions by email at admissions@wscal.edu or by phone at 888-480-8474, Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m. PT.

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