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Q & A Overview

Q. Which degree programs does Corban University School of Ministry offer?
A. CUSM offers an MA in Christian Leadership (with concentrations in Christian Teaching, Spiritual Formation, Non-profit Leadership), a Master of Divinity (with concentrations in Church Ministry, Biblical Languages), and a Doctor of Ministry degree.

The Master’s programs are available entirely online, fully on campus in Tacoma, Wash., or partially on campus in Salem, Ore. Currently, biblical language courses are only available on the Tacoma campus. The Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) program, because of its modular format, requires a minimum of five years to complete—three years of coursework (with 2-week summer residencies in June) and two years of work on a thesis dissertation/project.

It is recommended that students take a consistent load each term that will enable them to balance school, family, work and ministry.

Q. What kind of accreditation does Corban University School of Ministry have?
Corban University is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). This organization is listed by the United States Department of Education as a recognized accrediting agency.

Q. Does Corban University School of Ministry offer specific degrees in counseling, social work, the chaplaincy and other fields?
While Corban University offers master’s degrees in counseling, education and business, the School of Ministry offers theologically grounded and biblically sound programs that are crucial to being a good counselor, social worker, chaplain, etc. Each of the School of Ministry’s degree programs are designed to equip students for a variety of ministries and fields. The training offered at Corban is life-changing—teaching believers how to ask the right questions, taking them through the process of learning to think instead of just memorizing content, and infusing their Christian worldview with a solid biblical foundation.

Q. Will I be involved in ministry while I am studying at Corban?
Yes! Since the goal is to prepare godly servant leaders to make an impact on the world for Christ, students are urged to be involved in ministry where they can work out their theological training and make practical, relevant application. Master’s students have Supervised Leadership Experience requirements that involve working with a ministry mentor over the course of several semesters. Doctor of Ministry students are expected to already be in full-time ministry before beginning their program of study. CUSM professors and staff may be able to assist with finding ministry connections for incoming students.

Q. In addition to being academically qualified to teach, what other qualifications do Corban University School of Ministry faculty members possess?
Faculty members have collectively served in a variety of capacities, as seen below. A more extensive list can be found on our website faculty pages.

  • Author of published articles in books, professional journals and Christian magazines
  • Guest lecturer/missionary/teacher at seminaries, colleges, institutes, conferences and camps in the States and overseas, including: England, Scotland, Canada, Puerto Rico, Thailand, Bangladesh, Singapore, Japan, Romania, Ukraine, Russia, Peru, South Africa and India
  • Proficient in: Greek, Hebrew, German and Japanese
  • Senior pastor/church planter
  • Superintendent of Christian school
  • Board member of Northwest Baptist Home Mission and Council member of Northwest Association of Regular Baptist Churches, 1985-96, 1999 to present
  • Memberships in: the Evangelical Theological Society, Evangelical Philosophical Society and Society of Biblical Literature
  • Presenter of papers at meetings of professional societies
  • Student in Near Eastern Languages department, University of California at Berkley
  • Counseling/mentoring
  • Leader of study tours to Israel and Egypt

Q. What scheduling options do you have for students who work full-time or have to commute?
Students who work full-time or do not wish to commute long-distance can take advantage of our fully online classes to complete their program of study. In addition, the Tacoma campus offers “Monday only” classes (great for pastors), Tues/Thurs classes, and Wed/Fri classes. Weekday classes are offered Tues/Thurs and Wed/Fri between 8 a.m. and 12:15 p.m.
Both Salem and Tacoma also offer evening classes on Mondays and Tuesdays from 6-8:45 p.m.

Q. What makes Corban University School of Ministry different from other seminaries and grad schools?
At Corban, students are known by name. With an on-site teaching faculty, students have the advantage of being taught and personally mentored by professors instead of teaching assistants. Faculty members invite students to talk with them about personal issues as well as academics and theology. It is not uncommon for graduates to maintain personal contact with their professors, asking questions about ministry and theological issues as well as current trends in Christianity.

In addition, Corban is known for its high standards in both academics and ministry. Professors expect excellence from their students and instill in them a desire to pursue excellence in every area of life to the glory of God. Students are not given an easy out when it comes to answering hard questions; rather, they are challenged to genuinely pursue God by searching the Scriptures. With most of our professors having overseas ministry experience, they challenge students to apply biblical truth in a variety of ministry contexts.

Q. Is financial aid available?
In addition to federal loans and VA benefits for qualified applicants, we also offer other scholarship options, including the Church Matching Scholarship, which can provide up to $1500 per year in aid. Please contact the Financial Aid Office for more details on federal loans, or contact Karen Goertzen ( in the Academic/Registrar’s Office for more information on military benefits or scholarships.

Q. What is the billing procedure for tuition and student/registration fees?
Payment for tuition and fees is due on the first day of each semester. Any student who is unable to pay his or her bill in full must make arrangements with the Business Office on or before the first day of classes. Payments can be made prior to the beginning of the semester.

Q. What is the community like at Corban University School of Ministry?
Students who have visited or attended Corban University School of Ministry have likened its atmosphere to being with family. The ratio of students to professors is around 10:1, so students have opportunities to interact with professors both inside and outside of the classroom. Professors maintain an open door policy in their offices as well.

Corban welcomes both men and women to study in any of the degree programs we offer. Our students come from diverse backgrounds and vary in age from recent college grads to retirees. Some are established in a local ministry; others are looking for ministries and/or working to support themselves through school. Some work full-time at secular jobs and attend online or evening classes. Since there is no on-campus housing for School of Ministry students, single students moving to the area may share an apartment or house off-campus. Feel free to contact Karen Goertzen in the Academic/Registrar’s office regarding job & housing options before you arrive (

Q. What are the requirements for admission to Corban School of Ministry?
To qualify for admission to a Master’s degree program, you must hold a bachelor’s degree from a 4-year accredited institution and must have demonstrated a high level of competency according to your academic record. Evidence of saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and a desire to walk in obedience to Him is crucial and should be demonstrated in your essays and your letters of recommendation. See the Admissions Requirements section of our website for more details.

In addition to the requirements above, Doctor of Ministry applicants must hold a Master of Divinity degree or its equivalent, and must submit an M.Div.-level research paper demonstrating their ability to do doctoral work. Due to the amount of time and work required, D.Min. applicants must also have approval from their ministry board to pursue this degree program.

Q. What if I do not have a 4-year bachelor’s degree?
A. CUSM permits a limited number of mature individuals who have not earned a bachelor’s degree, but meet all other admission requirements, to enroll in certificate programs. If during the course of their studies the student completes a baccalaureate degree and other admission requirements are met, the student may enter a degree program. CUSM does allow a percentage of students into the degree programs who do not have a baccalaureate degree. Certificate students may take advantage of this option if they meet all other admission requirements.

Q. How do I apply?
You may complete our application online and download reference forms from our website as well. For a complete list of Admissions Requirements, including where to send transcripts and pay your application fee, please visit our website. If you have any difficulty with the application process, please contact Graduate Admissions for assistance: / 1-800-845-3005.

Q. What is required for a complete application?
Completed application files will be reviewed by the Admissions Office the first of each month after the following items have been received:

  1. Application form, including answers to essay questions.
  2. Official transcripts sent directly from all colleges/grad schools attended.
  3. Reference forms from each of the following: a pastor, educator/employer and friend.
  4. $50 (US) application fee (payable online).
  5. For DMin students, also include an MDiv research paper and a ministry endorsement.

Q. How can I get an update on the status of my application?
The Admissions Office will notify you upon receipt of any admissions documents on your behalf, but you may also contact the Admission Office ( any time to get an update on your application status.

Q. When should I apply?
You should have your completed application to the Admissions Office as early as possible before the start of the next semester to ensure you can meet financial aid deadlines and can register for classes before they are filled. Completed applications are reviewed the first of each month. Final application deadlines are generally 8 weeks before the start of the semester for which you are applying (July 1 for fall, November 1 for winter, March 1 for summer).

Q. Is it possible to transfer credits from another accredited seminary/grad school into a degree program at Corban University School of Ministry?
Yes. Some credits may be transferred to your degree program at CUSM, based on similarity of coursework and total number of credits taken at each institution. No more than half of the credits required for the completion of your degree program at CUSM may be transferred from another school. The final 20 semester hours of your program must be completed at Corban. You can request official transcript evaluations by the Registrar once you have been accepted to CUSM.

Q. Will Corban University School of Ministry recognize the work I completed at Bible college?
A. Corban University School of Ministry provides the opportunity for qualified students to “test out” of courses based upon classes they took at an accredited Bible college or Christian liberal arts college. Exemptions from classes come in the form of elective substitutions, not credits. Corban desires each student to be well trained without having to unnecessarily repeat information they have already learned.

Q. Will someone help me register for classes? When can I expect to do that?
As soon as you receive notification of acceptance for admission, you will be asked to submit a $200 tuition deposit. Upon receipt of your deposit, you will receive a follow up email from the Admissions Office with detailed instructions on how to register for classes online. You can view CUSM course schedules online at anytime.

Q. What is the history of Corban University School of Ministry?
Corban University School of Ministry was established at a time when modernism had overtaken many Baptist theological schools where pastors were trained. Bible-believing Baptists were protesting, but as long as they were dependent upon institutions whose faculty members did not believe the Word of God to produce their pastoral leadership, the spiritual darkness would only get worse. The chosen course was to establish seminaries—schools of pastoral training that would be loyal to the truths of God's Word and send out men who believed the Book.

Dr. William Matthews, pastor of the Memorial Baptist Church in Los Angeles, California, gathered a founding committee to establish the Los Angeles Baptist Theological Seminary (now known as Corban University School of Ministry). The first home of the seminary was the Calvary Baptist Church of Los Angeles. The school was incorporated on May 25, 1927. Dr. Matthews served as the first president until his death in 1943.

In 1946 at the suggestion of the then president, Henry Thiessen, the undergraduate division of the seminary began to offer classes as a liberal arts college. The schools became known as "Los Angeles Baptist College and Theological Seminary." Dr. Hermann Austel, graduate and presently distinguished professor of Old Testament and Bible exposition, began teaching while he was a student (1953). He served as dean of the seminary for many years and continues on our faculty today, providing a valuable, spiritual link to our godly heritage.

The next major event in the history of the school, took place in 1959. Dr. John R. Dunkin assumed the presidency of the school, and a beautiful campus was acquired in Placerita Canyon in Newhall, CA. The school moved to that campus in 1961.

After prayerful consideration, it was felt that the seminary would prosper in a greater way if it were separated from the college. Thus, in December of 1973, the seminary was transferred to Tacoma, Washington and renamed Northwest Baptist Seminary.

Dr. Charles Wagner, pastor of Temple Baptist Church, was appointed president. After meeting the first year in Temple Baptist Church, the former J.P. Weyerhaeuser estate was purchased and became the home of the seminary.
Dr. Charles Wagner served as president until 1983. After three further administrative changes, Dr. Mark Wagner, son of Charles and a board member at the time, became president in 1993.

Under Dr. Mark Wagner’s presidency, previous long-term debt was eliminated, renovation projects of the education building and the lower level of the chapel were completed, the heating system in the various buildings were replaced or updated and a campus-wide computer network was installed.

In March 2010, as part of the merger process between Northwest Baptist Seminary and Corban University, Dr. Reno Hoff became president. In addition, the name of the school was changed to Corban University School of Ministry and new programs were added. In 2012, CUSM launched fully online programs in addition to the on-campus programs in Tacoma and Salem.

God has been faithful to the work at Corban University School of Ministry for over 80 years. We look forward to seeing how God will direct CUSM and the lives and ministries that are impacted here in the years to come. Click here for a history of Corban University.