Upon completion of a course or program, a student receives an official transcript and a degree certificate with a seal of WWES. The degree is signed by fully qualified professors with extensive academic credentials in accredited institutions.
Because our standards are equivalent to similar institutions and study programs in North America and Europe, the degree awarded is an authentic proof of academic work and achievement.
Our program is currently NOT accredited by any accreditation agency and we do not pursue to become accredited by any agency.
This is a policy we have chosen for the following reasons:
- Accreditation involves a process that takes time and money. We want to focus our resources on the development of an innovative and excellent theological education program. Accreditation sets its own agenda and at this stage it is not a feasible goal for our service.
- Many institutions that claim to offer “accredited degrees” are actually not accredited, because many accreditation agencies are not recognized ones. We find no reason to seek accreditation from an agency that is not valid for our purposes. What accreditation actually means depends on the country you are living, but as a rule of thumb, a valid accreditation is one obtained from the government (i.e. “Department of Education,” or similar agency).
- Not being accredited does not mean “no quality.” (See text from U.S. Department of Education, below.)
- Our ideal student is a mature person who already has a degree and job, and in many cases is already ordained by a church or denomination. Our ideal student seeks primarily a broader learning, deeper understanding, and better ministry skills – no an accredited degree.
- In many countries there is no possibility to obtain an accredited degree from an evangelical college or seminary, because this form of Christianity is not accepted or endorsed by their government. Churches and missions in countries like that operate by their own right. The question of accredited degree is not important for a student whose primary aim is to study in order to be better prepared for ministry.
- We invite Christian schools, colleges, and seminaries to integrate our offering as an “outsourced” part into their own educational service. A student may earn a degree from a local institution through our system. In that case, the degree is evaluated, endorsed, and accredited by local standards.
- The most relevant accreditation agency for us is ATS (see here). In ATS accreditation a substantial part of studies must take place in residence, i.e. on campus. We don’t have a campus! Our students have decided to pursue studies within their home contexts, near to their churches and families.
- We operate as an accredited institution in many ways. For example, our teachers’ academic credentials are at the same level as in accredited institutions, our student admission policy and academic standards are similar to accredited institutions and our professors are engaged with continuous learning in their relevant fields. We have theological libraries to use whenever we need it; we have a full access to academic online databases. Our textbooks are carefully selected latest editions from top evangelical scholars – as compared with many online programs that use outdated materials, or text/audio/video from their own instructors (usually good, but not the best).
- Unlike many other online programs, we don’t propagate a particular doctrine, ministry, or person. Our approach is just “evangelical,” and there is room for many approaches, confessions, viewpoints and personalities. Many “so-called-accredited” online seminaries and programs are typically extensions of some particular ministry or ideology.
- The world of accredited schools (at least in North America) forms a multi-billion dollar ecosystem, and these institutions are not willing to give their core product away for free. Online programs and resources from these institutions are either commercially motivated (more students, more revenue), focused on marketing (credits transferable into their own programs), or offered as “breadcrumbs” to the world mission. This is understandable and perfectly all right because they have their own business to run, amidst fierce competition. Our program benefits from the scholarship they produce, in the form of published books from their top professors.
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U.S. Department of Education
U.S. Department of Education writes about non-accreditation as follows (see full document here):
Unaccredited institutions are not reviewed against a set of standards to determine the quality of their education and training. This does not necessarily mean that an unaccredited institution is of poor quality [emphasis added], but earning a degree from an unaccredited institution may create problems for students. Some employers, instiutions [sic], and licensing boards only recognize degrees earned from institutions accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. With this in mind, it is recommended that students check with other institutions regarding the transfer of credit policy to determine if that institution would accept the degree and/or credits earned from any institution they plan to enroll in.
According to this recommendation, please consider the following:
1. Check from your employer (church, denomination, etc.) if studies in our seminary is a valid option for your further education. If you seek ordination or promotion you MUST do this beforehand.
2. If you plan to study further, check BEFOREHAND if the institution you are applying to will recognize your studies completed in our program. Policies for transfer credit, advanced standing, and eligibility criteria vary greatly. Many graduates form WWES have been accepted in prestigious, fully accredited schools of higher learning.
3. If accreditation by a government-backed agency is VERY important for you and you are willing to travel or relocate for your education, and you have financial resources available, please consider other options than our program. Our mission is NOT to serve everyone in the world.
4. Many accredited theological schools in North America provide substantial scholarships and financial aid for talented students from other countries. Check if there is something available for you.