Frequently Asked Questions - FAQ

Online Learning FAQ

What is Distance Education?

Distance Education is the process of learning, researching and interacting outside of a campus environment. In the past, instructional courses taken at a distance were considered "correspondence studies," or "independent studies." With the advent of computers and online communication, distance education has been elevated to new heights, enabling the teacher and student to communicate more effectively and efficiently. Students have never before had as many options for receiving a quality education as are available today through online learning. See the online learning overview for more information.

Can I earn my entire degree online?

The School of Divinity is fully accredited by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) to offer its Master of Arts and Master of Divinity degrees through online education at the maximum percentage that this accrediting organization allows. The remainder of the student's credits are taken during modular courses on Regent University campus in Virginia Beach.

The Master of Theological Studies (M.T.S.) can be completed entirely online.

For more information about accreditation and why it is necessary, see our accreditation page.

Do I have to move to Virginia Beach?

No. Online Education (distance) students take their online courses over the Internet from their homes throughout the United States and the world.

They also visit the Regent University campus in Virginia Beach for modular courses (typically for one week at a time) to fulfill their "on-campus" requirements.

How many trips will I have to make to Virginia Beach?

Students must complete at least half of their credits toward a 48-credit M.A. And one third of their credits a 72-credit M.Div. on campus. Additional courses are taken during a modular week.

I am a busy person; how do I earn this degree?

One of the major advantages of online learning is that students do not have to move to campus, uprooting family, finding new jobs and getting planted in new congregations. This allows students to stay connected to their ministry contexts. However, this does not mean they do less work than students who are on campus. When our online students participate in graduation ceremonies, they can feel confident that they have earned the same quality degree and worked just as hard as students who are on campus.

In fact, the excellent quality and rigor of our online programs is what allows them to be accredited. Earning an accredited master's degree takes time, commitment and hard work. Also, most of our students are busy with many responsibilities in addition to their studies. However, graduate studies are not for everyone. If you cannot carve out sufficient time in your schedule to devote to study right now, then we encourage you to wait until you can. Preparation for Christian ministry is a holy endeavor that deserves your attention and best effort.

How long will it take me to complete my degree?

If you take at least six credits (approximately two courses) each semester (fall, spring, and summer), then you should be able to complete the Master of Arts degree in three and a half to four years or the Master of Divinity degree in five to five-and-a-half years. Some students take more or fewer credits each semester, depending upon their work, ministry and family responsibilities.

What is Blackboard™?

Blackboard™ is an Internet educational delivery platform, that provides students with an online learning community. Students are able to download course content (including: articles, streaming audio and video, and presentations) and interact with their professors and classmates through the discussion board (similar to Internet news groups) and the chat / virtual classroom (similar to online chat rooms). Take a tour of Blackboard.

How long do I have to finish my degree?

Students have five years to complete the Master of Arts degree and seven years to complete the Master of Divinity degree. Students who need to take longer must submit an academic petition to the academic dean for approval.

Where do I stay when I am on campus for modular week?

See the travel and lodging page for travel information.

What is a modular course?

A modular course has both on-campus and online components. For Virginia Beach modulars, the on-campus component is completed via an intensive one-week residency at the Regent University campus in Virginia Beach.

Modular courses also require work both before and after the on-campus session(s), which comprises the online component. This may include pre-readings, written assignments, online interaction, etc.

Each semester, the School of Divinity holds "modular week" (usually held in October in the fall, March in the spring and during the summer). During modular week, all other classes cease to accommodate students who are attending all-day modular classes.

When does the semester begin and end?

For specific dates, please see the Divinity Academic Calendar. Note that online courses are not self-paced, but follow the same semester start and end dates as courses on campus and have assignments due throughout the semester. The same is true for modular courses, although the on-campus component is limited.

Where do I purchase my textbooks as an online student?

For all courses, whether modular, online or on-campus courses, students may purchase their textbooks from the Regent University Bookstore. Make certain that you purchase the correct version or edition of the text. Always follow what the course syllabus says concerning what textbooks are required for the course, or you may end up purchasing materials you do not need. If you have questions, contact your professor. Some materials (documents, etc.) can be downloaded in your course area in Blackboard, so check there first.

Do I have to carry university medical insurance?

Online students do not have to carry the university medical insurance as it only provides services in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. For more information, please see Regent's policy on student health insurance.

If you have further questions about our online learning programs:

Prospective students, please contact the
Divinity Admissions Office
Phone: 757.352.4016 or 800.723.6162 (Option 1)

Bruce Smith, D.Min. '06

Bruce Smith, D.Min. '06

CEO, Wycliffe Associates

"I learned new things, heard new perspectives from writers and professors, and applied these things directly to my ministry challenges. Regent was, and is, a community of faith that strengthens each of us as we serve God."
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