Fuller Theological Seminary

Updated November 30, 2022 · 3 Min Read

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Fuller Theological Seminary was initially established in 1947 by evangelists Charles E. Fuller and Harold Ockenga in an effort to reform fundamentalism. Known for its socially conservative views, Fuller is a premier private non-profit Christian seminary dedicated to Biblical education. Each year, Fuller Theological Seminary enrolls over 4,050 graduate students from more than 110 faith denominations and 80 global nations.

Fuller is based on a main urban campus in Pasadena within the San Gabriel Valley just 10 miles from Los Angeles. Regional locations are also scattered across the West, including Seattle, Menlo Park, Sacramento, Irvine, Phoenix, Colorado Springs, and Houston.

With over 41,000 alumni, Fuller Theological Seminary was described as "arguably the most influential seminary in America" in a 2003 Los Angeles Times article. The Association of Theological Schools (ATS) ranked Fuller sixth nationally for producing PhD faculty. ShareFaith magazine named Fuller the third top theological school in the United States. In particular, the U.S. News honored Fuller Theological Seminary for having America's 164th best clinical psychology and 214th top graduate psychology programs. Fuller also has California's best MFT licensing success with an impressive 93 percent pass rate. Students attending Fuller Theological Seminary devote over 72,400 hours to community service yearly.

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Fuller Theological Seminary Accreditation Details

At the institutional level, Fuller Theological Seminary is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission. This is one of six regional accrediting bodies recognized by the Commission on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Fuller is granted approval from the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools (ATS). The PhD and PsyD programs in clinical psychology are also professional accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) Commission on Accreditation (CoA).

Fuller Theological Seminary Application Requirements

Graduate students applying to Fuller Theological Seminary must have already earned a bachelor's degree from a four-year regionally accredited institution. Carrying a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or above is mandatory, but a 3.5 is preferred. The School of Psychology requires having completed at least 24 quarter hours in the social and behavioral sciences. The PhD and PsyD only accept the top third of aspiring psychologists on GRE tests. Eligible candidates must score at least 155 on the Verbal, 152 on the Quantitative, and 4.5 on the Analytical Writing. For international students, scoring at least 90 on the iBT TOEFL is also required.

Before the degree-specific deadlines, graduate students can apply to Fuller Theological Seminary by submitting the following:

• Online application for admission
• $75 non-refundable application fee
• Official post-secondary transcripts
• Four references (one pastoral and three academic)
• Official Graduate Record Exam scores
• Current resume or curriculum vitae
• Proof of English proficiency (if applicable)

Tuition and Financial Aid

In Fuller Theological Seminary's School of Psychology, tuition is charged based on course level rather than by degree program. 500-level courses cost M.S. students $455 per unit. 800-level courses cost PsyD and PhD students $600 per unit. Each semester, Pasadena students must pay the $36 Seminary Council fee. Students must also budget for the $500 PsyD Continuation fee, $50 MFT practicum fee, $40 Touchstone Materials fee, and $90 graduation fee. The NCES reports that the average tuition at Fuller is $18,240 each year. Renting on-campus housing ranges from $900 to $2,470.

To afford tuition, Fuller Theological Seminary awards over $4 million in merit- and need-based financial assistance annually. Degree-seeking students may borrow federal aid via Direct Unsubsidized or Direct Grad PLUS loans, but interest will accrue. Private/alternative loans are also accepted. Federal Work-Study (FWS) is limited to provide tuition help for campus-based employment. Some students could qualify for the Federal Pell Grant, FSEOG Grant, TEACH Grant, or SMART Grant. Military benefits are available through the Post-9/11 GI Bill and Yellow Ribbon Program. In-state residents could receive the Cal Grant, California Chafee Grant, or California Law Enforcement Personnel Dependents Grant. Institutional awards like the Trustees' Scholarship, Leadership Scholarship, and Charles E. Fuller Scholarship, are also abundant.

Psychology and Counseling Degrees

Divided into three academic schools, Fuller Theological Seminary offers 20 degree programs at the master's and doctoral level. Of these, four are housed in the School of Psychology to inspire future mental health professionals. There's also a Certificate in Marriage and Family Enrichment granted. With a student-faculty ratio of 8:1, Fuller offers individualized preparation rooted in evangelical Christian values. All psychology students take at least 44 theology units for integrating Jesus Christ into professional practice. Available degrees include:

M.S. in Marital and Family Therapy

Fuller's M.S. in Marital and Family Therapy program is delivered in Pasadena or Phoenix to prepare graduate students for guiding others to wholeness in their relationships. Over two years full-time, students fulfill the requirements for MFT licensing as a cohort group. The 106-unit curriculum includes courses on family systems, group dynamics, gender, sexuality, child development, marital intervention, cultural diversity, psychopathology, and addictions. M.S. students must successfully complete 12 months of supervised practicum.

M.A. in Family Studies

Shorter than the M.S., the M.A. in Family Studies program equips Fuller students with the skills and knowledge to cultivate emotionally healthy families in non-clinical settings. Coursework will survey topics in family dynamics, child development, interpersonal relationships, Christian ethics, children at risk, youth ministry, marriage systems, and parent education. MAFS students can follow the Family Life Education or Recovery Ministry track. The 80-unit degree fulfills the requirements to become a Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE).

PhD in Psychological Science

With a built-in Master of Arts in Psychology, the PhD in Psychological Science at Fuller Theological Seminary is a non-clinical program that's ideal for graduate students pursuing research careers that integrate Christianity. Informal concentrations are offered in Marriage and Family Studies, Neuropsychology, Developmental Psychology, Personality, Social Psychology, and Experimental Psychology. Requiring at least 210 units, the curriculum includes the writing and successful defense of a doctoral dissertation.

PsyD in Clinical Psychology

Using the scholar-practitioner model, the PsyD in Clinical Psychology program is fully accredited by the APA for honing the professional skills students need to implement effective psychological interventions. Students are transformed into Christian psychologists to assist people on their journey to spiritual and emotional well-being. The 258-unit curriculum is typically completed in five years full-time, including a final year-long clinical internship in the Greater Los Angeles area. Over 1,000 hours of practicum training is also accomplished at the Fuller Theological Seminary Psychological Center.

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