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Comprehensive Exams

Comprehensive examinations corresponding to the student’s areas of study are administered at the conclusion of the student’s coursework, and will demonstrate preparedness to write a dissertation in a field of study.

Most students take three comprehensive examinations; biblical studies majors may take four. The exams will include two in their major concentration and one exam in their minor.

Preparing for Exams

Significant preparation beyond what has been required for seminars and colloquia is expected. Students majoring in Biblical Studies, Biblical Theology, Old Testament (Hebrew), and New Testament (Greek) are required to pass a biblical language comprehensive exam.

How do I register?

Students register through my.sbts.edu, but they also have to fill out the Comprehensive Exam Application Form to inform the Doctoral Studies office they are planning to take the exams. Study guides are available for the semester a student is registered for their exams. For more information, please email zhedges@sbts.edu.

How long does it take to receive results?

Students should expect to have results no sooner than three weeks after the exam.

What happens if I don’t pass?

Failure on any part of a comprehensive exam will result in a review of the student’s status by the committee of instruction. Then a decision will be made if the student can re-take the exam.

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Research Languages

A reading knowledge of two research languages is required. Common language options for the School of Theology are German, Latin, French, and Spanish. Common language options for The Billy Graham School are Empirical Research, Analysis of Empirical Research, and or statistic courses. Graduate studies in empirical research methodologies, statistical analysis, and computer applications serve as the equivalent of language studies in the BGS ministry concentrations. Philosophy students may take Advanced Logic as one of their languages.

The decision as to which languages are to be learned should be guided by the student’s particular research needs. The student’s supervisor should approve the languages chosen.

The language requirements must be demonstrated BEFORE taking comprehensive examinations.

Satisfying the Language Requirements

Language Requirements

Students may satisfy their language requirements in one of three ways:

  1. Complete theological language courses at SBTS – the seminary regularly offers theological language courses that doctoral students can take to fulfill their language requirements
  2. Pass a language proficiency exam – students with prior knowledge of a research language may attempt to pass a language proficiency exam offered by the Doctoral Studies office
  3. Receive permission to complete language courses at another institution – students may take an introductory language course for reading knowledge (minimum of 2 hours each) at another regionally-accredited institution (seminary, university, or college) and transfer their credit to SBTS. If students complete their language requirements at another school, then they do not have to take the language proficiency exam at SBTS. Instead, submitting their official transcript to the Doctoral Studies office is all that is required

Language Proficiency Exam

The language proficiency exam usually consists of translating 1-2 pages of a theological article in a one hour time period. Students are only allowed to use a dictionary for the exam. For more information and to sign up for the next proficiency exam, fill out the language proficiency exam form.

Study Guides for the Exams:

Language Courses through Other Institutions

Language Courses Through Other Institutions

The University of Arkansas offers language courses for reading knowledge online in French. This internet course fully satisfies the doctoral language requirement. Students can start a course at any time during the year, and the tuition cost is reasonable. You can learn more about these courses here. The code for French is FREN3063. The code for German is GERM3063.

Any additional questions should be directed to the University of Arkansas.

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