Accreditations and Educational Effectiveness


Memphis Theological Seminary is accredited by the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada, and regionally by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC).

The following degree programs are approved:
Master of Divinity (MDiv)
Master of Arts in Christian Ministry (MACM)
Doctor of Ministry (DMin)

The Commission contact information is: The Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada
10 Summit Park Drive Pittsburgh, PA 15275 USA
Telephone: 412-788-6505
Fax: 412-788-6510
Website: www.ats.edu

Regional Accreditation Commission contact information is:
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
Commission on Colleges
1866 Southern Lane
Decatur, GA 30033 USA
Telephone : 404-679-4500
Fax: 404-679-4558
Website: www.sacscoc.org

Memphis Theological Seminary has been approved to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements.

SARA increases administrative efficiency and lowers the costs of obtaining authorization to provide postsecondary distance education in states that join. These benefits result in increased access as institutions like yours are able to make their academic programs more widely available and accept enrollments from students in all states except for California without additional work to seek state authorization.

But increased access and efficiency will mean little if they are not accompanied by high quality. That is why all SARA institutions annually commit to several requirements designed to ensure that courses and programs they offer through SARA provide high-quality learning opportunities that can help students reach their goals as well as to ensure appropriate consumer protections for students.

Memphis Theological Seminary is approved by the University Senate of the United Methodist Church.

Statement of Educational Effectiveness

Memphis Theological Seminary is committed to educating and sustaining men and women for ordained and lay Christian ministry in the church and the world through shaping and inspiring lives devoted to scholarship, piety and justice. To that end, Memphis Theological Seminary regularly evaluates its academic programs in light of these goals. Further, the ATS and SACSCOC call for all accredited schools to post public statements of educational effectiveness. To do so Memphis Theological Seminary has assembled data from student demographics, graduation and placement rates, default rates from our graduates who participate in the Federal Student Loan Program, and various student surveys regarding satisfaction with Memphis Theological Seminary’s programs and the post-graduation experience.

Faculty and Student Demographics and Diversity

A key component of the Memphis Theological Seminary educational experience is the diversity of our community of faith and learning (denominationally and racial-ethnically). The Memphis Theological Seminary faculty is made of 8 teachers and scholars, 4 women and 4 men. One third of Memphis Theological Seminary’s faculty is African American and among the faculty are a variety of denominational traditions including Cumberland Presbyterian, United Methodist, Disciples of Christ, Episcopalian, Baptist, and Roman Catholic. Memphis Theological Seminary’s student body is ecumenically diverse: 23% in the Methodist tradition (UMC, CME, AME), 31% Baptist (American, Cooperative, Full Gospel, General, Missionary, National, other), 13% Cumberland Presbyterian, 10% non-denominational, and the remaining 23% an array of other denominations and traditions (e.g., Church of God in Christ, Disciples of Christ, Presbyterian Church USA, Pentecostal, Seventh Day Adventist, Episcopal). We are also racially-ethnically diverse (61% African American, 32% Caucasian, 3% Asian, 4% Hispanic/other). 47% of our students are male. 53% are female. 

(Fall 2023)

Graduation/Retention Rate

As a graduate professional school, Memphis Theological Seminary challenges students with a rigorous course of study that is responsive to the expectations of various denominational bodies and non-profit/community organizations for persons in ministry. Memphis Theological Seminary provides support in advising and student formation to support students in their progress toward degree. The two year graduation rate average for Memphis Theological Seminary is 76%. The two year average completion time for Memphis Theological Seminary graduates is 5.5 years for the Master of Divinity and 3.5 years for the Master of Arts degrees. (As of Fall 2020)

*Graduation rates are reported based on time periods defined by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) annual reporting requirements.

Placement Rate

Placement rates are calculated based on graduates for whom data exists. Graduates are sent an online survey to collect this data. Over the past three years Memphis Theological Seminary’s average placement rate was 78.3%. (As of Fall 2023)

Loan Default and Debt Management

Memphis Theological Seminary’s default rate in the Federal Loan program is low. Further our program of Financial Leadership for Ministry provides financial literacy training and counseling for students and clergy and lay people in the mid-South. The low default rate can be seen as one indicator that Memphis Theological Seminary graduates attain gainful employment post-graduation.

Year Published Rate Type Rate For Year
2021 3-Year Official 5.5 2018
2022 3-Year Official 6.0 2019
2023 3-Year Official 0.0 2020

Memphis Theological Seminary has participated in the Lily Endowment Debt Study and has received grants to develop debt-reduction programs and education for seminarians. The financial aid coordinator for Memphis Theological Seminary provides student support in finding and applying for scholarships, and in addressing loan debt.

Student Satisfaction

Annually, Memphis Theological Seminary participates in a survey of graduating students administered by the ATS. Below you will find the results of the 2019-2020 survey.
MTS Accreditation Table 21