The Program of Alternate Studies (PAS) is a non-degree certificate program given oversight by the Board of Trustees of Memphis Theological Seminary.  It is an alternate route to ordination designed to accommodate those who possess significant gifts for ministry, yet whose circumstances hinder them from completing the regular course of study in a graduate school of theology.  It is intended to enable the women and men who are called by God to succeed in ministry to the limits of their capability.

PAS is an approved educational alternative for the preparation of ordained ministers in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.  This denomination has a long history of innovative efforts to provide the maximum possible preparation for persons who are called by God, who are gifted for ministry, and who find a seminary education inaccessible.

The heart of the PAS program is the Summer Extension School, a fifteen-day intensive on the campus of Bethel University in McKenzie, TN each July.  Here students take the bulk of their classes.  This period of intense study, worship, and fellowship that has come to be referred to as the PAS experience!

The school is divided into three five-day blocks of course offerings.  Students may take up to three courses per block (9 total).  Most instructors require a significant after-class project or paper.  Only after this homework is successfully completed does the student get credit for the course.

The remaining courses are taken in a series of Weekend Schools held across the country throughout the year in various locations.  Beginning in 2014, some PAS courses will be made available in an online format to be completed in the context of the student wherever he/she may be.

It takes 35 courses in all to complete the program.  Graduates who have completed the required work receive their certificate in an official graduation ceremony held at the beginning of each Summer Extension School.

PAS is an authorized alternate route to ordination for Cumberland Presbyterian clergy.  The local presbytery makes the determination of who may qualify for the exception to the traditional route due to extenuating circumstances such as age or family issues.  It requires a vote of two-thirds of the members present to send a candidate through the Program of Alternate Studies.  Most presbyteries pay all or a substantial part of the expenses for Cumberland Presbyterian students to PAS.

In recent years the benefits of the PAS experience have been recognized beyond just those seeking ordination as Cumberland Presbyterian ministers.  PAS and seminary graduates, aspiring clergy from other denominations, and lay-leaders have found great value in taking courses of interest.  Anyone may audit classes of their choosing.

Tuition for each SES, WES or Online course is $390 per course.  

Audit Fee:  Ministers, lay leaders, and any person not pursuing ordination through PAS may take any course for around half the usual cost (currently $195.00).  The audit fee for an online course will be $200 which includes the $75 technology fee.

Book costs vary widely from course to course.

Most of the expense to the student for PAS is for the Summer Extension School.

Room and board for each SES is determined by Bethel University ($33 per day in 2016).  Students may register for five, ten, or fifteen days.  Room and board for five days would be $165.00; for ten days $330.00; for fifteen days $495.00.

Completion Fee:  $105.00 (charged to graduating students; covers cost of renting cap and gown, PAS stole, etc.).