NBTS is now Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education!
March 15, 2022
On March 10, 2022, New Brunswick Theological Seminary moved from a candidate to fully accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). This is the second accrediting body to state that the seminary meets specific accreditation standards. The Association of Theological Schools has accredited NBTS since 1938. The seminary administration has been discussing obtaining MSCHE accreditation since 1995. The Board, Administration, and Faculty believe this dual accreditation will open new doors for our current and future students.
Our primary accreditor remains the Association of Theological Schools (ATS). It accredits theological seminaries and divinity schools in the United States and Canada and is the gold standard for assuring a quality theological education. This mark of quality allows students to be ordained and pursue advanced degrees at other institutions. For many of those eighty-four years, an ATS accreditation was sufficient because most NBTS graduates entered the pastoral ministry, ministered on the mission field, or continued their education at the doctoral level.
At the same time, accreditation at secular colleges and universities is done by regionally accredited organizations. In New Jersey, that organization is MSCHE. It accredits four-year institutions with graduate schools and stand-alone graduate schools, such as NBTS. As we see it, there are several reasons why MSCHE accreditation is essential for NBTS.
- It is the only recognized accreditation for state licensure for teaching (K-12). With this accreditation, our students will have a crucial requirement for licensure.
- It is one of the parameters for the state to accredit our counseling programs for state licensure, which provides students with the ability to have their private practice.
- It will allow NBTS, Rutgers, and other colleges and universities to seek joint academic programs and classes.
- It makes the degree recognizable in the broader world outside theological education in non-profit organizations and government and state contracts.
NBTS sees the MSCHE accreditation as a way for the degree to be more marketable. NBTS can now partner with other MSCHE-accredited institutions to create innovative programming. It also takes a tent-making ministry seriously, allowing students to pursue teaching or counseling and their part-time ministry work. This will make the NBTS degree more valuable to graduates. It also opens up the possibility of providing college credit for the certificate program by making it an associate’s degree for some students. It also is the first step in establishing a licensed counseling program. In short, it provides NBTS with more possibilities for students in a changing world.