Categories: Press releases

GCU gains accreditation from Association of Theological Schools

The lobby of the College of Theology's new home, Howerton Hall.

PHOENIX (March 6, 2019) – Grand Canyon Theological Seminary at Grand Canyon University has received full accreditation from the Association of Theological Schools. The ATS Commission on Accrediting has approved the following degree programs: Master of Divinity, Master of Arts in Christian Leadership, Master of Arts in Christian Ministry, Master of Arts in Youth and Family Ministry, and Master of Arts in Urban Ministry. 

ATS, which has more than 270 members, provides specialized accreditation for graduate schools of theology in the United States and Canada. It was a natural fit for Grand Canyon Theological Seminary because it focuses solely on professional and academic degree programs in ministry practice and theological disciplines. “We feel blessed that the Association of Theological Schools gave such a strong vote of confidence to our theology programs,” said Dr. Jason Hiles, Dean of the College of Theology at GCU. “This validates all the hard work our faculty and staff have been doing to ensure our academic and spiritual programs meet the highest standards, and it will help our students as they prepare for careers in church ministry.”

GCU applied to be an ATS associate member, the first step in full accreditation, before opening the Seminary in the fall of 2016. That request was granted at the board’s biennial meeting in July of 2016. GCU then moved on to the second phase, a Candidate for Accredited Membership. This involved a rigorous process that included a school visit in October of 2018 by board members and peers, who met with faculty, leadership and students to review the programs.

Tom Tanner, Director of Accreditation for ATS, said two board members were included on the site visit team in order “to see up close and personal what Grand Canyon Seminary was doing. They were equally impressed. One of them said that, in many ways, Grand Canyon sets the gold standard for how to do online education well.”

“It’s just been a privilege to work with Grand Canyon,” Tanner added, “and we’re looking forward to continuing that relationship because for us, accreditation is an ongoing relationship to help member schools achieve their own mission.”

Membership in ATS gives students access to a large network as well as the organization’s Profiles of Ministry program, which helps them discern areas of strength and areas in which they might want to grow as well as their styles of ministry and preferred ministerial settings.

ATS accreditation also gives GCU administrators the opportunity to participate in future site visits and help shape the degree programs at other schools seeking accreditation.

About Grand Canyon University:  Grand Canyon University was founded in 1949 and is Arizona’s premier private Christian university. GCU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and offers more than 230 academic programs, emphases and certificates for both traditional undergraduate students and working professionals. The University’s curriculum emphasizes interaction with classmates, both in-person and online, and individual attention from instructors while fusing academic rigor with Christian values to help students find their purpose and become skilled, caring professionals. For more information, visit gcu.edu.

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