The Office of Institutional Effectiveness oversees institutional research and assessment programs at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Educational effectiveness reflects the strength and integrity of educational programs. Academic programs and administrative units establish learning outcomes and objectives, identify appropriate measures and set achievement targets. Student and unit performance are assessed annually and the findings are used to improve programs and service offerings. Southern also evaluates its institution-wide performance through ongoing strategic planning processes led by the Office of the President.

Southern Seminary’s mission is, “to be totally committed to the Bible as the Word of God, to the Great Commission as our mandate, and to be a servant of the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention by training, educating, and preparing ministers of the gospel for more faithful service.” To serve the convention’s churches, the seminary needs to maintain stable program enrollments, ensure students finish their studies in a timely way, and ensure students have the resources to seek and find ministry placement. In keeping with its mission, Southern has identified program enrollment, time-to-completion and placement as appropriate indicators of student achievement.

In keeping with common practice, Southern Seminary uses non-duplicating fall enrollment data, gathered in mid-September (after the drop/add period), to establish enrollment goals and measure achievement. Some doctoral programs meet in the winter term and thus use a census date of late October, as noted below. Enrollment goals and actual enrollments show that Southern has met its goals relative to this mark of student achievement.

Degree Fall 2018 Goal Fall 2018 Headcount
Associate of Arts 25 39
Bachelor of Arts 250 353
Bachelor of Science 450 534
Master of Divinity 1,660 1,752
Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling 120 151
Master of Arts in Christian Education 20 38
Master of Arts in Church Ministries 20 33
Master of Arts in Discipleship and Family Ministry 20 22
Master of Arts in Leadership and Family Ministry 20 23
Master of Arts in Missiology 20 32
Master of Arts in Worship Leadership 20 36
Master of Arts (Theological Studies) 120 208
Master of Arts (Islamic Studies) 12 12
Master of Arts (Apologetics) 12 18
Master of Church Music 8 11
Master of Theology 50 59
Doctor of Ministry 175 188
Doctor of Educational Ministry 120 162
Doctor of Missiology 10 15*
Doctor of Education 35 36*
Doctor of Philosophy 200 203

*Gathered using late October census date.

For 2017–2018, 91 percent of undergraduate completers finished their program in five years or less. Among master’s students, 80 percent of master of divinity students completed their program in five years while 75 percent of students in all other master’s programs completed their degrees in five years. Within the area of doctoral studies, 83 percent of professional doctoral students completed their program within five years while 84 percent of research doctoral students earned their degree within five years. These findings indicate that Southern exceeded its time-to-completion goals during 2017–18.

Southern Seminary’s primary mission is to train graduate students for ministry and for its graduate programs, Southern considers student placement as an indicator of effectiveness. Consistent with denominational tradition and ecclesiology, Southern Baptist churches are independent congregations and Southern cannot guarantee students placement, yet Southern seeks to place at least 60 percent of its graduate students who are pursuing placement. Among self-reporting completers from the 2016–17 academic year, 72 percent of graduates had found or were not seeking placement; 8 percent were pursuing another degree; and 20 percent were seeking placement. Southern met its achievement goal with regard to placement.