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International Students

Currently students from over forty countries are attending Southern Seminary. There are additional items that that are required of international students to begin seminary.

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Checklist for International Students

  • The most important document to review is our International Admissions Guide. The Guide lists all our requirements and gives you contact information if you get held up in the process. International-Admissions-Guide (PDF)
  • Every applicant to Southern Seminary must come recommended by their home church. The form can be filled out by a church pastor from the church that holds the membership of the applicant. Church Pastoral Recommendation (PDF)

Caring for International Students

Southern Seminary cares about international students. Tanner Williams is the Advisor for International Student Services and is available for questions if you meet obstacles in your application. Our admissions office is also available for questions concerning the application.

Contact Admissions (

Contact International Student Services (

Current Student Resources

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Meet Other Students

Student Organizations exist to establish community, communication and spiritual growth among groups who share a common affinity at Southern Seminary. Several student organizations are organized around common cultural backgrounds.

Learn More

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Meet Non-Christians

There are over 100 languages spoken in Louisville, but not enough people speaking the gospel. The Bevin Center for Missions Mobilization connects the classroom to the mission field. There are many opportunities to connect students to nonbelievers from every tribe, tongue, and nation.

Explore Opportunities

Who can apply to Southern Seminary for International Status?


Southern Seminary is authorized under Federal law to enroll non-immigrant alien students. Students with F-1 visas can study at the Louisville campus only.

The seminary is NOT authorized by the USCIS (Immigration Service) to accept international “visiting scholars” with J-1 Exchange Visitor visas, whether as students or researchers.

As US immigration regulations are often subject to change, any international student seeking to study without F-1 visa status must first contact the seminary’s Supervisor for Ministry Resources and Internationals before making application.

Application Requirements


An official score report not more than three years old on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required prior to admission. Applicants for Master of Arts or Master of Divinity programs must score at least 83 on internet-based tests, 220 on computer-based tests or 557 on paper-based tests. Applicants for the Doctor of Ministry, Doctor of Educational Ministry, or Master of Theology must score at least 90 on this test. Applicants for the Doctor of Missiology, and Doctor of Philosophy programs must score at least 95 on this test.

TOEFL Waiver

Applicants, other than Doctoral applicants, who are graduates of a United States college or university may request a waiver of the TOEFL requirement. Transcripts are required to verify the degree.

Financial Support Affadavit

International students seeking F-1 (student) visas must provide the seminary’s Supervisor for Ministry Resources and Internationals with affidavit(s) of adequate annual financial support and unless transferring from a U.S. school, provide a deposit.

International Student Checklist (PDF)


International applicants are advised to submit their applications at least four months prior to the semester or term in which they wish to begin studies. If admission materials are not complete at least 45 days prior to the date when the applicant wishes to begin studies at Southern, the applicant will be notified of the withdrawal of their application.


The seminary cannot provide any applicant a Form I-20 necessary for the F-1 (student) visa unless, at least 30 days before the semester or term begins, the applicant has been approved for admission and has provided the financial documents and deposit mentioned.

Arrival to Campus

Once accepted, applicants should plan to arrive on campus at least one week before new student orientation (but may not arrive more than 30 days before classes begin) in order to adjust to the community and receive assistance for special needs.

Health Insurance

Health insurance must be obtained before the student can enroll in courses. F-1 visa status students are eligible to earn a maximum of two master’s level degrees at SBTS. Questions concerning admission to master’s programs may be directed to the Admissions Office (

Contact Us

Questions regarding admission to doctoral programs should be addressed to the appropriate Doctoral Studies Office (either Professional or Research). Questions about financial or visa matters should be directed to the Supervisor for Ministry Resources and Internationals (

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