1) Please introduce yourself and your role at Columbia Evangelical Seminary.My name is Rick Walston. I am the president (and one of the professors) of Columbia Evangelical Seminary (see more here). My education includes graduate degrees in apologetics and religion, and I have a DMin, as well as a PhD. I’m also a published author with six books (see more here). I might best be known for my book, Walston’s Guide to Christian Distance Learning.
2) Tell us a little about Columbia Evangelical Seminary.Established in April 1991, Columbia Evangelical Seminary is conservative evangelical and non-denominational. It offers all level of degrees, i.e., undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral, entirely through distance learning. Over the years, CES has enrolled more than 500 students.
Recently, TheBestSchools.org named Columbia Evangelical Seminary as one of The Top 10 Graduate Programs in Christian Apologetics.
Columbia was established to reach those who cannot afford to leave their jobs to live on a college campus for several years. All course work may be accomplished entirely by mentorship study on-line. Students may be as specific or as broad in their majors as they desire. They may choose one solitary major, such as apologetics, or biblical studies, or counseling, or philosophy, or theology, etc. Or, they may choose an interdisciplinary major in which they combine several disciplines of their choice. Because CES students virtually design their own curriculum, it may be as varied or as specific as the student desires. CES offers majors in many fields, including but not limited to: Arminianism, Apologetics, Bible, Counseling, Calvinism, Christian Philosophy, Comparative Religions, Cults, Ecclesiology, Eschatology, Ethics, Evangelism, Exegesis, History of Christianity, Homiletics, Jewish Studies, Leadership, Men's Ministry, Ministry, Missions, New Testament, Old Testament, Pentecostal/Charismatic Studies, Postmodernism, Spiritual Disciplines, Spiritual Gifts, Theology, Women's Ministries, Worldviews, and more. Furthermore, students may custom-design their majors (to be developed between the student and the seminary) to meet the student's specific needs.
3) Are the courses full time, part-time or a mixture of both?Students may do either. Students work at their own pace, taking single classes at a time or multiple classes simultaneously.
4) How do Columbia Seminary students fund their studies?With CES’s low tuition costs, Associate's & Bachelor's $100 per credit, Master's $110 per credit, and Doctoral at $125 per credit, students do not have to go in debt to earn the degrees they desire. CES is much less expensive than many educational alternatives.
5) Does Columbia Evangelical Seminary take students from overseas?Yes. We’ve had students from the U.K., South Korea, South Africa, France, Sweden, and Germany, just to name a few.
6) What type of ministry is Columbia Evangelical Seminary intended to prepare students for?CES has trained pastors, counselors, missionaries, writers, parachurch ministry leaders, and more.
7) When students leave Columbia Evangelical Seminary, what kind of ministries / jobs do they go into.Many of our students have gone on to be apologists, counselors, pastors, professors, and writers.
8) What is distinctive about what Columbia Evangelical Seminary offers compared with other colleges in the UK and overseas?First, our programs are entirely off-campus through distance learning. Next, our students work one-on-one with mentors/professors of their choosing. Some students have even brought their own mentors to the program. Of course, CES has to approve the mentors that students bring to their programs, but it can be done. And, finally, students are allowed to design their own programs to meet their own specific needs. For example, one student might design a systematic theology degree in Reformed theology whereas another might design a systematic theology degree in Arminian theology. Students may design apologetics programs based on Presuppositional Apologetics, or Classical Apologetics, or Philosophical or Scientific Apologetics, or any combination thereof. In essence, students may design their programs in any Christian major.
9) Please tell us about the library and other research facilities.Since our programs are all distance learning, we do not have a library. Students are encouraged to tap into local resources wherever they live, and they are instructed how to use the Internet and many of its resources for much of their research.
10) Does Columbia Evangelical Seminary offer a distance or on-line learning option? If yes, please tell us more about it.Yes, as stated above, all of our programs are distance learning via on-line. Thus, there are no residency requirements whatsoever.
My thanks to Dr Walston for taking part in this interview series.