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FAQ: Certificates & UMC Professional Certifications




What certificate programs are offered by Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary?

Garrett-Evangelical provides certificates in Child Advocacy, Christian Education, Evangelism and Church Planting, and Spiritual Formation and Direction. Garrett-Evangelical grants certificates to students who complete the courses indicated in each certificate program including those who complete the UMC Professional Certification track of courses as an option within certain certificates. Receiving the certificate from Garrett-Evangelical does not mean you have received a UMC professional certification. See below to learn more about the UMC Professional Certification process with the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry and your Board of Ordained Ministry. (Back To Top)

What Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary Certificates include a track of courses for United Methodist Church (UMC) Professional Certifications?

Our certificates in Christian Education and Evangelism and Church Planting have tracks for students intending to pursue UMC Professional Certification. We also offer a program preparing persons for UMC Professional Certification in Spiritual Formation. Note that this program is separate from the Garrett-Evangelical Certificate in Spiritual Formation and Direction. (Back To Top)

What is the difference between Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary Certificates and UMC Professional Certifications?

Each Garrett-Evangelical certificate requires completion of at least five courses in a particular area of study. The certificate is awarded by the seminary in recognition of successful completion of that course work.  

Those completing the courses required for UMC Professional Certification in Christian Education and Evangelism and Church Planting are also granted a certificate of completion by Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. However, a UMC professional certification is granted by the Board of Ordained Ministry of an annual conference and not the seminary. Such certification is given in recognition that a person has been called, made a commitment to serve, and has fulfilled the required standards of academic training, experience, and continuing study to serve with excellence in an area of specialized ministry. In short, our coursework fulfills the academic requirements for professional certification. There are additional requirements including “two years of leadership” in your field.  The process and requirements for UMC Professional Certification are outlined in the section below on UMC certifications and on the GBHEM website.

If you still aren’t sure you understand the difference, please contact our Office of Admissions at  or 847.866.3998 and they can help answer your questions. (Back To Top)



Who is eligible to enroll in a Garrett-Evangelical certificate program?

To enroll in the certificates in Child Advocacy, Christian Education, and Evangelism and Church Planting or in the UMC Professional Certification tracks (including the UMC Professional Certification in Spiritual Formation), you need to have completed a bachelor’s degree in any subject area. You will need to fill out an online application, submit your bachelor’s degree transcripts, and your resume. You will use the same application to apply for the Certificate in Spiritual Formation and Direction; however, this certificate program requires you to have completed a bachelor of arts degree in religious studies or theological studies or have a master of arts in theological studies. Along with the application, you will need to submit your bachelor’s or master’s degree transcripts and a resume. You do not need letters of reference for any of these programs. (Back To Top)

I am an alum of Garrett-Evangelical, but would like to enroll in a certificate program, what is my process to enroll?

As an alum of Garrett-Evangelical, you will still need to complete an application, submit a resume, and contact the Registrar’s Office to make an official request to have your transcript be provided to the Admissions Office.  You can contact the Registrar’s Office at or at 847.866.3905. (Back To Top)

How and when will I be informed if I am accepted?

We review applications on a rolling basis. We provide admission decisions typically within 2-3 weeks of receiving your completed application. You will receive notification of the admissions decision from our Office of Admissions via email and regular mail. If accepted, the acceptance letter will provide instructions for how to complete the enrollment process. (Back To Top)



After I am accepted, what’s next?

The first step after being accepted will be to submit an enrollment deposit of $200 that will be applied to your tuition when you enroll in your first course. The information about how to pay this deposit is included in your acceptance letter. (Back To Top)

How do I register for courses?

Once we receive your deposit, you will receive your Garrett-Evangelical email address and password along with instructions for accessing our intranet, myGETS, and our learning management system, Moodle. The instructions for accessing myGETS will also include how to self-register for your courses through myGETS. (Back To Top)

When can I register for courses?

Students accepted into our certificate programs will be able to register on the following dates:

  • For Fall 2019 courses, registration will be open to you on June 15, 2019
  • For January and Spring 2019 courses, registration will be open to you on November 15, 2019
  • For Summer 2020 courses, registration will be open to you on April 1, 2020

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Is there an ideal time to start my certificate program?

It is typically best to start your certificate program in the fall or spring, but if there is a course offered for your certificate program in the January or summer terms, we will see what we can do to get you enrolled and registered for it. (Back To Top)

What resources do I have to determine what course(s) to register for first?

Each certificate program has a webpage that includes a list of courses (noting prerequisites) and a link to view course schedules. If there are no prerequisites listed, then you can register for any of the courses. If you prefer, you can also contact your advisor. Following is list of our certificate programs and the name of the advisor for each program:

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How quickly can I complete a certificate program?

The length of time it takes to complete a certificate program depends on the certificate program. Some programs can be completed in a year and a half while others will take at least two years to complete. The length of time depends on how frequently the courses you need are offered and if the format they are offered in meets your needs (online, intensive, or regular semester). Each certificate program page includes a link to view course schedules that can help you determine how quickly you can complete that program. (Back To Top)

How long do I have to complete a Garrett-Evangelical certificate program? What about courses in the UMC Professional Certification tracks?

All certificate, certification, and degree programs must be completed within 10 years of initial enrollment in the program.

If you want to apply credit earned in a certificate or UMC Professional Certification program toward a Garrett-Evangelical degree program, then you need to complete certificate courses and leave enough time to complete the degree program within that 10 years. Our master of arts degree programs typically take two years to complete if enrolled full time and our master of divinity degree typically takes three years to complete if enrolled full time. If you think you want to pursue a degree program, we encourage you to complete your certificate program as quickly as possible to have the remaining time to complete the degree program. (Back To Top)

Are the courses in my certificate program online or on campus?

Each course in a certificate program, including courses in the UMC Professional Certification tracks, vary in their delivery format. We provide courses online, in intensive formats, and on campus as part of our regular Fall and Spring semesters. Intensive formats include a course being offered for two weeks Monday-Friday from either 8:00 a.m. - noon or 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. daily during our January term or Summer term or offered over three weekends, typically Friday evening to Saturday evening during our Fall or Spring semesters. Each Garrett-Evangelical Certificate program page includes a link to view course schedules, which identify course format.

If all of the courses in a Garrett-Evangelical Certificate program are available online, it can be completed fully online. If you are completing the UMC Professional Certification track of a certificate program, then per GBHEM requirements, you can only take up to three (3) courses online. The remaining two (2) courses have to be taken in person in either the intensive formats described above or as a course during our typical Fall and Spring semesters. (Back To Top)

What other resources are available to me as I begin my certificate program at Garrett-Evangelical?

Once you have submitted your enrollment deposit, you will be invited to an orientation that can be completed online through Moodle, our online learning portal, or as an in-person orientation. We hold in-person orientation sessions for each semester: Fall, January, Spring, and Summer. The orientation session at the start of our Fall semester is the most comprehensive since it is when the majority of our students begin. It is great if you can attend an in-person orientation, but if not, we highly recommend you access the online orientation. Orientation will provide you with a lot of useful information that will help you more easily get your needs addressed during your time in seminary.

If you are taking courses online, you should also complete the student tutorial for using Moodle, our online learning management system. Here are the instructions to access the Moodle tutorial. Please note, you will not be able to access the orientation or the Moodle tutorial until you have received your log in information for Moodle.

  1. Log into Moodle. You are now in “Home,” looking at your list of courses.
  2. If you scroll down, below your course or list of course(s), you will see “Categories.” Listed there is a category of “Training.” Click this.
  3. Included in the category “Training” is a course “Student Orientation to Moodle.” Click this.
  4. Then you will see a button labeled, “Enroll Me.” Click this and follow instructions to enroll and complete this self-paced orientation.

If you are having trouble finding the links and buttons above, you can try this link. You will be brought to the Moodle log in page and once you log in to Moodle, you will be brought to the “Student Orientation to Moodle” page and be able to click “Enroll.” (Back To Top)

How will I know how many courses I have completed and what courses I still need to take?

You can see your progress on myGETS. If it isn’t clear, you can always contact your advisor to determine what you have completed and still need to complete. (Back To Top)

What if I want to take more than the five courses in my certificate program, but I am not ready to commit to a degree program?

Garrett-Evangelical enables people to take up to five courses as an enrichment student. So, after you complete the five courses in your certificate program, you can enroll as an enrichment student to take five additional courses. In order to do so, you need to complete an application. Enrichment students pay the regular credit hour fee for masters level courses. You can see the current masters level credit hour rate here. (Back To Top)



Who is eligible for UMC Professional Certification?

Professional certification is available to laity, ordained deacons and elders, diaconal ministers, and licensed local pastors who have an undergraduate degree and can take graduate level courses. Must have membership in The United Methodist Church for at least one (1) year before enrolling in the certification process. Courtesy certification may be granted to Pan Methodist members at the approval of GBHEM. It is also for those preparing to become deacons and who choose the education route for those 35 and older. (Back To Top)

What are the steps I need to take to be enrolled in the UMC Professional Certification process with GBHEM and my Board of Ordained Ministry?

  1. Complete your application for a Garrett-Evangelical Certificate program’s track in UMC Professional Certification or for UMC Certification for Spiritual Formation.
  2. Receive your acceptance letter from Garrett-Evangelical.
  3. Download and complete the enrollment form from the General Board of Higher Education’s (GBHEM) website found here.
  4. Send copies of your completed GBHEM enrollment form to your annual conference’s Board of Ordained Ministry and the Certification Office of DOM at GBHEM at Certification in Specialized Ministry, P.O. Box 340007, Nashville, TN 37203-0007. Your pastor can provide you contact information for your Board of Ordained Ministry.
  5. Once GBHEM and your Annual Conference receives and approves your enrollment form, you are eligible for financial aid from GBHEM for the courses required for certification.

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Is there financial aid available for UMC Professional Certification course work? If so, how do I apply?

There is financial aid available from GBHEM. They provide $100 per semester hour (credit hour). Since one course at Garrett-Evangelical is typically three (3) credit hours, you would receive $300 in financial aid from GBHEM per course. To receive this scholarship, you need to complete this GBHEM form, after you have completed the enrollment process for Garrett-Evangelical and GBHEM as noted above. Please note certificate and certification students are not eligible for Garrett-Evangelical scholarships or financial aid. (Back To Top)

What are the requirements I have to meet besides completing the courses, to be able to apply for UMC Professional Certification?

Other GBHEM requirements that must be met before applying for UMC Professional Certification approval include:

  • Recognized Christian character, personal competence, integrity and understanding of and commitment to the church’s ministry and mission.
  • Ability to relate to people, to work with volunteers and staff and to function with emotional maturity and sound judgment.
  • Demonstrated leadership and ability to integrate theory and practice.
  • Two years of supervised experience in the specialized area of ministry. Supervised experience must be approved by the annual conference BOM and shall be defined as a contractual agreement with supervision, accountability, evaluation, and continuing education.
  • Knowledge of The United Methodist Church’s structure, polity, resources, program and mission.
  • Psychological assessment and background check. (The arrangements for this are made by your BOM once you have submitted your application for approval as noted below.)
  • Expressed commitment to continuing education that includes a planned program to enrich both personal and professional growth. Such a program shall include:
  • (1) reading; (2) study, on an individual and group basis; (3) participation in professional, community, denominational and ecumenical groups; (4) renewal of spiritual life, and (5) evaluation by the immediate supervisor.
  • Membership in a group or professional association related to the area of specialization.

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How do I apply for approval?

When you have completed all the required courses, download and complete the Professional Certification Form 323790. Send completed form to your annual conference Board of Ordained Ministry and send a copy of the application with a copy of your transcripts to the Certification Office, Division of Ordained Ministry, GBHEM, P.O. Box 340007, Nashville, TN 37203-0007. (Back To Top)

What happens when my application is received?

The Certification Office of GBHEM will:

  • Verify that you have met the educational requirements
  • Verify your employment experience and church membership

Your annual conference Board of Ordained Ministry will:

  • Contact the three references you provided in the application, asking them to complete GBHEM’s evaluation form HE4012
  • Administer a psychological assessment and background check
  • Schedule an interview with you
  • Verify your local church membership, abilities, skills, experience and leadership positions in the certification specialty area
  • Determine whether to approve you for certification

If you are approved for certification, your Board of Ordained Ministry will request from GBHEM a certificate to present during the next annual conference session. (Back To Top)



What is the tuition for this program and what does it include?

The tuition for this program is $425 per credit hour. Most courses in the certificate program are three (3) credit hours. This tuition fee includes the student and technology fee. (Back To Top)

Are there any other fees?

There is a $75 application fee when you submit your application. After you are accepted and you enroll in your first course, you will be charged a one-time fee for your Net ID of $55. This provides you with online access to our Styberg Library and Northwestern University’s Library. If you are on campus, you can have a Student ID created in the Registrar’s Office to have in-person access to both of these libraries. You will also have a one-time matriculation fee of $80. (Back To Top)

Am I eligible for a Garrett-Evangelical scholarship or for financial aid?

Certificate students receive a lower tuition rate to enroll in their certificate courses, so they are not eligible for Garrett-Evangelical scholarships or financial aid. (Back To Top)

Are there any outside scholarships I can apply to certificate programs?

There is financial aid available from GBHEM for those completing the UMC Professional Certification track of courses. They provide $100 per semester hour (credit hour). Since one course at Garrett-Evangelical is typically three (3) credit hours, you would receive $300 in financial aid from GBHEM per course. To receive this scholarship, you need to complete this GBHEM form, after you have completed the enrollment process for Garrett-Evangelical and GBHEM as noted in the FAQs about UMC Certification. (Back To Top)

When I am enrolled in a Garrett-Evangelical certificate program, am I eligible for in-school deferment for repayment of an existing loan?

Enrollment in a Garrett-Evangelical certificate program does not make you eligible for in-school deferment of your existing loan(s). You will need to continue to make loan payments. (Back To Top)

My church/organization wants to pay part or all of my tuition, how can they do this?

Your church/organization can send a check to Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, c/o Bursar at 2121 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60201 for the amount they would like to pay. They will need to include your name and student ID number in the memo section of the check. (Back To Top)