Frequently Asked Questions
The Postgraduate School of the South African Theological Seminary is committed to provide the best opportunities and support for advanced theological studies. A competent team of full-time staff members and associates, each specialising in a particular field of theology, serves an ever growing number of postgraduate students from all over the world. Our focus is on people who are committed to the Lord Jesus Christ, who love and respect the Bible as God’s Word, are involved in advancing his kingdom through practical ministry, and desire to grow in all of these. You are most welcome to contact us for more information about programmes offered as well as other services that we may render.
SATS offers the following postgraduate programmes:
- Bachelor of Theology Honours
- Master of Theology (coursework plus mini-thesis)
- Master of Theology (hfull research)
- Doctor of Philosophy in Theology
All SATS academic programmes are accredited by the Council on Higher Education (CHE), the Education and Training Quality Assurer (ETQA) of the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) and are registered by the Department of Higher Education (registration number 2001/HE08/005). We are registered as a Section 21 company (Reg. no. 2002/005184/08), a PBO (18/11/13/2403) and an NPO (033-343-NPO).
SATS is a founder member of the National Association of Distance Education Organisations in South Africa (NADEOSA) and we are a member of the Association of Private Providers of Education, Training and Development (APPETD), the South African Institute for Distance Education (SAIDE), the International Council for Evangelical Theological Education (ICETE), the International Council for Higher Education (ICHE), the CHEA International Quality Group (CIQG) and the World Evangelical Theological Institute Association (WETIA).
Our accreditation and Department of Higher Education registration provide assurance that the quality of our programmes is of the highest standard. Our programmes are therefore nationally and internationally comparable and the credits earned with us are truly “portable”, i.e. they can be transferred to other accredited, registered institutions. The increasing number of international students confirms the acceptability of our programmes around the world.
Recently our MTh and PhD programmes were submitted to two of the most frequently used and highly recommended evaluators in the USA, namely the International Education Research Foundation, Inc. (ierf.org) and the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers’ International Education Services (http://ies.aacrao.org), and both confirmed that these degrees represent attainment of a level of education comparable to the equivalent degrees from a regionally accredited university in the United States. Our degrees are also recognised by theGerman website anabin.kmk.org/ which provides information about the evaluation of foreign qualifications.
The IQAS (International Qualification Assessment Service) in Alberta, Canada, an independent, secular assessment service used by many Canadian universities to establish the quality of foreign qualifications, has evaluated the SATS B.Th. as the local equivalent of a “three year Bachelor’s degree with a focus in theology”.
The formal academic requirements for admission into our programmes are as follows:
PhD in theology
3 year undergraduate degree, preferably in Theology
4 year degree in Theology or its equivalent
Master’s degree in theology or its equivalent
In addition to these academic requirements, SATS requires:
- Willingness to work within SATS’ ethos and core values
- A good command of English (unless SATS agrees to support the studies in another language such as French, Portuguese, German, Russian, Chinese or Korean)
- Basic computer skills and regular access to the Internet
- Experience of, and involvement in Christian ministry (preferred)
- In the BTh Honours programme students can identify their own area of interest which may then be the focus of their assignments.
- In the coursework Master’s programme students can choose from a list of electives that include Biblical Studies, Biblical Greek, Bible Translation, Pastoral Theology, Child Counselling, Science and Theology.
- In the full research Master’s and the PhD programmes students can design and submit research proposals on any specialist field within Theology.
Choosing the right postgraduate programme is no different from making other important and significant decisions in life. For that reason you should take time to explore the possibilities and make sure it is the right decision, one that will richly reward the investment of time and other resources. Senior academics at the Postgraduate School will gladly assist you in this process, enabling you to find the academic option that best matches your experience and expectations. This can prevent frustration and disappointment at later points of the study journey. To request such assistance, please click here
The Postgraduate School of SATS currently has well over four hundred active students from more than fifty countries. Most of them are in Christian ministry – full time or part time, leaders or support staff, fully employed or volunteers. Others are in a wide range of other occupations and enrolled for further studies in theology in order to enhance current or future ministry. Our student body includes men and women in their twenties all the way to people in their seventies. What they have in common is the desire to strengthen their equipment for Christian ministry through formal studies done online.
- Dr Johannes Malherbe D.Th. (Stellenbosch): Head of the Postgraduate School
Mrs. Marilyn Schott B.Th. (Hons.) Postgraduate Registrar
- Dr Zoltan Erdey Ph.D. (SATS): Senior Academic Advisor
- Dr Bill Domeris Ph.D. (University of Durham): Senior Academic
- Prof. Dan Lioy Ph.D. (Potchefstroom): Senior Research Manager
- Mr. David Woods M.Sc., M.Th. Quality Assurer
- Dr. Pieter Labuschagne Ph.D. Head of French Programme
- Dr. Mark Pretorius Ph.D. Senior Academic
Senior academics and Course facilitators
- Dr Christopher Peppler D.Th. (UNIZUL)
- Dr Kevin Smith D.Litt. (Stellenbosch), Ph.D. (SATS)
- Dr Annang Asumang Ph.D. (SATS)
- Dr Robert Brodie Ph.D. (St Augustine)
- Dr Bill Grover D.Th. (UNIZUL)
- Dr Veroni Kruger D.Litt. (Stellenbosch)
- Mr Pelham Lessing M.Phil., Ph.D.cand.
- Dr Anna-Marie Lockard Ph.D. (SATS)
- Mr Vernon Light M.Th. (Fort Hare), Ph.D.cand.
- Dr Mark Pretorius Ph.D. (Pretoria)
- Prof. Mervin van der Spuy D.Th. (UNISA)
- Dr Noel Woodbridge D.Ed. (UNISA) D.Th. (UNIZUL)
- Dr Ruben Paredes Alfaro Ph.D. (California)
- Dr Emmanuel Anim Ph. D (All Nations Christian College)
- Dr Siga Arles Ph.D. (Aberdeen)
- Dr Vincent Atterbury D.Th. (UNISA)
- Dr Mariano Avila Ph.D. (Westminster), Ph.D. (Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana)
- Prof. Samuel H. Chao Ph.D. (Fuller Theological Seminary)
- Dr Wilson Chow Ph.D. (Brandeis)
- Dr Lily Chua Ph.D. (Trinity)
- Dr Terry Curtis D.Min. (California Graduate School of Theology)
- Dr Nzuzi Mukawa Felicien Ph.D. (Trinity)
- Dr Keith Ferdinando Ph.D. (London Bible College)
- Dr Enrique Fernandez Ph.D. (Trinity)
- Dr Bulus Galadima Ph.D. (Trinity International)
- Dr Jan Grobbelaar Ph.D. (Stellenbosch)
- Dr Myk Habets Ph.D. (Otago)
- Dr Steve Hardy D.Miss. (Trinity International)
- Dr Mark Hendrickson Ph.D. (Northern Colorado)
- Dr Michael Higgs Ph.D. (Fort Hare) Dr Thomas Johnson Ph.D. (Iowa)
- Dr Franklin Jabini D.Th. (UNIZUL)
- Dr Jesudason Jeyaraj Ph.D. (Sheffield)
- Dr Thomas Johnson Ph.D. (Iowa)
- Dr Callie Joubert Ph.D. (UKZN)
- Dr Byeong Jun Ph.D. (Western Cape)
- Dr Ted Kautzmann Ph.D. (Trinity)
- Dr. Edouard Kitoko-Nsiku Ph.D. (Natal)
- Dr Celestin Kouassi Ph.D. (University of Abidjan)
- Dr Victor Kuligin Ph.D. (Stellenbosch) Dr David Roldan Ph.D. (sArs)
- Prof. Sam Kunhiyop Ph.D. (Trinity International)
- Dr Remi Lawanson Ph.D. (Fuller)
- Dr Lullia Lubenets D.Th. (Bucharest)
- Dr Raymond Martin D.Th. (UNIZUL)
- Dr Russell Morris Ph.D. (SATS)
- Dr Nebert Mtange D.Miss. (Ashbury)
- Dr Robert N’Kwim D.Th. (Protestant university of Congo)
- Dr Pieter Labuschagne Ph.D. (Pretoria)
- Dr Greg Linville D.Min. (Ashland)
- Dr Elijah Mahlangu Ph.D. (Pretoria)
- Dr Steven Mathews Ph.D. (Pretoria)
- Prof Emmanuel Mbennah Ph.D. (Northwest University)
- Dr Tim McIntosh Ph.D. (Regent)
- Dr Abel Ndjerareou Ph.D. (Dallas Theological Seminary)
- Dr Zedekiah Orera Ph.D. (Free State)
- Dr Hyo Shick Pai Ph.D. (Biola; Fuller)
- Dr Miguel Palamino Ph.D. (Edinburgh)
- Dr Ruben Paredes Alfaro Ph.D. (California)
- Dr Gordon Pike Ph.D. (Briercrest)
- Dr Alberto Roldan Ph.D. (ISEDET)
- Dr David Roldan Ph.D. (SATS)
- Dr Norberto Saracco Ph.D. (Birmingham)
- Dr Thomas Schirrmacher D.Th. (Theologische Hogeschool), D.Th. (Johannes Calvijn-Stichting), Ph.D. (California Miramar); Ph.D. (Bonn)
- Dr Willem Semmelink D.Th. (UNISA)
- Dr Dick Seed Ph.D. (Birmingham)
- Dr Pieter Siebesma Ph.D. (Rijksuniversiteit)
- Dr Fred Smith Ph.D. (Fuller)
- Dr Paul Stoltz Ph.D. (Free State)
- Dr Emmanuel Tshilenga D.Miss. (Pretoria)
- Dr Roger Tucker Ph.D. (Pretoria)
- Prof Yusuf Turaki Ph.D. (Boston)
- Dr Elaine Vaden D.Miss. (Fuller)
- Prof. Chuck van Engen Ph.D. (Free University of Amsterdam)
- Dr Gary Waldron Ph.D. (South Carolina)
- Esckinder Woldegabrial M.Th. (EGST), Ph.D.cand.
- Dr Peter Wyngaard Ph.D. (Wits)
- Dr Julio Zabatiero D.Th. (Escola Superior de Teologia)
The Postgraduate School provides advanced theological training within the ambit of the core values of SATS regarding the unique authority of the Bible as the Word of God, the lordship and centrality of Jesus Christ and the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Students and graduates often give testimony of how this focus has enriched their studies, their personal lives and their ministry.
All our programmes are offered in distance learning format. Students do not have to travel to SATS to attend classes or to meet their facilitators – everything is available online. This cuts the high costs of travel and accommodation that are part of residential or blended format programmes.
Accredited programmes up to doctoral level
We offer programmes in theology up to doctoral level in English and French and all programmes are formally accredited by the South African Council on Higher Education (CHE) and registered by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET). SATS is also a member of the CHEA International Quality Group (USA). Our degrees have been formally accepted by church and academic authorities in many other parts of the world.
Students can enrol any day of the year for programmes of the Postgraduate School. They can also determine the pace of their progress – some may follow a very intensive routine and finish their courses in record time, while others can only manage a few hours per week. Both coursework and full research programmes allow space to choose areas of specialisation and research methodology. Though English is our primary language of communication, we are also accredited in French and some of our services to postgraduate students are also available, through partners and associated staff, in a number of other languages.
The training programmes we offer were developed primarily for Christian leaders – people who are involved in some practical form of Christian witness and ministry, and who want to enrich this ministry through formal theological studies. Most of our programmes grew out of practical engagement with such leaders and have been updated in response to their feedback.
More than eighty dedicated and respected theologians from all over the world form part of the Postgraduate Faculty. This includes full time academics, course facilitators and part time supervisors. Among them there is an impressive diversity in academic expertise, ministry experience and field of influence. The School strives to ensure that students are served by facilitators best suited to their specific talents and needs.
Our comprehensive student support already begins at the point of enquiry. In addition to providing immediate, accurate information we provide the option of a free, no obligation, personal discussion – over the Internet or by phone – with a senior faculty member. The purpose of these conversations is to help the candidate gain a fuller understanding of SATS and of available study options. Once candidates are satisfied with the resultant study plan they can formally enrol and officially start with their respective programmes. From this point on students benefit from a specialised web-based support system that seeks to respond to their personal, academic, social and spiritual needs. This service includes academic resources (library), counselling, prayer, social network building, forum discussion and online document storage.
Research and publication
With more than four hundred active students, about half of them in full research master’s and doctoral programmes, the Postgraduate School is stimulating research across a wide spectrum of theological studies. (For a list of completed postgraduate student research, see https://www.sats.edu.za/content/research-systematic-theology). Faculty members are also deeply involved in research and publication, both personally and professionally. SATS initiates and publishes research of high quality in its Conspectus Journal (see https://www.sats.edu.za/conspectus/)as well as numerous other publications mainly aimed at supporting our ever-growing number of students.
Through formal agreements and practical cooperation with a number of theological training institutions, the services of the Postgraduate School are made available to an even greater number of students. The added services include studies in other languages (e.g. French, German, Korean, Russian, Chinese, Spanish and Portuguese), in other formats and adapted for particular ministry contexts. Students and their training institutions are reaping the benefits of SATS’ partnership strategy.
Endorsements and testimonies
The staff and faculty of the Postgraduate School are often humbled by expressions of gratitude from students and graduates. We hear appreciation for prompt and efficient response to enquiries and requests, as well as for the initial professional guidance regarding the choice of study programme and focus. Our students enjoy the benefits of online learning and advanced technological support and they praise the academic quality and solid theological basis of our programmes, as well as the guidance of dedicated and well qualified faculty.
Yes, we accept applications for postgraduate programmes right through the year. The process of choosing the right programme and enrolling for it may take some time, but the moment students are admitted to a particular programme, they can start their studies.
The South African Council of Higher Education, with which all SATS programmes are accredited, does make provision for the recognition of prior learning (RPL). The Postgraduate School may therefore take into account formal studies done at another institution even if they were not completed. Applicants may therefore submit details of their prior unfinished studies with the request to have them incorporated into a SATS study programme. The Postgraduate School will then determine if the applicant qualifies for Recognition of Prior Learning and what the cost will be for these credits
SATS has limited funds available as bursaries for students. Because we do not receive financial support from the South African government or from any denomination, our major income is from student fees. We do not want to make one student subsidise the studies of another. Discounts are available for group enrolments, usually done through partnerships. We do provide information about agencies that may offer financial support for advanced theological studies. A special bursary fund exists for students in the Eastern Cape. Please contact email@example.com for details.
Postgraduate programmes are available in English and in French. Through partnerships and associated faculty our services are also offered in German, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Korean and Chinese.
SATS is partnering with many training institutions spread out all over the world. Some partners are offering SATS programmes with little or no change. Others include parts of their own curriculum and make use of their own facilitators. We are willing to cooperate with institutions that share our vision, values and strategy. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.