Accreditation and Distance Education Authorization

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Bethany Theological Seminary is accredited by the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) in the United States and Canada. Both the Seminary’s MDiv and MA degree programs are approved, and Bethany has also received approval for comprehensive distance education.  In addition, Bethany is fully accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC).


The Association of Theological Schools is a membership organization of schools in the United States and Canada educating individuals after their baccalaureate education, preparing individuals for the ministries of preaching and teaching. Bethany is fully accredited by the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada, and the MDiv and MA (theology) degree programs are approved, in addition to specific approval for a Comprehensive Distance Education Program.

ATS Logo

The Commission on Accrediting of the Association
of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada
10 Summit Park Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15275 USA
Telephone: 412-788-6505
Fax: 412-788-6510

The Higher Learning Commission is an accreditation organization which uses a body
of peer reviewers to grant membership to degree-granting postsecondary schools.
Bethany is fully accredited by HLC for the degree programs it offers in both local and
distance formats.

Higher Learning Commission
230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500
Chicago, IL 60604
Telephone: 800-621-7440

State Authorization for Distance Education


Federal and state laws have established requirements that regulate distance (online) education programs offered by postsecondary institutions like Bethany Theological Seminary. Institutions must be approved to offer such education within each state where students reside. These laws protect students related to a variety of issues that may occur during the course of their distance education. Bethany makes every effort to comply with these laws related to its delivery of distance education.

Bethany Theological Seminary has been approved by the State of Indiana to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements. NC-SARA is a voluntary, regional approach to state oversight of postsecondary distance education. If the institution is approved by the home state and the state is approved by NC-SARA, then the institution is approved to deliver distance (online) education in all states that have joined this oversight organization.

As a result, Bethany Theological Seminary is approved for distance (online) education through NC-SARA in forty-nine states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

Bethany’s distance education offerings for its degree and certificate programs provide the highest quality to all our students, no matter where they are located.

Degree Acceptance

Bethany Theological Seminary’s fully accredited master of divinity degree is accepted by many denominations and nondenominational Christian communities as suitable preparation for ordination. These denominations include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Church of the Brethren
  • American Baptist
  • Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
  • Congregational Christian Churches
  • Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA)
  • Mennonite Church (USA)
  • Presbyterian Church (USA)
  • Reformed Church
  • Vineyard Churches
  • Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations
  • United Church of Christ
  • Other communions accepting a fully accredited MDiv degree

Complaint Process

Individuals who wish to file a complaint regarding a perceived violation of an accreditation criterion or standard should follow the process below:

First, contact Bethany’s academic dean, Steven Schweitzer, (deansoffice@bethanyseminary.edu; 765-983-1815). An effort will be made to clarify or resolve the issue.

If this is unsatisfactory, the individual should contact either of the accrediting agencies listed above (ATS or HLC) or the State Portal Agency that authorizes Bethany on behalf of NC-SARA. Since Bethany is located in Indiana, the following contact information for the State Portal Agency should be used:

Ken Sauer
Senior Associate Commissioner and Chief Academic Officer
Indiana Commission for Higher Education
101 W. Ohio Street, Suite 550
Indianapolis, IN  46204-1984