Fuller Theological Seminary: An Evangelical Seminary in California


Fuller Theological Seminary
Fuller Theological Seminary

Fuller Theological Seminary is one of the largest broadly evangelical seminaries in the United States.  With six satellite campuses and a virtual one, in addition to its main campus in Pasadena, California, Fuller is able to reach a large student body.  The school serves more than 4,300 students, who come from over 65 different countries and represent over 100 denominations.  Few theology schools are as diverse or offer as many graduate degrees as Fuller Theological Seminary.

A Seminary in California and Beyond

With its main campus in Pasadena, CA, just outside Los Angeles, Fuller is one of the most accessible seminaries in California.  Students coming from cities in Southern California, such as Anaheim and San Diego, can reach the main campus within an hour or two.  For students who hail from Northern-California cities, like San Francisco and Sacramento, Fuller’s Pasadena campus is about a day’s drive down Interstate 5.  Students who are arriving from outside the state usually fly into the Los Angeles International Airport, which is about 30 miles away.

In addition to its central campus, Fuller has a few satellite locations throughout California and in other states.  The school has a:

  • Seminary in Northern California (Fuller Seminary Northern California throughout Northern California)
  • Seminary in Southern California (Fuller California Coast south of Anaheim, CA)
  • Seminary in Arizona (Fuller Southwest in Phoenix, AZ)
  • Seminary in Colorado (Fuller Colorado in Colorado Springs, CO)
  • Seminary in Texas (Fuller Texas in Houston, TX)
  • Seminary in Washington (Fuller Northwest in Seattle, WA)
  • Some seminary courses in Atlanta (at Peachtree Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, GA)

Students who are considering enrolling in a seminary degree program at one of Fuller’s satellite campuses should look at the specific campus they would attend.  The courses offered and degrees awarded at satellite campuses vary from location to location.

(Find more seminaries in California).

Fuller Seminary in California
Fuller Seminary in California

A Seminary Online

For students who cannot relocate to one of Fuller’s campuses, the seminary offers a flexible degree option.  Through a combination of accredited online seminary classes and intensive courses taken on campus, students can complete one of three master’s-level degrees.  The Master’s of Arts in Intercultural Studies (MAICS), Master’s of Arts in Christian Leadership and Master’s of Arts in Theology and Ministry are all offered through the flexible degree program.  (At the time of writing, the flexible options for the MATM and MAICS were pending accreditation from the ATS and WASC).

The flexible degree program lets students take their seminary courses online, through independent study or on campus.  Much of the seminary degree program can be completed online, although students must come to campus two or three times each year, usually for about a week at a time.

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Fuller Theological Seminary’s History

Fuller was founded in 1947 by Charles E. Fuller, after whom the school is named, and Harold John Ockenga.  39 students enrolled in the School of Theology at the time, and there were five faculty members.  In 1953, Fuller moved from Lake Avenue Congregational Church in Pasadena to the seminary’s present location.

In the 1960s, two more schools were opened.  The School of Psychology and School of Intercultural Studies (originally the School of World Mission) were both founded in 1965.  All three schools received accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges in 1969.

The 1970s were a time of great expansion for Fuller.  Between 1973 and 1979, six regional campuses were opened.

Part of the original vision of Fuller was to repair relationships between conservative Christians and secular intellectuals.  As the graduate school has grown, it has remained true to this vision.  Today, the seminary draws both conservative and liberal Christians, as well as secular researchers.

Fuller Theological Seminary’s Mission

President Richard J. Mouw writes that Fuller Theological Seminary is:

“An evangelical, multidenominational, international, and multiethnic community dedicated to the equipping of men and women for the manifold ministries of Christ and his Church.  Under the authority of Scripture we seek to fulfill our commitment to ministry through graduate education, professional development, and spiritual formation.”
(Statement of Purpose)

This mission statement reflects Fuller’s commitment to Christian beliefs and diversity and seeks to prepare students academically, professionally and spiritually for Christian service.

A Broadly Evangelical Seminary

The school’s Statement of Purpose makes it clear that Fuller is not affiliated with any specific denomination.  The student body includes students from more than 100 different denominations (including non-denominational traditions), and the faculty’s theological heritage is equally diverse.

On Fuller’s Role In Public Life from Fuller Theological Seminary on Vimeo.

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Fuller Theological Seminary’s Degrees

As one of the largest seminaries in the United States, Fuller is able to offer a plethora of master’s and doctoral degrees.  The school sets itself apart from other Christian graduate schools by offering a few of these seminary degrees in Korean and Spanish.  In addition to M.A., Th.M. and Ph.D. degrees, Fuller also confers several certificates.  All of Fuller’s degrees are listed below according to the school they are awarded by, with the Korean and Spanish seminary degrees at the end of the list.

Degrees from Fuller’s School of Theology

The School of Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary centers its graduate degree programs at the intersection of three spheres: the Church, the academy and society.  Within this context, all of the programs complement intellectual study with spiritual formation and ministry preparation.  The School of Theology offers master’s degrees, doctoral degrees and certificates in Biblical Studies, Theological Studies and Practical Theology.

The specific theology degrees students can pursue at Fuller’s School of Theology are:

  • A Master’s of Arts (M.A.) in Christian Leadership Degree
  • A Master’s of Arts (M.A.) in Theology Degree
  • A Master’s of Arts (M.A.) in Theology and Ministry Degree
  • A Master’s of Divinity (M.Div.) Degree
  • A Master’s of Theology (Th.M.) Degree
  • A Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Theology Degree
  • A Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) Degree (also available in Korean)

The School of Theology also offers the following certificates:

  • Certificate of Christian Studies
  • Certificate in Recovery Ministry
  • Certificate in Youth Ministry
  • Certificate in Theology and the Arts
  • Anglican Communion Studies

DMin Mentoring Component with Terry Walling from Fuller Theological Seminary on Vimeo.

Degrees from Fuller’s School of Psychology

Fuller is one of the few seminaries that has a fully-accredited school of psychology.  The seminary’s psychology school is divided into two departments: the Department of Clinical Psychology and the Department of Marriage and Family.  Through these two departments, the School of Psychology at Fuller Theological Seminary offers a:

  • Certificate in Marriage and Family Enrichment
  • Master’s of Arts (M.A.) in Family Studies
  • Master’s of Science (M.S.) in Marital and Family Therapy
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Clinical Psychology
  • Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) in Clinical Psychology

Degrees from Fuller’s School of Intercultural Studies

A Class at Fuller
A Class at Fuller Theological Seminary

The School of Intercultural Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary prepares men and women for cross-cultural ministry.  Formerly an explicit missions school, this school now prepares students for work both as a missionary and in today’s increasingly diverse world.  The School of Intercultural Studies awards the following Christian graduate degrees:


  • Master’s of Arts (M.A.) in Intercultural Studies (also available in Korean)
  • Master’s of Arts (M.A.) in Global Leadership
  • Master’s of Theology (Th.M.) in Intercultural Studies
  • Master’s of Theology (Th.M.) in Missiology (in Korean only)
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Intercultural Studies
  • Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) in Global Ministries (in Korean only)
  • Doctor of Missiology (D.Miss.)

Students can also earn a Certificate of Christian Studies from the School of Intercultural Studies.

In addition to these degrees and certificates, Fuller offers a Certificate in Urban Youth Ministry through the Fuller Youth Institute.  This certificate combines studies in all three schools.

Theology Degrees in Korean

Both the School of Theology and the School of Intercultural Studies offer graduate theology degrees that are taught in Korean.  Through these schools, Korean seminary students can earn a master’s or doctoral degree in California without taking classes in English.  The Korean seminary degrees at Fuller are the:

  • Korean Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) Degree from the School of Theology
  • Korean Master’s of Arts (M.A.) in Intercultural Studies
  • Korean Master’s of Theology (Th.M.) in Missiology
  • Korean Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) in Global Ministries

Theology Degrees in Spanish

El Centro Latino is Fuller Theological Seminary’s Spanish-speaking center of study.  For more than 30 years, El Centro has been preparing students for ministry in the Latino community.  In addition to the main campus in Pasadena, CA, Spanish degrees in theology are available at two of Fuller’s extension campuses.  Fuller Seminary Northern California, in Fremont, and Fuller Seminary Texas, in Houston, both offer complete degree programs taught in Spanish.  The seminary degrees in Spanish that Fuller offers include:

  • A Master’s of Arts (M.A.) degree, with a focus in pastoral ministry within the Latino Church
  • A Master’s of Divinity (M.Div.) degree, with a focus in pastoral care and counseling
  • A Master’s of Divinity (M.Div.) degree, with a focus in multicultural ministries within the Hispanic Church
  • A Doctor of Ministry (D.Min) degree

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Fuller Seminary in California
Fuller Seminary in California

An Accredited Seminary

All of Fuller’s three schools, the School of Theology, School of Psychology and School of Intercultural Studies, are fully accredited by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).  The ATS accredits both undergraduate and graduate theology schools throughout North America.  The WASC accredits both religious and secular schools at all levels throughout the Pacific Rim and in California.

As the largest seminary in the ATS, Fuller has established itself as one of the top seminaries in the United States.  It is able to offer a breadth of degrees that other seminaries are not able to provide, including several doctoral seminary degrees.  For students seeking a seminary degree in Korean or Spanish, or a Psy.D. from a seminary, Fuller is one of the best seminaries to attend.

More Information About Fuller Theological Seminary

More information about each of the schools at Fuller Theological Seminary is available at fuller.edu.


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