Educational Effectiveness

Statement on Educational Effectiveness - October 2012

In the spring of 2012 the Association of Theological School (ATS)—the body that accredits universities that offer graduate theological education in United States and Canada, and of which Atlantic School of Theology (AST) is a full member—initiated a policy requesting that all member schools post statistics on “educational effectiveness.” Educational effectiveness may be measured by “the percentage of students who begin a program of study and complete it, the percentage of students who obtained employment related employment related to their degrees within a year of graduation.”

AST offers two graduate degree programs: a Master of Divinity Degree and a Master of Arts (Theology and Religious Studies). The M.Div. program is designed to prepare people for professional ministry within a variety of contexts such as congregational or parish ministry, clinical contexts such as health care facilities or the justice system. Over the past few years a number of our graduates have gone on to serve as chaplains within the Canadian Armed Forces. The thesis-based MA (Theology and Religious Studies) is designed to qualify students for admission to doctoral programs. The course-only program is designed for students wishing to develop theoretical and applied skills to work within churches and other religious institutions as teachers, pastoral care workers, or lay chaplains, among other vocations.

So what does the data reveal:

  • In the last five years, eighty-seven percent of the people who were admitted to a degree program at AST completed their programs of study.

  • Of the students who completed a degree program an identical eighty-seven percent of students either found employment in their field of study within a year of graduation or were admitted to a doctoral program.

These statistics are a snapshot of program completions and employment or advanced education successes over the past five years as of October 9, 2012. A handful of students in the sample group have not completed their programs. Some choose to withdraw within their first few months of study and others “are still in process,” completing their programs on a part-time basis. The data tells us that approximately ninety-five percent of the students who “are still in process” will graduate in the next one to two years and that eighty-seven percent of these graduates will either find employment related to their field of study or continue on to advanced academic work.