Educational Effectiveness and Success Metrics


United prepares faithful, fruitful leaders to make disciples of Jesus Christ.

United is committed to its mission and publishes a number of measures of educational effectiveness and success. When possible, United benchmarks its results against those for schools accredited by The Association for Theological Schools (ATS).

Statement of Educational Effectiveness

As United prepares people for service and leadership in the church, information is gleaned from United students, graduates and alumni/ae to evaluate educational effectiveness in this endeavor.

United Students

United Theological Seminary surveys its students annually. For the 2016-2017 Student Satisfaction Survey, 33% of students responded.

United strives to cultivate an environment where its students may learn and grow. When responding regarding the learning environment, several themes emerge as a high percentage of students agree or strongly agree with the following statements:

  • Growth
  • 97% I feel I am growing intellectually in seminary.
  • 94% I feel I am growing spiritually in seminary.
  • 95% The United community supports my academic and spiritual growth.
  • Respect:
  • 96% My views are respected in the classroom/seminary community.
  • 97% I have been taught to respect the views of others in the classroom/seminary community.
  • Commitment:
  • 95% Faculty and/or mentors are committed to my growth in the faith.
  • 96% Faculty and/or mentors are committed to my learning.


United Graduates

United participates in an annual survey of its graduates administered by The Association of Theological Schools. For the ATS 2016-2017 Graduating Student Questionnaire1, 66% of United’s 99 graduates responded. We compare United’s results to those from participating ATS schools.

Based on responses to this survey:

  • 94%
  • Agree or strongly agree they were satisfied with their academic experience at United.
  • 65%
  • Were offered a position or will continue in their current ministerial position, as compared to 55% for ATS schools.
  • 88%
  • Plan to serve in parish or congregational ministry, as compared to 62% for ATS schools.


United Alumni/ae

Every five years, United conducts an alumni/ae survey.2 In 2014, 16% of the 1,704 alumni/ae contacted responded to the survey.

United’s dedication to providing an educational experience that values the local church and prepares people for pastoral ministry is recognized by judicatories and borne out in levels of ordination and service in local churches.

According to responses to this survey:

  • 91%
  • Would recommend United to a prospective student.
  • 86%
  • Are currently employed in or retired from ministry.
  • 68%
  • Currently serve local churches.3
  • 13%
  • Are working in either denominational offices or chaplaincy positions.4

These high rates of ordination and longevity in ministry continue to confirm the findings of Rolf Memming in his study of longitudinal trends in ministry, in which he found United Theological Seminary to be one of the nation’s leaders in preparing life-long pastors for the church.

Average Time to Completion and Graduation Rates by Degree for 2016 5

According to results from the ATS 2016-2017 Strategic Information Report, which approximates time to completion, on average United’s Master of Divinity students completed their degree in 4.39 years, Master of Arts in Christian Ministries and Master of Pastoral Theology students in 3.41 years and Master of Theological Studies students in 4.5 years.

Graduation rates6 are also evaluated in this report, with United results compared to industry in the table below.

Degree Program United Theological Seminary All ATS Schools
Master of Divinity (MDiv) 64% 63%
Professional MA (MACM and MPTh) 33% 53%
Academic MA (MTS) 0% 52%
Advanced Professional (DMin) 89% 51%

Retention Rates by Program Category 2016-20177

The Office of Student Success tracks student retention rates on an annual basis.

Master Degrees: 86%
Doctoral Degree: 84%

[1]The Association of Theological Schools 2016-2017 Graduating Student Questionnaire, Report for United Theological Seminary compared to Total School Profile (180 participating ATS schools). The survey was sent to students who graduated with a degree or certificate from United in the 2016-2017 academic year. Data collected represents a 66% response rate of the 99 United graduating students contacted.
[2]The 2014 alumni/ae survey was sent in February 2014 to alumni/ae who graduated with a degree or certificate from United in years ranging from the 1940s to 2013, for whom we had email contact information. Data collected represents a 16% response rate of the 1,704 alumni/ae contacted.
[3]Or if retired, were serving in this capacity at time of retirement.
[4]Or if retired, were serving in this capacity at time of retirement.
[5]The Association of Theological Schools 2016-2017 Strategic Information Report for United Theological Seminary, United’s programs in each ATS category are listed in parentheses following the category. Academic MA (MTS) category is a small sample size for United’s program.
[6]Graduation rates represent the percentage of students who were able to complete their chosen degree within a specified period of time which approximates two times the normal length of the degree.
[7]Persistence rates are calculated by the number of students who were enrolled in classes from the previous semester and are enrolled in classes in the current semester. Retention rates are the aggregate of spring to fall and fall to spring persistence rates for an academic year.