Course Curriculum

Course Curriculum


If you believe the Bible is the Word of God and are willing to test every question by its teaching,
then we invite you to consider entering a course of instruction at the City Seminary of
The conviction of City Seminary is that every major metropolitan area in the United States should
have a theological center where men can be trained and prepared for the gospel ministry without
relocating to another area.
While attendance at denominational seminaries will likely continue to be the norm for most
candidates for the ministry, the denominational system is not without problems, primarily of a
practical nature. The necessity of uprooting one’s family, incurring substantial debt, or being
separated from one’s home church has proven too great a burden for many who are otherwise


The goals of City Seminary of Sacramento are twofold: to provide a classical theological seminary education for ministerial candidates, and to offer continuing theological education for those already active in the ministry.

The first of these goals is pursued through the development of a community of pastors and teachers dedicated to preparing for the gospel ministry those whom it pleases God to call.

Pastoral instruction shall include the fruits of biblical, theological, apologetic, historical, and practical studies.

The second goal is the provision of additional theological training for men already ordained to the gospel ministry, as well as other church officers and members, utilizing the resources of the institution to serve the continuing needs of the churches in the Sacramento region.

City Seminary of Sacramento, while committed to the historic doctrines of the Reformation, also finds within those historic doctrines a necessity for increased catholicity among those who confess Christ in our own age. We must demand from one another adherence to things “most surely believed among us,” while recognizing that we do not have complete unity of practice in the modern Church. Those of different theological emphases will find at City Seminary of Sacramento a classical education in Reformation theology that will serve as a firm foundation irrespective of denominational distinctives.

Instruction will include, but not be limited to, Biblical languages, history and exegesis, Biblical and systematic theology, church history, missions, sermon preparation and delivery, pastoral ministry, and church-planting, as well as other courses of a practical nature to assist and prepare candidates for gospel outreach.

Those currently serving in the ministry will also benefit, along with new students, from instruction in “practicing the peace of the church,” i.e., learning how to deal with conflicts in the local church in a biblical and God-honoring manner.

For those seeking more in-depth instruction in the Reformed faith, enrollment the Seminary’s Casimir College will provide courses in Reformed confessions and polity. In short, our purpose is to embrace all within the believing Church who seek to improve their theological knowledge and skills, while also offering a distinctive Reformed “track” for those more particularly seeking to serve in Reformed and Presbyterian ecclesiastical bodies.

Doctrinal Standards

The character of any institution of higher learning will be determined by its view of truth and authority, as well as the implications of both. City Seminary of Sacramento believes and affirms that the Bible is the inerrant, inspired and infallible Word of the living God. As such, its message is both knowable and teachable, requiring us to “search the Scriptures daily.” In other words, the Faith may (indeed must) be studied and taught both propositionally and systematically. Finally, because God’s Word is authoritative, our Christian walk can and must be founded upon Christian doctrine, to the end that a vibrant faith in Scripture will bring forth the fruit of righteousness in those who are trained by it. This will inevitably have consequences for every area of life.

The perspective which defends this view of Biblical authority was most ably presented by the late Dr. Cornelius Van Til. While other apologetical approaches will be studied, the student should be aware that the Van Til apologetic approach will characterize the course of instruction throughout. We do not begin with Man, science, reason, geology, experience, etc. We begin with the presupposition that God is Who He says He is, and that His Word is Truth.

Faculty members at City Seminary are held to the affirmation of the Faith as presented in the Heidelberg Catechism of 1563, the Belgic Confession and the Canons of Dort; however, students may enroll from any orthodox Protestant body (Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Non-denominational, etc.) provided they can affirm the following Biblical doctrines:

    • The authority, infallibility and inerrancy of Scripture
    • The Trinity
    • The full deity and humanity of Christ
    • The fallen nature of man
    • The substitutionary atonement and bodily resurrection of Christ
    • Salvation by faith alone in Christ alone
    • The future, physical return of Jesus Christ

History and Government

The sixteenth-century Reformation was a time of great spiritual growth and renewal in the Church. While the forces of Roman Catholicism regrouped during the Counter-Reformation, cities and nations went over en masse to the simpler and purer practices of the “reformed” church. The basic principles of the Reformation were summarized in the refrain, “Sola Fides, Sola Gratia, Solus Christus, Sola Scriptura,” — Faith Alone, Grace Alone, Christ Alone, Scripture Alone.

The Reformers appealed to the authority of Scripture, rather than the traditions of men. They saw Christ alone as their mediator, not any earthly priesthood. They affirmed salvation by grace, through faith, and denied the prevailing doctrine of works salvation. For centuries, these fundamental doctrines characterized the confession of most Protestants.

This original “reformed” church, however, soon began to splinter into the denominational mosaic we see today. Some branches began to identify themselves with individual Reformers, e.g., Luther. Others emphasized forms of government, e.g., the “presbytery” or “episcopacy.” Others still, took their name from distinctive practices, e.g., the mode of administering baptism.

City Seminary of Sacramento traces its lineage to the “trunk” of the Reformation, and as such is in a unique position to sponsor the opportunity for theological education to all the many branches of Protestantism by emphasizing foundational principles. After securing a solid basic theological education, some students may wish to complete their preparation to serve in a particular ecclesiastical body by spending a short time at a denominational seminary. This may, in fact, be required in some denominational bodies.

It is our hope that the “city system” which sprang up in Reformation times, in which godly men strove to found centers for theological education in the various cities of Europe, might once again prove useful and efficacious in our own times. One such city seminary founded in the relatively small city of Geneva, sent out so many young preachers that the kings of Europe threatened to close their borders to stem the flood of the gospel into their truth-starved regions. It is our prayer that God would use City Seminary of Sacramento in this way.

Theological education in the United States was originally available, in any systematic way, only to students who studied under the tutelage and guidance of individual ministers. Prior to that time, candidates for the ministry often had to travel to Europe for training and ordination. In the eighteenth century there were a number of pastors who were widely known for their willingness to take students under their oversight and guide their reading. Often a single minister was engaged in discipling and preparing a sizable group of students, even from other church bodies.

It is this same spirit of cooperation, combined with an urgent desire that the gospel ministry might flourish in our own time, that serves as the wellspring of City Seminary of Sacramento’s mission. The seminary is governed by a Board of Governors who share the commitment to godly ecumenicity and fellowship articulated in this introduction, to the end that God’s people in our midst may be ably served by an abundance of faithful and dedicated gospel ministers. The faculty also may sit with the board in an advisory capacity.

Degree Programs and Auditing

City Seminary of Sacramento is a school of theology at the graduate level, operating under the auspices of Covenant Reformed Church of Sacramento, a member congregation of the Reformed Church in the United States (founded 1725). The Seminary may grant the degrees of Associate of Theological Studies (A.T.S.), Bachelor of Divinity (B.D.), Master of Theological Studies (M.T.S.) and Master of Divinity (M.Div.). The M.T.S. and M.Div. degrees will be awarded only to those who have previously secured a Bachelor of Arts or its equivalent.

Eligibility for any City Seminary degree, diploma or certificate is determined not only on the basis of a student’s academic performance, but also on the basis of a consistent Christian character and deportment. Effectiveness in Christian service demands an exemplary manner of life. The faculty is responsible to recommend to the Board of Governors for diplomas or degrees only those students who exhibit godly attitudes, spiritual maturity and a manner of life befitting the gospel of Jesus Christ. In the discharge of this duty the faculty will offer advice and encouragement to students regarding their academic and personal obligations. A student may be required to leave the Seminary when, in the judgment of the faculty, these obligations are not being satisfied.

In addition to the degree requirements listed below, attendance at the Opening Convocation (September) and Commencement (May) is required of all degree candidates.

 Undergraduate Programs

Although it is customary for theological students to secure a baccalaureate degree in the liberal arts before entering seminary, City Seminary recognizes that unusual circumstances often prevent this (for example, a man may be called to the ministry late in life). Therefore, City Seminary offers the following undergraduate degrees to non-college graduates, provided that such applicants have a high school diploma or its equivalent.

Undergraduate students will take all classes at an undergraduate level of study.

Bachelor of Divinity

The Bachelor of Divinity degree (B.D.) is an undergraduate degree awarded to those who have successfully completed 98 semester hours of credit. All non-elective courses are required for this degree. Instruction will include the following disciplines: Apologetics, Church History, Old and New Testaments (including the original languages of Scripture), Practical Theology and Systematic Theology. Students from the Reformed Church in the United States are to complete the Casimir College curriculum as well.

Associate of Theological Studies

The Associate of Theological Studies degree (A.T.S.) is an undergraduate degree awarded to those who have successfully completed 48 semester hours of credit. Each candidate for this degree must choose an area of concentration from among the departments of the seminary (e.g., Apologetics, Church History, etc.). All non-elective courses within that department and their prerequisites are required for the degree. In addition, each candidate for this degree must successfully complete PT 111, ST 111 and ST 421. Courses from other departments will satisfy for the remainder of the degree requirements.

Graduate Programs

The following degrees are offered to students entering the seminary with a baccalaureate degree or its equivalent. These students must take all classes, except introductory languages, at a graduate level of study.

Master of Divinity

The Master of Divinity degree (M.Div.) is a graduate degree awarded to those who have successfully completed 98 semester credit hours. All non-elective courses are required for this degree. Instruction will include the following disciplines: Apologetics, Church History, Old and New Testaments (including the original languages of Scripture), Practical Theology and Systematic Theology. Students from the Reformed Church in the United States are to complete the Casimir College curriculum as well.

The program of study for the M.Div. is designed to produce a well-rounded, knowledgeable and competent minister of the gospel. There is an order to theological instruction that builds upon previously laid foundations. Students should, whenever possible, pursue a liberal arts degree before entering a program of ministerial training.

Master of Theological Studies

The Master of Theological Studies degree (M.T.S.) is a graduate degree awarded to those who have successfully completed 48 semester hours of credit. Each candidate for this degree must choose an area of concentration from among the departments of the seminary (e.g., Apologetics, Church History, etc.). All non-elective courses within that department and their prerequisites are required for the degree. In addition, each candidate for this degree must successfully complete PT 111, ST 111 and ST 421. Courses from other departments will satisfy for the remainder of the degree requirements.

Scholastic Honors

Students in one of the seminary’s four-year degree programs who complete a minimum of 60 semester hours (30 for two-year degrees) of graded coursework at City Seminary (not including courses taken Pass/Fail) with a minimum grade point average of 3.65 will be graduated cum laude. Those who finish with a minimum grade point average of 3.80 will be graduated magna cum laude. Those who finish with a minimum grade point average of 3.90 will be graduated summa cum laude.

Students who have completed between 50 and 59 hours (between 25 and 29 for two-year degrees) at City Seminary with a minimum grade point average of 3.75 will be graduated “With Distinction.”

These honors designations will be noted on the student’s diploma and recorded in his academic transcript. Classes taken after graduation will not alter the academic honors designations awarded at graduation.


City Seminary’s Certificate Program is designed especially for those currently serving in the ministry who feel a deficiency in a particular area of study, or who wish to concentrate their efforts in a given discipline without necessarily pursuing a degree. Certificates shall be awarded, upon recommendation of the faculty, to those who successfully complete three courses in any one of the seminary’s departments. Credits earned in certificated programs will, in most cases, count toward completion of a seminary degree, should the student later choose to pursue that goal.

Certificates will be offered in each department of theological study (Apologetics, Church History, New Testament, Old Testament, Systematic Theology and Pastoral Theology). Students desiring to enroll in a certificated program in Systematic Theology must be able to demonstrate a minimal knowledge of the Greek language and historical philosophy.


While a friendly and collegial atmosphere is our goal, the student should understand that the academic standards of the institution are necessarily rigorous. Those who do not feel capable of meeting the academic requirements sufficient for credit, may apply to audit specific courses (with the consent of the instructor) without credit.

Students who switch from credit to audit will forfeit their scholarships for that course.

Admission to the Program

Prospective students should initially apply by using the short enrollment application form available on our website. Should the student subsequently elect to transition to the status of a degree candidate in the Seminary, the applicant must also present the following credentials to the Registrar:

    • A completed degree program application on a form supplied by the Registrar. Applications are available on City Seminary’s website (
    • A letter of recommendation from the minister or governing board of the church of which the applicant is a member, or other satisfactory source, stating in the estimation of the writer, the applicant’s moral character, general ability and special fitness to pursue theological studies.
    • A statement from the applicant giving his reasons for wishing to pursue a course of theological study.
    • A full academic transcript of the applicant’s college and/or high school work. If more than one college was attended, there should be a transcript from each. If he has not completed a regular course of academic study, the applicant may be required to sustain examinations in subjects essential in order to profitably matriculate into the course of study at the Seminary.

These materials should be forwarded to the Registrar of the Seminary at the following address as soon as the student has determined to enroll.

The Registrar

City Seminary of Sacramento

2020 16th Ave.

Sacramento, CA 95822

The Seminary will examine the student’s credentials to ascertain whether the applicant is of good moral character, and possesses the appropriate demeanor and prior education necessary for theological study.

Applicants for the M.Div. or M.T.S. degrees, must provide a transcript showing the attainment of the Bachelor of Arts degree, or its academic equivalent, with a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale. Courses in the undergraduate program should include philosophy, history and languages.

The Seminary may grant admission on the basis of the credentials submitted or it may make one or more of the following requests of the candidate:

    • To meet with a representative of the Seminary for a personal interview.
    • To take one or more of the Graduate Record Examinations administered six times a year at various centers throughout the country.
    • To provide a physician’s health certificate.

The Seminary does not carry medical insurance for students. Health insurance is the sole responsibility of each student.

English Language Proficiency

All international and English-as second-language (ESL) students applying for admission must submit a score for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). A minimum score of 550 is required for admission and must include the writing section (TWE) which is administered in September, October, March and May.

To register for the TOEFL/TWE test, contact:


PO Box 6151

Princeton, NJ 08541–6151, USA

Telephone: (609) 771–7100



Applicants who score 600 or lower on the TOEFL must enroll in the ESL program at an approved institution.

Preliminary Test in Greek

A preliminary examination is administered for those wishing to establish a proficiency in Greek, enabling the student to enroll in course with a Greek prerequisite. Prospective students are encouraged to include Greek language in their undergraduate work, when possible. Greek is a prerequisite for many New Testament courses and may also be taken as part of the student’s seminary program of instruction.

Knowledge of the English Bible

Every student is expected to have a working knowledge of the English language Bible. Every prospective minister of the gospel must make the Bible his constant companion. It is assured that no student indifferent to God’s Word will succeed at City Seminary of Sacramento.

While a love for God’s Word and a genuine familiarity with the texts of Scripture are essential, it is also recognized that most students will lack the systematic tools necessary to take full advantage of the course of instruction. To address this common deficiency, introductory survey courses are included in both the New and Old Testament curricula.

Final examinations will be administered at the end of each semester. In the event of an excused absence, the student must schedule another examination before the second Tuesday of the ensuing term.

Grades will be awarded to students as follow:

  • 4 — 96 to 100
  • 4– — 93 to 95.99
  • 3+ — 90 to 92.99
  • 3 — 87 to 89.99
  • 3– — 84 to 86.99
  • 2+ — 81 to 83.99
  • 2 — 78 to 80.99
  • 2– — 75 to 77.99
  • 1+ — 72 to 74.99
  • 1 — 69 to 71.99
  • 1– — 65 to 68.99
  • 0 — below 65

Grades not included in GPA calculations:

  • P (Pass)
  • F (Fail)
  • WP (Withdraw Passing)
  • WF (Withdraw Failing)

Required courses receiving a grade of 0 (failing) must be repeated. All failures will be recorded on the student’s transcript and averaged in his GPA. The faculty may determine a 1– to be a “conditional pass.” At the instructor’s discretion, the student may be re-examined or given a written assignment to complete. A grade of 2+ or better on the re-examination or written assignment is required to remove the condition.

Students with grades of 1– or 0 may be placed on academic probation at the discretion of the faculty. Probationary students must improve their grades during the semester following their probation in order to be reinstated fully. Failure to do so may result in suspension from the program for a time to be determined by the faculty.

Tuition and Fees

Books and other course materials listed with each course and are the responsibility of the student. All required materials and books will be available through the bookstore.

City Seminary of Sacramento operates on the “Trimester” system. Fees are per semester hour.  Scholarships are available to offset a portion of tuition payments for those in need of financial assistance.

Tuition will be charged at the rate of $225.00 per semester hour for those courses taken for credit, with a maximum tuition charge of $2,700.00 per semester. Courses may also be audited for $50.00 per semester hour.

Transfer of Credit

Credit may, at the discretion of the Registrar and/or faculty, be granted for courses taken at other institutions in a similar program and at the same level. Credit will only be granted for courses that cover the same subject matter as those offered at City Seminary and in which the student received a grade of 3– or better. The student must provide the Registrar with a catalogue of the year in which he took the course. If there is any question, City Seminary may require a qualifying examination.

The grades for transfer courses will appear as “credit” and will not be averaged in the student’s GPA, though they will count toward the fulfillment of his graduation requirements. No more than 60 percent of the courses necessary for any program may be by transfer credit.

Graduate students may opt to “test out” of courses that they have taken in an undergraduate program. However, such courses will typically not be counted toward the number of credits needed for graduation.

As a general rule, courses taken more than ten years previously may not be transferred.

Withdrawal from Classes

Students may withdrawal from classes without notation on their transcripts through the fourth week of a semester. After that, the notation WP (withdrew passing) or WF (withdrew failing) will be recorded.

Refunds will be granted to students withdrawing from courses according to the following schedule:

    • During the first week of the semester — 100% refund
    • During the second week — 75% refund
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