Frequently Asked Questions

Southwestern College doesn’t offer a graduate program in the same field I earned my bachelor’s degree. Am I able to take a graduate degree program if I do not have bachelor’s degree in the same field?

Application to any of our graduate degrees is open to individuals with any undergraduate major from a regionally accredited institution.

I plan to complete this degree online. Will I need to visit a Professional Studies’ site for anything?

No, admission, enrollment, and all other services can be completed online. Your advisor is available to you by phone or e-mail to help you achieve your educational goals with Southwestern College.

Is Southwestern College accredited?

Yes, Southwestern College and the Professional Studies’ programs are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association.

How long will it take me to complete my degree?

That depends on you. Most of Southwestern College Professional Studies’ graduate classes are six weeks long. If you take one course each session, you can complete your degree in a little over 2 years. Check out each graduate degree page for specifics.

Do I have to take classes during the busy season at my job?

No. Unlike some graduate programs, Southwestern College Professional Studies’ graduate programs are designed to be flexible. Most of the time you will be able to sit out a session and re-enter when you’re ready.

Is there a graduate application fee?

No, Southwestern College Professional Studies does not have an application fee for our graduate programs.

How much is the tuition for the program?

The tuition rates for the graduate programs vary. Refer to the Graduate Enrollment Center for current tuition rates.

Can I apply for financial aid?

At Southwestern College, financial aid is available for those who qualify.

What is the average amount of financial aid received by students of Southwestern College Professional Studies?

The average amount of aid awarded for graduate Professional Studies learners who have applied for Federal financial aid is $13,279 per year, based on the 2010-2011 award year. For more information on financial aid, please email

How many classes can I take at a time?

Graduate learners are limited to one graduate class per six-week session. If you would like to take an “overload” then you must contact your Academic Success Coach to request approval. The Director of Learner Support and Academic Success reviews all class overload requests.

How do I enroll for classes?

Southwestern College offers two avenues for enrolling in classes. You may see your advisor or you may enroll online through Self Service.

I think I have finished or am close to finishing all my course requirements, how do I get my degree?

Learners should verify with their advisor to ensure they are done with all their course and graduation requirements. To receive your degree, each learner must submit an application for degree in advance of the deadline to their advisor. Degrees are conferred 3 times per year, May, August, and December with commencement ceremonies in May. Learners may or may not participate in Commencement at their discretion.

Will my degree look different than a traditional learner’s degree? Will anyone know if I took my classes online or on ground?

Professional Studies degrees look the same as all other degrees conferred by Southwestern College. It will not indicate when or how you took classes.

Click the image to enlarge.

The actual size of a Southwestern College diploma is 8 1/2 × 11.

What is the difference between a semester and a session?

Below is a breakdown of what makes up an academic year, each semester, and then where sessions fall into that.
Southwestern College's Academic Year Chart

What social networking opportunities are available for me to connect with Southwestern College Professional Studies?

Currently we are on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Feel free to like us/follow us and stay up with the latest news!

How many learners take classes online at Southwestern College Professional Studies?

In 2011, we had just over 1,100 learners take online courses with us.

How will Southwestern College Professional Studies’ affiliation with the United Methodist Church affect my experience in the classroom?

Contrary to many public university settings, at Southwestern College you can feel free to discuss and explore religious questions while taking classes with us. We offer courses that allow you to explore the Methodist religion specifically, as well as courses that allow you to explore religion in more universal terms. We even offer entire degrees and certificates in religious studies such as bachelor’s degrees in Pastoral Studies and Youth Ministry and master’s degrees in Specialized Ministries and Theological Studies.