The Evening School of Theology (EST) at Virginia Theological Seminary offers two programs: the Traditional program and the Enriched program. The Traditional EST was established in 1971 to provide serious theological education for lay people; the Enriched program began in 2011 to offer EST students the opportunity to study along with master’s-level students. Lay or ordained, seeker or believer, leader or listener; you are invited to deepen your experience and knowledge of the Christian faith.
Courses in the Traditional program are open enrollment. At the start of each course, students may elect to audit it or take the course for credit. An auditor is expected to complete the assigned readings for class discussions and to participate in discussions and other assignments during a class session. A student taking the course for credit would be required to complete a project or paper(s) assigned by the instructor to receive credit.
Courses in the Enriched program are master’s level courses with limited enrollment available for Evening School participants. Admission into the Enriched program requires a short application and completion of the prerequisite course, Introduction to Theological Education, offered each semester. Students participating in the Enriched program are expected to complete the course’s required reading and submit a paper or project designed by the instructor to receive Evening School credit.
Students in either Traditional or Enriched programs may elect to work towards the Diploma in Theological Studies. The Diploma is awarded upon satisfactory completion for credit of six courses, including at least two courses in Bible, one course in Christian theology, and one course in either liturgy or spirituality and the arts. Credits from the satisfactory completion of an Evening School course or for the Diploma are not transferable to Virginia Theological Seminary or to other academic institutions.
Evening School of Theology credits are not transferable to the Seminary or other academic institutions. Thanks to a bequest from the estate of Maxine Bishop of Alexandria, a frequent Evening School participant, tuition is modest.