Apostolic Theological Bible College Information

This handout has been created to acquaint newcomers to ATBC college information with some of the terminology and useful information. It is not meant to be a definitive source of information since there are exceptions to most everything. For specific questions, consult ATBC.


Term/semester: length of time over which classes are conducted. Lengths vary depending on where attending, example, on a traditional campus like the University of South Florida (USF), a term lasts 16 weeks while on-base classes run for 8 weeks. Please note that the amount of time spent in the classroom at ATBC is the same for a USF class. Traditional schools typically have two 16 week terms (fall and spring) followed by a summer term of ten or so weeks.

Semester hour (SH): the system used to award college credit. Typically, college courses are valued at 3 semester hours. One semester hour translates to approximately 15 classroom hours. A two semester hour course would require approximately 30 classroom hours to complete.

Full-time: status as a full-time student varies depending on program. For example, undergraduate attendance at the USF is a minimum load of 12 semester hours per regular term (fall and spring).  Since ATBC presently is a correspondence program, there is no Full-Time status.  Students complete their course work at their own pace.

Freshman, Sophomore, Junior and Senior year : Freshman is the first year of college typically resulting in the award of 30 semester hours of credit. Sophomore is the second year with 30 additional credit hours (60 credits total), Junior is the third year with 30 additional credit hours (90 credits total) and Senior is the fourth year with 30 credit hours (120 credits total).

Associates degree: a degree awarded at the two year point, e.g., the degree awarded by most Community Colleges is an Associates degree that require 60 credit hours. There are many different Associates degree: Associates in Applied Science (AAS), to Associates in Arts (AA) or Associates in Science (AS) with many Community Colleges.  At ATBC we offer Associates in Religious Education (ASE), Associates in Theology (AT), and Associates in Christian Education (ACE).  There are 10 courses in our Associates Degree program consisting of 60 credit hours. 

Baccalaureate degree: Typically a four year degree with 120 credit hours of course work (also known as a Bachelor's degree). At ATBC our students earn their Bachelor Degree with exactly 120 credit hours.

Matriculation: the process of applying for, and being accepted as a degree seeking student in a college program. This usually involves completing an admissions application, providing reference letters and college transcripts (if applicable) and paying a fee. A non-matriculated student is one who simply takes classes with a school not intending to complete a degree with that school. For example, if you took one course with Pima CC to complete a CCAF requirement.

Master's degree: the degree just beyond the baccalaureate which typically requires completion of an additional 30 to 60 semester hours of credit. Master's degree have titles like Master of Science, Master of Arts, Master of Theology, and Master in Christian Education.  At ATBC a student earns their Master's Degree with an additional 60 credit hours of course work, the equivalent of two more years of college (for a total of six years of classroom work).

Doctorate: the degree just beyond a Master's degree which typically requires anywhere from 60 to 100 Semester Hours (90-150 classroom hours).  At ATBC the candidate for the Doctorate degree will complete the equivalent of 30 classroom hours since our focus is Theology and Religious and not secular.  The Doctorate candidate must also complete a dissertation (publishable work) before a committee of college professors. Doctorate degrees typically have names like Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or Doctor of Education (EdD) or Doctor of Business Administration (DBA). At ATBC our Doctorate candidates can present a written dissertation which will be reviewed by our Chancellor and President.  In the event a candidate qualifies for our Life Experience Doctorate Degree (LEDD), ATBC accepts in lieu of a written dissertation, the public preaching and teaching of a Minister or Pastor over a 20 year time period.  This amounts to 6,240 hours of public dissertation before many audiences and the general public.  A typical Master's Degree thesis may contain 25,000 words (70 pages) while a Doctoral Degree may contain 35,000 words (100 pages). Those candidates who qualify for our LEDD over a 20 year time period give an equivalent of 70 pages of verbal thesis every week of their full-time ministry.  There is absolutely NO secular Master's or Doctoral graduate who equals these Men of God who are granted a Doctoral Degree for their life experience!

Academic program: when compared to a technical program of study, an academic program consists of a general education component of courses in English, math, social science (history, psychology, sociology, etc.), natural science (physics, biology, and other science courses), and humanities (art, music, dance, foreign language and philosophy, for example). An academic program typically provides broad theoretical background and prepares one for continued education. A technical program, on the other hand, typically prepares one to perform in an occupational field. A technical program often does not transfer to an academic program. A two-year college often offers both types of courses/programs.  At ATBC we are not in competition with secular colleges and so do not offer academic programs.  Our focus and goal is to educate our students in the religious philosophy of our own Apostolic Faith.  Our course work is not designed to prepare a student for any work other then Religious.  However, this does not preclude an employer in the secular domain from accepting our degrees to qualify an individual for employment.  There is no federal, state, or local law that forbids an employer to accept a degree from a religious institution.  We encourage all employers to evaluate a potential employee on the basis of their qualifications not their school of learning and eliminate descrimination based upon religious choice and preference in education.

Transfer credit: there is no standard method by which schools determine if they will accept completed course work transfered from another college. As a general rule of thumb, undergraduate credit can be transferred if awarded from a regionally accredited college or university.  However ATBC as a religious institution has the authority to give recognition to completed course work from any college, especially non-accredited religious ones if the course(s) is relevant to the individual's new program of study. If you have specific questions on transferability, consult us to determine our policy.

Pre-college (refresher) courses: courses offered by colleges to prepare an individual for further study in a subject area. Refresher training is typically not transferable. Examples are coursework in English and math to prepare one for required coursework in these areas.  At ATBC we accept all forms of classroom education and training to assist a student to CLEP a degree program.  If you have any questions if specific training may be credited toward CLEP, please contact the Chancellor or President of ATBC.

Credit by examination: many colleges award credit for successful completion of tests like the CLEP, DANTES or ACT-PEP series. The philosophy behind testing is simply the understanding that learning happens in many ways, frequently outside of the traditional classroom. Testing simply verifies that an individual possesses the equivalent knowledge as one who completes a similar course in the classroom. Example: CCAF will transfer as much as 30 Semester Hours of relevant testing credit.  At ATBC we also offer CLEP for those students who have knowledge equivalent to traditional classroom education.

Financial aid: Financial aid is not offered by ATBC.  However, there are several different payment options that make our degree programs accessable to everyone who really desires a religious education.  Students may choose from any of these and begin their journey of understanding.

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