Questions about the Master's Degree
Here are some relevant questions and answers about the Sunset Graduate School:
- What are the overall requirements and scheduling formats of the MBS?
- The MBS requires a candidate to complete 36 hours. The program may be completed entirely online. However, we do offer “short courses” occasionally in Lubbock and other locations. It would be to your advantage to utilize the short courses, as in-class instruction provides a valuable experience that cannot fully be replicated through online learning.
- What are the requirements for being accepted in the MBS program?
- The applicant for the MBS must possess an acceptable college-level bachelor’s degree. Those who have a bachelor's degree in Bible will be eligible for admission with little or no pre-admission work (leveling). Those who have a non-Bible bachelor's degree will sometimes be required to take leveling courses through SIBI in order to bring their basic Bible knowledge up to the desired level before admission to the MBS program.
Special Students / Non-Degree Seeking Students
Students who are interested in taking selected classes offered in the graduate school but who are not interested in pursuing a degree are welcome. You will be granted the greatest leeway in the courses you choose and in the assignments and tests you take. Tuition must be paid for these courses. If you should later choose to pursue a graduate degree through SIBI, successfully completed courses may be converted to credit status. Please contact the SIBI Graduate School office in order to enroll in these classes.
- May I enroll in the MBS while I am taking the Ministry Leveling Courses required of Sunset graduates to receive a BBS degree?
- You may be accepted to the MBS program on probation. However, you must complete the required leveling courses prior to the beginning of your second term of classes.
- What if I already have a master’s degree?
- If you have an approved master’s degree, up to 18 credit hours may be transferred to our MBS. Applicants with previous graduate work are exempted from taking Introduction to Graduate Studies. All transferred hours will count as electives.
- May I enroll in the Sunset master’s program if I have the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree from a school of preaching or Bible institute other than Sunset?
- If you have an earned bachelor’s degree or are within 12 hours of earning a degree from an approved school, you may be eligible to enroll. You are encouraged to contact us to discuss your case.
- How long will it take me to complete my MBS?
- For new graduate students, the earliest you could complete your degree is in two (2) years. Transfer students could potentially finish in one (1) year. You are allowed six (6) years to complete the program from the date of your enrollment.
- What is an acceptable grade-point average to graduate with the MBS?
- The grade-point average must be a B. No grade below 60% will be acceptable for any course, and the overall GPA for the MBS program must be at least 80%.
- What are the costs for the MBS degree? (It should be noted that some congregations are willing to help their minister with continuing education costs such as these.)
- The current costs for the MBS are as follows:
- Course Cost of $75/hour, currently $2,700 for 36 hours.
- Graduation fees: $75.00
- Books and required materials: budget between $75-$100 for most classes
- Travel, food and lodging expenses for intensive weeks
- There is no application fee
- Is there a payment plan for the MBS degree?
- Classes are paid for as you take them. A typical 3-hour class is $225.
- How do I enroll, and what is the deadline?
- You can register online or contact the SIBI office in Lubbock. See specific deadlines in the Graduate School Calendar.
- How many students must be registered before short courses are conducted?
- A minimum of three (3) students must be approved and enrolled before a short course is conducted.
- How does a Graduate Studies Program fit into the purpose of Sunset?
- Our primary motivation is to keep our graduates studying, growing in ministry, and remaining sound in the faith. Over half of preachers for Churches of Christ are signing up for Master’s degrees somewhere. Sunset graduates in recent years are not exceptions to this. We started the Master of Biblical Studies program to provide our graduate with a very sound and Biblically Centered Master’s Degree. Sunset’s Master’s Degree is practical in nature, providing tools to help students become better servants for the Lord. Our faculty are all SIBI graduates and/or members of the Sunset Church of Christ whom we trust as sound in the faith.
- Why do you charge to earn a Master’s Degree when the Bachelor’s Degree program is tuition-free?
- The resident school of preaching does not charge tuition because our students cannot work while they complete 4 years of college-level studies in two years. All of our MBS students are gainfully employed – most as preachers in local congregations. Most students earning Graduate Degrees in some colleges will pay from $15,000 to $30,000 for a Master’s Degree in Bible. Our tuition is very modest, well under $3,000 for the entire 36-hour degree. Some students have education allowances from their congregations to help pay for their graduate studies because those congregations appreciate the quality and soundness of the curriculum. Most students in the two-year program give up jobs, salaries, sell houses and businesses, etc. The program is successful because those who give up so much to be here are committed. IT COSTS OUR SCHOOL OF PREACHING STUDENTS PLENTY TO COME HERE! In the case of Master’s studies, students are not required to give up their ministry jobs, sell their houses, or move their families. We feel they need to do something to participate and offset the meager honoraria we provide to the teachers who give weeks of their time to teach the courses. That which costs one nothing is probably not appreciated or respected. We want students who are invested in their study of the word.
- Is SIBI's Master's Degree Accredited?
- No. It is not as though we are opposed to the government or any sense of accountability. We believe that SIBI has attained its own level of credibility. The reputation of Sunset is beyond question and is internationally known. It is estimated that approximately one-fourth of the preachers currently preaching in the Churches of Christ received their training from Sunset. We do not feel that pursuing accreditation would add anything to the level of credibility that we already have among those whom we seek to serve. We have been authorized by Texas state law to grant degrees within the boundaries of theology, religion, ministry, biblical studies, etc. with the degrees in harmony with these disciplines. As of December 20, 2013, Sunset International Bible Institute is an affiliate institution of the Association for Biblical Higher Education. As such, it participates in and contributes to collegial and professional development activities of the Association. Affiliate status does not, however, constitute, imply, or presume ABHE accredited status at present or in the future.
Every instructor in the MBS program holds a minimum of a Master of Divinity, and most have or are completing a terminal degree in their field. Sunset Graduate School has an agreement with Amridge University in Montgomery Alabama (a regionally accredited institution) to accept our credits for transfer into their Master of Divinity and Doctoral programs.
The value of our MBS degree can be seen in the quality of our curriculum, the qualifications of our faculty, and the knowledge, character, and skills gained by our students.