Skip to main content

Certificate in Biblical and Theological Studies

Talbot School of Theology


The Certificate in Biblical and Theological Studies is a fully online program for anyone who desires to deepen their knowledge of God and his Word. This cost- and time-efficient certificate offers a foundational theological education that is fit for a wide range of students — including church lay leaders, church elders, and ministers without formal training.

The certificate program consists of six courses, including two courses that survey the Old and New Testament, a course on how to understand and interpret Scripture, and three theology courses. All required certificate courses are part of the Master of Arts and Master of Divinity degrees, meaning those wanting to see if a full seminary degree is for them can use this certificate as a “trial run” and apply their credits toward a master’s program.

Students can pursue this certificate online, on campus or a combination of the two.

Yes! Tell Me More!

Why Pursue a Certificate at Talbot?

Deepen Your Knowledge of God and His Word. Dive into the Old and New Testaments, including each book’s history, genre, purpose and cultural background. Understand the basics of how to interpret and study the Scriptures. Examine the central doctrines of the Christian faith — from the theology of God to Christology to the atonement.

Enjoy the Flexibility of a Fully Online, Cost-Effective, Time-Efficient Program. You can
pursue this fully online program at your own pace and elect to take it online, on campus or as a mixture of both online and residential classes.

Learn from Talbot’s Reputable Faculty. All the courses in this certificate program are part of Talbot’s degree programs, meaning you’ll receive the same high-quality education and training from Talbot’s reputable professors — including scholar-practitioners who have edited and written popular books and Bible commentaries.

Take a “Test Drive” of a Talbot Master’s Program. Not sure whether to pursue a full degree? This certificate program gives you a taste of what Talbot’s academic degree programs can offer. Should you choose to continue, all of your required courses can be applied to a Master of Arts or Master of Divinity degree.


Below are the course requirements for this academic program. For full program details, visit Biola's academic catalog.


The Certificate in Biblical and Theological Studies at Talbot School of Theology is designed to introduce students to seminary study by allowing them to take core courses in Talbot's graduate degree programs. Students learn basic skills in biblical and theological studies along with other graduate students in courses that can later be applied to a full graduate degree, if desired.


The mission of the Certificate in Biblical and Theological Studies is to deepen knowledge of God and his Word within those who have not yet determined to enter a full seminary degree program but, nevertheless, wish to grow in their ability to minister to others.

Program Description

The Certificate in Biblical and Theological Studies is ideal for church lay leaders, church elders, and ministers without formal training. The Certificate in Biblical and Theological Studies provides a foundational theological education. This certificate consists of six courses which can be completed online, on-campus, or any combination of those two modalities. Those wanting to see if a full seminary degree is for them can use this certificate as a "trial run."

Certificate coursework may later be applied toward a Master of Divinity or Master of Arts degree. Please note that students wishing to transfer the credits and GPA earned in a certificate to a master's degree must meet the minimum GPA requirements for the master's degree in their certificate program. Academic M.A. degree programs at Talbot require a minimum GPA of 3.0.

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the 18-credit Bible and Theological Studies Certificate, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an introductory ability to apply background information and evangelical interpretive principles to explain the meaning of biblical texts accurately (ULO 1).
  2. Demonstrate an introductory ability to articulate one major doctrine of Christianity from an evangelical perspective (ULO 1).

Each Program Learning Outcome (PLO) listed above references at least one of the University Learning Outcomes (ULO 1, 2, 3), which may be found in the General Information section of this catalog.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must possess a Bachelor of Arts degree or its academic equivalent from an accredited college with a minimum grade point average of 2.6 (on a 4.0 scale). Applicants who do not possess a Bachelor of Arts degree or its academic equivalent from an accredited institution may still apply and may be provisionally admitted at the discretion of Talbot School of Theology.

All applicants must submit a written statement outlining their vocational objectives and how the certificate relates to those objectives.

Completion Requirements

  1. Satisfactorily complete all courses for a total of 18 semester credits as outlined in the curriculum below.
  2. Complete the online introduction to theological research and writing by the end of the second semester.
  3. Obtain a 2.5 GPA with no grade below a D- in all courses to be credited toward completion.
  4. At least 9 credits must be taken at this seminary.
  5. Complete the entire program in no more than five years.

Students are placed on academic probation if their GPA for any semester falls below 2.5 and will remain on probation as long as the single semester or cumulative GPA remains below 2.5.

Probation students are granted one semester in which to bring their academic work up to the required level (2.5) for continuance in the seminary. A student cannot complete the certificate while on probation.

Curriculum Requirements

TTBE 517Hermeneutics and Bible Study Methods3
TTBE 519Old Testament Survey3
TTBE 520New Testament Survey3
TTTH 521Theology I: God, Scripture, Creation3
TTTH 522Theology II: Christ, Humanity, Sin, Salvation3
TTTH 623Theology III: Spirit, Church, Last Things3
Total Credits18
1-2 years
Standard Duration
This indicates the standard duration of this program. Completion time may vary depending on transferred coursework and preferred courseload.
Total Program Credits
Every program at Biola University features rigorous academics, biblically integrated curriculum and vocational preparation.
Biola University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission. Additional accreditations may apply to specific programs.

Admissions & Deadlines

As a Christian institution, Biola seeks to admit applicants whose backgrounds clearly demonstrate scholarly aptitude, a commitment to the historic Christian faith, personal character and integrity, and a positive service-oriented motivation toward their field of study. Biola does not discriminate on the basis of the applicant's race, color, sex, socio-economic status, disability, or national or ethnic origin.

Education and GPA Requirements

  • You must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution by the time you plan to start coursework at Biola, with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale).
  • Note: If you do not meet the degree or GPA requirements above, you may still be considered for admission. Please contact the Office of Graduate Admissions office at If you are an international student, contact

English Proficiency Requirements

  • If English is not your first language, you are required to display your English proficiency before admittance into a Biola University graduate program. See “English Proficiency” in the application steps section below.

Application Deadlines

  • Fall Semester
    • General: July 1
    • International Students
      • On Campus: June 1
      • Online/Hybrid: July 1
  • Spring Semester
    • General: November 1
    • International Students: October 1

Application Steps

  1. Complete and submit the online application

  2. Submit a non-refundable $65 application fee

  3. Submit supplemental application materials through your online application portal:

  4. Official Transcripts

    • Submit all official transcripts from previous academic institutions.
      • Request official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended.
      • If enrolled at the time the application is filed, be sure to request transcripts of work finished to date and final transcripts upon completion of your course of study.
      • Transcripts will be considered official only when a) mailed directly from the institution to Biola, b) sent electronically through an approved vendor or c) physically delivered in an untampered envelope sealed by the institution. Final approval for admission is contingent on receiving an official transcript.
        • Mail transcripts to:
          Biola University Office of Graduate Admissions
          13800 Biola Avenue, La Mirada, CA 90639
    • Note for International Students: All international transcripts need U.S. grade equivalencies noted (i.e. GPA on a 4.0 scale). If your transcripts do not show U.S. grade equivalencies, you must have them evaluated by a credential evaluation agency like SpanTran (Biola Discount), World Education Services (WES) or Foundation for International Services (FIS). Be sure to choose "course by course report" and have SpanTran/WES/FIS send them directly to Biola University via online portal or post (13800 Biola Ave, La Mirada, CA 90639) in order to be considered official.

    Two Reference Letters

    • Pastoral reference
    • Character reference (someone in a leadership role in your life)
    • Note: Additional instructions can be found in the online application.

    Two Essays

    • Christian testimony
    • Vocational testimony
    • Note: The essay prompts can be found in the online application.

    English Proficiency (required for non-native English speakers)

    • Evidence of English proficiency is required for all students to support student success. Proficiency must be shown through one of the methods described below:
      • Minimum test score on a qualifying standardized test
        • TOEFL: minimum score of 90 iBT
        • IELTS: minimum score of 7.0
        • Duolingo: minimum score of 125
      • A degree (bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral) issued by an institution where English is the medium of instruction.
        • Official written communication from the institution (Registrar, Controller of Examinations Office, or Undergraduate College)
        • Official degree statements or transcripts may be accepted given English is stated as the medium of instruction
        • Official catalog verification
        • Note: For universities from non-Anglophone countries, further language assessment may be required.
      • Completion of the English Language Scholars (ELS) with passing status on the ELS's final exit exam, which must be approved by the ELS Director in collaboration with the academic program committee. An updated TOEFL or IELTS score may be used at the end of a term to test directly into the graduate program for the following term.
      • Qualify for English Language Scholars (ELS), which allows students who do not meet the minimum TOEFL, IELTS or Duolingo scores to still enroll in their graduate degree program. Students would be taking academic English courses concurrently with the graduate degree program courses. 
        • Students eligible for ELS will be assessed by the ELS Director to determine the total number of academic English courses to take while enrolled in their graduate program courses. The following are the scores needed to qualify for ELS: TOEFL iBT 81 / IELTS 6.5 / Duolingo 110–124.
        • Note: Students must be admitted to the graduate program first to be considered for ELS.


    Additional Forms


    Things to Note

    • Track your application status at any time. You do not have to complete the application in one sitting. You can complete a portion and finish at a later time. Your information will be saved. When you apply, to guarantee confidentiality, you will be asked to create a user name and a password, and will receive a personalized identification number. Track your application status by logging in to the online application.
    • Official documents presented for admission or evaluation become part of the student’s academic file and normally cannot be returned or copied for distribution.
    • International students who will be studying on campus are required to apply for an F-1 student visa. For more information, visit

You may also be interested in

Master of Arts (Bible Exposition)

Talbot School of Theology

Master of Arts (New Testament)

Talbot School of Theology

Master of Arts (Old Testament)

Talbot School of Theology

Master of Arts (Philosophy)

Talbot School of Theology

Master of Arts (Spiritual Formation)

Talbot School of Theology