Statement of Educational Effectiveness and Student Achievement

Phoenix Seminary is committed to integrity and Christian stewardship. Therefore, it engages in systematic evaluation of its effectiveness in producing graduates who possess the knowledge, skills, and character indicated in our Educational Values. Student achievement and the Seminary’s educational effectiveness are measured through: 1) The assessment of student learning outcomes; 2) Graduation and Retention rates; and 3) Graduate satisfaction and successful ministry employment.

Indicators of program effectiveness include both institutional and self-reported participant data that taken together help to ensure congruence between vocational intention and theological training. To aid in consistent and reliable reporting, our evaluative processes incorporate data reported to the Association of Theological Schools (ATS), our professional accrediting association. Two of the most common indicators of educational effectiveness in higher education are completion rates and the placement of graduates. Reports pertaining to these key areas are summarized below.

Specific questions about the data, or its reporting and analysis may be directed to Roma Royer, Officer of Educational Effectiveness at or 602-429-4947. This data is updated annually early in the calendar year after the filing of the annual ATS report.

Student Learning Outcomes

The majority of our students meet the student learning outcomes reflected in the Educational Values of Phoenix Seminary. Some specific examples include:

  1. For the last three years, 100% of our MDiv students have passed the culminating theological oral exam the first time. Of those who passed, 34% were "exemplary" passes.
  2. Master of Divinity - The 2021-22 faculty’s juried review of graduates indicates that 100% of graduates met or exceeded the student learning outcomes.
  3. Master of Arts in Counseling (MAC) students are required to pass the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (CPCE) as their comprehensive written exam. The current pass rate of the CPCE is 100% at or above the national examination mean. This exam also helps prepare graduates to take the National Counselor Exam (NCE) which is similar in format and covers the same eight core content areas. Not all graduates take the NCE; some opting to pursue further education or to pursue other vocational opportunities. The current pass rate of graduates known to have taken the NCE is 100%.
  4. Employers of PS graduates (2021 survey) are overwhelmingly positive and affirm: 1) They demonstrate an ability to work well with people (100%); 2) They demonstrate a proper manner of handling conflict and its resolution (100%); 3) They live lives of integrity and are beyond reproach (100%); 4) They demonstrate compassion and wisdom working with individuals and couples (100%); 5) They demonstrate the ability to work with a wide diversity of people (95%); 6)  They demonstrate cultural awareness and sensitivity (100%) and 7) They demonstrate a working knowledge and command of the Scriptures (90%).

Graduation and Retention Rates

Completions by Graduation Rate for the Previous Academic Year (ATS Fall 2021 Report)

Program<2 years2-<3 years3-<4 years4-<5 years5-<6 years6+ yearsTotals
MA in ______  (Special)01653116
MA (BTS)04711013


Graduation Rates by Degree Program

The Association of Theological Schools’ Graduation Rates by Degree Program Report calculates graduation rates on the basis of 200% of the normal degree duration requirements to allow for the high number of part-time students in ATS member schools. This report answers the question, “Of the students who began in a particular Fall semester, how many had completed their program within 200% of the normal degree duration?”

  • Master of Divinity Cohort Graduation Rate: 55% (MDiv Students beginning Fall 2016)
  • Master of Arts Cohort Graduation Rate: 64% (MA Students beginning Fall 2018)

Graduation Rates for the Student Body by Gender and Ethnicity

Master of Divinity Cohort:

  • Ethnicity – 70% = White Non-Hispanic; 12% = Hispanic; 12% = Asian American; 6% = Black Non-Hispanic;
  • Gender – 100% = Male; 0% = Female

Master of Arts in Ministry/Master of Arts (Biblical and Theological Studies) Cohort:

  • Ethnicity – 67% = White Non-Hispanic; 10% = Black Non-Hispanic; 7% Multiracial; 3% = American Indian; 3% = Asian American
  • Gender – 62% = Male; 38% = Female

Graduation / Persistence Rates

Graduation and persistence rates are calculated by extending the scope beyond 200% of the normal degree duration requirements, once again to allow for the high number of part-time students in ATS member schools. This report answers the question, “Of the students who began in a particular Fall semester, how many have since completed their degree or are still actively making progress towards their degree?”

  • Master of Divinity Cohort Graduation / Persistence Rate: 61% (MDiv Students beginning Fall 2016)
  • Master of Arts Cohort Graduation / Persistence Rate: 68% (MA Students beginning Fall 2018)

Retention Rates

Although IPEDS [Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System] requires the reporting of retention information for undergraduate institutions, it does not give an option for graduate schools like Phoenix Seminary to report the same. That being said, IPEDS’ measure for Retention Rates can be adapted to work in graduate settings as the percentage of first-time degree-seeking students from the previous Fall semester who either re-enrolled or successfully completed their program by the subsequent Fall semester. This report answers the question, “Of the degree-seeking students who were enrolled in a particular Fall semester, how many either successfully completed their degree or were actively making progress towards their degree in the subsequent Fall semester?”

  • Fall 2021 to Fall 2022 Retention Rate: 77.11%
  • Fall 2020 to Fall 2021 Retention Rate: 75.85%
  • Fall 2019 to Fall 2020 Retention Rate: 69.45%
  • Fall 2018 to Fall 2019 Retention Rate: 63.35%

Graduate Satisfaction and Ministry Employment

Graduate Satisfaction

The ATS Graduating Student Questionnaire reports the following areas of growth and satisfaction among Phoenix Seminary’s recent graduates:

PS graduates rate their seminary education as being most effective in facilitating these areas of personal growth (2019-2022):

  • Trust in God
  • Enthusiasm for learning

PS graduates rate their seminary education as being most effective in facilitating the following skill areas (2018-2022):

  • Ability to use and interpret Scripture
  • Ability to think theologically

PS graduates were most satisfied with the following services and academic resources (2022):

  • Class size
  • Quality of teaching
  • Accessibility of faculty
  • Accessibility of administrative/staff support
  • Campus security and upkeep of campus were added to this list in 2019-20 with a new campus
  • Financial aid (2017-2020)

Ministry Employment

Typically, the majority of Phoenix Seminary students secure vocational positions while they are in seminary or they are already in vocational positions when they begin attending seminary. Others have no plans to be in vocational ministry and their studies have equipped them for lay ministry or for personal edification (non-vocational). Still others are continuing on to further education.  The following table reflects positions secured at the time of graduation:

2021-22 Graduates at the time of graduation:

 Already in a vocational positionIn a non-vocational position by choicePursuing further educationPursuing a vocational positionOtherUnknown
Master of Divinity41%6%17%12%12%12%
MA in Biblical and Theological Studies31%0%8%8%38%15%
MA in Counseling0%37%13%0%13%37%
MA in Ministry33%0%0%50%0%17%


The Master of Arts in Counseling (MAC) is a relatively new program beginning in the 2014-15 academic year. As of August 2020, the program has 40 graduates. One and a quarter percent of these graduates have been licensed.  Seventy-five percent are in the process of pursuing licensure and 1.25% are unknown or not pursuing licensure. Fifty-six percent of graduates have been offered employment by their internship site.

Phoenix Seminary offers limited Vocational Assistance for students who are seeking placement during or after their studies. Graduates are serving in the following ways: pastoral ministry in the local church; intercultural ministry overseas and in the U.S.; various levels of leadership in a variety of para-church organizations; counseling and chaplaincy in secular and Christian arenas; leadership in the marketplace through professions such as law, business and medicine; and lay ministers in the local church.

Position Expected After Graduation

This information demonstrates the ministry expectations of new PS graduates:

Position anticipated upon graduation by PS graduates
(ATS Graduating Student Questionnaire 2020-21 ) 
Licensed counselor or psychologist14.5%
Associate Pastor12.7%
Youth work or ministry10.9%
Teaching in primary or secondary education5.5%
Teaching or administration in a theological school5.5%


Page updated on 12/21/2022.

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