Rockbridge Seminary upholds a high standard of academic excellence. Faculty members hold academic credentials appropriate to the field and level of teaching. Your instructor will hold at least a master’s degree if teaching at the diploma level, and a doctorate degree if teaching at the master’s or doctoral level. All faculty members are active in local church ministry.
Rockbridge Seminary’s course design is learner-focused, meaning that you bear greater responsibility for the management of learning than in a traditional classroom setting. Each course is eight weeks long—doctoral seminars are sixteen weeks long. Due to the intensity of online learning, you may take no more than two Rockbridge courses per term.
You can expect to encounter online discussions and the occasional group project in your classes in addition to your individual assignments and any quizzes or other assessments. Failure to participate fully in the online learning process will prevent you from completing a course satisfactorily.
Rockbridge Seminary expects you to log in to your courses a minimum of five-days each week at the time and place of your convenience. As a result, other learners in your class may not be online at the same time as you.
Rockbridge Seminary is a Christian institution whose primary purpose is to equip persons for ministry leadership in church-related service. Rockbridge Seminary requires you to give evidence of a desire to be equipped for ministry, and expects you, as an approved applicant, to live in a manner worthy of that calling and behave appropriately as a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Rockbridge Seminary reserves the right to take disciplinary action if you violate this standard of personal and ethical conduct. Violations of this standard shall include, but are not limited to:
- Academic misconduct including, but not limited to, plagiarism or cheating
- Giving false statements to the seminary orally or in writing including, but not limited to, application for admission, registration, or altering records
- Violation of academic regulations and policies
- Financial irresponsibility
- Fighting, bullying, or abusive/vulgar language
- Use or possession of illegal drugs
- Sexual misconduct
If you are involved in a civil infraction, you are accountable to civil authorities. But you may also be subject to discipline by Rockbridge Seminary.
In keeping with Galatians 6:1-2, it is Rockbridge Seminary’s intent to approach ethical conduct violations in a redemptive manner. The character of learners, the witness of churches, and the integrity of Rockbridge Seminary as they all relate to God’s Kingdom purposes are the primary concerns. Rockbridge Seminary expects the learning community (students, faculty, and administration) to accept the responsibility for reporting any actions that are detrimental to the building of a Christian learning community and the churches it serves.
Since Rockbridge is a fully online institution, the seminary does not have or enforce a dress code policy.
Student Identity Verification
Rockbridge Seminary verifies the identity of students in order to ensure that learning exercises are being completed by the student who was approved admission into the program. Verification is done in three ways. In addition to the government-issued student photo ID required in the admission process, a student’s mentor must complete an end-of-term survey that includes a statement of identity verification. Master’s students must complete final exams in selected courses using an online proctoring service that verifies student identity. Doctor of Ministry student identity is verified via proctoring, and video synchronous conference calls and hearings.
Committing identity fraud is considered particularly serious within the online learning community and could have legal implications as well. If you have another individual impersonate or in any other way commit identity fraud in any course, assignment, exam, or any type of academic exercise, you will be permanently suspended from Rockbridge Seminary.
Confidentiality of Classroom Content
Materials posted to the class or online discussion posts are for class use only. Students and faculty are expected to protect the confidentiality of all classroom materials and course discussions.
You should never transmit any classroom materials without specific written permission from Rockbridge Seminary’s administration. In the case of online discussions, you should never transmit any posts without specific written permission of the person quoted. Be sure to give credit to that individual when you use the quote.
No Spam Policy
Rockbridge Seminary supports a “No Spam” policy. Please do not add fellow students or Rockbridge Seminary personnel to your broadcast email lists.
Rockbridge Seminary is committed to the respect and dignity of every employee, student and guest. Harassment in any form, verbal, physical, or visual is incompatible with the biblical standard of Christian conduct and academic integrity. It is the policy of the Seminary that no one be subjected to harassment, whether it is sexual, racial, ethnic, or some other type. Any employee, faculty member, or student will be subject to disciplinary action for violation of this policy.
Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when:
- Submission to that conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or education;
- Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for academic or employment decisions affecting that individual; or
- The conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s academic or work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive employment, education, or living environment.
Examples of sexual harassment may include, but are not limited to:
- Unwelcome sexual propositions
- Sexually graphic comments about a person’s body
- Unwelcome touching, patting, pinching, or leering
- Persistent, offensive, and unwelcome sexual jokes and comments
- Unwelcome displays of sexually graphic pictures
Sexual harassment is illegal under both state and federal law. It is also unlawful to retaliate against an employee, faculty member, or student for filing a complaint of sexual harassment, or for cooperating in an investigation of sexual harassment. In some cases, sexual harassment may be subject to prosecution under criminal law. At Rockbridge Seminary, sanctions for sexual harassment by employees, faculty, and students may include the full range of disciplinary actions up to and including termination of employment or expulsion from the seminary.
Created or transmitted messages that contain statements or language that is abusive, offensive, defamatory or harassing in nature are strictly prohibited and are subject to the same disciplinary procedures as though spoken. The Seminary’s policy prohibiting discrimination or harassment encompasses the email system. Employees are encouraged to report any misuse of the Seminary email system to the Vice President of Operations. Violation of this policy will be grounds for disciplinary action up to and including termination.
Rockbridge Seminary owns the intellectual property rights for works produced as “works made for hire,” works supported by the direct allocation of funds from the Seminary for a specific project, works commissioned by the Seminary, and other works making substantial use of Seminary resources or personnel, such as lectures, audio and visual materials, and pictorial or graphic works created as part of the responsibilities for designing, writing, or teaching a course. When the Seminary owns rights to a particular intellectual property, the creator of that property is entitled to share in any royalties generated by that property.
Except for those works described in the preceding paragraph, Rockbridge Seminary does not claim ownership to artistic, research, scholarly, or pedagogical works produced by faculty or students. This includes the works of students created in courses, such as forum posts, papers, and articles.
Rockbridge Seminary assumes you have the computer skills to function in an online environment. These skills include being able to create, manage, scan, upload, download, or view files as required.
Rockbridge Seminary Provided Gmail Account
You automatically will be given a free Rockbridge Seminary Gmail address. Use of this Gmail account is required, as all academic communication and course-related emails are sent through this Rockbridge Gmail account. If you choose to forward correspondence from Gmail to another personal account, you are encouraged to leave the original on Gmail. Also remember that forwarding Gmail to another account may mean others who have access to that account could be viewing your academic information.
Rockbridge Seminary Provided Google Apps for Education
Rockbridge provides you with a free account for Google Apps for Education. This account includes the required Rockbridge Gmail address, access to your own Google Drive to store and share course assignments with your professor, and use of Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides for completing course assignments. All assignments must be submitted in either Microsoft Office Word, Excel, or PowerPoint format, or the corresponding Google App.
Your computer access should support the following minimum features.
- Your computer access should be reliable, and the computer should run Windows 10 or higher, or Mac OS X or higher.
- You will need to have reliable access to the Internet at a speed higher than a dial-up connection.
- You will need headphones or working speaker connected to the computer.
- A working microphone is required when taking any proctored exams or DMIN seminars.
- You will need a webcam with at least 640×480 pixel resolution or higher when taking any proctored exams or DMIN seminars.
- You will need to be able to allow video and screen-sharing connections with your computer when taking any proctored exams or DMIN seminars.
- Any additional devices you require for disability accommodation.
The use of mobile devices must have similar capabilities if used in lieu of a desktop computer.
All course content is delivered electronically to you through links in the online classroom. All assignments must be submitted electronically, and all exams are taken online. Please be aware that your assignments must be submitted in Microsoft Office file format (.doc or .docx, .xls or .xlsx, .ppt or pptx), or PDF file format. Audio or video assignments can be submitted in .mp3, .wav, .mov, or .mp4 file format. When selecting applications, please be sure they are able to save in one of these appropriate file formats.
As a student, you will be given free access to Google Apps for Education. Google Apps provides you with free access to its Docs word processing application, Sheets spreadsheet application, and Slides presentation application. You also will have access to Google Drive to store documents you create or wish to save in the cloud.
You will need access to one application from each of the following categories in order to complete your online studies.
- Web Browser – Microsoft Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, Apple Safari, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or a similar browser. Please be aware that a functional desktop web browser may not always be the best choice when accessing course material on a mobile device.
- Word Processing Application – Microsoft Word, Apple Pages, Google Docs, or similar word processor. The application you choose must be able to save files to Word .doc or .docx file format.
- Spreadsheet Application – Microsoft Excel, Apple Numbers, Google Sheets, or similar spreadsheet application. The application you choose must be able to save files to Excel .xls or .xlsx file format.
- Presentation Application – Microsoft PowerPoint, Apple Keynote, Google Slides, or similar slideshow application. The application you choose must be able to save files to PowerPoint .ppt or .pptx file format.
- PDF File Viewer – Adobe Reader or Adobe Acrobat. Adobe Reader is a free application from Adobe that allows you to view PDF files. Adobe Acrobat is a paid application that allows you to edit PDF files. Some applications allow you to save documents as PDF files.
- Audio and Video Viewer – Microsoft Media Player, Apple QuickTime or Apple iTunes, VLC Media Player, or similar media viewer. Courseware audio files are in .mp3 or .wav file format. Video files are in .mov or .mp4 format. Adobe Flash video files are not used so courseware is viewable on virtually any mobile device.
- Bible Software – Students interested in Bible software may wish to consider Accordance Bible Software, Logos Bible Software, or Olive Tree Bible Software. Student discounts are often available and are confirmed via the student having a school email account.
Your governing Catalog is the Rockbridge Seminary Catalog current at the time of your enrollment in your first course. If you withdraw or are dropped from your studies and then ask to be reinstated, the Catalog current at that time of return to your studies will govern your academic program.
A student is officially matriculated to the program of study upon successful completion of 12 credit hours.
Your learning is assessed within courses in a variety of ways. Examples of assessments include discussion forums, research papers, performance assessments, self-reflection papers, mentor engagement, and quizzes. Proctored final exams are given in selected master’s and doctoral courses. Proctored exams will require you to use a computer with a webcam and microphone. You will be able to schedule the proctored exam session, and pay a modest proctoring fee directly to the proctoring service. More information on proctored exams is provided in the online classroom in the courses that require a proctored exam.
Academic proficiency is measured by means of rubrics or numerical scores for assignments and assessments, and reflected in your individual course grade point average (GPA) and your cumulative program GPA.
Assignment and Assessment Grades
Assignments are graded using a rubric or numerical score designated in the study guide and online classroom.
Rubrics are built around four-levels of proficiency with the stated criteria:
Grading of Assignments
- Resubmission of assignments is determined in consultation with the course instructor.
- Changes in a grade for an assignment is requested in consultation with the course instructor.
Grading of Assessments
- Assessments in the form of quizzes or exams consisting of multiple choice, true/false, matching, or ordering are automatically graded by the Learning Management System. Short answer and essay questions are manually graded by the instructor.
- Some assessments randomize the order of the questions and answers to allow you to retake the assessment to earn a higher score.
- Access to assessment results is dependent on the assessment’s settings, e.g., whether results can be seen immediately and/or with the correct answer indicated.
- Proctored Final Examinations are scheduled for select courses—the study guide and the online classroom will indicate if a proctored exam is scheduled.
- Proctoring is conducted through the use of ProctorU (www.proctoru.com) and scheduled by the student with ProctorU within the due dates set for the exam.
Rockbridge uses the following grading scale for the final grade of a course or seminar.
|A||4.0||90-100%||Exceeds Learning Expectations|
|B||3.0||80-89%||Meets Learning Expectations|
A final course grade of “B” or higher is required for you to pass a course.
Appealing a Course Final Grade
If you wish to appeal a course grade, you must first consult with the professor who issued it. If you wish to continue the appeal process following consultation with the professor, you may submit a statement of appeal in writing to the Academic Council. Action rendered by the Academic Council is final.
Course Extensions and Incompletes
Your professor may give you a grade of “Incomplete” if any of your assignments or assessments are not completed by the end of a term due to serious illness or death of a family member. If you fail to complete those assignments or assessment by the end of the third week following the course’s completion date, your final course grade automatically becomes “F.”
WP and WF letter grades do not count toward academic credit hours completed.
You may request to drop your course while enrolled in it. The Seminary’s published refund policy applies. Send firstname.lastname@example.org your drop request.
If you drop from a course before Week 2, the course is removed from your transcript. If you drop your course during Week 2 but before Week 5 (during Week 2 but before Week 10 in DMIN seminars), you will receive either a Withdraw Pass (WP) or Withdraw Fail (WF) as appropriate. If you drop a course during Week 6 or later (during Week 12 or later in DMIN seminars), you receive a grade of “F.”
If you repeat a course to earn a higher grade, the previous grade will remain on your transcript, but Rockbridge will only count the grade of the most recent attempt toward fulfilling academic program requirements.
You may request to withdraw from your seminary course or program at any time. Withdrawal requests must be emailed to email@example.com. In the case of course withdrawal, the tuition refund policy applies.
Your Rockbridge Seminary academic transcript is the official permanent record or your academic progress toward the targeted diploma or degree. An official copy of your academic transcript bears the Rockbridge Seminary seal, and the signature of an authorized seminary representative. You may order a copy of your transcript to be sent to an institution or to yourself. The cost for each transcript order is $5. To request a transcript, go to https://www.rockbridge.edu/transcript-request.
Rockbridge considers requests to transfer transcripted course credit from another institution toward a Seminary program based on the following standards.
- You may submit a request for a transfer of credit evaluation by completing the Transcript Evaluation Request Form.
- Transfer credit is determined solely on the basis of official copies of transcripts received from the qualifying institution or WES. Preliminary estimates of transfer credit on the basis of unofficial transcripts may not match the final determination.
- Courses taken at institutions accredited by an agency recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) are considered for transfer. Transfer of credit will not be denied based solely on the source of accreditation of the sending institution.
- Transcripts from non-U.S. institutions must be evaluated through WES.
- Transfer courses must have been taken at the same level of study. Course descriptions must be similar to Rockbridge Seminary courses. Additional documentation may be requested.
- A grade of “C” or above is required for any course credits to be considered for transfer.
- Individual courses transferred into an institution to complete that institution’s degree are only considered for transfer credit into Rockbridge based on an official transcript from the institution where the courses were originally taken.
- No more than 50% of the credit hours required for the DMS, MML, and MDIV can be transferred. Credits are transferred in multiples of 3 semester credit hours (DMS program) or 4 semester credit hours (MML or MDIV). Because of the nature of the DMIN program, doctoral-level credits earned at another institution cannot be transferred to Rockbridge.
- Transfer of credit decisions are made by the VP for Academic Services. Decisions may be appealed to the Academic Council.
Your total program cost with Rockbridge is reduced when transfer credits are accepted into the Seminary.
The maximum possible number of transfer credits by program are as follows.
|DMS||39||3||50%||18 hours (6 courses)|
|MML||52||4||50%||24 hours (6 courses)|
|MDIV||76||4||50%||36 hours (9 courses)|
|DMIN||39||1 or 6||0%||0 hours (0 courses)|
You may enroll in a course from another seminary with the intent of transferring that credit into your Rockbridge Seminary program. However, to be sure that credit will transfer to Rockbridge, you should ask the VP for Academic Services to approve that course before enrolling in the course.
The acceptance of academic credit earned as a student of Rockbridge Seminary is determined by the receiving institution, not Rockbridge Seminary.
The purpose of Rockbridge Seminary’s satisfactory academic progress policy is to identify and alert students as early as possible if they are not demonstrating satisfactory academic progress and help them develop a plan for accomplishing their learning goals. Satisfactory academic progress includes both passing grades and timely progression through the program.
Timely Progression: Students are expected to take a minimum of one course every three terms. Students who withdraw from a class, whether they withdraw failing or passing, are of concern to us. Students who withdraw for any reason will be contacted by an academic coach to ascertain the cause of the difficulty and create a plan for timely program completion.
All students must have a Rockbridge institutional GPA of 3.0 (a grade of B) in order to graduate. The institutional GPA does not include grades from credit transferred into Rockbridge from other institutions.
Academic standards of performance have been established to ensure satisfactory progress toward a degree. The classifications of academic performance are:
Good Standing: A minimum institutional GPA of 3.0 (a grade of B) must be maintained to be in good standing.
Academic Warning: A failing (F) grade in a course or a withdraw failing (WF) grade in two consecutive courses will result in an email from the vice president for academic services advising the student of a potential probation if a failing grade or a WF grade happens again.
Academic Probation: A failing (F) grade in two consecutive courses or a withdraw failing (WF) grade in three consecutive courses will result in an email from the vice president for academic services advising the student that they are on academic probation and face dismissal if a failing (F) grade or a withdraw failing (WF) grade happens again. Academic probation is lifted after passing two consecutive courses.
Academic Dismissal: A failing (F) grade or a withdraw failing (WF) grade in a course taken during academic probation will result in dismissal from Rockbridge. Students will be provided a written notification of dismissal.
Academic Coaching: When a student experiences any academic difficulty, an academic coach or faculty member will be assigned to help determine the cause of the difficulty and create a plan to improve academic performance.
Appeal of Dismissal: A student who is dismissed from Rockbridge may appeal for reinstatement by submitting a written appeal to the vice president for academic services. The student must document the circumstances that contributed to poor academic performance and submit the appeal at least one month prior to the desired start date. The vice president for academic services will engage the academic council regarding the appeal within five days. The council will notify the student of its decision within thirty days of receipt of the appeal. Decisions of the academic council are final.
Maintain Active Student Status
In order to maintain active student status, you must enroll in at least one course every six months. After six months (180 days) you are classified as an inactive student.
Returning to Active Status
In order to resume active status in your studies, you must: update your personal information; supply a statement as to why you were unable to take courses; and describe what has enabled you to begin courses again. You will also be expected to update the seminary on any life issues relevant to your academic performance going forward. An updated Church Endorsement may also be required.
Cumulative Grade Point Average
You must have a cumulative Grade Point Average of 3.00 (a grade of B) in order to graduate. GPA does not include grades from credit transferred into Rockbridge from other institutions.
All coursework and program requirements must be completed in full within the number of years indicated.
Maximum Years for
A leave of absence suspends the clock toward the maximum time for degree completion.
- Students in the military who become deployed have the clock paused until they return or as required by the military.
- Students experiencing mitigating circumstances such as debilitating illness, change in employment, personal or family emergency, etc. can petition for an extension in writing to the Vice President for Academic Services. The petition is approved or disapproved by the President and/or Vice President in consultation with the Academic Council.
If disciplinary action becomes necessary, actions of the Academic Council may include, but are not limited to the following.
- Reprimand and disciplinary probation
- Reprimand, disciplinary probation and loss of credit in course or courses where dishonest work was done
- Temporary suspension with time and terms of readmission indicated
- Indefinite suspension with time and terms of readmission not indicated
- Permanent dismissal
Rockbridge Seminary reserves the right to note any of the above actions on your transcript. You may request a review by the President. The President’s decision is final with no further review or appeal.
An Academic Warning is an early intervention in your behalf and requires that you talk with Rockbridge to discuss strategies for academic improvement.
Academic probation is considered a more serious step after Academic Warning improvement strategies have not been successful. At the end of two terms, Academic Probation is either lifted because of academic improvement, or you are dismissed from the Seminary.
If a student is in violation of the Ethical Code of Conduct found earlier in this section of the online Catalog, the individual is subject to disciplinary action or dismissal as determined by the Academic Council, the President, and/or the Board of Trustees. Actions include, but are not limited to the following:
- Reprimand and disciplinary probation
- Temporary suspension with time and terms of reinstatement
- Indefinite suspension with time and terms of reinstatement not indicated
- Permanent dismissal
A student, professor, or staff member may file a formal complaint with Rockbridge Seminary over any unresolved issue that deserves formal investigation, including but not limited to sexual harassment or discrimination. The President of Rockbridge Seminary will receive the complaint and seek resolution within 30 days. If the complaint relates to the President of Rockbridge Seminary, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees will receive the complaint and seek resolution within 30 days.
To file a formal complaint, go to: https://rockbridge.formstack.com/forms/complaint.
A student, professor, or staff member may also file a formal complaint with Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), the accrediting agency for Rockbridge Seminary. To contact DEAC:
Distance Education Accrediting Commission
1101 17th Street N.W., Suite 808
Washington, D.C. 20036
Phone: (202) 234-5100
A formal grievance may also be filed with the Missouri Department of Higher Education (MDHE). For more information, please contact MDHE at (573)751-2361.
Your academic records are stored primarily in digital form on secure web servers. Digital back-up copies of your records, paper documents such as your transcripts, printed copies of your digital records (when required), and your other records are maintained by the seminary. Your records include, but are not limited to documents and files related to academics, admissions, advising, discipline, payment, credit, and placement. Original documents and digital files submitted to the Seminary become a permanent part of your file and will not be returned to you or sent elsewhere.
Rockbridge Seminary utilizes security measures to prevent information abuse.
The Seminary respects the privacy of your education records and complies with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Generally, a higher education institution must have written permission from you in order to release any of your education records to another person or agency. However, FERPA allows higher education institutions to disclose those records, without your consent, to the following parties or under the following conditions pursuant to (34 CFR § 99.31).
- Seminary officials with legitimate educational need to have access to your information
- Other schools to which you are transferring
- Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposes
- Appropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a student
- Organizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the Seminary
- Accrediting organizations
- Complying with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena
- Appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies
- State and local authorities within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific State law.
FERPA also gives you certain rights with respect to your education records.
- You have the right to inspect and review your education. You submit this access to the VP for Academic Services in writing, and identify the record(s) you wish to inspect. The VP for Academic Services will make arrangement for access and notify you of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the records are not maintained by the VP for Academic Services, you will be advised of the correct official to whom the request should be directed.
- You have the right to request an amendment to your education records if you believe the information is misleading or inaccurate. To request an amendment, you should write the Seminary official responsible for the record, clearly identifying the part of the record you want changed, specifying why it is currently misleading or inaccurate. If the Seminary decides not to amend the record as requested, the Seminary will notify you of the decision and advise you of your rights to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to you when notified of the right to a hearing.
- After a hearing, if the school still decides not to amend the record, the student has the right to place a statement with the record setting forth his or her view about the contested information.
You have the right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by Rockbridge to comply with FERPA requirements.
Family Policy Compliance Office
Department of Education
Independence Avenue SW,
Washington, DC 20202-8520
Additional FERPA information is available from the U.S. Department of Education.
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue SW
Washington, D.C. 20202
Schools may disclose, without consent, “directory” information such as a student’s name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, honors and awards, and dates of attendance. However, schools must tell students about directory information and allow a reasonable amount of time to request that the school not disclose directory information about them. Schools must notify eligible students annually of their rights under FERPA. The actual means of notification (special letter, inclusion in a bulletin, student handbook, or newspaper article) is left to the discretion of each school.
Information defined as Directory Information by Rockbridge Seminary may be released without your consent. Directory Information about you disclosed by Rockbridge is defined as follows:
Your Photo (for identification purposes only)
Date of Graduation
Degrees and Honors Received
Major Field of Study
Dates of Attendance
Most Recent Institution Attended
Your social security number is never considered Directory Information.
You may opt out of Directory Information disclosure by submitting a written request to the VP for Academic Services.