Nanjing Union Theological Seminary

Love * Truth * Justice * Humility
Spirit * Virtue * Knowledge * Health * Community

Nanjing Union Theological Seminary is the national seminary of the Church in China, established on November 2, 1952 by the Chinese Three-Self Patriotic Movement Committee (TSPM) in the cultural and historic city of Nanjing.

Nanjing Union Theological Seminary has, since its beginning, focused on training pastoral workers, teachers and researchers who love both their country and their church, hold to the Chinese Three-Self principles, and build unity between believers and non-believers. In order to promote overall development of the students in both spirit and theological knowledge, the Seminary emphasizes "spirit, virtue, knowledge, health, and community".

Faculty and students at Nanjing Seminary fully respect the authority of the Holy Bible and confess the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds. They believe that God entrusts Chinese Christians to bear witnesses in China, that God is pleased that Chinese churches can share its experiences with other churches, and contribute to the development of ecumenical theology.

From its initial 1952 union of twelve seminaries in eastern China, Nanjing Seminary was ecumenical and nondenominational. In 1962 the Beijing Yanjing Seminary joined this united seminary family.

From being the "first fruit" of the TSPM, Nanjing Seminary has, at the beginning of the 21st century, become the base for Chinese Theological Reconstruction. Guided by its President, Bishop KH Ting, Nanjing Seminary is working hard to construct a framework for Chinese theological thinking, improve the quality of its theological education, and make Nanjing Seminary the best and most advanced seminary in China.

Curriculum and Enrollment

As the only national seminary in China, the structure of Nanjing Union Theological Seminary is similar to that of universities and colleges in secular society. It has two regular programs: the four-year Bachelor Degree of Theology (BTh) and since 1995 the three-year post graduate Master Degree of Theology (MTh).

The courses for BTh students are: Biblical Studies, Theological Studies, Church History and Pastoral Training as well as some basic culture and language courses as required by the Chinese Ministry of Education for higher education in secular universities. Generally speaking, the Christian courses make up about 70% of the curriculum. At the end of the four-year program, students must submit a thesis to attain their BTh degree.

The post-graduate MTh program aims to train theological teachers and researchers. Courses are offered according to the need of the specific majors of the students. Advisors help the students with their studies. The main courses are Systematic Theology, History of Christian Thought, Western Church History, Chinese Church History, Old Testament and New Testament Studies, and Practical Theology. The students spend most of their third year writing a thesis which is defended before a faculty committee.

In addition to these two regular programs, in 2001 Nanjing Seminary developed a Post Graduate Studies Program for Pastors. This was done at the request of the national TSPM and national China Christian Council to provide further education for church leaders. These leaders work in every province and have had little opportunity for continuing education after their seminary graduation. During the two year program the pastors come to campus for concentrated periods of study.

Nanjing Seminary’s enrollment is quite steady. Every year the seminary holds a written and oral entrance examination. Only about 50 out of 300 students who take the exams can be accepted into the two regular programs of study.

The following requirements are needed to enter Nanjing Seminary:

• One needs to be a baptized Christian, clear of God’s call to ministry, love both country and church, be of good virtue, active in church activities for more than one year, and committed to serve the Chinese churches.

• Those who apply for the BTh program need to be senior high school graduates. Those who apply to transfer into the BTh third year must be graduates from provincial Bible schools. Those who apply for the MTh program need to be graduates of other seminaries or universities.

• There is an age requirement for applicants. Usually those who apply for BTh need to be under 25-30 and those who apply for third year transfer or to the MTh need to be under 35.


Nanjing Union Theological Seminary currently has thirty full time faculty members. This includes three foreign professors and 6 adjunct professors coming from other universities. There are about sixteen people working in administrative positions and 4 people working in the library and editorial office.

Every academic year has two semesters. The academic year begins in September. The autumn term lasts from September to January, followed by a four-week winter vacation. The spring term lasts from March to July, followed by a two-month summer vacation. Students usually stay on campus during the academic term and go back to serve in their local churches during vacations.

The Office of Studies is in charge of all the arrangements of teaching and learning. At present Nanjing Seminary has three teachers who specialized in Systematic Theology and History of Christian Thought, three teachers of Church History, three Old Testament teachers, three New Testament teachers, and two practical theology teachers, and three teachers of Christian art and music.

The Student Affairs Committee (SAC) is in charge of both the physical and spiritual life of students on campus. By working closely with faculty, advisors and Student Cabinet, SAC provides guidance to the individual and group activities of the students, organizes the students to take part in social service, and counsels the students facing problems in everyday life.

Staff members of the administrative office take care of personnel and financial management, foreign affairs, archiving, building maintenance, and the school canteen. These staff strongly support the work and study of the seminary.

Student Life

Among the 210 registered students, there are 180 full-time students living on campus. There are about 96 female students and 84 male students. The average age of the full-time students is 26.

There is no tuition for full-time students at Nanjing Seminary and there is no charge for accommodation on campus. The seminary provides basic medical insurance. The needy students can get financial support by working part-timely on campus or applying for scholarships.

The students enjoy a busy life on campus. The Student Cabinet elected by students themselves organizes various kinds of activities for the students, such as once a month Sunday worship, Bible studies and fellowship meetings, Christmas and Easter celebrations, and sports competitions, which are financially subsidized by the seminary.

Students can apply for the BTh degree after four years of study with 170 credit hours, or two years of study with 76 credit hours after transfer into the third year class. The student’s average grade must be over 80 and they need to pass the seminary’s English proficiency test.

Students can apply for the MTh degree after three years of study. They need an average grade over 80, must pass the English proficiency test and receive faculty approval of their Master’s thesis.


Currently there are some 60,000 books in Nanjing Seminary, among which there are 30,000 English books and 30,000 Chinese books. The library also subscribes to more than a hundred journals of theology, history and philosophy.

The library has a reading room with reference books and journals, computer facilities, Chinese and English stacks, and a multi-function assembly hall for lectures and performances in the basement.

International Exchange

Nanjing Union Theological Seminary is an open-minded seminary, cherishing the distinctive characteristics of Chinese churches and willing to have exchange with other seminaries in China and abroad. We warmly welcome brothers and sisters of friendly churches who come and share with us.

Every year many foreign delegations visit Nanjing seminary. Individual and domestic visitors are countless. We receive groups of theologians, church and political leaders as well as other Christians and friends outside of the churches. These visitors learn about Chinese theological education through sharing and exchanging with teachers and students of Nanjing Seminary. They carry what they learn to other parts of the world.

Journal Publishing and Book Distribution

Nanjing Seminary publishes two periodicals, the quarterly Jinling Theological Review and bimonthly Teaching Materials. The former is an academic journal, reflecting the research emphases and interests of the seminary. Teaching Materials provides guidance for church lay leaders and volunteers, focuses on spiritual training and pastoral counseling. Through these two periodicals, the seminary tries to integrate church practice and theological training and thinking.

The Distribution Office distributes the Bibles, spiritual books, and theological reference books to all parts of China. Books and journals published in the seminary can be purchased through this office.

Alumni Links

Nanjing Seminary cares about all of its graduates. Nanjing Seminary has many alumni both at home and abroad. The seminary prays for the graduates and tries to offer help to them. The Alumni Association Desk sends the Jinling Theological Review regularly to each alumnus free so that they can stay in a close touch with the seminary community.

The New Campus

Nanjing Seminary has journeyed more than 50 years under God’s gracious mercy and providence. The journey of the seminary is closely related to the life of Chinese churches and society. With the better implementation of Chinese Religious Policy and the fast growth of Chinese Christianity, Chinese theological education is facing great challenges. Stepping into the new century, Nanjing Seminary is acting bravely to face the challenge and to improve both the physical facilities and faculty development of the seminary. Under the support of the TSPM and CCC, Nanjing Seminary is building a new campus in Jiangning District. The current campus will be kept as a research center.

The new campus lies in the center of Jiangning University City. The total area of the new campus is about 201 mu (approximately 33.5 acres or 124,067 square meters). Buildings will take up 31,000 square meters with an aim of accommodating 500 students. The current design for the new campus includes the following functional areas: Worship Area (the campus church), Teaching and Administrative Area, a Sports Ground, Student Residence Area and Front Garden Area. The architectural design will pay attention to the distinctiveness of Chinese Christianity as well as multi-functional requirements of modern higher education. It will attempt to embody the progress of Chinese society and Chinese Christian Three-Self principles. After the ground-breaking ceremony on January 17, 2005, the new campus is expected to be functional in two or three years’ time.