New York Theological Seminary (NYTS) was founded in 1900 by Wilbert Webster White as the Bible Teacher’s Training College in Montclair. A gifted scholar and teacher, President White developed a curriculum that combined the study of the Bible in one’s own language with practical training for ministry. After moving to New York City in 1902, the school was renamed as The Biblical Seminary in New York, and in 1966, it became New York Theological Seminary. The distinctive attributes that characterized the Seminary from its inception is its emphasis upon ministry and mission, its unique urban focus, its openness to both women and men, and its diversity in denominational and cultural traditions.
George W. “Bill” Webber became President of NYTS in 1969, opening a new era of urban theological education in North America. Under President Webber’s leadership the Seminary became more intentional in serving the needs of urban churches and pastors. As New York City welcomed a new wave of immigrants with a wide range of spiritual needs, the Seminary kept pace, launching programs in Spanish and Korean, while increasingly expanding its global networks. In 1982, the Seminary launched an accredited Masters degree program in Sing Sing Correctional Facility, known to the Seminar as the North Campus. The Master of Professional Studies (MPS) program equips individuals within the New York State correctional system for ministry within the facilities and builds a foundation upon which they may be of service to others once they are released. Graduates have been featured in national news for their accomplishments.
NYTS has been located in The Interchurch Center in Manhattan since 2002, with classes held in The Riverside Church and in other locations throughout the New York metropolitan area. The location was ideal for NYTS to gain full access to the Columbia University Library System which includes the Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary. As the seminary grew to serve an increasingly mobile student body the physical library became a lesser necessity. In 2019, NYTS took the bold step of purchasing the The Digital Theological Library, a fully online library with access to e-books, articles, journals and databases, in order to better serve traditional, hybrid, and online students.
Over 80% of our students work full-time while they attend classes. Graduates serve around the world in churches, educational institutions, faith-based organizations, government, and other professions. They are pastors, bishops, chaplains, teachers, business leaders, university professors, executives, lawyers, medical doctors, missionaries, and more. NYTS is often cited as a model for institutions around the world seeking to address the educational needs of the Church through a diversity of contemporary, global, economic and social contexts.