American Baptist Seminary of the West

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American Baptist Seminary of the West
Established 1871
Type Private
Religious affiliation American Baptist Churches USA, Progressive National Baptist Convention
President Paul M. Martin
Dean LeAnn Snow Flesher
Location Berkeley, CA, USA
37°51′54″N 122°15′21″W / 37.86502°N 122.25575°W / 37.86502; -122.25575Coordinates: 37°51′54″N 122°15′21″W / 37.86502°N 122.25575°W / 37.86502; -122.25575
Campus urban
Former names Berkeley Baptist Divinity School
Affiliations Graduate Theological Union

The American Baptist Seminary of the West (ABSW) is a theological school affiliated with the American Baptist Churches USA and the Progressive National Baptist Convention. It is located in Berkeley, California, USA. It is part of the Graduate Theological Union, a consortium of theological schools and centers in the Berkeley area. Formerly, the ABSW was called Berkeley Baptist Divinity School.


The earliest roots of the American Baptist Seminary of the West lie in the chartering of California College, Vacaville, in 1871. In 1887[1] the college moved to Oakland, and in 1912 to Berkeley, at which time it changed its name to Berkeley Baptist Divinity School (BBDS), keeping this name until 1968. In 1915 BBDS merged with the Pacific Coast Baptist Theological Seminary, which had begun in Oakland in 1890 and had moved to Berkeley in 1904. In 1968 BBDS merged with California Baptist Theological Seminary (founded in 1944 in Los Angeles, and located in Covina since 1951). To reflect the fact that the school was no longer wholly in Berkeley, it was renamed the American Baptist Seminary of the West, but six years later the Covina faculty moved to the Berkeley campus, effecting considerable cost savings and at the same time availing themselves of the resources of the Graduate Theological Union.

Degree programs[edit]

ABSW offers accredited Master of Divinity and Master of Arts degrees. Through the Graduate Theological Union, ABSW students have access to accredited Th.D. and Ph.D. programs, as well as two joint Ph.D. programs with the University of California, Berkeley. ABSW has entered into a cooperative relationship with the Bakke Graduate University in Seattle that gives ABSW students access to a Doctor of Ministry degree program at Bakke.


  1. ^ Thomas, Grace Powers (1898). Where to educate, 1898-1899. A guide to the best private schools, higher institutions of learning, etc., in the United States. Boston: Brown and Company. p. 12. Retrieved August 17, 2012. 

External links[edit]