Torch Trinity Graduate University

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Coordinates: 37°28′45.00″N 127°02′01.00″E / 37.4791667°N 127.0336111°E / 37.4791667; 127.0336111

Torch Trinity Graduate University (TTGU) [Korean: 횃불트리니티신학대학원대학교] is an evangelical graduate school and seminary in Yangjae-dong, Seocho District, Seoul, South Korea.[1] It was formerly called Torch Trinity Graduate School of Theology (TTGST). The university commits itself to the cause of Christian missions, with an emphasis on training future leaders of the church from all over the world.

Torch Trinity Graduate University


Torch Trinity Graduate University began following a five-year deliberation between the Korean Center for World Missions (Torch Missions Center) in Seoul, Korea, and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School/Trinity International University (TEDS) in Deerfield, Illinois, in the United States. Recognizing the need for a mission-oriented seminary in Korea with English-language instruction, the proposals were to start a branch of TEDS in Korea. Instead, the founding leadership recognized that both schools would need separate, though cooperative, identities.

The university was established in December 1997, with accreditation from the Korean Ministry of Education. It opened its doors in March 1998 as Torch Trinity Graduate School of Theology (TTGST) with eight professors and sixty-four students.

The university had an emphasis on the training of future Christian leaders. Scholarships were established to educate local leaders from the Majority World to be theologically equipped to lead churches within their native contexts.

Torch Trinity commenced under the leadership of Sang-Bok David Kim as president. In 2001, Kenneth Meyer, former president and chancellor of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School/Trinity International University became the second president of the school. Meyer was followed by Onnuri Community Church's founder, Yong Jo Ha, in 2005. The seminary originally offered courses in the English-language. Under President Ha, a Korean program was created for divinity students followed by other new degree programs, research centers, projects, honorary chair and doctoral conferments. In August 2011, President Ha passed away.[3]

Torch Trinity's founding president, Sang-Bok David Kim, was re-appointed by the school board to become the fourth president in 2011. After his re-installment, the school's English name was changed to better reflect the Korean original. The new and current name is Torch Trinity Graduate University.

Torch Trinity is an evangelical, interdenominational institution. The Torch Trinity student body is drawn from the traditions of the Reformed/Presbyterian, Baptist, Independent Bible, Methodist, Pentecostal, Episcopalian, and more. There are over five hundred students enrolled from over thirty countries.[4][5] TTGU alumni serve in over fifty countries.

There are twenty-six full-time professors and lecturers. Each member of the faculty has a doctoral degree from an accredited school. The university also offers courses that focus on improving English skills and fluency; TTGU hires English-language instructors (all of whom have ,at the minimum, MDiv degrees) to help struggling ESL (English as a second language) students learn theology. In addition, visiting lecturers and professors are invited to teach a full semester, or a modular course, which is given at the end of each semester.


Torch Trinity is an educational institution whose mission is to teach and equip Christian leaders to serve Christ and His church effectively.

Dr. Eunnie R. Rhee's group in prayer

The school adopted the "Strategic Mission and Adaptive Education" plan to meet four areas of the church today:

  • Mission Fields,
  • Korean Churches,
  • Foreign Residents in Korea, and
  • Foreign Nationals of Korean Descent.

The plan is accomplished through the formation of ministers, evangelists, cross-cultural missionaries, educators, counselors, and leaders for the evangelization of the world. Angel Project allows faculty members and students to visit alumni in the Majority World during school vacations to encourage them and to learn from them in order to understand the needs of the missionaries and native churches abroad.[6]

Accreditations, Associations, and Partnerships[7][edit]

Torch Trinity is accredited by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology which is the only accrediting agency in the Republic of Korea. Internationally, the school is accredited by Asia Theological Association (ATA),anAsian accrediting body. Students have transferred full credits to the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) accredited schools in North America. The graduates have been accepted for doctoral programs in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Torch Trinity is also a member of the Korea Association of Accredited Theological Schools (KAATS). The U.S. military G.I. Bill also recognizes the school allowing veterans to earn a graduate degree on the Korean peninsula. In addition, Torch Trinity's alumni can also become military chaplains. Other memberships and partnerships of other organizations include: Overseas Council (OC), International Council for Evangelical and Theological Education (ICETE), Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI), Association of Evangelical Theological Schools, and Refo 500.

Degree programs[8][edit]

Torch Trinity offers six degrees: MDiv, MEd, MA (in Christian Counseling and in Christian Education), MTS, ThM, and PhD. Both Korean citizens and foreign/international students can apply. Expatriates living in Korea can also apply for a degree program as part-time students (if they apply full-time, they will be categorized as internationals). Torch Trinity holds classes during the day and evening. The following degrees and tracks are taught in English:

The Master of Divinity (MDiv) equips students to become ordained pastors and leaders in Protestant denominations. Students earning an MDiv can choose one of three tracks: Church Ministries, Intercultural Studies, and Christian Education. MDiv graduates can also further their studies by applying to ThM and PhD programs. It is a three-year program for full-time students.

The Master of Education (MEd) has two tracks: Instruction and Administration. It is geared for students who wish to work in primary or secondary schools. It is a two-year program for full-time students. ACSI certification is also earned.

The Master of Arts (MA) is given by two departments: Christian Counseling and Christian Education. Students must apply to the department of their choice to earn an MA in Christian Counseling or an MA in Christian Education. Both are two-year programs for full-time students.

The Master of Theological Studies (MTS) is designed for professionals interested in acquiring a broad theological education. This degree does not usually qualify for students for pastoral ordination. It is a two-year program for full-time students.

The Master of Theology (ThM) allows students to pursue a specialization in Christian studies. Students who have earned an MDiv can apply to this program. It usually fulfills the requirements for doctoral programs that demand a more specialized degree beyond an MDiv. Torch Trinity offers the ThM in the following specializations: Biblical Studies (Old or New Testament), Church History, Systematic Theology, Mission/Intercultural Studies, Christian Education, Practical Theology, and Interdisciplinary Studies. Towards the end of the two years, the student must submit a thesis (or write two major papers) and pass the oral defense. It is a two-year program for full-time students.

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is a research terminal degree. Torch Trinity offers the doctorate in four areas: Biblical Studies, Theological/Historical, Intercultural Studies, and Educational Studies. Christian Counseling is not available in the English program. Each student writes a doctoral dissertation and passes the oral defense in order to earn the degree. Full-time students should graduate in three to four years.


Torch Trinity's multimedia library contains a collections of theological works in the English language. Over 60,000 titles have been acquired. The library hasa 5,000 dissertations from both Asia and the Western world. Periodicals exceed 5,000 in number.[9]

The library holds microfiche, CDs, discs and cassettes. Every computer is connected to the internet. Computers are formatted in the English and Korean languages. There are three rooms inside the library: multimedia, computer, and PhD study. The multimedia room is where students can watch videos (or listen to recordings) with headsets and read microfiche. Students can type their papers in the computer room. Printers and scanners are attached to a select number of computers. Doctoral students have the privacy to study in a room filled carrels for their use. Wireless Internet is available in the library and around the school.[10]

Faculty and instructors[edit]

Faculty members have strong ministry experiences either as ordained leaders or as members of the laity. In terms of academics, every full-time professor and lecturer have a doctoral degree from an accredited school recognized by each school's national government (100% doctoral rate for full-time members).[11] In addition, most have been educated in at least two countries, earning a degree from each country. The international faculty consists of native Koreans, Korean-Americans, and non-Koreans.[12]

In addition, the school hires part-time instructors. Students can take classes from any of the thirteen adjuncts, who also have doctorates. External renown professors and researchers are invited to teach modular courses at the end of each semester. Some external professors may also stay on for a semester as visiting lecturers. Seminars are held during the school year for guest speakers.

The school hires part-time English instructors to assist students who struggle with the English language. Part-time English instructors are fully versed in the English language both in speaking and writing, have prior English teaching experience, and have earned, at the minimum, MDiv degrees.

Chapel services[13][edit]

Chapel is the centerpiece of worship, community, and spiritual life at Torch Trinity. It is held on Tuesday (English), Thursday (combined), and Saturday (Korean). Each student attends Thursday's Chapel. Students in the English program also attend Tuesday's Chapel. Speakers include resident professors and guests. Each student attends a weekly small group meeting.


Torch Trinity is located in Seoul, the capital city of the Republic of Korea and one of the largest cities in the Pacific Rim. Seoul is served by Incheon International Airport and Gimpo International Airport. Airport buses called limousine buses run to and from Seoul. The travel time from Incheon International Airport is one and one-half hours, and from Gimpo International Airport, one hour.

Yangjae Station (양재역) is the nearest major public transportation spot serviced by both buses and subways. It is a fifteen-minute walk from the school. The orange line (no. 3) and the new red line (no. 8) connect to Yangjae Station (양재역); red and blue buses also stop there. The nearest major bus stop is named Korean Educational Development Institute (KEDI, 교육개발원입구); it is a ten-minute walk.


  1. ^ "footer01.gif." Torch Trinity Graduate University. Retrieved on May 15, 2013. "55 Yangjae-Dong, Sucho-Gu, Seoul 137-889, Korea"
  2. ^ (Home > About Torch Trinity > History).
  3. ^ Kim Yoon-mi, "Onnuri Church Founder Ha Dies," The Korean Herald, August 2, 2011, (accessed February 14, 2012).
  4. ^ Elysabeth Hahm, "(Yonhap Feature) Seminary Takes Pride in True English-only Curriculum, Student Diversity," Yonhap News Agency, May 4, 2012, (accessed May 9, 2012).
  5. ^ For a full article, see "Seminary Takes Pride in Student Diversity," The Korean Herald, May 6, 2012, (accessed May 9, 2012).
  6. ^ (Home > About Torch Trnity > Features of TTGU).
  7. ^ (Home > About Torch Trinity > Accreditation).
  8. ^ (Home > Programs).
  9. ^ (Home > About the Library > Statistics)
  10. ^ (Home > About the Library > Introduction).
  11. ^ (Home > About Torch Trinity > History)
  12. ^ (Home > About Torch Trinity > Directory).
  13. ^ (Home > Academic Affairs > Academic Policy > Chapel).
  14. ^ (Home > About Torch Trinity > Directions).

External links[edit]