trinity southwest university

trinity southwest university

Mission & Philosophy

Revealing God’s divine authority with a personal learning philosophy.


The mission of Trinity Southwest University is to provide quality higher education for adult learners, teaching them, through a variety of biblically-based academic disciplines, to uphold the divine authority of the Bible as God’s only inspired representation of reality to humankind, and equipping them to apply its eternal truths to all phases of life.

TSU embraces a nontraditional educational philosophy that places the focus of educational processes on the effective personal learning modes of the individual student, rather than on the predictably homogenized instructional programs made for, and driven by, the traditional needs of institutions. Indeed, it is the need of the adult student, not the need of the institution that drives the nontraditional approach to education. At TSU, each student, together with an advisor or dean and with the approval of the Academic Committee, determines, to a significant degree, the kind of learning experiences that best fit his/her individual needs, talents, and preferences. We believe such self-directed study, with appropriate guidance and assistance stimulates higher levels of motivation and achievement in adult learners, who know what they want to accomplish in their individual pursuit of higher education.

our History

Educating nationally and worldwide for 27 years.


Throughout the 1980s a small school in Tulsa, Oklahoma, known as Southwest Biblical Seminary, served as a center of Bible-based education for local students, and operated as an extension center of a well-known seminary recognized for its pioneering work in the area of theological distance education. In 1989, the school moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico where it continued to service students through distance programs. In 1990, under the direction of Dr. Steven Collins and Dr. Thomas Collins, it became officially associated with an internationally-known Bible college and seminary, serving as its primary extension campus in the USA. It was soon widely recognized as Trinity Southwest, and continued to develop its own educational programs alongside its function as an extension campus. During the 1990s, Trinity Southwest became known as a regional center of Christian scholarship, drawing top scholars from across the nation and world for on-campus lectures and symposia. The TSU International Symposium on Archaeology & the Bible, held periodically, has become a unique and important event for biblical archaeology enthusiasts worldwide. In 2001, with its multi-college/institute structure, Trinity Southwest became an independent institution of Christian higher education: Trinity Southwest University. Today, TSU makes its degree programs available to students, both local and around the globe, through multiple delivery systems—from surface and air delivery, to the ever-advancing Internet technologies.

















Trinity Southwest University is located near the foothills of the beautiful Sandia Mountains in Albuquerque, New Mexico, surrounded by the rich and diverse cultural heritage of the American southwest. The TSU campus occupies several locations in Albuquerque, providing classrooms, an administrative center for on-campus and distance education, faculty offices, the TSU Research Library, and the TSU Archaeology Research Center (ARC).

Doctrinal Position

Humbling ourselves to the absolute authority Scripture holds.

 TSU is a trans-denominational institution in the evangelical mainstream of the historic Christian Faith. However, we view “creedal formulations” and “statements of faith” beyond the Bible itself as “grids” that relegate the Word of God to “patient” status, rather than its proper role as “agent” in our lives. Therefore, we humbly submit our minds to the Bible by embracing Scripture (comprised of the ancient Hebrew Tanakh and the New Testament) as the only written, divinely inspired representation of reality given by God to humankind, speaking with absolute and authority in all matters upon which it touches.


Provider for the Association of Christian School International.

Trinity Southwest Universtiy is an approved provider for The Association of Christian Schools International. Relative to traditional accreditation, TSU has chosen to remain non-aligned. It is our opinion that any governmental association or oversight (including that provided by default via all federally-approved “secular” and “religious” accreditation associations) is inappropriate for a faith-based organization or institution, and constitutes a fundamental violation of church/state separation. Therefore, TSU accepts no federal, state, or local governmental funding, nor do we participate in GSL or other government-based financial aid programs. TSU grants degrees under religious exemption as required by the Constitution of the State of New Mexico, USA.

Meet our faculty & administration

A Flexible Learning Experience


Modular Coursework

One significant difference between the traditional university course and Trinity Southwest University’s curriculum is its modular system. Not only can you work at your own pace, but you can also complete your course requirements in ways that best suit your personality, background, experience, talents and goals.

Where traditional universities generally award semester credit hours (SCH) based on attendance, homework, and examination performance, TSU semester credit hours are based on the completion of modules within each course. Each module is a learning experience.

Distance Learning

The flexibility of our modular coursework allows for Distance learning to be a possibility for students, providing a variety of options to finish a course.

On- Campus

This unique structure allows for local students to attend any lecture of any college at TSU. The student can craft what he feels will support his degree and interests best.



Trinity Southwest University is located near the foothills of the beautiful Sandia Mountains in Albuquerque, New Mexico, surrounded by the rich and diverse cultural heritage of the American southwest. The TSU campus occupies several locations in Albuquerque, providing classrooms, an administrative center for on-campus and distance education, faculty offices, the TSU Research Library, and the TSU Archaeology Research Center (ARC).


TSU has a selective and significant research library, specializing in the areas of biblical studies, theology, biblical archaeology, ancient Near Eastern studies, biblical languages, and works that support biblical exegesis.

It is not a lending library, but a research library that students can access locally on-campus. We are actively developing links with other library and research systems.

Frequent Questions

How long will it take me to complete my degree program?

There are several factors that determine the time you’ll invest in completing your degree program. First, the number of courses—thus, the number of semester credit hours (SCH)—in your program will vary depending on things like transfer and portfolio (equivalent) credit. [Example: If, after transfer and equivalent credit are applied, you need 24 SCH (8 courses) to complete a masters program, then it may be possible for you to complete that work in as little as 6 months. However, your active registration period for such a program will be at least two years, giving you plenty of time to work at a much slower pace, if that’s what you want to do. So, the speed of your program is up to you!]

A second factor in the time it takes to complete a degree program is the integration of your studies into your life. The modular nature of TSU courses (see below) allows you, in significant ways, to “do what you study, and study what you do.” This can save you huge amounts of time. [Here’s a homely little analogy that captures the concept: Think of your life as a bucket of stones—a very full bucket of stones. The stones represent the responsibilities and activities of your life. And there doesn’t seem to be any room in the bucket for another stone, especially one as bulky as a degree program. But what TSU has done is to take a sledgehammer (creativity!) and smash that stone into small pieces, even into sand, if necessary. So, whereas the whole stone was too big to fit into the bucket, now it can be poured over, into and around the other stones with ease!] The nontraditional, self-paced, modular flexibility of a TSU degree program doesn’t have to disrupt your life the way a traditional degree program would. Be creative!

A third factor is the fact of life’s unforeseen difficulties. If you were in a traditional school, and a life-crisis arose mid-semester causing you to have to suspend your schoolwork, you’d have to arrange to take “incompletes” in those courses. Then you’d have to complete that coursework within a specified timeframe, or convert them to “withdrew passing,” or receive failing grades (with no tuition refund!). At TSU, the time to complete your active registration is at least two years, not a mere semester. If you need some time off, you can take it. It is your decision. If you need an extension beyond the two (or five) years, you can get it by paying a modest fee. We’ll work with you every step of the way in order to help you complete your degree!


How much time does it take to complete a course?

The average TSU course is 3 semester credit hours (SCH). The average time-investment for one SCH (in both traditional and nontraditional contexts) is about 50 clock hours. Thus, a 3 SCH course takes about 150 clock hours to complete. At TSU, each 3 SCH course consists of six learning modules (two foundational modules, followed by four modules selected from a wide range of options). On average, it takes about 150 clock hours to complete all six modules. You’ll realize the tremendous flexibility of TSU courses when you begin to select your assignment modules from a long list of options—you can even create modules yourself! (Example: If you already preach or teach a Bible study on a regular basis, you might want to select a preaching or teaching module. In this way, you’ll integrate what you’re learning in your TSU course by preaching or teaching on it. And you’ll get credit for it in the process!) TSU is big on the practical application of everything you’re learning. So, by selecting course modules that merge with what you’re already doing, clock hours of life double as clock hours toward your degree. TSU not only allows you to pursue your degree goals at the speed of life, but your life itself becomes an exciting classroom!


How will i get personal assistance when i need it?

You will have an Academic Advisor who is only an E-mail or a phone call away. You will also have the same kind of access to the professors who evaluate your coursework. TSU also offers a full slate of on-campus lectures, seminars, and symposia where you can interact with faculty members and other students. We also offer vacation seminars and study tours where you can enjoy lots of personal attention and instruction. And all these things can be done for credit as course modules!


How much will it cost?

You can refer to the Tuition & Fees Fact Sheet for this information. But you can rest assured that no matter what TSU degree program you choose, it will probably cost less than the price of a reasonably good used car. It will probably cost less than re-carpeting an average-sized home. It will probably cost less than commuting to work 10 miles (each way) for 3 years. It will probably cost less than eating a fast-food breakfast every weekday for 3 years. Studying at a traditional private school can typically cost from $10,000 to $40,000 per year. By comparison, TSU is very affordable.


What about accreditation?

Trinity Southwest University strives to maintain excellent academic standards and procedures as generally established within the larger international academic community. TSU operates as an exempt religious institution, as provided by the New Mexico Commission on Higher Education. TSU reports to the Commission annually for the retention of that status, as required by law. TSU is approved by the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) as a provider of continuing education in the areas of Biblical Studies, Theology and Apologetics, and by the New Mexico Department of Vocational Rehabilitation.

At this time, TSU has chosen to remain non-aligned with respect to accreditation accrediting agencies. One must understand that throughout the history of our country – up to and including the present – accreditation by self-appointed or governmentally-appointed agencies has always been optional for educational institutions. Whereas the concept of accreditation is intended to be a safeguard for quality education, the fact remains that accrediting requirements are most often compatible with traditional education, and rarely acknowledge the flexible, non-traditional nature of TSU. Furthermore, it is clear
that accreditation does not guarantee the quality of education related to the learning process as a whole. There are
excellent accredited and non-accredited schools, and there are accredited schools of poor quality. The recognition
of these facts has led most colleges, Universities and seminaries to accept credits and degrees from non-
accredited institutions on a case-by-case basis (sometimes up to a certain percentage of their admissions as
allowed by their accrediting associations). We are always ready to assist our students who wish to pursue transfer
of their TSU credits and/or degrees to other institutions.

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