Waterloo Lutheran Seminary
Waterloo Lutheran Seminary provides for the scholarly study of the Christian faith and ministry in an interdenominational setting, especially in its Lutheran expression and within the Canadian context. Such education includes dialogue between theology and ministry and other academic and professional disciplines, and seeks to help students develop an integrated theology that activates a meaningful engagement with the world.
Waterloo Lutheran Seminary is an institution of the Eastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada. The primary task of the Seminary is to serve as a resource for the Eastern Synod, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and the church at large. In pursuit of this task, the Seminary educates men and women in and for ordained and lay Christian ministry, and helps them effectively exercise their ministry in the church and the world. Programs include basic and advanced theological study, interdisciplinary studies, supervised contextual experiences and continuing education opportunities for both academic and non-academic credit. To carry out these objectives and as appropriate, the faculty and staff of Waterloo Lutheran Seminary teach and support students, conduct research, engage in ministerial activity and attend to administrative duties.
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As a federated college of Wilfrid Laurier University and a member of the university Graduate Faculty Council, the Seminary maintains close ties, especially with the Department of Religion and Culture and the Faculty of Social Work. These ties are maintained through co-operation between the seminary and religion and culture faculty members, and through the sharing of a common pool of graduate courses with the Department of Religion and Culture. This means that seminarians and university graduate students take courses with faculty based in both the Seminary and the Department of Religion and Culture. The ties with the Faculty of Social Work are maintained through the offering of a joint MDiv/MTS-MSW degree program.
The close relationship between the Seminary and the university also offers other advantages. All the facilities and academic, social, athletic and cultural programs of the university are available to seminary students. Moreover, seminary students may take additional courses in the university to make up possible deficiencies in pre-theological training or to enrich their program of theological studies.
The Seminary is a fully accredited member of the Association of Theological Schools.
The requirements for admission include a bachelor's degree from a recognized accredited university or university college. Endorsement by their church is required of students preparing for the ordained ministry.
Students applying to the MDiv or MTS programs, who lack no more than two courses towards the bachelor's degree, may be admitted by special action of the faculty if their past performance allows the conclusion that they will be able to complete the bachelor's requirements by the end of the first year in seminary.
Older persons, normally over 30 years of age, who wish to prepare for the parish ministry, and who have been recommended by their church, may be admitted without a completed pre-seminary education by special action of the faculty. However, without a bachelor's degree they can only qualify for the Diploma in Theology. The total number of such students admitted without a bachelor's degree normally may not exceed 10 percent of the student body. Persons who possess a bachelor's degree from an approved and accredited university or university college may not enrol in the Diploma in Theology program.
With reference to pre-seminary education, the student should have acquired experience in the problems, methods and techniques of the various disciplines such as science, the humanities and religion. The student should gain some competence in each of these fields, but may want to major in an area of special interest.
If a student's pre-seminary training has not sufficiently covered areas which are relevant to the student's chosen field of major concentration, the faculty may require the student to take certain undergraduate arts courses concurrently with the program in theology. If these courses are taken at Wilfrid Laurier University, with approval of the dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies, no additional fees will be charged.
Waterloo Lutheran Seminary adheres to principles enshrined in the Ontario Human Rights Code as that code may be amended from time to time.
Application forms are available from the Seminary. An application fee of $25 must accompany all applications. Refer to the Seminary Office for details. Supporting documentation required for each area of studies is specified on the application form. Upon receipt of these documents the applicant will be informed by the Seminary concerning admissibility.
Applicants whose language of instruction for an undergraduate degree was other than English must furnish evidence of proficiency in English usage prior to admission. A minimum score of 550 is required in the paper-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL); a minimum score of 213 is required in the computer-based TOEFL.
General graduate students are students possessing an honours bachelor's degree or equivalent who are taking one or more graduate courses for credit but are not proceeding to a degree at WLS. Such students are admitted at the discretion of the principal-dean in consultation with the seminary faculty. However, in special circumstances, the seminary faculty may approve such courses for degree credit. Students who obtain credits in this category and subsequently decide to apply to a degree program must meet both the admission requirements and pay fees according to their category at that time.
Full-time Waterloo Lutheran Seminary diploma and master's students must maintain continuous yearly registration of at least two terms each year to the end of the term in which all degree requirements are completed. All doctoral students must register for three terms each year commencing September 1, January 1 and May 1 to the end of the term in which all degree requirements are completed. Such registration procedure is pursued through the Seminary Office.
The Seminary is committed to providing a full range of required and elective courses for its programs. However, not all courses will be available in every session.
Advanced Standing and Credit Transfer
Permission to receive advanced credit toward a diploma, master's or doctoral degree in the Seminary, for courses taken previously at another institution on the same academic level as corresponding seminary courses, will be granted at the discretion of the Seminary Academic Administrative Committee in consultation with the seminary faculty. However, students wishing to graduate from Waterloo Lutheran Seminary must register as full-time students for at least one academic year or the equivalent thereof. Courses that have been credited toward a degree at WLU or any other institution cannot be counted again toward a diploma or degree in Waterloo Lutheran Seminary. Courses taken as "audit" will not be considered for advanced standing or transfer credit.
Students who are already enrolled in a seminary program may take courses at another institution for credit towards their degree or diploma providing that permission is obtained from the Seminary and the host institution prior to course registration. In such cases the appropriate forms are available from the Seminary Office. Courses taken by seminary students in another institution or program are the financial responsibility of the student.
Persons who wish to continue their education, but do not care to earn academic credit, may be eligible to audit courses. Courses taken as an audit will not count towards a degree. Audit students are not eligible to enrol in doctoral-level courses.
Persons not currently registered who wish to audit seminary courses may apply for admission by filling out the General Application for Admission to Waterloo Lutheran Seminary, which includes providing undergraduate transcripts and references. In all cases, an application fee of $25 will apply, except for students registered in a graduate program at Wilfrid Laurier University. Admission normally is limited to those persons with evidence of undergraduate courses completed to the equivalent of one year's work. Exceptions may be presented to the Academic Administrative Committee for consideration.
Students must have the permission of the instructor, and registration will normally be limited to 25 percent of the total enrolment for each particular course. Attendance and participation in class is expected.
Audit courses will be included in the course weight limits for degree program students.
Leave of Absence
Students may petition for a one-time leave of absence (to a maximum of three consecutive terms) at a time when circumstances prevent them from working on either their course work or their thesis. Students receiving a leave of absence must re-register for the term immediately following the end of their leave of absence. Failure to re-register for that term will be considered an act of withdrawal from the Seminary.
Terms spent on leave of absence are not included in the calculation of the time to completion.
Termination of Registration
A student whose work or attendance is considered to be unsatisfactory as determined by the seminary faculty may be required by the principal-dean of the Seminary to withdraw at any time from particular courses, from particular programs, or from the Seminary.
Failure by a full-time diploma or master's seminary student to maintain continuous yearly registration of at least two terms each calendar year, or for any doctoral student to maintain continuous yearly registration of three terms each year, will be considered an act of withdrawal from the Seminary.
Withdrawal from the Seminary
For a variety of reasons, such as personal, financial, academic or vocational, a student may choose to withdraw from studies at the Seminary. The student is requested to contact the principal-dean of the Seminary to discuss formal withdrawal. The failure of a student to remain registered as a full-time, part-time, leave of absence or research fee student will be considered an act of withdrawal. Should students desire later to resume studies after having withdrawn, they must reapply for admission to the Seminary.
Students who withdraw from the Seminary at any time retain the final grades in courses completed prior to the date of their withdrawal.
Students who withdraw after the final date for withdrawing without failure will have the courses in their program recorded as a failure.
Students holding scholarships, loans or other indebtedness related to their tenure as seminary students, must bear responsibility for meeting obligations in returning or repaying funds.
Contextual education is an integral component of the Seminary's programs which prepares students for the ordained ministry. The objective of contextual education is to provide both the context and the process wherein personal and professional growth in ministry is fostered through the student's active involvement in a local parish setting, or, as is sometimes possible and desirable, in a social service. This involvement is drawn into the classroom dimension of the seminary's programs through the four courses in contextual ministry. Each of these courses focuses on a different aspect of student involvement and growth in the ministry setting to which they are assigned by the supervisor of contextual education. Such assignments are made in consultation with students and their pastor supervisor.
To facilitate the student's growth in contextual education, it is expected that a learning contract will be formulated at the commencement of the school year and in conjunction with courses in contextual ministry. This learning contract explicitly delineates expectations, paths towards expectation fulfilment and means for evaluation.
To provide a maximum of experience, no student will be placed in the same setting for a second year, except where such placement may be deemed absolutely essential to the growth and development of the student.
The supervisor of contextual education supervises the processes of contextual education in accord with the seminary faculty's educational policies and in co-operation with churches and agencies in the field.
It is believed that contextual education will not only help the student to grow, but will also offer opportunity for the parish and/or the social agency to grow as well.
Contextual education does not involve financial remuneration. It is, however, possible for a congregation and/or agency to offer a student an honorarium; when such is the case, the honorarium is not to exceed $400 for the school year.
Seminary students enrolled in the MDiv or Diploma in Theology program are required to complete, successfully, a minimum of 12 weeks of supervised (clinical) pastoral education at an agency or institution approved by CAPPE or ACPE, under a supervising chaplain holding the status of supervisor or acting supervisor within CAPPE or ACPE. The seminary faculty reserves the right to approve a student's placement. The majority of seminary students complete this requirement in "clinical centres" in southwestern Ontario. However, other centres in Canada and the United States may be selected if approved by the seminary faculty. SPE should be taken by students normally after the completion of their first or second year at the seminary.
The responsibility of financing this course rests with each student.
By action of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, the successful completion of a 12-month internship (or its equivalent) is required of all ELCIC candidates studying for the ministry. This 12-month period may include the basic quarter of SPE required by Waterloo Lutheran Seminary.
Normally, internship is in a parish setting, although, subject to seminary faculty approval, specialized internships in non-parish settings may be permitted. In such instances, a parish component is a normal feature. Usually, internship follows the second year of seminary courses.
The Seminary is responsible for the placement and supervision of all interns through the supervisor of contextual education. The Seminary, however, recognizes and respects the authority of the pastor supervisor in the congregation.
Placements of interns are made by the Seminary after consultation with the students, pastor supervisors and synodical officials. Student placement takes into consideration the student's abilities, need for experience, needs of the congregation and the particular skills and personality of the pastor supervisor.
Supervision of interns by the pastor supervisor includes establishing with the student a learning contract and setting aside regular weekly conferences for reflection-interaction. Emphasis in these sessions should focus upon ministry, relationships and evaluation of performance objectives. An internship committee, comprised of representative lay people from the congregation, is highly encouraged.
In the process of intern placements, the supervisor of contextual education will have received from each potential intern a written application by January 15 and from each potential congregation a written application by January 31. (These application forms are available from the supervisor. The submission of a written application guarantees neither a placement nor obtaining an intern.) The finalization of internships is usually accomplished towards the latter part of April.
In the placement of interns, Waterloo Lutheran Seminary co-operates actively with the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Saskatoon and with Lutheran seminaries in the USA.
The internship support package includes a basic stipend, housing, travel and other incidentals.
Each internship site is visited at least once in every three years; these field visits may take place on a more frequent basis at the discretion of the supervisor of contextual education.
As part of the intern experience, each student intern and pastor supervisor is expected to participate in a local/regional intern cluster.
The seminary programs are not limited to those who wish to prepare for full-time service in the Lutheran church. The programs of study are sufficiently broad to be of interest and value for students from many denominations, whether or not they plan to enter full-time service in the church.
A seminary student is a person who has been admitted by the Seminary to one of the following: Master of Divinity; Master of Theological Studies; Master of Theology in Pastoral Counselling; Master of Theology in Christian Ethics; Master of Theology in Homiletics; Master of Divinity/Master of Theological Studies-Master of Social Work; Doctor of Ministry in Pastoral Counselling and Marriage and Family Studies; Graduate Diploma in Theology; Diploma in Spirituality in a Health Care Setting; General Graduate Student in Theology.
Graduation from the Seminary does not automatically imply ordination.
The academic year is divided into two terms totalling approximately 29 weeks. The average workload for students is 15 hours per week of class work. Any two-hour course in the Seminary may be taken as a three-hour course with permission of the course instructor and the seminary principal-dean. In such cases, additional work will be required to reflect the additional credit hour given.
All courses are subject to marks within the following grade and point range as specified in each program.
Seminary students may take no more than two terms of directed study without seminary faculty permission in any of the major areas of the seminary curriculum, namely, biblical theology, systematic theology, historical theology and functional theology.
In those instances where a student is proposing to enrol in courses which are not offered by the Seminary, the principal-dean of the Seminary and the dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies may investigate the student's total workload to determine whether or not it is excessive.
Seminary students in a seminary master's program must receive at least a C+ grade in each course of their program and must complete successfully their program as outlined in this calendar to receive their degree. Courses taken in the Faculty of Social Work must be passed with at least a grade of B-.
Seminary students in the graduate diploma programs must maintain at least a C+ average in their course of studies and must complete successfully their program as outlined in this calendar to receive their diploma.
Seminary students in the doctoral program must receive at least a B- grade in each course of their program, must complete all course and clinical work with a minimum cumulative grade point average of B+, and complete successfully their program as outlined in this calendar to receive their degree.
Course Completion and Extension
Course requirements must be completed and submitted as scheduled by the course instructor and definitely no later than one week after the last week of course lectures in which the course is given. If warranted by an emergency of significant magnitude, a student may apply in writing to the principal-dean of the Seminary for an extension not to exceed the succeeding (one) term. Such applications for extension must be received no later than one week after the last week of course lectures in which the course was given. Permission for a course extension requires the approval of the seminary faculty. Incomplete courses (without extension approval) automatically receive the grade of F.
Grades submitted for work done in courses completed under an extension will be lowered two grade points by the seminary registrar: e.g., B+ becomes B-.
An MTS student can be enrolled in the Comprehensive Seminar, an MDiv or Diploma student can be enrolled in the Theological Reflection II course, and an MTh student can be enrolled in the Research Project/Thesis for up to but no longer than three calendar years during which time they need not apply for a course extension. After three calendar years, no course extension is available and a student's registration in these courses will be terminated and a grade of F will automatically be assigned. It is necessary to maintain continuous registration unless a leave of absence has been granted per seminary policy.
Following admission to candidacy, doctoral students have a maximum of six terms (two calendar years) for the completion of the dissertation during which time they need not apply for a course extension. After two calendar years, a student's registration in the dissertation will be terminated and a grade of F will automatically be assigned. It is necessary to maintain continuous registration unless a leave of absence has been granted per seminary policy.
Repeating a Course
Seminary students in a seminary master's program who obtain a grade lower than C+ in a course, seminary students in a seminary doctoral program who obtain a grade lower than B- in a course, and seminary students in the seminary diploma programs who obtain an F grade in a course, will be required to withdraw from their program unless they receive permission from the seminary faculty to repeat the course in question or its equivalent. Where such permission is granted, the student will be on probationary status until a satisfactory course credit is obtained. Students will not be allowed to repeat any course more than once or repeat more than three courses during their program of studies.
The Petitions Committee of the seminary faculty functions as the first level of appeal for students enrolled in seminary programs. The second level of appeal is the Petitions Committee of the Graduate Faculty Council, whose decision concerning students of the Seminary will be subject to the approval of the Seminary Senate. The highest level of appeal is the Seminary Board of Governors.
Seminary students may petition for exceptions from academic policies and/or decisions by submitting a written request to the appropriate petitions committee through the principal-dean of the Seminary.
Waterloo Lutheran Seminary seeks to assist the church in the preparation of persons as "lay professionals" and to support individuals who wish to pursue this vocation. To this end, the Seminary co-operates fully with the deaconess community of the Lutheran church in providing the cluster of courses which will meet the community's required program of theological studies. For further information write to the principal-dean of the Seminary.