University of Dubuque

Special Programs

Programs | Services


Continuing Education | Education for the Laity | Denominational Tables Lunch Program | Off Campus Programs | United Methodist Studies Program | Lectureships | Native American Program | Summer Programs

Continuing Education
In addition to regular seminary courses, continuing education seminars are offered to meet the needs of pastors and laity. Leadership for these seminars comes from the seminary faculty and from the church. Some continuing education events take place off-campus, in cooperation with presbyteries, conferences or other governing bodies.

Continuing education units (CEU) are available for most continuing education events. It is not necessary to be enrolled in a degree program to participate in continuing education seminars.

Students enrolled in the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary degree programs are, with the approval of the Director of Continuing Education, permitted to participate in continuing education programs and, in most cases, at no additional expense.

To receive our Continuing Education mailings or for additional information please contact:

Office of Continuing Education
% Bridgett Boone
University of Dubuque Theological Seminary
2000 University Avenue
Dubuque, Iowa 52001-5099
Phone: 563-589-3691

Education for the Laity
The overall goal of the "Education for the Laity" program of the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary is to strengthen the church through quality theological education for lay persons. While the courses offered are particularly designed for lay pastor candidates, they will serve the needs of all lay persons who are contributing their gifts to the ministry of their local church. Church officers, Christian education leaders and teachers, and persons who wish to deepen their understanding of the Christian faith will discover a rich opportunity through this program.

Training is offered online through Participants benefit from a theological education, including interaction with faculty and other students, via the internet.

An online learning certification course is required for all students who wish to take online courses in this program.

A letter of completion will be given for each course completed. Students may also apply for CEU's (Continuing Education Units). These courses do not carry degree credit.

The University of Dubuque Theological Seminary is not a certification agency for ministry. As with ordained ministry, lay ministry is certified through the individual's denominational judicatory (Presbytery, Church and Ministry Committee, or Local Church, depending on denominational background). UDTS does, however, certify the completion of courses.

To enroll in an online course or receive additional information contact:

Distance Education Coordinator
University of Dubuque Theological Seminary
2000 University Avenue
Dubuque, Iowa 52001-5099
Phone: 563-589-3630

Denominational Tables Lunch Program

Extension and Off-Campus Programs
A variety of off-campus opportunities are available for students to earn credits toward the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary degree programs.

Each January interim, UDTS students can pursue a special program of Native American theological studies during the winter term of the Charles Cook College & Theological School, Tempe, Arizona. Students register and pay tuition for Cook winter term courses through UDTS. The Director of the UDTS Native American program requires supplemental papers or book reviews before UDTS credit will be granted.

The University of Dubuque Theological Seminary is a participating institution in the National Capital Semester for Seminarians (NCSS) program of Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. The NCSS offers seminarians an opportunity to spend a semester in the nation's capital, studying public policy issues from a theological perspective and encountering people involved in the political process. This program involves supervised study, direct political interaction and disciplined reflection. We offer a full semester of academic credit.

Another off-campus opportunity is an exchange program with the Third World Center of the Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Seoul, South Korea. This center of cross-cultural mission studies attracts students from all over the world; the language of instruction at the Center is English.

The University of Dubuque Theological Seminary also has standing invitations to send students, for short-term periods of study, to the Templeton Theological Seminary in the Bahamas and to the Seminario San Pablo in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico, and Trinity College in Legon, Ghana.

Students may arrange many other off-campus study opportunities through the seminary's individual study projects and tutorial options (see Individual Study Projects and Tutorials in the Academic Regulations section).

United Methodist Studies Program 

Many University of Dubuque Theological Seminary students are preparing for a ministry in the United Methodist Church or another denomination within the Wesleyan tradition. As part of their seminary education, these students receive approved instruction in United Methodist history, doctrine and polity. Courses are also offered in the Theology of John Wesley and in United Methodist Worship.

Wesley Table is one of the primary components of the United Methodist Studies Program. This is a weekly lunchtime gathering of Methodist students and faculty for food and discussion. During these gatherings, the Wesleyan tradition is celebrated and embodied.  Guests include annual visits from bishops, district superintendents and representatives of Boards of Ordained Ministry.

Courses which are ordinarily required for United Methodist Conference membership and ordination are listed under Denominational Requirements in the description of the M.Div. program require­ments. They are taught on a rotating basis over four semesters by fulltime faculty.

Currently three faculty members are elders in the United Methodist Church.  Dr. Elmer Colyer is a member of the Wisconsin Annual Conference, Dr. Matthew Schlimm is a member of the West Michigan Annual Conference.  Retired professor Emeritus Dr. Leicester Longden also belongs to the West Michigan Annual Conference.

The seminary has enjoyed the endorsement of the University Senate of the United Methodist Church since 1972, when the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary United Methodist Program was officially inaugurated under the leadership of the then Iowa bishop, James S. Thomas, and the Dubuque District Superintendent, Edwin C. Boulton. However, there has been a tradition of United Methodist students at UDTS for a much longer period. University records show Methodist students in attendance as early as 1915. The seminary has a long history of ecumenical cooperation, and United Methodists continue to be active participants in the community. Dr. Les Longden, Associate Professor of Evangelism and Discipleship, Emeritus, is Director of the United Methodist Studies Program.

Students desiring further information about the United Methodist Studies program at UDTS may contact:

Dr. Les Longden, Director of United Methodist Studies
University of Dubuque Theological Seminary
2000 University Avenue
Dubuque, Iowa 52001-5099
Phone: 563.589.3634

Each year the seminary brings outstanding lecturers to Dubuque to share their insights and scholarship with the community at large.

The Berger Lectures on Preaching, established by alumni/ae and friends of the seminary in memory of the late professor of preaching, David I. Berger, have been delivered in recent years by noted preachers, such as, Craig Barnes, David Lose, Anna Carter Florence, Jana Childers, Luke Timothy Johnson, and Richard Hays.

The Florence L. Warren Lectureship, established through the generosity of that late friend of the seminary, has brought to the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary distinguished scholars, who have lectured on topics related to religion and culture. Some of those who have delivered these lectures are Andrew Purres, Ralph Watkins, Rodger Nishioka, and Lyle Vander Broek.

The Woods Lectures on Theology and the Arts are made possible by a gift from the Westminster Presbyterian Church of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in honor of their former pastor, the Rev. Dr. John Woods. Lecturers have included Frederick Buechner, Brian Wren, Melva Costen, Jeremy Begbie, and Chip Andrus. Other lecture and arts events of the university are open to members of the seminary community as well.

Native American Program
The University of Dubuque Theological Seminary is a member of the Native American Theological Education Consortium (NATEC). NATEC is a consortium of schools focused on theological education by extension for Native American laity. NATEC utilizes UDTS faculty to conduct workshops in churches and on reservations.

The University of Dubuque Theological Seminary was instrumental in establishing the NATEC programs in response to the tremendous need to develop lay and ordained leadership for Native American churches.

The seeds of the Native American program were born out of a 1974 study by Cook Christian Training School of Tempe, Arizona, entitled "Mending the Hoop." This study indicated the leadership crisis among the American-Indian/Eskimo churches. Since 1982, UDTS has placed its energy and resources in the Native American residential study program, a program enabling Native Americans to pursue ordination as Ministers of the Word and Sacrament to help stem the crisis of pastoral leadership in Native American congregations.

In the last two decades, 70 students have enrolled in the program, making the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary a national leader in the training of American Indian and Eskimo leaders.

The Native American residential program enables students to address the crisis of leadership in the Native American community, whether urban or on the reservation. This is carried out through academic course offerings, through immersion trips to Native American communities, and through Supervised Practice of Ministry practicums focusing upon the particularities of a Native American church. The program also assists Native American students in providing pastoral leadership regardless of the context.

The Theological Indian Student Association (TISA) is the campus organization for those with particular interests in Native American ministries. TISA serves to strengthen the Native American community on campus by offering programmatic support to those who are separated from their home communities and extended families.

Summer Programs
Each summer, usually during the month of August, the Schools of Theology in Dubuque sponsor a Summer Language Program, in which intensive instruction is given in Biblical Greek. This program fulfills Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) ordination requirements for Greek language study. No University of Dubuque Theological Seminary scholarship grants are available for summer language study, although guaranteed student loans are available.

From time to time, other summer courses are also available through the Schools of Theology in Dubuque. They must be paid for as summer courses.

Many students utilize the summer months for service in Supervised Practice of Ministry positions (see Supervised Practice of Ministry in the Academic Regulations section) or in Clinical Pastoral Education. SPM and summer internships are available across the United States and usually pay a stipend, as well as being a source of credit toward degree program requirements. Summer SPM and CPE courses must be registered and paid for as summer courses.



Academic Support Center | Accessibility for Handicapped Persons | Orientation | Placement | Student Organizations

Academic Support Center
An advantage of the seminary's relationship with the larger university is access to the Academic Support Center. Second-career students coming to seminary after long years away from formal education sometimes require "refresher" instruction in writing, computer or study skills. The Academic Support Center is equipped to provide instruction through individualized tutoring or group workshops.

Accessibility for Handicapped Persons
The University of Dubuque Theological Seminary provides facilities which are accessible to handicapped persons. The institution will take the means necessary to ensure that no qualified handicapped person is denied the benefits of, excluded from participation in, or otherwise subjected to discrimination because the facilities are physically inaccessible to or unusable by handicapped persons. Because scheduling classes and arranging housing in accessible facilities may require advanced planning, handicapped students accepted for admission should identify themselves no later than three months prior to the start of the semester in which they begin classes and indicate what accommodations and assistance they may need.

Orientation provides the new student an introduction to the theological task, an opportunity to build relations within the community, information on services and facilities, and a time of consultation with the student's academic advisor to plan the student's theological curriculum. New students are required to attend orientation in order to register. Students who matriculate in Spring are required to attend orientation the following Fall.

The seminary endeavors to assist its students in locating a call to ministry at the time of graduation. The Office of Field Education provides resources to help students prepare dossiers and other needed documents and serves as a clearinghouse for information on calls available to graduating seminarians. The Office of Field Education also coordinates on-campus interviews by pastor nominating committees, by church heads of staff who are seeking associate ministers and by representatives of church and ecumenical agencies who are seeking staff members with those students seeking positions.

Over the years, virtually 100 percent of the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary graduates seeking calls to pastoral ministry have received calls. The exceptions have been students who, for family or other reasons, have placed severe geographic or other limitations on the type of call they will receive.

Student Organizations

Spouse Group
Seminary spouses carry on a ministry of mutual support. The spouse group is composed of men and women whose wives or husbands are students at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary.

The group organizes a variety of activities depending upon the interests and available time of participating spouses. Recent activities include: weekly study/prayer groups, monthly coffee get-together, and monthly "date nights" which provide child care for seminary families. Spouses of students enrolled full-time at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary are invited to audit courses on an unofficial basis, with the approval of the instructor, at no charge (see Audit Policy in the Academic Regulations section).

Student Association
Full and part-time students enrolled in the Master of Divinity, Master of Arts in Religion, 3/3 and 3/2 programs become members of the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary Student Association upon matriculation. Fall and spring semester activity fees fund the Student Association. The Student Council is composed of elected representatives from the Student Association (Moderator, Vice-Moderator, two seniors, two middlers, two juniors, one 3/3 student, one commuter, one fulltime resident, treasurer, and secretary), a seminary faculty advisor, and an elected member of the undergraduate Student Government Association.

The Student Council facilitates the programming and finances of the Student Association through committees. The Student Council coordinates fall and spring seminary picnics, the annual Bagel Bash, forums on issues facing the church and seminary today, and spiritual life programs. The Student Council also sponsors the annual Awards/Senior Banquet.

The Student Council supports and manages the Seminary Food Pantry. Food and personal care items are available for all Student Association members. The weekly chapel offering is used to support the Seminary Food Pantry.

The Student Council provides financial support for the Spouse Group, the Center for Women's Issues, the GOOD Table and the Student Emergency Fund.

Any Student Association member may attend and speak at Student Council meetings. However, only elected representatives may vote. All students are encouraged to participate by serving on committees. The Student Association holds community meetings at least once each semester in which all Student Association members present are able to speak and vote on particular issues presented by the Student Council.

Theological Indian Student Association
The Theological Indian Student Association (TISA) is the organization for those interested in Native American ministries. Open to any interested members of the student body, TISA sponsors Bible studies, worship services and cultural events for the entire community.

The Center for Women's Issues
The purpose of the Center for Women's Issues is to encourage the dialogue and support necessary to ensure that the full gifts of women seminarians are freed and developed for service in Christian ministry. The program addresses the needs of the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary women in theological education through such things as: providing opportunities for fellowship and conversation among women; offering programmatic meetings on topics of concern to women; and serving as a resource center for information on issues that affect women, upcoming conferences and study opportunities, and denominational studies, groups and events.