- Do I need to have a call to be in seminary?
- How well will UDTS prepare me for ministry?
- Why is UDTS offering classes online?
- Is distance theological education right for me?
- What programs are offered online at UDTS?
- How do the masters online programs work?
- How does the quality of online classes compare to residential classes at UDTS?
- How much time is required for course work?
- Do I have to be online during certain times of the day/week?
- What is a residency?
- Do I have to be good with computers to do this?
- What resources are available while I am studying online?
- How long can I take to complete my program? What if I need a break?
- I am not a member of the Presbyterian Church (USA). Can I still take online classes?
- I am currently a student at another seminary. Can I take classes online from UDTS?
- Can I afford online classes at UDTS?
- How do I apply?
- I still have questions!
Christians have traditionally believed that people entering ordained ministry should be called by God. A call can take many forms, though. For some, it is a single, life-changing experience like the apostle Paul. Others experience their call gradually as a steady nudging that ministry is right for them. For still others, recognizing a calling from God is a difficult process of stops and starts, of experimentation and questioning. Some come to seminary to test the waters - to see if their sense of calling is confirmed by the experience of living in community, working with faculty who are both pastors and teachers, and focusing on ministry full-time.
Along with the inner call, those preparing for ministry in the Church should also have an outer call: the affirming voice of the Christian community saying: We believe you have gifts for ministry. While the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary does not require you to have formal candidacy with your sponsoring denomination prior to your acceptance, we are committed to working with your denomination to provide you with the tools you need to prepare you for ministry.
Above all, UDTS trains women and men for vocations in ministry. While most of our MDIV students become pastors of congregations, many become associate pastors, pastoral counselors, or enter specialized ministries. Yet even those who enter teaching or other ministries appreciate the broad, scripturally-based foundation of their degree. Historically, the placement rate for UDTS graduates seeking positions in pastoral ministry is nearly 100%. Presbyterian students consistently score at or above the national average on the denomination's standard ordination exams. In addition, our graduates demonstrate exceptional longevity in pastoral ministry. No matter what ministry God has in mind for you, the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary can help you get there.
The mission of The University of Dubuque Theological Seminary is to prepare faithful leaders. That is what we have been doing for more than 160 years. We realize, though, that not everyone who hears a call from God is able to come to Dubuque for three or four years of seminary. That is where the technology of the Internet comes in: by combining online classes with brief residential intensives, we can serve students and congregations from every part of the country. Because you do not have to relocate for your studies, you can stay in your current setting.
We think online learning is a great opportunity for students to equip themselves for ministry without uprooting themselves or their families. At the same time, though, we realize that taking classes via the Internet is not for everyone. Please contact us to help determine if this could be a viable alternative for you.
You can study online with us several different ways: as part of our Lay Christian Leadership Program, our MDIV degree, our MAMD degree, or as an unclassified student. The MDIV is a fully accredited, 3 or 4-year seminary degree, while the MAMD is a 2 year degree. Unclassified students are allowed to take up to 12 credits of our masters level courses. This option is perfect for Presbyterian students at non-Presbyterian seminaries who need to complete denomination-specific courses as part of their ordination requirements, or for potential students who want to try a class or two online to get their feet wet before signing up for a full-time program. Whatever you are doing, UDTS has an online format that can fit your needs.
UDTS offered its first masters level online courses in 2004. These positive experiences encouraged us to move forward with our proposal to offer an entire degree program online. With approval from the Association of Theological Schools (ATS), our accrediting agency, we now offer up to two-thirds of the Master of Divinity degree and up to one-half of the Master of Arts in Mission and Discipleship degree online. Through a combination of online courses and residencies, you'll be able to complete your degree without the barriers of scheduling or geography.
We do not offer two different MDIV degrees or two different MAMD degrees at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary. We offer single degrees in two settings: residential and distance. That means the academic standards we have set for our residential students are exactly the same for our online students. Our faculty teach the same courses with the same curricular goals and the same grading scale in both settings. The professors you meet during your August Residency are the same professors you will take classes from online. We are called to prepare faithful leaders and academic excellence goes hand-in-hand with our mission.
The MDIV and MAMD programs are masters level degrees. As a rule, two to three hours of work outside of class are expected for every hour in class. For example, if you are taking just one three-credit hour class, you should set aside a minimum of six hours for reading and other preparation each week. You will need to set a regular schedule to work on assignments and new material, not to mention the time you will spend online reading and posting in the course site. In the end, you are the best judge of your own work load, study skills, and family or personal commitments. We estimate that a well-organized, motivated student should be able to work part-time while completing these online degrees, but you should take your own circumstances into account before signing up.
We have designed our online courses to be asynchronous: you can read, post, and complete assignments whenever it fits your schedule. Most classes are set up on a weekly schedule, requiring participation in forums and other activities designed to gauge your progress. Deadlines are set to allow your instructor and fellow classmates to read and respond to what you are thinking while you respond to them in turn. Depending on the class, your instructor might also set up a specific time to bring everyone together for a more lively, chat room-style discussion. Make sure you check the syllabus for each course you're taking to see what sorts of attendance requirements are included.
Our distance programs combine the best of both worlds: the convenience of online courses and the opportunity to participate in a residential community. Every August, students come to campus for a two-week block of courses and other community interaction called a residency. These sessions provide time to meet your instructors and fellow students, as well as participate in worship and other community-building activities. The residency requires online work both before and after your time in residence. These pre-load and post-load assignments make sure you are able to make the most of the days you spend on campus at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary. For an outline of the calendar for these intensives, click here.
Our goal for distance theological education at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary is to make it easier for you to prepare for ministry, not more difficult. We have a great team of people committed to providing technical support for all of our students, both residential and online. They can answer your questions and help with any problems. When you sign up for distance courses from us, we provide you with a thorough orientation to our course management system. We want to make sure you know how the course site works before your studies begin so you can focus on the material you are learning, not the method used to deliver the material.
In addition to prompt technical support, the staff at the Charles C. Myers Library is happy to send you the books, articles, and other resources you will need for research during your classes. Our electronic reserve system allows you to electronically access articles and other materials your instructors may use to supplement your texts. The Registrar, Financial Aid, and Business Offices will work with you to register and pay for your classes. The administrative staff and Student Council are available to provide support and advocacy for every member of our community. Your academic advisor is ready to guide you through your classes and other aspects of the curriculum, and student forums and chat rooms give you a place to keep in touch with your fellow students. All of these resources are only a phone call or email away: when you join the UDTS community, you join a family of believers who are committed to making sure your seminary experience is the best it can possibly be.
The MDIV degree is designed as a combination of online and residential classes taken over three or four years, while the MAMD is designed to be completed in two years. Staying on schedule gives you the best opportunity to complete your degree in a timely manner. We realize, however, that sometimes life circumstances get in the way of the most organized plans. You are allowed a maximum of seven years to complete your degree: that would allow you to take a semester or a whole year off, if needed. Your academic advisor and the Academic and Student Affairs Committee will work with you to determine the best course of action to meet your needs.
Absolutely! The University of Dubuque Theological Seminary welcomes students from every denomination. You will want to check with your judicatory to make certain they will accept an online degree from UDTS for ordination. Our residential community includes Presbyterians, United Methodists, Congregationalists, Disciples, and Reformed, just to name a few. Our online classes include Presbyterian-specific courses to help those students prepare for their denomination's ordination exams, but we also offer electives for non-PC(USA) students. No matter which denomination you belong to, you belong at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary. Our calling is to be a place where diversity is appreciated and Christian love is practiced.
We are happy to supplement your preparation at another seminary with online classes. This option is especially attractive for Presbyterian students attending non-Presbyterian seminaries: our online courses designed for Presbyterian students are offered every summer. Because our online program is fully accredited, any course you take from us will likely be transferable to your current degree program, depending on the regulations of your home seminary. Be sure you check with your institution's requirements before enrolling.
We are committed to providing the best possible seminary experience for our students. Our distance degree programs make this experience possible without uprooting your family. The convenience of asynchronous classes allows you to work part-time while still preparing for ministry. We encourage our students to practice sound financial stewardship, which will allow them to graduate without significant debt. Federal student loans are available to help with the costs of our MAMD and MDIV degrees.
Applying for a degree program at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary is quick and easy. For MDIV or MAMD applications, click here. For DMin applications, click here. For MACL applications, click here. As an institution of the church, the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary does not exist solely for a student's private interest. Membership in the seminary community is by invitation of the admissions committee. All applications for degree programs are reviewed by this committee without prejudicial regard to race, ethnic origin, sex, marital status, physical handicap, or age.
We would love to tell you more about distance education at UDTS! Drop us a note, or give us a call. The Office of Admissions can be reached at UDTSAdmission@dbq.edu, 800.369.8387 or 563.589.3115.