North Central College is uniting with Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary (GETS) to offer students the unique opportunity to take graduate-level courses in religious studies while completing their undergraduate degrees.
Students will be eligible to take classes at the seminary’s campus in Evanston, Ill. This is the first time the College will allow students to transfer graduate course credits toward their undergraduate work. Junior and senior North Central students in good academic standing with at least 12 hours of religious studies courses will be eligible to enroll in online, summer-intensive or traditional courses. They can either count the courses toward their North Central electives or accumulate up to 15 credits of graduate coursework toward a future master’s degree at GETS or elsewhere.
The program represents an exception to North Central’s existing policy against transferring religion or theology coursework that involves beliefs taught by a church. Faculty and administrators at the College agreed that the benefits to both institutions as well as North Central’s rich history with the United Methodist Church made the partnership worth pursuing.
“It's a perfect combination of the approach that our religious studies program takes, which is non-doctrinal and interpretive, and a denominational approach that some of our students crave,” said Stephen Maynard Caliendo, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor of political science. “The faculty and staff at Garrett-Evangelical are excited about this partnership because they know how well North Central students are prepared for their graduate programs and they look forward to having more of them in their graduate courses.”
The partnership is a way for students to prepare for advanced degree programs as well as careers in ministry, service and social engagement. It will also serve as a “study away” opportunity, as North Central students will get a feel for a different kind of campus by visiting GETS for on-site classes.
“We designed this program with our eyes toward students who eventually want to have a professional life in the Methodist tradition, but even students who are contemplating another path in a faith profession will benefit from taking classes at Garrett-Evangelical,” Caliendo said. “It's a world-class institution with a global student body and access to resources that we do not have at North Central.”
Another benefit to students will be deferring some graduate school tuition by acquiring credits during their undergraduate years. “We very much had the cost of higher education in mind when we developed this program,” said Caliendo.
The partnership between North Central and GETS will begin in fall 2019. North Central students interested in taking classes at GETS should contact their academic advisor or a professor in the Department of Religious Studies.
For more information, contact Wioleta Polinska, professor of religious studies and chairperson of the department of religious studies, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (630) 637-5317.