Martin Luther University College
Martin Luther University College (Luther) 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.
Martin Luther University College is an institution of the Eastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada. The primary task 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, it 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 Luther faculty and staff teach and support students, conduct research, engage in ministerial activity and attend to administrative duties.
For more information: luther.wlu.ca
Department Information on this page
As a federated college of Wilfrid Laurier University and a member of the university Graduate Faculty Council, Martin Luther University College (Luther) 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 Luther 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 Martin Luther University College and Wilfrid Laurier University graduate students take courses with faculty based in both Waterloo Lutheran University College and the Department of Religion and Culture. The ties with the Faculty of Social Work are maintained through the offering of a joint MDiv-MSW degree program.
The close relationship between Martin Luther University College and Wilfrid Laurier University also offers other advantages. All the facilities and academic, social, athletic and cultural programs of the university are available to Luther students. Moreover, such 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.
Martin Luther University College is a fully accredited member of the Association of Theological Schools.
Eligible candidates for programs offered by Martin Luther University College (Luther) are admitted upon the approval of the Principal-Dean. The requirements for admission to any Luther program in normally include a bachelor's degree from a recognized accredited university or university college. Normally, endorsement by their church is required of students preparing for the ordained ministry. Students who do not meet requirements for admission should contact the Martin Luther University College Admissions Coordinator to pursue special admission options.
Students applying to the MDiv or MA programs who lack no more than two courses towards the bachelor's degree may be admitted by special action of the Luther 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.
Students with considerable life experience 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 Luther Faculty. The total number of such students admitted without a bachelor's degree normally may not exceed 10 percent of the student body. With reference to pre-seminary education, the student should have studied in various disciplines such as science, the humanities and religion.
Applications to the master's and doctoral degree programs are submitted online. An application fee of $100 for master's programs, $125 for the doctoral program, and $250 for the joint MSW programs, is required.
Applications to the diploma and general graduate studies program are available on the Martin Luther University College website. Application instructions and supporting documentation required for each area of studies available here. Upon receipt of these documents the applicant will be informed by Martin Luther University College 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. Consult the Graduate studies website for details on English language proficiency.
Admission to the General graduate student program (GGS) requires a bachelor's degree or equivalent. General graduate students take up to five graduate courses for credit but are not enrolled in a Luther degree program. 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. Course credit from GGS courses may be approved by the Academic Administrative Committee as credit toward the subsequent degree.
Students are encouraged to consult the program/department to inquire about course offerings each year.
Permission to receive advanced credit toward a diploma, masters or doctoral degree in Martin Luther University College (Luther) for courses taken previously at another institution on the same academic level as corresponding Luther courses will be granted to transfer students at the discretion of the Academic Administrative Committee in consultation with the Luther Faculty. However, students wishing to graduate from Luther 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 normally be counted again toward a Luther diploma or degree. Students who hold a masters degree in divinity or theology from a theological college accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada may petition the Academic Administrative Committee to receive advanced standing for up to eight introductory courses in biblical studies, church history and systematic theology toward the Master of Arts in Theology degree. Students who have completed graduate work directly related to their field of specialization may petition. Courses taken at the undergraduate level or as "audit" will not be considered for advanced standing or transfer credit.
Students who are already enrolled in a Luther program may take courses at another institution for credit towards their degree or diploma providing that permission is obtained from Luther and the host institution prior to course registration. In such cases the appropriate forms are available from the Luther Office. Courses taken by Luther 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 at Martin Luther University College (Luther) or Wilfrid Laurier University who wish to audit Luther courses may apply for admission as a General Graduate Student, which includes providing transcripts of all previous post-secondary education, including degrees not completed. In all cases, an application fee of $50 will apply. 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.
Audit 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. Regular attendance, full preparation and participation in class are expected.
Audit courses will be included in the course weight limits for degree program students.
Students may petition for a 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 are normally permitted only one leave of absence. 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 Martin Luther University College.
Terms spent on leave of absence are not included in the calculation of the time to completion.
A student whose work or attendance is considered to be unsatisfactory as determined by the Martin Luther University College (Luther) faculty may be required by the principal-dean to withdraw at any time from particular courses, from a particular program, or from Luther. Failure to maintain continuous registration will be considered an act of withdrawal from Luther.
For a variety of reasons, such as personal, financial, academic or vocational, a student may choose to withdraw from studies at Martin Luther University College (Luther). The student is requested to contact the principal-dean 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 Luther.
Students who withdraw from Luther 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 Luther students, must bear responsibility for meeting obligations in returning or repaying funds.
Contextual education is an integral component of Martin Luther University College (Luther) 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 setting. This involvement is drawn into the classroom dimension of the Luther 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.
To facilitate the student's growth in contextual education, it is expected that a learning covenant will be formulated at the commencement of the school year and in conjunction with courses in contextual ministry. This learning covenant explicitly delineates expectations, paths towards expectation fulfilment and means for evaluation.
To provide a maximum of experience, normally students will not be placed in their home congregation or 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 Luther faculty's educational policies and in co-operation with churches and agencies in the field.
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.
By action of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, the successful completion of a 9-12 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 Martin Luther University College (Luther). Internship is normally a graduation requirement for the contextual stream of the MDiv degree.
Internship is in a parish setting, although, subject to Luther 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 third year of Luther courses.
Luther is normally responsible for the placement and supervision of all interns through the supervisor of contextual education. Luther, however, recognizes and respects the authority of the pastor supervisor in the congregation.
Placements of interns are made by Luther after consultation with the students, pastor supervisors and church 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 covenant 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 required.
In the process of intern placements, the supervisor of contextual education will have received from each potential intern a written application by November 30th and from each potential congregation a written application by November 30th. (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 March.
In the placement of interns, Luther 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.
The Supervisor of Contextual Education meets with each lay internship committee once per year. Final placements are made by the Internship Placement Committee and reported to the faculty.
Students doing internships are required to have successfully completed their Supervised Pastoral Education (SPE).
Martin Luther University College (Luther) students enrolled in the MDiv 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 Luther Faculty reserves the right to approve a student's placement. The majority of 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 Luther Faculty. SPE should be taken by students normally after the completion of their first or second year at Luther.
The responsibility of financing this course rests with each student. Bursaries may be available.
The 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 Martin Luther University College (Luther) to one of the following: Master of Divinity; Master of Arts in theology Master of Divinity/Master of Social Work; Doctor of Philosophy in Human Relationships; Diploma in Multifaith Spiritual Care and Counselling; General Graduate Student in Theology.
Graduation from Martin Luther University College does not automatically imply ordination.
The academic year is divided into fall, winter and spring terms, with a reduced set of course offerings available in the spring term. All courses involve 36 hours of instructional class time. The average workload for students is 2-3 hours of work outside of class per hour of class time.
All courses are subject to marks within the following grade and point range as specified in each program.
Normally, students can take no more than one directed study course per semester to a maximum of three in any degree program, of which no more than two are in any curricular area. Students may take no more than one directed study course in any one term. All directed study courses require approval of the Academic Administrative Committee Students who desire to take directed studies should complete the appropriate forms from the website.
In those instances where a student is proposing to enrol in courses offered at other institutions, the Academic Administrative Committee must approve the course of study.
Normally a student registers for no more than 5 courses per term. Martin Luther University College (Luther) masters students in a degree program who obtain a grade lower than B- in a course will be required to withdraw from their program unless they receive permission from the Academic Administrative Committee to repeat the course in question or its equivalent. Luther doctoral students who obtain a grade lower than B in a course will be required to withdraw from their program unless they receive permission from the Academic Administrative Committee to repeat the course in question or its equivalent.
Course Completion and Extension
Martin Luther University College courses are subject to the same Completion of Coursework policy as Wilfrid Laurier University graduate students.
Repeating a Course
Martin Luther University College (Luther) students in a master's program who obtain a grade lower than B- in a course, and students in the doctoral program who obtain a grade lower than B in a course, will be required to withdraw from their program unless they receive permission from the Admissions Administrative Committee 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 Academic Administrative Committee of the Martin Luther University College (Luther) Faculty functions as the first level of appeal for students enrolled in its programs. The second level of appeal is the Graduate Student Appeals Committee (GSAC) of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. Upon submission of an appeal to the GSAC, the procedures governing the appeal will be as outlined in the Graduate Calendar.
Luther 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 Martin Luther University College.
Since ancient times, serving others has been an important diaconal ministry of the church. Martin Luther University College (Luther) is committed to the preparation of non-ordained people to serve as diaconal ministers to address the new challenges in our world whether it is addressing the justice needs for development internationally, the spiritual care and counselling needs of local communities, or the needs of agencies that provide for the essential needs of people. Normally those wishing to serve as diaconal ministers in their churches are encouraged at Luther to complete the Public Faith and Spirituality field of the Master of Arts in Theology program. Luther works closely with the ELCIC and other church certification bodies in providing the requirements to diaconal endorsement. For further information contact the Principal-Dean.