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Advising for seminary-bound students

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As a church-related but non-sectarian college, Augustana has a long and rich history of preparing students for entrance into seminaries and divinity schools to pursue careers in ordained ministry and other church leadership.  The new pre-seminary program will continue this tradition by assisting students in choosing relevant courses in order to develop the skills recommended by a wide range of denominational and non-denominational M.Div. and M.A. programs. 

About the program

This pre-seminary program formalizes and better organizes the advising and training that the religion department and others at Augustana have always offered to seminary-bound students. The pre-seminary advisor, Professor Jason Mahn, coordinates with the co-curricular efforts of the CORE offices (which sponsor seminary exploration trips) and with Campus Ministries (which frequently provides church leadership opportunities to pre-seminary students). He also communicates with prospective students, parents, and congregational leaders about opportunities for students who are interested in careers in church leadership. 

This program of study was designed with input from pastors from around the United States, deans and faculty from various mainline seminaries, and graduates who entered seminary after leaving Augustana.  What it means to be a minister of the church can differ greatly depending on context. For example, someone committed to justice among the urban poor ministers differently than someone serving a suburban church or a small rural community.  Or again: someone working with the elderly has different skills and commitments than those working with children or youth. And yet, current ministers and seminary professors agree that the best place to start for all forms of ministry is with a broad liberal arts education, especially one that trains students to recognize what Frederick Buechner called the deep hunger of the world.

Augustana's advising program is relevant, innovative, and foundational. Through one-on-one advising and close mentoring, it supports students who are exploring ordained and other ministries as they choose relevant courses, apply for internships, serve the community, visit seminaries, and reflect on each as they discern their unfolding call to ministry.   

Program outline

Nearly every seminary and divinity school requires the completion of the bachelor of arts degree prior to matriculation; most desire a strong background in the liberal arts with particular focus on religion, philosophy, English, music, Greek , sociology and other disciplines.  As with other pre-professional studies, Pre-ministry students also will complete a major (often, but not necessarily, Religion, with a likely minor in Greek for New Testament Studies).  Although  recommendations are tailored to the particular passions and gifts of each student, the following is a list of courses that many Pre-seminary students are advised to take.    

Strongly suggested

GREK 101, 102, 103 (Elementary Greek)

One or more courses in biblical interpretation and early Christianity:

RELG 310: Early Church Controversies

RELG 360: Jesus of Nazareth

RELG 373: Interpreting the Bible

One or more courses in the practices and history of Christianity:

RELG 335: Luther: Life, Thought, and Legacy

RELG 363: American Catholicism

RELG 364: Prayer, Community, and Transformation

RELG 371: Faiths in Dialog

One or more courses about a religion other than Christianity:

RELG 300: Islam

RELG 3XX: Judaism

RELG 362: Religion and Philosophy of India

RELG 365: Religions of East Asia

RELG 366: Buddhism

RELG 378: Muslim Literary Worlds

RELG 379: Islamic Mysticism

One or more courses about ethical issues and theory from religious and philosophical standpoints:

PHIL 201: Knowledge and Values

PHIL 203: Social Ethics

PHIL 205: Life and Death

RELG 323: Sexual Ethics

RELG 325: Environmental Ethics

RELG 326: Medical Ethics

RELG 327: Business Ethics

MUSC 405: Seminar in Church Music

Other suggested coursework

COMM 104: Public Speaking

ENGL 309: Sacred and Profane

HEBR 100, 101, 102: Elementary Hebrew

PHIL 240: Classic Philosophy

PHIL 242: Modern Philosophy

PSYC 220: Psychological Interventions

SOC 200: Marriage and the Family

SOC 333: Sociology of Religion

SOCW 160: Introduction to Social Welfare and Policy