Wilmette Institute University Initiative: Bulletin 3—Courses for Credit Now Available

The Wilmette Institute is happy to announce its plans for offering courses for credit in its Summer and Fall 2019 terms. Each term will feature two courses designed to meet standards for university credit:

Summer Term. The two course for the Summer Term (mid-June through August) are on the topics of Islam and Baha’i Theology—registration for both opens on May 1, 2019:

  • Introduction to Islam (June 1–Aug. 23, 2019). The course covers the life of Muhammad, the revelation of the Qur’an, basic Islamic teachings and practices, the differences between Shí‘i and Sunni Islam, and the development of Islamic society and civilization from 622 CE to the present.
  • Bahá’í Theology (June 5–Aug. 27, 2019). The course looks at concepts of God, revelation, Manifestation, the nature of human beings, physical creation, and philosophical questions, such as how we can know something (epistemology).

Screenshot of top of Baha'i Theology Classroom Page

Fall Term. Two additional courses that meet the requirements for university credit are available for the Fall Term (September through December):

  • Sustainable Development and the Prosperity of Humankind (Sept. 5–Nov. 27, 2019). The course considers ways to move to sustainability in energy, food production, and many other areas in order to avoid drastic climate change and severe economic disparities.
  • The Bahá’í Faith: A Comprehensive Introduction (Sept. 15–Dec. 7, 2019). The course looks at the concept of unity, the nature of religion, the nature of the spiritual life, and the Bahá’í approach to social transformation and also surveys the development of the Bahá’í community from 1844 CE to the present.

Screenshot of top of Baha'i Faith: A Comprehensive Introduction Classroom Page

How Are the Courses for Credit Structured? All the courses for credit are twelve weeks long. The first ten weeks of each course are devoted to active study that includes each week:

  • two hours of video (some live, some recorded)
  • some fifty pages of readings
  • discussion via Moodle
  • a reflection essay

The ten weeks of active study is followed by two weeks in which the student will complete a research paper or course project of similar difficulty.

The length and complexity of the weekly reflection essays and the final paper or project will determine whether the student takes the course at the 100 level (suitable for community-college expectations and university freshmen), the 300 level (suitable for more demanding four-year universities), or the 500 level (suitable for graduate students).

All the students will be assigned a mentor who will assist them with their studies.

How Does a University Student Get Permission from a University? Students who wish to take Wilmette Institute courses for credit need first to take a copy of the course syllabus to their university advisor to determine what they need to do to receive such credit. If needed, the Institute can provide them with a copy of its articulation agreement with the United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities, which shows that its courses have been accepted for credit and that the Institute was reimbursed for its tuition charges. The Wilmette Institute is not accredited, but, in the past, ten students have received credit for about eighteen of its courses at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. It is now striving to raise the number of such students to a dozen or more every year.

After students receive permission from their universities to take a Wilmette Institute course for credit, they must contact the Institute to register and, if they need it, to apply for financial aid. The Institute’s three-credit courses cost $525, but it has an ample scholarship funds from which it can draw. Once the course is over, and the students have completed their work, the Wilmette Institute will send a transcript both to the student and to the university so that the credit can be granted by the university.

Can Non-University Students Enroll in the For-Credit Courses? It is possible for students not registered at a university to take the for-credit courses. There are two ways in which non-university students may participate in the courses. First, those who wish to complete only part of the work can sign up for $120 (credit courses are more expensive than the Institute’s usual seven-week courses, which cost $75, because they are longer; however, tuition support, or a scholarship, is available). Second, if students wish to do all the course work and receive a grade, they can pay the full $525. In such cases, the Institute will send a transcript to a future university.

Will Future For-Credit Courses Be Offered? At least two courses will be available during the Wilmette Institute’s Winter (January–March) 2020 term and Spring (April–Mid-June) 2020 term. The Institute plans to increase the number of courses available for credit as long as there is demand for them. It is also steadily improving its standard seven-week courses so that they provide options for credit as well.

To read more about the Wilmette Institute’s expansion into universities, check out its first two bulletins about the project: “Wilmette Institute Poised for Major Expansion” and “The Wilmette Institute Expanding: Bulletin 2—How Its University Initiative Will Work.”


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