Northwestern College

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Center for Distance Education
St. Paul, Minnesota

Northwestern College, which was founded in 1902, is an independent, Christian four-year college. It is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. It first offered distance learning courses in 1994. In 2003–04, the College offered forty-one courses at a distance and had almost 2,000 new distance enrollments.

Distance Learning Program

The Center for Distance Education (CDE) at Northwestern College is at the forefront of delivering high-quality, Christ-centered education in a flexible and convenient format. More than a correspondence school, the center utilizes the latest strategies in adult education and user-friendly technology to bring college courses to students. Since 1994, the CDE has enrolled more than 3,300 students and delivered more than 8,000 courses to students all over the world. With more than forty-five courses to choose from, students can take courses in Bible, English, history, math, science, speech, music, and physical fitness.

Delivery Media

The Center for Distance Education makes use of the most convenient delivery methods possible. Course media is determined by the content of the course but usually consists of printed study guides, video lectures, CD-ROMs, and textbooks. Some courses also require a computer with Internet access. Course work is submitted via postal mail or through the Internet. All courses host a Blackboard® course site that is used for interaction between students and instructors, although each course varies in the level of participation.

Programs of Study

The Center for Distance Education seeks to meet the educational needs of adult learners by offering Christ-centered curriculum. The center currently offers a Certificate of Bible, the INSIGHT program, a Bachelor of Arts in Global Studies, and dual-enrollment options for high school students.

The Certificate of Bible prepares students for Christian ministry through the completion of 30 credits. The program provides in-depth training in Bible study and develops credentials for ministry-related endeavors. All credits earned in the certificate program may be applied to a degree program at Northwestern.

The Associate in Arts and Bible is designed to prepare the graduate for transfer to an upper-level degree pro gram at Northwestern or another institution. The degree is granted upon completion of 60 credits. Students should contact the Center for Distance Education for details. Students should also check the course requirements of the program and school where further study is planned.

The INSIGHT program is an on-site study in Pasadena, California, and Minneapolis, Minnesota, that is designed to provide first-year students with a comprehensive Christian world- view as a foundation for the major they eventually choose. The curriculum consists of four modules to be taken consecutively over the course of one year. Each INSIGHT module follows the unfolding of God's work through human developments, revealing His redemptive plan and consequently His glory. Each module is worth 8 semester credits, for a total of 32 lower-division college credits.

The Bachelor of Arts in Global Studies is designed for students who have previously completed two years of postsecondary course work and are serious about full-time ministry. The major is targeted at those preparing for or currently involved in missions endeavors. However, any Christian, whether at home or abroad, who desires to more fully understand God's evangelistic purposes benefits from this program.

Special Programs

The Post Secondary Enrollment Option (PSEO) is a program that is open to high school juniors and seniors who are public-, private-, or home-schooled and who are residents of the state of Minnesota. This program allows high school students to take courses through the Center for Distance Education and earn credit that applies to both high school and college. Credits earned under this program are applicable to degree programs at Northwestern or other institutions. The state of Minnesota finances the program.

The Next Step program offers college courses to qualified high school juniors and seniors anywhere. It is meant to be a stepping stone to their college career. These courses are offered at a discounted rate, and course materials are provided on a loan basis.

Student Services

The Center for Distance Education helps students achieve their educational goals without feeling like a number in someone's system. From enrollment through course completion, Student Services staff members provide caring, proactive service. The CDE processes course assignments, helps find mentors and exam proctors, and helps maintain contact with faculty members.

Northwestern College's Bernsten Library aids distance learners with research and resource acquisition for projects and papers. The CDE Web site and Course Management System contain independent-study tools and helpful resources to facilitate learning.

Free unofficial transfer evaluations are offered to students who are interested in a degree program. Students must provide copies of transcripts or grade reports showing previous college work. These documents are reviewed by the CDE Registrar, entered on a curriculum chart, and returned to the student. Students have the chance to see how previous college work meets the CDE's requirements.

Credit Options

Some students may transfer credits from another institution or may earn credits through examinations, portfolio assessment, life experience, or military training.


Distance education faculty members are credentialed professionals who are highly qualified in their academic disciplines. More than 30 faculty members teach distance education courses. Of this group, 19 have earned doctoral degrees. The faculty members at Northwestern College care about each student's spiritual, intellectual, and emotional development as well as their academic development.


To qualify for a certificate or degree program, students must meet the admission requirements of Northwestern College. Students should contact the Center for Distance Education for specific requirements. Students not seeking to earn credits toward a degree or a certificate at Northwestern are allowed to take up to 16 credits without formal admission to the College. PSEO and NextStep applicants must be at least 16 years old, have suitable scores on a state-recognized benchmark exam or a letter of recommendation from a high school official, and demonstrate competence in college-level work.

Tuition and Fees

There is a one-time, nonrefundable $25 fee at the time of registration ($50 for the Bachelor of Arts in Global Studies degree). Tuition is $220 per semester credit. There is a required fee of $75 for each course's materials. Students enrolled in the Certificate of Bible and Bachelor of Arts in Global Studies programs receive a 10 percent tuition discount. Other discounts apply to groups, senior citizens, and full- or part-time Christian workers.

Financial Aid

Admitted students who register for at least 6 credit hours for a degree program in one semester may be eligible for financial aid. Northwestern College cooperates with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs when eligible admitted students request VA benefits for distance education courses. The College also works with the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES). Students should contact the CDE for more information.


Information can be obtained either at the CDE Web site or by contacting the Center for Distance Education. Students may register for distance education by mail or fax, online, or in person. To register, students should complete a registration form either online or by mail, pay the nonrefundable processing fee, and contact the CDE to begin the registration process.


Center for Distance Education
Northwestern College
3003 Snelling Avenue North
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55113
Phone: 800-308-5495 (toll-free)
Fax: 651-631-5133
E-mail: [email protected]
Web site:

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