Before you apply. . . .
Thank you for your interest in the Certification Track of the Northeast Ohio School of Ministry (NEOSOM). Since this program is a significant commitment of time, energy, and money, we want to make sure you’re aware of a few things before you apply. Please read through this information and indicate at the bottom of the page that you have done so.
One of the most common misconceptions students have who enroll in the Certification Track of NEOSOM is that they are entering the process for authorized ministry. It is important for students to remember that the educational program of NEOSOM and the authorization process for ministry in our two associations are related but completely separate processes. The courses students take in NEOSOM may help prepare them for authorized ministry, but the authorization process itself, for licensed, commissioned, or ordained ministry, is the responsibility of the Committee on Ministry of our Associations, and persons who feel called to authorized ministry must first speak with the pastor of their church and then contact the Committee on Ministry to begin that process. NEOSOM simply provides courses suitable for a basic theological education; it in no way authorizes a person for ministry in the United Church of Christ.
The Northeast Ohio School of Ministry is a program of spiritual formation as well as theological education for church leaders and, as such, requires that students enrolled in it clear the necessary time in their schedules to reflect on and incorporate their NEOSOM experience in their ongoing ministries as baptized Christians. Students should not, therefore, rush through the program. Ordinarily, one course per term is considered a full academic load.
The curriculum for the Certification Track is built on a three-year cycle of three academic terms per year – fall, winter, and spring. Summer courses are offered occasionally. The course rotation, which you can find by clicking here, has been designed to provide a program of theological study in a logical progression, so students are expected to proceed through the rotation as it is offered, i.e., Introduction to Biblical Studies should be taken before any other scripture course, and New Testament 1 should be taken before New Testament 2, and so on.
However, since students sometimes enter the program in the middle of the three-year cycle of courses, they must begin taking some courses out of sequence. Such courses should be taken only sparingly (i.e., not more than one in any given term), and whenever courses are offered that would allow a student to maintain the normal rotation of the curriculum, students should enroll in those courses before enrolling in other courses. This is especially true of the two foundational courses in our program, Journey Through Self-Discovery and Introduction to Biblical Studies, which students should make every effort to take as soon as possible after they enroll in the Certification Track.
Students may take elective courses at any time during their course of study.
Ordinarily, students are expected to complete all the courses of the Certification Track before enrolling in courses in the advanced Accreditation Track of NEOSOM. Students who are nearing completion of the Certification Track, or students who can present compelling reasons for doing so, may petition the Dean of NEOSOM for permission to enroll in advanced courses while still in the Certification Track.
Every effort is made to offer the courses of the Certification Track as they are scheduled. Because of insufficient enrollment, however, it is sometimes necessary to postpone offering a course until enough students are available to take it. Students should plan to take postponed courses as soon as they become available. Students may also be offered the opportunity to take an under-enrolled course by paying a higher tuition fee for that course.
Course offerings and other information about NEOSOM are publicized several weeks before the start of each term in Keeping You Connected (KYC), the electronic newsletter of the Eastern Ohio and Western Reserve Associations. It is the responsibility of students in the Certification Track to read KYC in order to remain informed about the program. Click here to subscribe to KYC.
Courses are recorded on a student’s record in one of three ways: Credit, No Credit, or Incomplete. Students receive Credit for courses they complete satisfactorily, according to the standards presented in the course syllabus. Students who do not satisfactorily complete course work will receive No Credit for that course, which they may repeat when it is regularly offered again. Students who, for reasons beyond their control, must postpone completing a course, may request an extension of time and receive a note of Incomplete on their record for that course. Only those courses for which students receive Credit count toward fulfillment of the requirements for Certification. Students who have more than one Incomplete course on their record should not enroll in further coursework until their Incomplete courses are satisfactorily completed. Students who have two or more Incomplete courses on their record will not be permitted to enroll for further courses until all of their coursework is satisfactorily completed.
Tuition is charged on a per course basis, and payment of course tuition, which may be made by credit card or check, is due by the first meeting of a course. If a student’s church or other source is providing scholarship assistance, it is the responsibility of the student to inform the appropriate official(s) of this deadline.
NEOSOM is funded primarily through student fees. In order for the program to remain solvent, only limited scholarship assistance is available for students who, on occasion, find themselves unable to pay full course tuition. All students are expected to contribute at least one-third of the cost of every course they take, and scholarship assistance is ordinarily provided only one academic term per year. Students seeking scholarship assistance should contact the Dean.
We hope that this information will help you as you prepare to enroll in the Certification Track of the Northeast Ohio School of Ministry. Should you have questions about anything you’ve read here or about the program in general, please feel free to contact the Rev. Dr. Eugene C. McAfee, the Dean of the program, or Machelle Miller, Support Staff and Registrar.