Applied Studies in Lutheran Church
Qualification to work as a priest or a lector in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland necessitates at least 20 ECTS credits of completed applied studies (2424100). At the Joensuu campus, these studies are arranged jointly with cooperating local parishes so that most of the teaching actually takes place at these parishes in an internship situation. Chosen by the university, priests and experts on service, religious education and pastoral care are responsible for the teaching and guidance.
On completion of the study module students are able to apply their theological knowledge in the context of the church work environment. They are also familiar with various professional skills related to priest's work and professional identity. The students also learn to make a development plan concerning their theological expertise and professional identity and to analyse the societal, social, ethical and individual structures of working life circumstances as well as special issues related to working in the church.
To be admitted to pursue the applied studies, students are required to have a previously completed Bachelor of Theology degree, or studies whose scope is the same as that of the Bachelor’s degree. Students pursuing only the Master of Theology degree are required to have completed supplementary studies (60 ECTS). Students taking the applied studies must be members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland.
Structure of the Studies
The studies consist of two parts, the orientation and the practical training period.
Orientation Studies for a Post at the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland (8 ECTS)
During the study unit students will be equipped with the basic skills needed in their practical training at a local parish. During the orientation, students attend teaching events dealing with the subjects of service, homiletics, chant, pastoral care and religious education as well as seminars on the subjects of church ceremonies and working community skills.
Practical Training for a Post at the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland (12 ECTS)
The practical training period entails full-time studying and working at a separately agreed upon local parish for the duration of eight weeks between the weeks 2-9. The students become a part of the local parish's working community, carrying out all the tasks a non-ordained theologian is allowed to.
The orientation period includes regular participation in a pastoral care group, service seminar and religious education seminar. Also the students’ work experiences and the development process of their professional growth are discussed in a separate identity group.
The studies also include and evaluation which is conducted during and after the training period. The evaluation focuses on the fulfilment of the students' learning plan and other learning goals, on the smoothness of cooperation and the arrangements related to the practical training period as well as on the significance of applied studies as a part of professional growth. The evaluation is partly carried out in online discussions and partly in a seminar in conjunction with theology students' aptitude assessment.
Offered alongside the studies is an optional study unit dealing with the preparation and implementation of confirmation classes (2 ECTS).
The School of Theology is responsible for choosing the students to be admitted to the Practical Training for a Post at the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland. If, however, there are more applicants than may be admitted to the studies, first priority is given to students who are most advanced in their Master of Theology degree studies. The final decisions on practical training periods are made by the pastor of the parish in question.
The annual application period to Practical Training for a Post at the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland is 1-28 February. Before the registration period students will be separately notified of a public briefing session.
University Lecturer Heikki Salomaa