Course of Study (non-degree)


Joe Gorman, Program Director


NNU's Course of Study program (COS) is ministerial training done via an online learning management system (LMS).  The modules (courses) are provided by the Clergy Development Office of the USA and Canada Region of the Church of the Nazarene.  Each module is produced by a recognized, experienced educator in the Church of the Nazarene.  These modules are written for delivery in a classroom setting and have been adapted for presentation online.

Module facilitators are ordained Nazarene ministers serving in Nazarene churches throughout North America.  Each instructor holds a minimum of a Master's degree and some have earned doctoral degrees.

The online COS program is open to anyone proficient in English and at least 16 years of age, especially those pursuing ordination in the Church of the Nazarene.  For more information, contact the Course of Study Online office at (208) 467-8538.

In order to help all current and future COS students succeed in their work, the following registration policy has been implemented by the Course of Study Program:

  1. A new student to our program may register or enroll in one (1) COS module/course per session. This allows the student to adjust to online learning, the specific nuances of the course management system, the “rhythms” of our COS modules/courses, and balancing church, study, and work responsibilities.
  2. A returning student to our program may register or enroll in one (1) or two (2) COS modules/courses per session, as long as prior work in the program has been completed satisfactorily (a minimum GPA of 2.30). Those with a GPA below that threshold will be permitted to enroll in only one (1) COS module/course per session.
  3. A returning student to our program who has received unsatisfactory grades (a D+ or lower) for three (3) consecutive COS modules/courses may only register or enroll in one (1) COS module/course per session until that student demonstrates adequate ability to succeed in his/her work (i.e., a grade of C+ or above).
  4. Neither a returning student nor a new student may register or enroll in more than two (2) COS modules/courses per session, as past performance has indicated that students have usually not been successful in their work when enrolled in three or more modules/courses per session.
  5. If unusual circumstances may call for an exception, and if a reasonable plan that could help a student succeed can be implemented, then such an exception may be requested from the Director of the COS Program.  Such a request would need to come from the student and be supported either by the chair or secretary of the student's District Ministerial Studies Board (or Board of Ministry) or by the district superintendent, who would (a) offer some rationale for the request and (b) describe the support that would be provided to assist in the student's successful completion the module/course work.  This request (including the district support of that request) would need to be received by the Director of the COS Program at least 48 hours before the close of a session's registration.

Registration Requirements

Anyone age 16 or older with proficiency in English wishing to prepare for ordination in the Church of the Nazarene, or anyone interested in Christian studies in an educational setting is welcome to participate. Ministerial students are expected to coordinate their online studies with their District Board of Ministerial Studies.

All students must set up an account in PDLearn at prior to registering for modules.

Please contact Audra Butkus at or (208) 467-8538 with any questions regarding this program.

Registration Process

Registration is open three times a year, a least five weeks before course modules begin.

Registration closes on Tuesday at midnight prior to the first day of class. A student must complete the registration process each session.

  1. Choose a module from the COS Catalog in PDLearn.  Click on "Register Me".
  2. Click on "Check Out" for payments with a credit card.
  3. If you are a new student, you will receive PDLearn Canvas login information separately.

Program Goals

There are four major areas of educational preparation for ministers:

  • Content represents the acquisition of the biblical, theological, and historical knowledge necessary for the minister.
    Content—Knowledge of the content of the Old and New Testaments, the theology of the Christian faith, and the history and mission of the Church is essential for ministry. Knowledge of how to interpret Scripture, the doctrine of holiness and our Wesleyan distinctives, and the history and polity of the Church of the Nazarene must be included.
  • Competency involves the acquisition and development of skills for ministry.
    Competency—Skills in oral and written communication, management and leadership, finance, and analytical thinking are also essential for ministry. In addition to general education in these areas, courses providing skills in preaching, pastoral care and counseling, biblical exegesis, worship, effective evangelism, biblical stewardship of life resources, Christian education, and church administration must be included. Completion of a validated course of study requires the partnering of the educational provider and a local church to direct students in ministerial practices and competency development.
  • Character refers to the personal qualities of the minister.
    Character—Personal growth in character, ethics, spirituality, and personal and family relationship is vital for the ministry. Courses addressing the areas of Christian ethics, spiritual formation, human development, the person of the minister, and marriage and family dynamics must be included.
  • Context deals with the environment.
    Context—The minister must understand both the historical and contemporary context and interpret the worldview and social environment of the culture where the Church witnesses. Courses that address the concerns of anthropology and sociology, cross-cultural communication, missions, and social studies must be included.

The four areas of content, competency, character, and context include 52 ability statements that are fulfilled within the curriculum program leading to ordination.

Course of Study Drop Policy

Students may drop a course up to 7 days/1 week from the beginning date of class. Students will not receive a "W" (withdrawal indicated) on their transcripts. After 7 days/1 week from the beginning of class, students will receive a "W" on their transcripts.

To drop a course, a student must contact the Center for Professional Development, via email at  Professors cannot drop students from courses.

Total Credits