Oct 02, 2023  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog

Northwest Perspective

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Classification Private, Christian Liberal Arts

Institutional Accreditation Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)

Northwest University is an accredited, Christian coeducational institution awarding associate, baccalaureate, masters and doctoral degrees. The University is operated under the control of the Alaska, Hawaii, Montana, North Pacific Latin American, Northern California Nevada, Northwest, Northwest Hispanic, Oregon, Southern Idaho, and Wyoming districts of the Assemblies of God. All these districts are represented on the University’s Board of Directors.

Northwest University Mission

We, the people of Northwest University, carry the call of God by continually building a learning community dedicated to spiritual vitality, academic excellence, and empowered engagement with human need.

Missional Values

The Mission of Northwest University, a Christian university affiliated with the Assemblies of God, is derived from the following values:

Spiritual Vitality

  • Moving together in personal relationship with Christ Jesus and knowledge of God’s calling, we dedicate ourselves to Spirit-filled service.
  • Practicing discipleship and worship with biblical faithfulness, we develop courage and character to meet the challenges of our world.
  • Crafting a diverse, lifelong community, we recognize the intrinsic worth and dignity of each individual and facilitate friendships and networks that reach out to welcome others in love.

Academic Excellence

  • Exploring all truth with scholarly excellence, we build a biblical worldview to prepare each other for service and leadership throughout the world.
  • Developing moral, spiritual, intellectual, and aesthetic values through the arts and sciences, we integrate faith, learning, and life.
  • Thinking critically, we aid one another in academic achievement and lifelong pursuit of knowledge, wisdom, and skills.

Empowered Engagement

  • Growing holistically, we clarify and obey individual God-given callings.
  • Communicating and modeling the Gospel, we call people and communities to be reconciled to God and to each other.
  • Demonstrating Spirit-inspired compassion and creativity, we meet the needs of individuals, build communities, and care for creation.

Core Themes

Core Theme One

  • Building a caring community and enduring culture

Core Theme Two

  • Developing Christian commitment and Spirit-formed lives

Core Theme Three

  • Advancing academic engagement through teaching, learning and scholarly production

Core Theme Four

  • Empowering people with the vision and tools to meet human need in their personal and professional lives

Community Covenant

Our community covenant is founded on our shared calling and relationship as Christ-followers, as outlined in Colossians 3:12-15. “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”

Based on the teachings in this verse and the enabling of God, we endeavor that all of our interactions and communications will show respect for the wellbeing of all, especially those who may disagree with us.

To that end, we commit before God to communicate honestly, openly, and humbly— without cynicism or a supposed sense of superiority and always with the respect that allows us to recognize the value of others as children of God and members of this community. Furthermore, we recognize the value of diverse opinions and that unity does not require unanimity.

Standards of Civility

By civility, we intend more than mere politeness. Rather we intend a basic set of attitudes and actions upon which we can build a community that is able to celebrate our differences, make decisions, and resolve conflict in a positive and forward-moving manner. These standards do not intend to stifle anyone’s leadership, academic freedom, or freedom of speech. Rather they provide ‘guidelines of participation’ for our Christian and professional community. The goal is to create the conditions that best allow trust and positive relationships to flourish.

Therefore, the NU administration, faculty, and staff commit to prioritize the following in our communications within NU and concerning NU to the general public:

  1. Encouragement: encourage each other and value the contributions that all members make to the shared mission of NU.
  2. Collaboration: choose to enter into communication non-defensively, assuming other parties have good will toward us and are acting in good faith.
  3. Forgiveness: allow others to grow through forgiveness, and avoid holding grudges.
  4. Inclusiveness: prioritize inclusive language and actively recruit input from under-represented voices (bearing in mind categories like gender, culture, ethnicity, position, and rank).

Governance, Planning and the Use of Authority

We recognize that we all exercise authority in one or more areas, making decisions that affect others. Therefore, we commit to the following tenets:

Whether as individuals or as groups, we affirm that it is incumbent on us to value a broad perspective and seriously take into account those whom our decisions affect and those with a reasonable interest in our decisions. It is also incumbent on us, when we have a reasonable interest in decisions, to engage and offer input.

Similarly, we acknowledge that there are times when decisions are made with which everyone does not agree. In those instances, we commit to behave with a cooperative and positive attitude, even while we may continue to work respectfully within the system to seek change.

Healthy Interaction, Input, Grievances, Complaints, and Contributions

In our communication, we will seek the most respectful, orderly, and productive tone and medium appropriate for our message and context. Particularly in times of conflict, we should, as professionals, craft our communication in a manner that minimizes miscommunication and preserves the intent of our message. The Employee and Faculty Manuals outline procedures for engaging the system and working through committee and group structures to affect change. In the case of more personal grievances between individuals, all effort should be made to resolve the issue through the process outlined in the Employee Manual, Section V: Conduct: Complaint Resolution.

We commit to the following actions:

  1. Be truth seekers who speak in specifics, not in generalities.
  2. Seek to understand fully before expressing disagreement or dissent.
  3. Rely on first-hand accounts.
  4. Strive to reconcile hurts and reach a mutually agreed upon resolution.
  5. Take personal responsibility for uncivil or improper actions in order to restore harmony in the community.
  6. Participate in the discussion of issues of concern, or if not, choose to respect the outcome.

We commit to this covenant remembering that in the companionship of fellow Christians we can see the image of God in one another. As Paul exhorts us, “therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification” (Romans 14:19).


Northwest University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, sex, disability, or genetic information in its admissions policies. Further, it is the policy of the University not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, sex, disability, genetic information, or veteran status in the administration of its educational programs, including employment, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other college-administered programs and activities. As a religious educational organization, the University reserves the right to prefer employees and prospective employees on the basis of religion, and also reserves its right to prefer students and prospective students on the basis of religion. At this time, only traditional undergraduate students are required to comply with the University’s faith requirements.

Northwest University is committed to a policy of non-discrimination with regard to race, color, national origin, sex, age, marital status, or physical disability. Persons having questions regarding University policy of non-discrimination should contact the Dean of Student Development or Title IX Coordinator.

Northwest University is in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974/1996. A full statement on FERPA rights is found in this catalog.

Precision of Language

Northwest University is committed to the equality of men and women and to creating a learning community for all people. This commitment is based on the Bible’s teaching that God’s kingdom is made up of men and women from every nation, tribe, people, and language—and that no group constitutes the norm. Therefore, we expect students and members of the faculty, staff and administration to avoid sexist language and to employ inclusive language in writing, public speaking, and public worship. Further, we encourage members of the Northwest University community to be sensitive and respectful whenever referring to the personal characteristics of others. 

Reconciliation Statement

Whereas we believe that:

  • every person, regardless of ability, age, gender, race, ethnicity, or religion shares equally in the image of God;
  • all are sinners and that we equally partake of the consequences of sin;
  • Jesus Christ died for all and that we equally have access to redemption;
  • God is sovereign and that He calls into His service whomever He chooses and that He gifts and equips those He calls in order that they might accomplish that calling;
  • there is hope for all believers for fellowship with the Lord and with each other presently in His Church and in His coming Kingdom.

Be it resolved that:

  • we, as members of the Northwest University community, desire the equality of opportunity and respect that results from true Christian community where we cherish unity in diversity and practice mutual support as evidence of God’s presence, by His Holy Spirit, in us;
  • we seek forgiveness for all attitudes, language, and actions that have intentionally or unintentionally contributed to discrimination regarding race, ethnicity, gender, physical ability, and age within the Northwest University community and within the society in which God has placed us;
  • we pledge not to engage intentionally in any act that would result in unlawful discrimination against any person, or group of persons, based upon race, ethnicity, gender, physical ability or age;
  • we pledge to engage our University community in activities and communications that will develop greater awareness and sensitivity to interpersonal intolerances that would be considered unacceptable by biblical teachings and would lead to tolerance that is reflective of God’s character;
  • we further pledge to develop ongoing formal and informal opportunities to facilitate the process of reconciliation of God-honoring relationships among all people, based upon the clear call of God through the Scriptures;
  • we commit ourselves to dialogue, study, and affirming initiatives and actions designed to enable us to bear one another’s burdens and rejoice in the privilege of fulfilling the law of Christ.

Statement on Diversity and Unity

We, the people of Northwest University, commit to the biblical mandates of diversity and unity in the Body of Christ. We see both as crucial elements of Christian discipleship and an essential part of God’s call on Northwest University to build the type of thriving learning community envisioned in our mission statement.


We believe the following guiding tenets:

  • persons of every age, ability, sex, race, ethnicity and religion share equally in the imago dei (image of God).
  • all individuals are deserving of honor and protection. We believe that Christ died for all people and offers salvation equally to all who believe.
  • God calls His people into right relationships with one another.
  • We believe that the actions of this loving, diverse, and unified community form a witness and apologetic to the world.

Rather than resorting to uniformity, tribalism, individualism, or subordination, we commit to the hard work of being a diverse, unified, equitable community. We seek to embrace, understand, forgive, reconcile with, and stand on behalf of our fellow human beings rather than vilify, marginalize, segregate from, or merely tolerate one another.

In one of his final prayers, Jesus prayed for unity among all who would come to believe in Him through the apostolic message of the Good News, asking the Father to make them one so that God’s love would be in them and the world would believe that the Father sent the Son (John 17). We see God’s desire for a diverse Body of Christ on the Day of Pentecost, when God poured out His Spirit on believers who preached the Good News to those who had come to Jerusalem from many nations. From those who accepted their message, God formed a community centered on the person, work, and teachings of Jesus (Acts 2). Through Christ’s death on the cross, God has reconciled believers to himself and has given us the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5). Because Jesus is our peace, we, therefore, have a responsibility not only to share the Good News so that people will find life in Christ, but also to overcome the barriers that hinder unity in the Church. That unity enables us to live out our God-given identity as one new humanity (Ephesians 2). Unlike the world, the Church is a new kind of family created by Christ. Because all members are one in Christ and belong to Him, there is no hierarchy of citizenship along the lines of sex, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status (Galatians 3). Christ used His power, status, and resources to serve people; we, therefore, bear a responsibility to use our power, status, and resources to serve our fellow sisters and brothers (Philippians 2). Christ has called us to a greater righteousness that reaches beyond simply avoiding acts of hate, inviting us to participate in deep, transformational heart work to eradicate superiority, disdain, and self-interest (Matthew 5).

It is, therefore, our Christian duty to do good to all people (Galatians 6). This admonition requires our acting justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God (Micah 6). As Christians, we have a conviction and responsibility to fight against injustice, bigotry, and hatred of all kinds. We believe that such actions and systems are a result of sin in the human heart (Romans 7), societal systems that subvert God’s ways (Genesis 11), and spiritual oppression (Ephesians 6). As the Body of Christ, we work to address these issues on individual, societal, and spiritual levels with a spirit of justice, love, and unity.

Intentions and Values

As part of the family of Christ, we desire to live out the counter-cultural norms and ethics of God’s Kingdom. We believe that being one, diverse body is not without challenges; moreover, we affirm our responsibility to value, embody, and become people who practice:

  • Servanthood
  • Mutual respect
  • Genuinely loving one another
  • Repeated acts of valuing and listening to the stories of others
  • Readiness to learn from people of different backgrounds
  • A willingness to empathize with others
  • Interdependence
  • A spirit of humility
  • Internal reflection (self-awareness of privileges and disadvantages)
  • Perspective-taking (listening, hearing, and seeking to understand) characterized by the fruit of the Spirit
  • An ongoing attitude of repentance
  • A promise to bear one another’s pains and victories
  • A commitment to justice that is consistent with biblical teaching
  • Non-violent approaches to social change

Statement on Racism

We name all forms of racism, whether institutional, structural, interpersonal, or internalized, as sin. We recognize the atrocities that have been committed toward various groups of people of color by the United States of America, as a nation. Despite the efforts of many, inequities and injustice remain part of our systems. We confess that the American Church has been silent about or complicit with varying forms of racism many times throughout its history, to our present day. We recognize that the educational system in America has a history of disadvantaging students of color. We recognize that, even though significant progress has been achieved in popular attitudes about race, relationships between races, ethnicities, and cultures are broken in our local communities across America.

We recognize that our own community has often failed our students, faculty, and staff of color in various ways. We recognize that students of color have not always felt a sense of belonging at Northwest University, due to various factors both within and outside our control, including lack of faculty representation, minimal diversity training for employees and student leaders, and hesitancy to stand publicly against injustices, to name a few. We recognize our own shortcomings as an institution and as the individuals who comprise it. As a Christian educational institution in America, we see it as our mandate to be a people situated in a place where students of color will be at home, embraced, celebrated, and able to succeed. We commit to the flourishing and success of our students of color, devoted to the continual work that must be done to accomplish this aim.

Program Format

Most graduate programs at Northwest University use a cohort system for most courses. Each new student is grouped into a “cohort” with the other entering students and registers for nearly the same course schedule as the other members of their graduate program’s cohort for the entire program. In most programs students are allowed to take additional courses with other cohorts. Program cohorts range from 12-40 students, depending on the specific graduate program and course. The advantage of this system is the support and openness it creates. The cohort becomes a valuable resource into which students can tap. Students study and learn together. They also become comfortable with one another to the point of being able to discuss difficult issues and share personal accounts. Since a higher level of openness is attainable, a higher level of learning can also be reached.

Course Format

Classes are designed to complement the lives of adult learners who often seek to balance their academic goals with the demands of everyday life. Masters level graduate programs take one to two years while doctoral programs may require a minimum of four to five years of full-time study scheduled across three annual semesters. Each graduate program has been designed based on the nature of the discipline and vocational commitments of its students. For instance, the College of Education’s programs are designed with sensitivity to teachers who are daily in the classroom, while many of the College of Ministry’s classes meet for week-long intensive seminar sessions. Some graduate courses utilize Friday evening and all day Saturday schedules. Students should consult their respective program’s course format details and the current program schedule online at www.northwestu.edu and in this catalog for specific class offerings, including days and times.

On-Demand Courses

A limited number of course electives may be offered when enough students express interest. Students do so by communicating with their respective program at least one term before they desire to take the course.

Special Seminars

Periodically, programs may offer students the opportunity to register for optional courses that do not meet in the traditional classroom format. At times, special seminars may be offered in a variety of formats. These seminars are taught to enrich the curriculum and build awareness for graduate students. Students should consult their program’s semester schedule for more details.

Graduate Research

Several graduate programs either require or offer students the opportunity to work with a graduate faculty member through independent or directed research on a topic of the student’s choice. Students desiring to conduct graduate research in addition to the research requirements of their program must complete and submit a special request form to their program’s office. If approved, a program professor will be assigned to the student to ensure that the proper quantity and quality of work is assigned and performed.

Institutional Review Board

The Northwest University Institutional Review Board (NU IRB) is a federally regulated committee that directs the care of participants in research affiliated with the University. In particular, the job of the NU IRB is to establish and enforce ethical guidelines to protect participants from harm and to respect their personal dignity, especially those individuals who have limited understanding of the risks of their participation or who have diminished decision-making abilities. Unless exempt, research projects affiliated with Northwest University must be approved by the NU IRB for the duration of the project. See the Institutional Review Board link on the Provost’s Eagle Page for further information.

Failure to adhere to federal laws relating to use of human subject(s) in research or the requirements of the NU IRB constitutes noncompliance. Examples include conducting research outside of NU IRB approval dates, not following NU IRB requirements, or failure to be forthcoming about research projects. Instances of possible noncompliance shall be brought to the NU IRB full committee for discussion and investigation. The NU IRB will conclude one of the following outcomes.

  1. The instance does not constitute noncompliance and will be dismissed
  2. The instance constitutes noncompliance that can be ameliorated via a Corrective Plan proposed by the primary investigator (PI) and subsequently agreed upon by the NU IRB
  3. The instance constitutes noncompliance that is either serious or continuous
  • Serious noncompliance is that which increases risks to participants, intentionally violates policies, or is otherwise deemed serious by the NU IRB.
  • A continuous instance of noncompliance is a pattern of violating the federal laws governing research involving human subjects, or the requirements of the NU IRB, whether intentionally or not.

Consequences of serious or continuous noncompliance will be decided by the University Provost, in conjunction with the IRB committee, associated Academic Dean, and dissertation/thesis committee chair in instances involving student-PIs. Those consequences may include

  1. withdrawal of IRB approval
  2. modifications to the study protocol
  3. increased monitoring of the research project including access to the data where needed
  4. suspension or termination of the research project
  5. termination of current and future research projects
  6. dismissal from the University


The National Institute of Health specifies that the board must have at least five members who represent a variety of backgrounds. In particular federal policy indicates that at least one member of the committee must be a scientist, one member a non-scientist and one member must not be affiliated with the institution in question.


The Hurst Library provides the Northwest University community with collections, services, and spaces that foster the integration of biblical faith with the academic research process. Library collections can be searched from the library website (http://library.northwestu.edu/) and most are available online. 

Collections include substantial electronic journal, eBook, and print book holdings covering all subject areas as well as the Textbook Collection, Children’s and YA Collections, New and Featured Collection, the Perkins Judaic/Messianic Collection, the Pentecostal Collection, and the NU Archives. 

Library services include research assistance, tutorials, interlibrary loan for books and articles, color printing and scanning, and computer and wireless access. Librarians are available for consultation for any information needs, by email to library@northwestu.edu or through 24/7 chat. 

The NU Library has a physical location on each NU campus. On the Kirkland Campus, the Hurst Library provides a number of study environments including a 24-hour study space, collaborative group and individual study areas, as well as large and small study rooms.  


Internships allow students to put into practice what they learn in the classroom, and are an integral part of several graduate programs. If students desire to experience an internship when it is not required by their program, they should contact their program office for details. If an internship is approved, a graduate professor will provide guidance in the selection and approval of an internship site and assist in formulating the Internship Site Agreement. The program dean must approve the registration and internship schedule, including any specialized courses or activities pertinent to the internship. Ultimately, the student is responsible to ensure that internship activities satisfy any degree requirements.

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