Jun 19, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

About Graduate Programs

Learn more about Graduate Programs online.



In offering graduate programs, the University seeks to fulfill an objective set by The Lutheran University Association when it acquired the campus in 1925: to make Valparaiso University a Christian center of advanced study. The University desires through these programs to broaden its educational service to its national constituency and regional community. There are elements of distinctiveness in these programs, both in breadth and depth, which make them unique in American higher education.

The program of graduate studies was initiated by Valparaiso University in the summer of 1963. Since then it has offered courses during the day and evening throughout the academic year and summer as a means of meeting the varying educational needs and objectives of persons within the professional community.

Graduate programs are under the general supervision of the provost and the faculty of the University. The policies for graduate students are determined by the Graduate Educational Policy Committee. Graduate programs and regulations are defined by the Graduate Educational Policy Committee and are administered by the associate provost of graduate and online education.

A Distinctive Institution

All American colleges and universities bear a family resemblance to one another as they come from a common set of ancestors in Europe and colonial America. Within that larger family, Valparaiso University belongs to a distinctive group. It is neither a large research university nor a small liberal arts college. At the same time that it promotes a basic liberal arts curriculum, it features strong colleges of Engineering, Nursing and Health Professions, and Business, a professional emphasis not traditionally found in the conventional liberal arts college. Conversely, the University is not a cluster of professional colleges which merely pays lip service to the liberal arts. Education in the liberal arts is the foundation of every academic program, and the College of Arts and Sciences, the largest unit in the University, carries on many vital programs of its own.

This integration of liberal and professional orientations characterizes graduate education at Valparaiso University. Graduate programs emphasize an understanding of culture and values, yet are designed to prepare individuals for leadership roles in society and professions. Optimal learning is achieved through small class sizes and strong individual guidance by faculty members.

The Setting of the University

The spacious campus of 350 acres contains more than sixty academic and residential buildings, many of them built within the past three decades. The campus is located in the city of Valparaiso, attractively situated in a semi-rural setting at the edge of the busy industrial district of Northwest Indiana. Fifteen miles to the north, on the shore of Lake Michigan, are the Indiana Dunes. The city of Chicago with its vast cultural resources, an hour’s drive from the campus, can be reached by train or car. Many programs of the University use the region-rich in natural, urban, and industrial opportunities-for field trips and investigative activities.

An Unusual History

In its 150-year history, the University has passed through three distinct phases. Begun by Methodists in 1859 as an institution pioneering in coeducation, the Valparaiso Male and Female College was forced by the reverses of the Civil War to close its doors in 1871. It was revived in 1873 by an enterprising educator, Henry Baker Brown, as the Northern Indiana Normal School. “Mr. Brown’s School,” a flourishing private, proprietary institution, was renamed Valparaiso College in 1900 and rechartered as Valparaiso University in 1907. During the next twenty years, it won national recognition as a low-cost, no-frills institution of higher learning which served thousands of students who might not otherwise have been able to afford a good education. Many alumni from this period achieved distinction in their fields as governors, legislators, scientists, business leaders, and other professionals. However, after World War I the University went into decline and bankruptcy; then, in 1925, The Lutheran University Association purchased it, beginning the modern phase of the University’s history. The association, an Indiana corporation composed of men and women the majority of whom are affiliated with Lutheran congregations, is an independent organization actively promoting higher education in the Christian context.

Profile of Students and Faculty

The heart of an academic institution is its students and faculty. Valparaiso University’s student body is drawn from many regions of the nation, as well as from a number of foreign countries. Of the 4,000 students at Valparaiso University, about 20 percent are graduate students. Although most graduate students are drawn from the Great Lakes region, they are highly diverse in their interests, experiences, and goals.

A rich diversity also characterizes the University faculty (312 full-time and 102 part-time professors), but they share important skills and attitudes as well. Educated at leading research universities, they are competent in their fields. They care about students, an attitude made visible by the frequent individual consultations they invite. Above all, they enjoy teaching and believe that their work enriches not only their students’ but their own lives. At Valparaiso University there are no teaching assistants as instructors of record; senior faculty members and newcomers alike can be found teaching introductory and advanced courses. The University embodies in its faculty an ideal of the teacher-scholar, one who recognizes that teaching is based on continuing scholarship. Many members of the faculty have achieved significant reputations in their particular fields and are pursuing, with marked success, grants from government and private foundations to promote research and improve instruction. In addition to The Cresset, a monthly review of literature, the arts, and public affairs published by the University, faculty from the campus edit several other national learned journals.

University governance, too, reflects campus-wide involvement. Through the Graduate Student Advisory Council, composed of graduate students, administrators, and staff, students share in the development of Graduate Office policy, including academic programs. Final responsibility for all academic programs, especially those which require certification, is vested in the faculty.

The modest size of the University and most importantly the strong personal commitment of the faculty enhance its teaching effectiveness. In a school like this, with its small classes and the immediate relationships they foster between faculty and students, educational life is more vital and more intense than would be at many larger research institutions. Valparaiso University consciously fosters this tradition in the selection of both its students and its faculty and in the development of its educational programs.

Honor System

The student-initiated Honor System has a long history at Valparaiso University and is a distinguishing characteristic of the institution. It is in every way consistent with the highest principles of Christian ethics and morality. In sanctioning the Honor System, the University presumes that students are able and willing to accept the rights and responsibilities of honorable conduct both as a matter of personal integrity and as a commitment to the values to which the University community commits itself.

Honor Code

Students’ commitment to the Honor System is expressed by their writing and signing the Honor Code on all academic work submitted for evaluation. “I have neither given or received, nor have I tolerated others’ use of unauthorized aid.” Refer to the section on Student Policies and Procedures for information about the administration of the Honor Code, Academic Policies .