Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Institute for Christian Studies (ICS)?
The Institute for Christian Studies is a community-supported graduate school in the Kuyperian stream of the Reformational tradition. For over five decades, ICS has promoted a radically Christian approach to the scholarly task in interdisciplinary philosophy and theology, developing leaders for the academy and other areas of service, and enhancing the cultural discernment of believers.
Do I need to be a Christian to take a course at ICS? Is the environment welcoming to non-Christians, or Christians who are not in the Kuyperian tradition?
ICS’s Christian tradition privileges the practice of hospitality, and we do our best to ensure that all participants are welcome. Our community members come from a variety of Christian traditions and none at all, and we see the authentic affirmation and challenge of difference in our education as a strength and not a liability.
Is ICS accredited?
Yes. In Canada, provincial governments have jurisdiction over higher education and the granting of academic degrees. The Institute for Christian Studies operates under a charter granted by the Ontario Legislature in the Institute for Christian Studies Act, 1983 (amended in 1992 and 2005).
Can I transfer my ICS credit classes to another institution?
Credit transfers are based on the discretion of your home institution. ICS will provide any relevant materials (syllabi, accreditation credentials, transcripts, etc.) to help other institutions determine whether or not they are willing to accept a credit transfer. In the past, many students taking ICS courses have been able to transfer credits to their home institutions in the place of elective classes.
What’s the difference between taking a class for credit and taking a class as an auditor?
Credit students are expected to complete assignments, including a final paper or project, and will receive a grade on an ICS transcript. Auditors are not required to complete assignments or a final project, although instructors may have participation requirements for auditors. Auditors will not receive a grade. Essentially, barring specific instructor preferences, auditors are free to participate as much or as little as they want, while creditors are accountable for keeping up with assignments.
Why should I take a class for credit instead of auditing?
Credit students receive regular feedback from instructors on their work and are accountable for the material they learn. For some students, this is a good way to make sure the material sinks in, and it provides an opportunity to deepen the class in more focused dialogue with an instructor.
I’m not much of an “academic,” and I don’t like writing papers. Should I still take a course?
Yes! ICS appreciates that people learn in a variety of ways, and our instructors’ role is to guide you through difficult material in a way that is accessible and understandable. Auditors are not accountable for assignments. Depending on the course, credit participants might also choose, in consultation with their instructor, to do a creative project instead of a final research paper. Past projects have included things like writing poetry, creating a work of art, or making a public education presentation to a local community group.
I missed the registration deadline. Can I still get into a class that is already running?
ICS accepts late registrations up to one session into a course [for students taking courses for credit]. This means late registration will close the day before the second class starts. Exceptions to this policy can be made for audit students and for all-online courses on a course-by-course basis. Such decisions will be made at the discretion of the Registrar and in consultation with course leaders.
Are ICS online classes synchronous or asynchronous? Do I need to be present at a specific day and time for each class period?
Formats change depending on instructor preference or course initiatives. Most of our summer term intensive courses meet twice a week in an online seminar format, and participants are expected to be present for those meetings. Other MWS courses may have options for students who prefer to do an online class at their own pace, without designated meeting times, and some MWS courses include an option for both synchronous and asynchronous participation. Check with our Registrar for more information about the format of specific classes.