In order to accommodate the active schedules of men and women, friars and sisters, interested in studying the Franciscan movement and to provide students a wider range of courses and teachers from around the world, the Franciscan Institute offers a Summer Session as part of its regular academic program of study.
The School of Franciscan Studies, the teaching component of the Franciscan Institute, offers three different kinds of programs during its Summer Session: (1) the Master of Arts Degree, requiring 30 credit hours; (2) the Advanced Certificate Program, requiring 16 credit hours; and (3) the General Orientation Courses. These latter courses are graduate courses specifically intended for men and women, often in formation, who have had little or no exposure to Franciscan studies and who do not have the intention of entering into one of the academic degree programs of the School of Franciscan Studies. A wide selection of elective courses are offered for the student who wishes to study for personal enrichment and development.
The full span of the Summer Session runs five weeks, usually from the end of June through the last week of July. The session is typically composed of two overlapping segments. In order to provide more time for reading and reflection, the core courses usually begin in the first week of the session and run through the full five weeks. All other courses (track and electives) are reserved for the final three week segment. A regular participant in the Summer Sessions who takes two courses per summer can typically finish the M.A. degree program, including comprehensive exams, in 6 summers.
The Summer Session has several highlights:
- The celebration of the Feast of St. Bonaventure (July 15) and a formal Academic Convocation at which the Franciscan Institute Medal is awarded;
- Energetic, participatory liturgies in which all the members of the Franciscan Family are invited to share their gifts and talents for the praise of God.
In addition to the courses offered for the M.A. and Advanced Certificate programs, the Summer Session also offers those men and women who are in initial formation the possibility of participating in a Formation Round Table – a guided reflective non-credit seminar, twice a week in the evenings within the three-week session.
The Summer Session is a unique time in the academic year of the School of Franciscan Studies, combining intense study, joyful prayer and cross-cultural interaction with members of the Franciscan family who come from around the world to learn of the movement started by Francis and Clare of Assisi.