“The renewal of the Church in America will not be possible without the active presence of the laity. Therefore, they are largely responsible for the future of the Church.”
Pope John Paul II
Ecclesia in America.

Program Description

In the fall of 2009, Divine Word College expanded its mission to include the education of lay students for missionary service in the Church. DWC seeks to partner primarily with SVD parishes in the USA, Canada and the Caribbean to identify parishioners, men or women, who will benefit from a college education that they may not otherwise obtain. The goal of this scholarship program is to prepare committed, lay ministers for service in parishes and other ministries that assist people in need. The program is rooted in the charism of the Society of the Divine Word and seeks to shape the students’ understanding of mission and ministry.

Program participants will receive formal education to prepare them for ministry in a variety of settings. A multicultural environment that includes classes, practical experience in local ministries and a structured spiritual formation program helps ensure the quality and professionalism of the lay pastoral minster who graduates from Divine Word College.

Academic Requirements

Lay students are free to choose academic programs as listed in the College Catalog and are required to follow all academic regulations as outlined. Students are encouraged to consider their plans for future ministry and Church service as they choose a major. Discussions with individuals referring students to DWC, the students’ academic advisor and formation director will help students clarify their academic goals for future ministry. Please see the College’s website (www.dwci.edu) for the complete College Catalog which lists academic programs and regulations.

Formation Requirements

Lay students entering Divine Word College will participate in a program designed to help them grow spiritually. The program provides an environment in which students learn about mission within the charism of the Society of the Divine Word. It gives direction to lay students seeking preparation for ministry in the Church. The program’s five facets of development—human, spiritual, intellectual,
cross-cultural and mission ministry—provide the means by which formation personnel assist lay students in personal growth and maturity.
To this end, the spiritual formation program for lay students includes participation in small groups, individual spiritual direction, retreats, days of recollection, regular participation in the sacraments of the Church and community service. Other activities help students grow in self-awareness and personal identity that are essential to a healthy spiritual life and a commitment to mission. Students discover how to freely choose a way of life that leads to dedicated mission service and an ever-deepening spiritual life based on a love of Jesus Christ.
Please request a copy of the College’s Formation Program for Lay Students for a complete outline of the formation program.


The majority of students at Divine Word College are men discerning a religious vocation as missionary priests and brothers. They live in dormitory rooms in the main building on campus. Many religious women also study at DWC and live in housing provided by the College in a separate dormitory building on campus. Lay students currently live with these two student populations, men in the main building and women with the religious sisters in a separate building. As the Lay Ministry Program expands, the College plans to establish separate housing for lay students.


Divine Word College charges about $16,000 per year for tuition, room, board and other student expenses (2011-12 school year); i.e., books, medical insurance, fees, etc. The lay ministry program is a scholarship program which allows for full or partial scholarships based on students’ needs. All DWC students are asked to contribute to the cost of their education. Financial arrangements are made on a case-by-case basis. Please contact the Director of Admission to discuss specifics.

Please contact the Director of Admission to discuss specifics.

Admission Criteria
  •  Practicing Catholic and involved in the life of the parish.
  •  Completion of high school or equivalent (e.g. GED).
  •  Necessary talent for the education required.
  •  Willingness to live in a cross-cultural environment.
  •  Desire to minister to others after completion of the program in a parish or other appropriate ministry.
  •  Ability to benefit from financial assistance.
  •  Preference given to applicants from parishes staffed by Divine Word Missionaries.

Continuation of Scholarship
  •  Maintain a 2.25 GPA (Students falling below 2.25 GPA will be given a grace period of one semester to bring their cumulative GPA back to the minimum 2.25, without forfeiture of the scholarship).
  •  Remain a student in good standing in regard to academics and formation (Students placed on probation for disciplinary reasons will forfeit the scholarship immediately).

Application Material
  • Application (hard copy or online version).
  • A pastoral recommendation.
  • A second letter of recommendation, preferably from an educational professional.
  • Medical Form (contact Director of Admissions).
  • Educational transcripts (high school and any college/university).
  • A Personal Statement indicating why you would like to attend Divine Word College and outlining your educational goals (request outline from Director of Admissions).
  • Copy of Passport (if international student).
  • Background check consent form when appropriate.
  • $25 Application Fee.