Jul 24, 2024  
2016-2017 Academic Catalog 
2016-2017 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

An Introduction

Mission Statement

Wartburg College is dedicated to challenging and nurturing students for lives of leadership and service as a spirited expression of their faith and learning.

Wartburg College helps students discover and claim their callings-connecting their learning with faith and values, their understanding of themselves and their gifts, their perspective on life and the future, and the opportunities for participating in church, community, and the larger society in purposeful and meaningful ways.

A Proud Heritage

Wartburg College is a four-year liberal arts college of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Its roots trace back to 1852, when Pastor Wilhelm Löhe of Neuendettelsau, Bavaria, sent Georg Grossmann and five students to found a teachers seminary in Saginaw, Michigan. The college moved several times before establishing a permanent home in Waverly, Iowa, in 1935.

The college is named after the Wartburg Castle, founded in 1067 on a hilltop overlooking Eisenach, Germany. During the stormy days of the Reformation, the castle served as a refuge for Martin Luther. Under ban by the emperor, Luther spent 10 months in hiding, completing a translation of the New Testament into the language of the common people. His work is credited with helping unify the country by providing a standard for written German.


Waverly offers the safety and convenience of a small city of nearly 10,000, enhanced by the advantages of a nearby metropolitan area. The college and community are mutually supportive, and Waverly has a sister-city relationship with Eisenach, Germany, home of the Wartburg Castle. The Waterloo-Cedar Falls metropolitan area of 125,000 people is 20 minutes away with an airport, two large indoor shopping malls, and many entertainment and recreational options.

Waverly is easily accessible from I-35 and I-380. Located at the intersection of Highways 218 and 3, it is 2.5 hours northeast of Des Moines; 3.5 hours south of Minneapolis-St. Paul; and 5.5 hours west of Chicago.


Wartburg enrolls approximately 1,500 students from more than 28 states and 58 other countries. Approximately one-fourth of first-year students rank in the upper 10 percent of their high school class. The academic environment is characterized by small classes and strong personal support. Approximately 31 percent of students reporting a religious affiliation are Lutheran, followed by Catholic, 28 percent, and Methodist, 9 percent. Many other Christian denominations are represented as well as Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, and Judaism.

Wartburg is one of 200 U.S. colleges and universities featured in Peterson’s Top Colleges for Science. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching recognizes Wartburg for community engagement. The Princeton Review ranks Wartburg among the best colleges in the Midwestern Region.

The Wartburg social work program is the state’s oldest undergraduate social work program. Wartburg is the only Iowa private college offering a major in music therapy.

Wartburg had a 98 percent success rate for students graduating 2014-15.


Wartburg is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (30 North LaSalle Street, Suite 2400 Chicago, Illinois 60602-2504; Phone: (800) 621-7440 / (312) 263-0456 Fax: (312) 263-7462). Individual programs are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Council of Social Work Education. Wartburg is also an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM). The Music Therapy majors are recognized by the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA).


Wartburg College confers five bachelor’s degrees to candidates recommended by the faculty and approved by the Board of Regents:

  • Bachelor of Arts-liberal arts studies with a concentration of courses in a major.
  • Bachelor of Music-liberal arts studies with an extended concentration in musical performance or music therapy.
  • Bachelor of Music Education-liberal arts studies with a concentration in teaching music.
  • Bachelor of Music Education/Music Therapy-liberal arts studies with a concentration in teaching music and a major in music therapy.
  • Bachelor of Applied Arts or Bachelor of Applied Science-liberal arts studies in addition to either an Associate of Applied Arts or an Associate of Applied Science degree earned from an accredited institution. Graduates with a B.A.A. or B.A.S. degree have a more technical background. Their associate degree substitutes for the major.


Wartburg College operates on a 4-4-1 calendar. Fall Term courses begin in September and conclude before Christmas. Winter Term courses start in January and finish in mid-April.

A four-week May Term completes the year. Students typically take four courses during Fall and Winter Terms and one class during May Term. Many students spend at least one May Term traveling in the United States or abroad with a class or a music ensemble. The one-month term also provides many opportunities for field experiences and internships. On-campus May Term courses often involve short trips, special projects, and outdoor activities.

Statement on Diversity

The Wartburg College community is committed to creating and maintaining a mutually respectful environment that recognizes and celebrates diversity among all students, faculty, and staff. Wartburg values human differences as an asset, works to sustain a culture that reflects the interests, contributions, and perspectives of members of diverse groups, and delivers educational programming to meet the needs of diverse audiences. The college seeks to instill values, understanding, and skills to encourage leadership and service in a global and multicultural society.