2011-2012 Graduate Catalog 
    Oct 07, 2022  
2011-2012 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Introduction to the University


Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU) is a liberal arts institution sponsored by the Church of the Nazarene. Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Point Loma offers degree programs at the baccalaureate and graduate levels. The university’s campus is located on the Point Loma peninsula between beautiful San Diego Bay and the shores of the Pacific Ocean with a current student population of approximately 3,500, including teaching sites in Mission Valley, Arcadia, Bakersfield, and the Inland Empire.


In 1895, Phineas F. Bresee, a minister in the Methodist Episcopal Church, and J. P. Widney, a Methodist layperson and former president of the University of Southern California, founded the Church of the Nazarene in Los Angeles, California. Their primary purpose was to bring the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the poor and underprivileged. In 1902, Dr. Bresee founded Pacific Bible College, at the urging of several laypersons. Its purpose was to train ministerial and lay leaders for the new denomination.

Through the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Jackson Deets, Pacific Bible College was able to purchase the Hugus Ranch in northeast Pasadena. With the subsequent move to the new Pasadena campus in 1910, the institution became Nazarene University and enlarged the scope of the curriculum to include a typical program in the liberal arts. In 1924, it was reorganized as Pasadena College (PC), the undergraduate honor society known as Sigma Phi Mu was organized, and a system of student government was instituted.

Pasadena College received initial accreditation from the Northwest Association of Secondary and Higher Schools in 1943, and from the Western College Association in 1949. In 1951, PC received state accreditation of its education program, and the Board of Trustees approved the addition of graduate education in 1965. Faced with a growing enrollment and the need for expansion, the college moved to San Diego’s historic Point Loma peninsula in the summer of 1973. Today, as Point Loma Nazarene University, the institution offers numerous majors in various academic degrees, is approaching an enrollment of 3,500 at all of its teaching locations with a faculty and staff of 804, and enjoys an ocean-front campus in San Diego and strategically located regional centers throughout southern California.

Church and University

Point Loma Nazarene University is the regional educational institution of the Southwest Region of the Church of the Nazarene. A Board of Trustees, composed of an equal number of ministers and laypersons, oversees the affairs of the university. Board members are nominated from eleven districts in the region and elected to the Board to serve on the self-perpetuating body.

The Church of the Nazarene is an international protestant denomination in the holiness tradition. The denomination is Wesleyan in doctrine and evangelical in mission; its polity is representative. Emphasis is given to the conversion of sinners, the entire sanctification of believers, and the spreading of the Gospel to every person. The Church of the Nazarene is a member of the Christian Holiness Partnership and the National Association of Evangelicals.

The relationship of the university and the sponsoring denomination is characterized by a mutual commitment to the doctrine and mission. In this relationship the university provides quality leaders for Christian service within social, civic, business, and church communities.

The University Community

The Students. The university welcomes qualified students of any and all religious affiliations who desire an education in an environment of dynamic Christian witness. The role of Point Loma in higher education is fulfilled by helping students realize their mental, physical, social, moral, and spiritual ideals. The university’s belief is that a personal commitment to Jesus Christ is the basis for achieving self-worth and understanding, the motivation for building a just social order, and the means for relating to God through worship and service.

The Faculty. The Point Loma faculty is composed of Christian teachers/scholars who are dedicated to teaching and other scholarly activity in an environment “where minds are engaged and challenged, character is modeled and formed, and service becomes an expression of faith.” Individuals serving as faculty are committed to lifelong learning and teaching. They strive to exemplify excellence in their profession and model a personal understanding of the interconnectedness of faith, learning, and living.

The Staff. The university community also includes qualified persons who provide vital support services to academic and co-curricular enterprises. Often directly involved in the lives of students and faculty, dedicated staff work diligently to provide services that make a quality difference at Point Loma.

The Alumni. Graduates and former students of Point Loma Nazarene University are an equally important—though extended—part of the university community. They embody the mission and goals of the university and seek to make a difference all over the world. Alumni participate in the life of Point Loma as well through giving opportunities and frequent memorable events on campus.