The Wilmette Institute is an educational agency of the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States. It aims to engage a broad and diverse community of learners in an in-depth study of the Bahá’í Faith. Wilmette Institute courses feature personalized learning plans designed by each learner. Some students have received college credit for their Wilmette Institute course work.
The Institute was founded in 1995 to provide basic and advanced courses on the Bahá’í Faith. Its first four-year program, Spiritual Foundations for a Global Civilization, provided comprehensive and in-depth study of the Bahá’í Faith. Several months of on-line study were supplemented with on-site summer residential sessions.
To provide educational classes to a broader student body, in 1998 the Wilmette Institute began offering on-line courses. It now schedules more than 50 different courses of varied length, with a limit of 40 students for most courses. More than 5,000 students, residing in at least 60 countries, have taken at least 1 course. Most courses have two faculty members, who are recruited world-wide and include authors, scholars and university professors.
The rotating courses fall in several categories: Bahá’í texts and writings, the Bible and the Qur'an, Bahá’í history, social issues, and a Deepening and Dialogue series that includes study of Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Chinese Religions, Christianity, and Islam. New courses are created to respond to specific needs, such as Springboard for the New Five Year Plan offered in 2011 and 2012, Climate Change, and a series on courtship and marriage.
Two to six people may register for a course as a group in order for them to study the materials together.
The cost of each course varies with its length, from four to thirteen weeks long. Early registration discounts are offered, as are scholarships and discounts for students, pioneers and seniors.
The Wilmette Institute has an appointed Board that meets twice yearly, with a Director and staff. It's offices are located at 1233 Central St., Evanston, Illinois.