This certificate, which can be completed online, is jointly sponsored by Harvard Divinity School and Harvard Extension School, and is designed to provide educators with a multidisciplinary foundation for approaching the study of religion in public school classrooms or in other educational settings focused on learning about religion.

  • Earn professional development units for each course.
  • Complete the courses on religious studies online, on campus, or both.

Certificate courses: online and on-campus options

For the certificate, take five of the following courses for graduate credit. 

Summer courses

Earning the certificate

No application is required. Simply choose the course you’d like to take first and register for graduate credit. Most students take one or two courses on religious studies each term.

If you are taking courses online, review the technical requirements outlined in How Distance Education Works.  

You can monitor your academic progress toward the certificate by logging in to online services and choosing “Certificate Course Tracker and Request Form.” This online form will confirm the certificate courses that you’ve taken in the past (within the three-year time frame) as well as courses for which you are currently registered.  

Certificate requirements:

  • Take all five courses for graduate credit.
  • Earn at least a B in all five courses.
  • Complete all courses within three years.

Requesting the certificate

When you are registered in your final certificate course(s) or once the fifth and final grade has been officially awarded, log in to online services, “Certificate Course Tracker and Request Form,” to request your certificate. If you wait until you have all your five grades, be sure to request the certificate within two weeks of when grades are posted online (see calendar for dates). Certificates are not awarded retroactively.

After your request is reviewed and approved, the award is noted on your transcript, and the certificate is printed and mailed. 

Considering a master’s degree?

If you would like to pursue religious studies further, you can apply some of these certificate courses toward a Master of Liberal Arts degree. The courses must apply toward degree requirements. You can use the degree course search to find courses that fulfill those requirements.

Have questions?

We are happy to answer general questions about the certificate.

  1. First, read our common questions about certificates.
  2. Then e-mail us at or contact Diane Moore, senior lecturer on religious studies and education, Harvard Divinity School, at