Jointly sponsored by Harvard Divinity School and Harvard Extension School, this certificate provides educators a multidisciplinary foundation for approaching the study of religion in public school classrooms or in other educational settings focused on learning about religion. 

This certificate requires five courses.

What will I learn?

You will gain understanding, knowledge, and fluency in:  

  • A historical review of the relationship between religion and public education in the United States, and a contemporary analysis of differing views regarding the nature and purpose of public education and the roles that religions play in these debates.
  • The study of religion from a nonsectarian perspective by applying an interdisciplinary, multicultural, and critical theory methodology.
  • Lesson and unit plan development relevant to a wide range of educational settings.
  • The historical origins, central teachings, devotional practices, and social/political influences of discrete religious traditions.

Is this right for me?

This professional graduate certificate is for individuals currently working in or working toward deepening their skills and expertise for these types of roles:

  • History or English language arts educator at a public or independent school
  • Advisor at a religious organization
  • Citizen involved in interfaith and multifaith collaborations

Summer School courses

You can also take courses at Harvard Summer School to count towards the certificate.

Required course available at Harvard Summer School

Electives available at Harvard Summer School


You take five courses to obtain a professional graduate certificate in religious studies and education.

Earning the certificate

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

Will all the courses listed be offered every year?

The required courses are offered, but the elective offerings do change slightly from year to year due to instructor availability and new offerings.

Certificate requirements:

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

Monitor your progress

You may monitor your progress by logging in to online services and choosing the Certificate Course Tracker and Request Form. This form will confirm the courses that count toward the certificate, the courses for which you are currently registered, and the courses that you’ve completed.

Requesting the certificate

When you have completed the final certificate course with the required grade, you may request your certificate by logging in to online services and completing the Certificate Course Tracker and Request Form. Be sure to request the certificate within 30 days of when grades are posted online (see calendar for dates).

After your request is reviewed and approved, you will receive an e-mail with a link to your electronic certificate, which you may print. Also, certificates, printed on parchment paper and suitable for framing, are mailed out at the end of the fall, spring, and summer terms.

The certificate will state:

Harvard University, Harvard Extension School awarded [Your Name] a five course professional graduate-level certificate in religious studies and education.

The certificate, along with the courses and the grades, are noted on your official Harvard Extension School transcript.

Considering a master's degree?

This is a standalone credential, but you may be able to count some or all the certificate courses toward the Master of Liberal Arts depending on the concentration or track you choose. Visit the degree course search to find out how certificate courses apply toward the degree.

If you want to earn the master’s degree, apply to the degree program first, and earn the certificate along the way. If you prefer to leave your options open, keep degree program requirements in mind as you begin to take courses. For either the certificate or degree, you can start out with one course, then decide.

Have questions?

We are happy to answer general questions about the certificate.

  1. Read our common questions about certificates.
  2. Connect with an enrollment coach. We’ll help you determine how the certificate can help you meet your goals. Share your contact information, and we’ll contact you soon.