Religious educators help elucidate religious belief systems, doctrines, rituals, and customs. Those teaching religion benefit from possessing a well-rounded foundation in religious history and practices as well as an interdisciplinary approach to lesson plan design.

Through this certificate—jointly sponsored by Harvard Divinity School and Harvard Extension School— you gain both.

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 role of religion.
  • The study of religion from a nonsectarian perspective by applying an interdisciplinary, multigenerational cultural studies methodology.
  • Lesson and unit plan development complementing various educational settings.
  • The historical origins, central teachings, and devotional practices 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:

  • Religious educator
  • Religious youth advisor
  • Advisor at a place of worship (e.g., church, synagogue, mosque)
  • Advisor at a religious organization

Courses

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 thirty 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 will be printed on parchment paper that are suitable for framing, and 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?

You can count the certificate courses toward a degree in the Master of Liberal Arts. Find out how certificate courses apply toward the degree by using the degree course search.  

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.