Certificates and Special Academic Programs
Boston University School of Theology certificate programs may be pursued independently or as part of other STH degree programs. The purpose of STH Certificates is to help students deepen their knowledge and expertise in a particular area and to document their specialized preparation for ministry.
Religion and Conflict Transformation Certificate
The Certificate in Religion and Conflict Transformation is awarded by the BTI in recognition of courses taken in Religion and Conflict Transformation at BTI schools. The award is determined by a committee of faculty from BTI schools. The Certificate is not a degree but an acknowledgement of a student’s interests, efforts and focuses within their program. For more information, contact the RCT office, or Dr. Judith Oleson.
- Meet with Dr. Judith Oleson or Rev. Tom Porter, the BTI Religion and Conflict Transformation advisors at STH.
- Submit an application form as soon as possible, and certainly before your last semester.
- Complete work by November 1st for fall graduation or April 1st for spring graduation.
- Be enrolled at a BTI school, either for a degree or for continuing education.
- Take core course at the Boston University School of Theology, “Spirit and Art of Conflict Transformation,” or its equivalent.
- Take three additional courses that focus on religion and conflict transformation, or take two courses plus do a practicum/field ed placement.
- Attend the annual RCT Retreat.
- Write an integrative paper, 8-10pp, that summarizes and reflects upon your learning and experience and understanding of religion and conflict transformation and how this will serve you in your vocation.
- Religion and Conflict Transformation Website
- Approved Courses
Faith and Ecological Justice Certificate
For almost 20 years, the School of Theology has been building strength in ecological justice, beginning with courses and projects, sustainable practices, curriculum tracks, and LEEDS-certified renovations. In 2017, the School joined the second cohort of theological schools in the Green Seminary Initiative’s certification process. As part of that certification process, Dean Mary Elizabeth Moore gathered a team of faculty, staff, and students. The School undertook a self-audit of ongoing ecological justice efforts in education, buildings and maintenance, community life, liturgy and worship, and public leadership. The School began discussing the possibility of launching a program centered on ecological justice, which in 2018 was aptly named the “Faith and Ecological Justice Program”.
The Certificate in Faith and Ecological Justice signifies a student’s concentrated development of research and/or practical competencies in ecotheology, environmental ethics, and ecologically-informed spirituality and practices. The goal of the certificate is to prepare students for meaningful and effective work in faith-based environmental initiatives and to explore the rich depth of religious resources for such work. Courses in theology and ethics introduce students to the ways that religious traditions have portrayed human relations to the natural world as well as how they have responded to environmental challenges. Travel seminars and colloquia offer students training in ecologically-informed spiritual practices and activism. Successful completion of the program consists of passing three approved courses in the subject area and completing three one-credit colloquia. The certificate can be earned in conjunction with degree program requirements or as a stand-alone certificate. If a student wants to substitute other courses including those from one of the other schools in the Boston Theological Institute, they will need to consult with Dr. Rebecca Copeland, Assistant Professor of Theology, and receive approval by petition to the academic dean. Students wanting more information about the Faith and Ecological certificate or the value of such certification may contact Dr. Copeland.
Theology and LatinX Studies Certificate
The Certificate in Theology and LatinX Studies signifies a student’s concentrated development of research and/or practical competencies in Latinx history, theology, and religious culture. The goal of the program is to prepare students for meaningful and effective work in Latinx communities of faith and to explore the rich depth of Latinx religious traditions. The program offers academic training in methods of contextual analysis through courses in urban ministry and travel seminars. Courses in biblical and historical studies introduce students to the traditions of biblical interpretation as well as the spiritual practices and religious, political, and social influences that have shaped Latinx Christianity. Another strength of the program is the study of the history and sociology of migration from Latin American countries. Successful completion of the program consists of passing four approved courses in the subject area. The certificate can be earned in conjunction with degree program requirements or as a stand-alone certificate. If a student wants to substitute other courses including those from one of the other schools in the Boston Theological Institute, they will need to consult with one of the advisors listed below, and receive approval by petition to the academic dean. Students wanting more information about the Theology and LatinX certificate or the value of such certification may contact one of the faculty advisors listed on the plan of study below, but Dr. Filipe Maia (firstname.lastname@example.org) is this year’s coordinator of the certificate and he would be the best starting point.
This certificate can be taken by any student, regardless of religious affiliation. United Methodist students who complete the certificate are then prepared to seek certification through their annual conference boards of ordained ministry, in addition to fulfilling other church and personal requirements. The School of Theology’s procedure for documenting students’ specialized academic work is to provide a letter of completion. For questions related to admission into this certificate program, please contact the School of Theology Admissions Office. For all other questions about the certificate program not related to the admissions process, please contact Dr. Wanda Stahl, Co-Director of Contextual Education.
Music Ministry Certificate
Spiritual Formation Certificate
- Plan of Study
- More information from the United Methodist Church for Methodist students
- Gateways to God Spiritual Direction Training at Rolling Ridge Retreat Center
What is “Gateways to God?”
Gateways to God is a training program in spiritual direction offered jointly by Rolling Ridge Retreat & Conference Center and the New England Conference of the United Methodist Church. The training is offered during six mini-retreats and takes up to 18 months to complete in its entirety.
>How can I use my participation in Gateways to God toward a UMC Certificate Program?
By attending all six retreats at Rolling Ridge, persons can fulfill two of the five courses they would need for the UMC Spiritual Formation Certificate, which is earned through Boston University School of Theology. After completing the Gateways to God program students will still need to take a Bible course, a UM Studies course, and another course in spiritual disciplines/prayer or spiritual guidance to complete the certificate in full (the details of the Spiritual Formation Certificate are laid out here).
How do I register for academic & certificate credit at BU School of Theology?
To receive academic credit for a retreat, which can be used toward the UMC certificate, students must sign up for “STH TC 893 W1: Spirituality Practicum,” for 1 credit per weekend retreat. This means that in semesters when only 1 weekend retreat occurs they will register for TC 893 as a 1-credit class. And in semesters when two weekend retreats take place they will register for TC 893 as a 2-credit class.
In all cases Dr. Claire Wolfteich is the professor of record for the course. To register for this course a participant must send an email to the School of Theology Registrar (email@example.com), requesting registration for STH TC 893 and indicating whether it should be a 1-credit or 2-credit registration in that semester. The TC 893 course is not publicly advertised on the BU course listings website, so only the School of Theology Registrar is able to register students for this class directly.
Current STH Students
Current School of Theology students in any first-level masters program may register for TC 893 by emailing their request to the STH Registrar. This will allow them to gain academic credit for their participation in the Gateways to God training retreats. Please direct any questions to the STH Registrar.
People not yet enrolled in the School of Theology must become “Special Students” to earn BU academic credit & the certificate.
Each person who is not currently enrolled in an STH degree program, but who wishes to participate in a Gateways to God retreat for academic credit and/or complete the UMC Certificate in Spiritual Formation, must become a “Special Student” of the School of Theology. Special Student status allows someone to register for individual courses at the University without having to enroll in a degree program.
The Special Student application instructions can be found under the “Admissions” section of the STH website and is a shortened form of the full STH online application. (For example, the application requires all transcripts from previous academic institutions, but does not require letters of reference.)
The Special Student application costs $95 to submit, but need only be submitted once to gain “Special Student” status at the School of Theology. A Special Student who remains registered in at least one course per each contiguous spring and fall semester retains their status and does not need to submit another application each semester. However, once a Special Student lapses in their registration for a semester they lose their status and must reapply in a future semester using the online application and paying the $95 application fee once again.
Once you have submitted your Special Student application it takes approximately a month to receive an admissions decision from the School of Theology Admissions Office. If you have any questions about the application process, please feel free to contact the School of Theology Admissions Office.
The application deadline for Special Students is December 1st for Spring admission and August 1st for Fall admission. However, all applicants are encouraged to make their applications several months prior to beginning their coursework.
*Please note that Gateway to God retreats begin in November each year, which is too late to apply for Special Student status at BU School of Theology during the Fall semester. Because of this, incoming Gateway to God students should wait and apply for Special Student status in the next spring semester, after they’ve already begun at Rolling Ridge. This is the ideal timeline. However, Gateways to God participants can apply to Boston University School of Theology as a Special Student at any point in their Gateways to God experience and gain academic credit for previous retreat attendance retroactively.
Retroactive academic credit
To receive retroactive academic credit the person should 1. apply and receive Special Student status at the School of Theology, 2. contact the professor of record for each of their previous retreats attended (ex. Dr. Wolfteich), 3. ask that faculty member to email the School of Theology Registrar to communicate the semesters in which they received the credit and the grades received. Retroactive credit will be billed according to the University per-credit cost of the current semester, not the semester in which the retreat was taken.
Special students pay the STH normal part-time per-credit tuition rate (found on this website: http://www.bu.edu/sth/academics/financial-aid/). However, the School of Theology offers any Special Student who is in the Gateways to God program and/or pursuing the UMC Certificate a tuition scholarship of 70% off of their total tuition cost to make their studies more affordable.
This 70% tuition scholarship is the same amount of tuition scholarship that all STH Master of Divinity program students at the School of Theology receive upon admission. Anyone pursuing and enjoying their Special Student studies are encouraged to apply for the MDiv program should they feel called to do so. All coursework from the Gateways to God program and/or UMC Certificate transfers into the MDiv program seamlessly.
Feel free to be in touch with the School of Theology Admissions Office if you would like to talk further about your discernment and possible enrollment in a degree program (617-383-9347 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
Certificate in Anglican-Episcopal Studies
The Certificate in Anglican and Episcopal Studies signifies a student’s concentrated study in the history, theology, polity, spirituality, and liturgy of Anglican and Episcopal traditions. The goal of the certificate program is to prepare students for life and work in those traditions, but it is open and available to any student interested. Successful completion of the certificate consists of passing any four courses from among the approved list (see below) plus at least two semesters of TC857 Anglican Formation (1 credit per semester)—thus, 14 total credits. The certificate can be earned in conjunction with degree program requirements or as a stand-alone certificate. If a student wants to substitute other courses including those from one of the other schools in the Boston Theological Interreligious Institute, they will need to consult with the advisor listed below, and receive approval by petition to the academic dean. Students wanting more information about the certificate or the value of such certification may contact the faculty advisor listed below.
Elise Feyerherm, Adjunct Instructor and Mentor for the Anglican Episcopal Community of Learning
In order to earn the certificate, students must take four courses from the following list of approved courses plus at least two semesters of STH TC857 Anglican Formation (1 credit per semester). Other courses at STH, BU, or the BTI may be petitioned to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.
- STH TH811: History of the Episcopal Church
- STH TC8XX: Liturgical Leadership Practicum
- STH TH804: English Christianity from Wycliffe to the Wesleys
- STH TA 811: Book of Common Prayer
- STH TC 819: The Sacraments: Rites and Theologies
- STH TC 858: Dismantling White Privilege
- STH TC 862: The Liturgical Year
- STH TC 868: Worship in the Anglican and Wesleyan Traditions
- STH TH 826: The Reformations
Other Boston University certificates that may be of interest to School of Theology students:
- Fundraising Management Certificate (offered by Metropolitan College at Boston University)
- Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Graduate Certificate (Offered by the Graduate Consortium in Women’s Studies) Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Graduate Certificate Website