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The Certificate Program in Interfaith Spirituality consists of 16 credit hours.

4 Core Credits (choose any one of the four core courses)

RTS 5010 Introduction to Spirituality - 4 credits

An introduction to the spiritual dimension of human experience as described and practiced in various religious traditions, sacred texts and ascetic practices, and contemplation, with attention to the language and concepts that have emerged from these texts, traditions and practices over the centuries, and their relevance for contemporary spiritual experience and the search for meaning.

RTS 5020 Christian Spirituality - 4 credits

An introduction to the foundations of Christian Spirituality as found in contemplative prayer, the Bible, Christian worship and moral teaching; attention will be given to major spiritual movements in Christian history, including Augustinian and other religious orders, Protestant and Orthodox movements and contemporary intentional Christian lay communities; the relationship between contemplation, spirituality, morality, and social justice.

RTS 5030 Spirituality and Social Justice - 4 credits

An integration of interiority, the search for meaning, and the seven themes of Catholic Social Teaching; the themes of basic human dignity, human rights, the common good, and social justice will also be explored in other spiritual traditions, with special attention to their roots in the Hebrew Prophets.

RTS 5040 Spirituality in a Religiously Diverse World - 4 credits

Our society needs a new kind of religious leadership and spirituality, grounded in a particular tradition and at the same time able to interact effectively with other faith communities. This course is designed to educate participants about the beliefs and practices of the three Abrahamic traditions, and of the Eastern religious traditions, with particular focus on how various traditions integrate the experience of transcendence with daily life. Special attention is given to the practice of prayer, meditation, and contemplation, using the method of comparative theology which respects the integrity of each tradition.

Seminar in the Spiritual Life

RTS 5600 Seminar in the Spiritual Life - 8 credits

An eight-credit, two-semester practicum under individual supervision, together with sustained individual and group reflection on the experience of doing spiritual direction. Meets bi-weekly from September to May, with 2 weekend retreat meetings (November and April), and 4 Saturday retreat meetings (September, October, February and March).

Prerequisites: Any one of the four Core Courses: RTS 5010, 5020, 5030, or 5040, taken before or contemporaneous with this seminar.

Independent Research*

RTS 5750 Independent Research - 4 credits

In this course students research a particular topic and demonstrate graduate-level competency in that topic through writing or other project. Topics for the course will ordinarily be interfaith in nature, either through the study of a tradition other than the student’s original tradition, or through a comparative study of two traditions. The independent research course differs from the thesis course in that evidence of study and research may consist in multiple forms such as research papers, presentations, or other projects.

Credit Summary:

  • 4 core-course credits (one CORE course)
  • 8 credit Seminar
  • 4 credit independent research
  • Total 16 credits

*Suggested topics for independent research in a second religious or spiritual tradition:

  • Christian Traditions of the Spiritual Life
  • Augustinian Spirituality
  • Jewish Mysticism
  • Sufi Spirituality
  • Hindu Spiritual Experience
  • Buddhism and Spiritual Practice
  • Spirituality and Social Ethics
  • Spirituality and Psychopathology
  • The Spirituality of 12 Step Programs
  • Gender and Spirituality
  • Grief and Spirituality
  • The Spirituality of Elder Years

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Here’s how to get more information about Merrimack College’s Certificate in Interfaith Spirituality.