Master of Arts in Spirituality, Culture and Health

Health and human services professionals throughout the United States will benefit from Western Michigan University's unique online Master of Arts in spirituality, culture and health created to address the needs of people who serve an increasingly diverse population.

The program in the Department of Comparative Religion is based upon a cultural understanding of the body, illness and health, and emphasizes practical tools for addressing religious, spiritual and cultural diversity in health and human services settings. The curriculum promotes an advanced understanding of the impact of culture, spirituality and religious belief on patient-provider relationships, and on the process of healing in the context of the current health care and human services environment in the United States.

The coursework for this program can be completed entirely online. Upon completion, individuals will be able to act in a consulting role within their organization. Students will become more culturally competent, and able to forge meaningful relationships with patients or clients and their families through an understanding of religious and cultural influences on health and healing. Students can also enroll in the courses as electives to enhance cultural competence skills within other degree programs.

If you are interested in combining an online graduate certificate in spirituality, culture and health with the online Master of Arts in spirituality, culture and health, you can do so within the 30 credit hours required for the Master of Arts. You will need to apply for both the certificate and the Master of Arts programs.

If you are interested in combining an online graduate certificate in Gerontology with the online Master of Arts in Spirituality, Culture and Health can do so within the 30 credit hours required for the Master of Arts. Students who are interested in combining a graduate certificate in gerontology will need to apply for both the certificate and the Master of Arts programs.

Admission

To apply to the program, applicants must have:

  • A completed bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.
  • A 1200 word essay outlining the applicant’s specific interest in the program and how completion of the program will contribute to the applicant’s  academic, professional, and personal goals.
  • Three letters of recommendation from individuals who are able to evaluate the applicant’s potential for graduate study.  Letters can be submitted by current or former colleagues if the applicant has not had recent contact with undergraduate professors.
  • Completed a graduate application.

Please contact Dr. Cynthia Visscher for application information.

Thank you for your interest in applying for this graduate program.

Non degree

Applicants who want to take individual courses to enhance professional goals can enroll in up to three spirituality, culture and health courses as a non-degree seeking student.

Program requirements

The Master of Arts in spirituality, culture and health requires the completion of 30 credit hours.

Catalog description

State authorization

This online program contains a field practicum that may require the submission of a activity request form if completing this activity outside the state of Michigan at the time of enrollment for this course. However, this online program can be completed without taking a traditional field placement.

Elective courses (18 credits)

Students may select 18 elective credits from the list below; at least 3 electives (9 credits) must be at the 6000 level or above. Not all classes are available every semester. Students in the program will be notified as additional elective courses are made available.

  • REL 5000:   Historical Studies (three credit hours; repeatable)
  • Religion and Alternative Medicine in the United States
  • REL 5100:   Comparative Studies (three credit hours; repeatable)
  • Death, Dying, Culture and Belief
  • REL 6200:   Advanced Writing Seminar in Religion (three credit hours; repeatable)
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine
  • Buddhist Meditation 
  • HOL 6910:  Spirituality and the Therapeutic Process (three credit hours)
  • OLP 6440:   Organizational Effectiveness and Learning (three credit hours)
  • REL 7100:   Independent Research (one to six credits)

One undergraduate course may be selected from the following; a waiver form must be completed prior to enrollment:

  • REL 3180: Death, Dying and Beyond (four credit hours)
  • REL 3190: Religion and Health (four credit hours)