Graduate Certification in Spirituality, Culture and Health

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

The program 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 environment in the United States.

The coursework for this certificate 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, able to forge meaningful relationships with patients and their families through an understanding of the patient’s religion. Individual courses will also be available for students who are interested in electives that will add to their competence in this area of study.

Master of Arts

Students who are interested in combining a graduate certificate in spirituality, culture, and health with:

  • A Master of Arts in comparative religion can do so within the 33 credit hours required for the M.A. Students can apply for admission to the M.A. program at any time during the process of completing the certificate program.
  • An online Master of Arts in spirituality, culture and health can do so within the 30 credit hours required for the M.A. Students can apply for admission to the M.A. program at any time during the process of completing the certificate program.

Admission requirements

WMU has a new online graduate application system that allows all students (domestic and international) to submit required information into one system.  General application information for the University, as well as specific requirement for individual programs are captured into this system.

The Department of Comparative Religion requires applicants to include some program-specific information for the certificate that can be found here.  Applicants are encouraged to bookmark this information for quick reference while working through the graduate application process.

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

Program requirements

The spirituality, culture and health certificate requires the completion of 18 credit hours.

Required courses

Note: These courses are required but not yet listed in the catalog:
REL 6200 – Advanced Writing Seminar in Religion
Topic: Spirituality and Health: Survey of the Field  Credits: 3 hours

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 (6 credits)

Students may choose six elective credits from the list below. Not all classes are available every semester. Students in the program will be notified as additional elective courses are made available.

  • HOL 6910: Spirituality and the Therapeutic Process (three credits)
  • REL 5000: Religion and Alternative Medicine in the United States (three credits)
  • REL 5100: Death, Dying, Culture, and Belief (three credits)
  • REL 5980: Readings in Religion (one to four credites)

  • OLP 6440: Organizational Effectiveness and Learning (three credit hours)


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 credits)
  • REL 3190: Health and Religion (four credits)


For more information, contact: