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Certificate of Sexuality and Religion (C.S.R.)

Religion continues to play a prominent role in contemporary debates regarding sexuality, gender identity, and sexual orientation affecting the lives and status of minority sexual communities, like gay men, lesbians, transgendered, bisexual and queer-identified persons. A study at the intersection of religion and sexuality can inform leaders in faith communities, advocacy groups, and legislative bodies on the power of religion to both oppress and to free. Whether you are a religious professional, employed in a secular field that addresses issues of sexuality, or an LGBTQIA+ activist, the C.S.R., as a professional development certificate program, will enable you to speak with authority and expertise on the issues of religion and sexuality.

The C.S.R. program is designed to be a two year, less-than-full-time course of study, although you may take up to four years to complete the certificate.  It is not uncommon for current degree students (those in the Master of Divinity, Master of Theological Studies, Doctor of Ministry, or the GTU Master of Arts, and GTU PhDs) to add C.S.R. to their degree coursework as a way to gain competency and specialization in the area of sexuality and religion.

Graduates of the program can expect to find vocations in the religious arena as religious directors, religious educators, activities directors, other religious work, and in some cases even clergy. Participants may come from a wide variety of backgrounds, including:

  • Seminary students, clergy and lay leaders from Protestant and Catholic traditions who want to be better equipped to lead the often painful conversations and important constructive actions required to advance the full inclusion of LGBT people within their faith communities.
  • Journalists, counselors, psychologists, and other professionals whose work involves issues of sexuality and religion.
  • Community members who may not necessarily be interested in the certificate program but who are interested in taking a CSR course or two as a Special Student or Auditor might be LGBT activists and friends who want to become more articulate about religious issues and establish collaborative alliances with religious communities.

The CSR provides working professionals and students with knowledge and skills to apply theological, historical, ethical, pastoral, and practical dimensions of sexuality, sexual orientation, and gender identity to their religious vocations. The goal of the program is to help students to demonstrate the following skills in vocations of religious leadership and work:

  • Think theologically about contemporary sexual practices and identities
  • Understand the history of faith traditions in regard to sexuality and sexual identity
  • Speak knowledgeably about contemporary sexual practices and the scientific and psychological information relevant to them
  • Consider the historical and theological development of ethical systems used to evaluate and regulate moral judgments concerning various sexual practices and identities within faith traditions
  • Gain authority and expertise in leading discussions on issues of religion and sexuality both within faith traditions and within society more broadly

CSR courses are taught by faculty from Pacific School of Religion and other Graduate Theological Union member schools. Some courses are offered by adjunct faculty selected by PSR’s Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry.

For program details, refer to the Academic Catalog.

It is strongly recommended that you have basic introductory knowledge of the Bible, theology, church history and ethics before matriculating into the CSR program. This recommendation can be satisfied in one of the following three ways:

  1. Undergraduate or graduate level course work in these areas at an accredited institution;
  2. Proof of completion of an MDiv degree program;
  3. Completion of a reading list supplied by PSR.