Master of Divinity in Humanist Studies

The MDiv in Humanist Studies program fosters leadership that is ethically grounded, informed, skillful, globally responsible, personally sustainable, and committed to meeting the needs of the Humanist community. This program is designed for students interested in becoming leaders who intend to work in humanist settings and/or interreligious settings that include Humanists. The concentration offers a nondogmatic and nondoctrinal approach to learning leadership within an interreligious and ecumenical seminary community.

This MDiv program differs from the MAL in Humanist Studies program in that includes training in ministerial competencies along with leadership skills with a Humanist focus. The MDiv program may be a good fit for you if you are interested in career in congregational leadership, chaplaincy, and specialized leadership roles of spokesperson, educator, and advocate.


Concentration Learning Outcomes

In addition to achieving the core MDiv degree learning outcomes, a graduate of the MDiv in Humanist Studies program will be able to:

  • articulate the core values of Humanism and how these values have been expressed in multiple historical and cultural contexts;
  • articulate a personal Humanist philosophy that is informed by a critical interpretation and analysis of the perspectives of multiple Humanist philosophers;
  • articulate opportunities for practicing Humanist values in the world that incorporate their expressed personal beliefs derived from those values as well as critical reflection on their social position and past experiences;
  • articulate strategies for effective organizational leadership in multiple Humanist-oriented non-profit contexts;
  • articulate a constructive theological proposal that is conversant with core theological categories and addresses a social or political issue that relates to students’ vocational context OR articulate their own constructive theological position and interpret the theological context of their call to UU ministry or other vocation in a way that demonstrates a critical reflection of a number of Unitarian and Universalist theologies and the influences of other liberal traditions;
  • articulate strategies for effective, professional, ethical, and compassionate pastoral and spiritual care to a diversity of persons;
  • craft and deliver a sermon or public address that demonstrates effective speaking form/style and content based on a selected context; and
  • achieve their self-defined practice of ministry goals that are appropriately based on the requirements of their denomination or other vocational path OR demonstrate skills for effective, professional, ethical, and compassionate pastoral and spiritual care to a diversity of persons.


United’s MDiv at a Glance

  • 72 credits
  • Twenty-four 3-credit courses, including one field experience
  • Final thesis or project not required, but you can choose to complete a thesis as an elective course
  • Can be completed in three years if you take a full-time course load (24 credits per year)
  • Most MDiv concentrations, including Humanist Studies, can be completed entirely via distance learning; many courses can be taken completely asynchronously

Program Course Guide Sheet for Academic Year 2023-2024

Religious Texts 4
Introduction to Religious Texts
Two 2000-level Religious Texts courses
One additional Religious Texts course
Theological Tradition 4
Invitation to Theology: Truth, Goodness, and Beauty
Choose one:
History of Christian Theologies
History of Modern Theologies
Choose one:
Theology for Social Transformation
Unitarian and Universalist Theologies
One additional Theological Tradition course
Ethics/Justice 2
Comparative Religious Ethics
Choose one:
Queer and Trans Theologies
Black and Womanist Theologies
Formation 2
Introduction to Spiritual and Personal Formation
Humanist Leadership: How to Run Organizations*
Cultural Contextualization 1
World Religions
Arts and Theology 1
Choose one:
History of Arts and Theology
Art, Religion, and Contemporary Culture
Social Transformation 1 Leadership and Strategies for Social Change
Integration 1 MDiv Capstone Seminar
Vocational Contextualization & Skills 8
Introduction to Pastoral and Spiritual Care
Preaching and Your Public Voice
Humanist Worldviews: Then and Now*
Humanist Philosophy: A Journey Through All the Big Questions*
Humanist Aesthetics and Practices*
Two United elective courses
Choose one:
Congregational Internship
CPE Internship
Ministry Practicum
* United courses offered online in affiliation with the American Humanist Association Center for Education


Learn More

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