Academic Programs

Certificate Programs

Are you interested in going deeper with your faith, study, and writing? Earlham School of Religion’s certificate programs serve a vital role as a more structured “next step” beyond our Occasional Student program while not requiring entry into our degree programs.

ESR’s certificate programs give you the opportunity to participate and earn credit as any of our other students in full graduate-level courses leading toward a certificate in a focused area of concentration. Thanks to the ESR Access distance-learning program you can complete your certificate without having to move. Distance options include fully online, hybrid residential/online, and two-week intensive residential courses. Semester-long residential courses are available as part of the certificate.

While it is not possible to transfer credits from other institutions into the ESR Certificate Program, a student who has previously taken applicable courses at ESR may apply up to two of those toward the completion of the six-course Certificate if the courses were completed within ten years of applying. Certficates are designed to be completed in two to three years. Full course descriptions are available online.

ESR offers the following certificates, all of which are meant for students to begin in the fall semester of the year they begin:

Beginning Fall 2014

Ministry of Writing - The idea of “writing as ministry” is not common in seminary curricula but has deep roots in Quaker history. At ESR, you will develop your understanding of writing as public ministry and hone your skills in multiple genres – all within the context of a seminary education. The Ministry of Writing Certificate at ESR is designed as a six-course certificate that can be completed in as little as two years. Four of these courses are to come from the Ministry of Writing program (WR 101 and 350 are required), and two are to come from other classes within the seminary.

Writing courses include:

  • WR 101 – Introduction to Writing as Ministry
  • WR 220 – Writing the Story
  • WR 230 – Creative Non-Fiction
  • WR 240 – Public Theology
  • WR 250 – Writing for God and God’s People
  • WR 290 – Special Topics (recent topics include Writing Mental Illness and Writing as Craft as Mindfulness)
  • WR 350 – Writing Seminar

For their remaining two courses, students may choose two introductory courses or focus more narrowly on a field, pairing an introductory and intermediate course. Possible introductory courses include:

  • BS 101 – Introduction to Old Testament History and Literature
  • BS 102 – Introduction to New Testament History and Literature
  • HS 101 – History of Christianity I
  • HS 102 – History of Christianity II
  • PJ 101 – Introduction to Peace and Justice
  • TS 101 – Introduction to Theological Reflection

Quakerism: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow – As the world’s first Friends seminary, Earlham School of Religion provides extensive resources for those who wish to understand the impressive history, the diversity, and the potential of the Religious Society of Friends. You will have the opportunity to examine both the roots and branches of the denomination through the lenses of theology, history, culture, literature, spirituality and applied theology. ESR’s Quakerism: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow Certificate is designed as a six-course certificate that can be completed in as little as two years. Quaker History and Literature is a requirement.

Courses may include:

  • QS 107 – Quaker History and Literature
  • QS 250 – Creation of Modern Quaker Diversity
  • QS 260 – Individual Quaker Thinkers
  • QS 270 – Modern Quaker Movements
  • QS 340 – Quaker Beliefs
  • QS 351 - History of Friends Peace Witness
  • QS 377 – Quaker Public Ministry
  • QS 400 – Independent Study
  • SP 212 – Mysticism in Quaker Tradition
  • LS 374 – Quaker Process

Beginning Fall 2015

Deepening the Life of the Spirit - There is no vital and authentic ministry apart from spiritual preparation, which entails a life committed to prayer and worship, personal spiritual growth, and the study of the Bible and devotional classics. Courses in this portion of the curriculum provide ample opportunity to deepen your own spiritual life as well as your capacity to offer ministry as a result of inner leadings and promptings from the Holy Spirit. ESR’s Deepening the Life of the Spirit Certificate is designed as a six-course certificate that can be completed in as little as two years. FC 101, Spiritual Formation and Personal Practice, is a foundational requirement.

Courses may include:

  • FC 101 – Spiritual Formation and Personal Practice (offered as an August two-week intensive each year)
  • SP 212 – Mysticism in Quaker Tradition
  • SP 214 – Prayer
  • SP 233 – Christian Discipleship and Living in the Spirit
  • SP 234 – Spiritual Formation and the Mystical Tradition
  • SP 360 – New Frontiers in Spirituality
  • SP 320 – Spirituality and Images of God
  • SP 336 – Eco-Spirituality
  • SP 342 – History of Christian Spirituality
  • PJ 370 – Spirituality of Peacemaking

Take the next step today. Contact Matt Hisrich, Director of Admissions, at or call (800) 432-1377.

Certificate Program Application Form