Humanist Studies Program Overview

Admission Requirements

All of our programs require a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent.  A limited number of students may be accepted without a Bachelor’s degree upon review of the Education Committee for academic preparedness.

Students who are admitted without an undergraduate degree are done so provisionally.


Our courses are taught in an inverted or flipped in-person classroom model. Students study course content prior to class–via readings, video lectures, movies, simulations, or other instructional materials–coming fully prepared to actively participate within the classroom. There may be preparatory assignments for some courses, which will be listed on the syllabus provided upon registration.

Our students don’t just read the books, listen to a lecture, and take notes. They are stimulated into a discussion, provoked to think deeper, and come to understand more broadly the Humanist life stance. This active learning method allows students to go beyond the acquisition of the facts and truly delve into topics. It promotes a higher level of learning in building competencies (e.g. problem-solving, critical thinking, communication) and skills (e.g. analysis, synthesis, evaluation) in the pursuit of acquiring a broader, deeper knowledge of humanism.

Humanist Studies Certificate Program

The Humanist Studies Certificate Program requires 15 completed credits.

Click the arrows below to read about Humanist Studies Program (HSP) courses.  Courses are run over a 14-week semester.  All courses must be completed for one to become a Certified Humanist Professional. Students will receive a syllabus upon registration.

Enroll HSP

Master of Divinity in Humanist Studies

This MDiv program is in partnership with the United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities.  It includes training in ministerial competencies along with leadership skills from a humanist perspective.  The MDiv program is a good fit for those interested in congregational leadership, chaplaincy, and specialized roles of spokesperson, educator, and advocate.

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Master of Arts in Leadership in Humanist Studies

This MALS program is in partnership with the United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities.  This program is designed for students interested in becoming leaders intending to work in humanist settings and/or interreligious settings.  It is a good fit for those interested in pursuing community, chapter-based, regional, or national organizational leadership.

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Humanist Studies Program Courses

If a student does not desire a certificate or master’s level education, these courses can be taken individually without the requirement of enrollment in the certificate program or United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities.  Course registration is below.  Click on the arrow to see full descriptions.

Humanist Worldviews: Then & Now

Humanist Worldviews: Then & Now

There is not one single “Humanism,” but many. That is the fundamental assumption of this course, which seeks to explore a number of “Humanisms” which have arisen and flourished in different parts of the world and across time. Students new to Humanism will end the course with an appreciation of the core values of Humanism, and how they can be discovered and applied in different ways in different cultures. Students who already have a basic understanding of Humanism will deepen their appreciation of the worldview, learning how complex and variegated are the expressions of Humanism. The intent of the course is to broaden students’ understanding of what “Humanism” can mean, by complexifying traditional Humanist narratives and presenting lesser-known ones.

Read the full course description here.

Humanist Philosophies and Understandings

Humanist Philosophies & Understandings

If you are not religious, how do you answer the great questions of life? Who Am I? Why am I here? How do I know what is true? How should we treat each other? These are questions religions exist to answer – but if you are not religious, is there anything to say? Humanist philosophy can be understood as an attempt to provide nonreligious answers to these questions, answers which question traditional assumptions about God and the soul and embrace a secular, this-worldly view. In this course we will explore these existential and spiritual questions through a Humanist lens, clarifying the nature of Humanism by seeing how different Humanist philosophers respond. You will be invited to dialogue with their ideas, and in the process develop your own.

Humanist Aesthetics & Practices

Humanist Aesthetics & Practices

This course will focus on axiology, how we ‘do’ Humanism, through an exploration of aesthetics and practices. Building on work from the Humanist Worldviews course, students will be invited to align Humanist values with action, making concrete articulated beliefs. This class will consider the variety of ways in which Humanist leadership takes shape from caretaking, social justice initiatives, group management, ritual making, and spiritual practices. Students will also be introduced to methods of conflict transformation, spiritual assessments, and visioning. Course materials are drawn from a variety of secular and religious Humanist authors and communities.  This class also will require students to reflect on their positionalities, through a process of reflection & self-inventories;  determining the gifts their past experiences may bear for the Humanist movement and communities.

Humanist Leadership: How to Run Organizations

Humanist Leadership: How to Run Organizations

Humanist Leaders occupy an interesting cross-section of roles within the United States. They are a combination of nonprofit managers, community builders, and can be the equivalent of religious leaders for the non-theistic with many of the same roles as clergy. This course will explore the necessary skills to run a nonprofit organization, manage staff & volunteers, and how to continue developing as a professional leader throughout one’s career. We will also learn about multiple paths to Humanist Leadership, both established and emerging.



Students will complete a final project designed to encourage self-reflection, formulate humanist ideals and demonstrate cumulative learning under the supervision of a faculty adviser. Students are required to prepare a capstone proposal that includes an executive summary and timeline for completion.


Course Registration