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.

Academics

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 lifestance. 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.

Each course includes an intensive portion of 40 hours of in-person classwork.  Courses held at Meadville Lombard Theological School will usually be held over a 5-day period in January (Fall/Winter term), March (Spring term) and July (Summer term).  Courses offered at American Humanist Association headquarters will also be held over a 5-day period (schedule to be determine beginning of each academic year).  Minmum of 5 registrated students is required to offer any course.

Humanist Studies Certificate Program

The Humanist Studies Certificate Program requires 12 completed credits.

Click arrows below to read about Humanist Studies Program (HSP) courses.  All courses must be completed for one to become a Certified Humanist Professional. Students will receive a syllabus upon registration and be expected to complete readings and assignments prior to class.

NOTE:  It is recommended courses are taken in sequence to enhance the learning experience.

Humanism Course I: The Nature of Being

Humanism Course I: The Nature of Being

The nature of being and the orientation of human beings within social and natural realities have been considerations of humanity for generations, leading to origin stories, religions, philosophies, and science. What is the nature of being? What does it mean to be? What does it mean to be conscious? To be alive? What does the interaction of beings and things mean? Are there beings and things? How are they, or are they, different? This course explores these questions through the lens of humanism, from the ancient world today, complete with an exploration of the institutions which make up the contemporary humanist movement.

Humanism Course II: Knowledge, Justification and Humanist Epistemologies

Humanism Course II: Knowledge, Justification and Humanist Epistemologies

From the time of the ancient Greeks, humans have contemplated the best way to understand the natural world, to comprehend truth, to build a just society and to live a good life without relying on supernatural explanations provided by religions. We will consider the contemporary state of these efforts in the context of modern humanism. In addition to considering the basic processes that lead us to this knowledge and understanding, we will review important advances in the physical, biological and social sciences that impact contemporary concerns with regard to the quests initiated by the ancients.

Humanism Course III: Ethics and Aesthetics

Humanism Course III: Ethics and Aesthetics

Humanism is in essence both a personal and communal search for how to live a meaningful, purposeful life within a naturalistic understanding of reality. Humanists think that reason and community are the surest ways to determine individual and communal values. What “reason” is and what “community” means are not always well articulated, however, and finding a fuller articulation of these terms is what this course is about.

Capstone Course

Capstone Course

Students will complete a final project designed to encourage self-reflection, formulate humanist ideals and demonstrate culminative 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.

Master of Arts in Leadership (MALS) with a concentration in Humanism

Grounded in the theology of social engagement, the MALS program at Meadville Lombard Theological School is attuned to the diverse challenges and opportunities of leadership in a multifaith, multiracial, and multicultural world.  Students will learn how to lead, and how to continue to learn, by working within and across diverse communities.

The MALS educational model combines cohort learning, intensive seminars, and practical experiences in a low-residency format.  You can complete your degree while remaining based in your home community, whether in the United States or elsewhere around the globe.

Concentration in Humanism

MALS with a concentration in humanism prepares students to be articulate advocates of a humanist worldview in the public sphere and innovative thinkers who keep our movement alive with their provocative insights and writings.  Graduates will have the skills to serve the movement within diverse cultural and organizational contexts.

MALS degree with a concentration in humanism does not lead to Unitarian Universalist (UU) ordination as a UU minister.  Becoming a UU minister.

Degree Requirements

MALS degree program requires 36 completed credits.  The program can be completed in 18 months by full-time students.  Utilizing Meadville Lombard’s Contextual Learning Model of theological education, you’ll complete and discuss coursework with peers and faculty via online education platform, and you’ll get hands-on experience through an internship at a nonprofit organization.  Faculty will work with you to find the best internship site and teaching mentor for your personal formation.

Breakdown Required Credit Hours
  • Field Work: All MALS students must complete the Community Studies course in their first year (9 credits).
  • Distribution Requirements: In consultation with their Academic Advisors, students will take 3 additional courses as appropriate to their chosen concentration in either Lay Ministry, Social Engagement or Humanism (9 credits).

Through course selection tailored to their needs and aims, an in consultation with their Academic Advisors, students in the stand-alone MALS can choose to concentrate in either Lay Ministry, Social Engagement or Humanism.  The Lay Ministry concentration is appropriate for students who seek to enrich their non-ordained leadership work in congregations.  The Social Engagement concentration is for students who seek to develop a theological and ethical framework for faith-based work outside congregations.  The Humanism concentration is perfect for those students desiring skills to serve the humanist movement within diverse cultural and organizational contexts.

Degree Requirements

Credits

Community Studies

9

Project Lab

3

Project

3

Distribution Coursework (in the following areas of study:)

Credits

Theology/Ethics

3

Religious Education

3

Historical Context of Ministry

3

Scripture

3

Concentration in Humanism

9

Total Credits

36