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    Saybrook University
  Jun 02, 2023
2018-2019 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook with Spring Addendum 
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2018-2019 Academic Catalog and Student Handbook with Spring Addendum [Archived Catalog]

Socially Engaged Spirituality Certificate

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Certificate Leads: Joel Federman, Ph.D. and Louis Hoffman, Ph.D.

Sponsored by: Consciousness, Spirituality, and Integrative Health (CSIH) Specialization and Department of Transformative Social Change


This Certificate program involves the interconnection of study, spiritual practice, engagement in the world, personal reflection, social analysis, and practical training. Students from any approach to spirituality are welcome. Students study varied traditions and ways of articulating socially engaged spirituality, such as the nonviolence of Gandhi, King, and Aung San Suu Kyi; the activism of Christian liberation theology; the Jewish prophetic tradition and the life of Jesus; socially engaged Buddhism; indigenous approaches; and contemporary spiritually-based approaches to feminism and ecology, among others. Students link this study with their own spiritual practice and engagement in the world, and to experiential training in such areas as nonviolent action, contemplative practice, ritual, multiculturalism, and ecological awareness.


  • CSIH 6560  Approaches to Social Engaged Spirituality
  • TSC 6610  Social System Transformation Theory
  • Choose 1 from the following

    TSC 6500  Ecological Psychology

    PSY 6010  The Psychology of Multicultural in North America

    TSC 6505  Healthy Communities

    TSC 7085  Globalism and Power

    TSC 6590  Peace Studies

  • Practicum/Project
  • Integrative Paper

Course substitutions must be agreed upon in advance with a Certificate director.

Learning Outcomess: Upon completing this Certificate, students will be able to…

  1. Understand a variety of spiritual approaches to engaged social, political, and environmental activism.
  2. Be able to evaluate existing theories and strategies of nonviolent social change.
  3. Develop a critical understanding of the relationship between religious and spiritual philosophical approaches and their socio-political implications.
  4. Develop a critical awareness of the risks associated with ideological adherence to various religious and spiritual points of view, and an appreciation for a diversity of such viewpoints.
  5. Be able to apply multiple theories, models, and strategies of nonviolent social change and socially engaged spirituality to real-world contexts.

College of Social Sciences Certificate Programs

Saybrook University’s College of Social Sciences offers a number of exciting certificate programs intended for non-matriculating students (e.g., professionals, activists, community leaders/organizers, etc.) who want to expand or deepen their knowledge and skills pertaining to specific foci.  Our certificate programs offer a variety of topics relevant in today’s world. From existential psychology to integrative healthcare, the College of Social Sciences certificates offer students the humanistic and interdisciplinary education students desire in a convenient certificate program.

Delivery Model

All entering students will begin their program in consultation with the Certificate Lead Faculty in order to clarify requirements and ensure that their interests are integrating within their learning experience. Students can change their study plan later, but need to make an initial plan at the outset, including a tentative plan for a one-year enrollment for those individuals not enrolled in a Saybrook degree program. Typically, certificate requirements can be completed within one to two years (see Certificate Lead Faculty for more details). Students progress through certificate requirements through a combination of on-line cohort courses and either face-to-face experientials during a Saybrook Residential Conference and/or at-a-distance platforms such as video-conference or conference calls. Additionally, students participate in online Graduate Colloquia shells, which are virtual classrooms utilized to foster community among all enrolled in specializations that sponsor the certificates; deepening the learning environment and broadening the application of theory and practice.

These certificates are available to degree and non-degree students alike. Non-degree students who subsequently pursue a degree at Saybrook may be able to transfer credits toward degree requirements.  Students formally enrolled in one of Saybrook’s degree programs may be able to integrate the certificate into their program as the certificate course requirement may satisfy either specialization requirements and/or degree electives.  In the event that a doctoral student wishes to complete more than one Certificate program, only one course (3 credits) may be counted toward a second Certificate. No course overlap may occur for fulfillment of a third (or more) Certificate. In addition, fulfillment of each Certificate requires completion of a unique practicum (CSIH/CS/EHTP/TSC 8151: 3 credits) as well as a unique final paper (CSIH/CS/EHTP/TSC 8950: 1 credit). No overlap of required Certificate coursework will be permitted for M.A. students who wish to declare more than one Certificate.

Core Components

Though each certificate is specific to the area of focus, there are general Core Components or expectations.

  • Required course(s) (3 credits each)
  • Choice of Electives (3 credits each) to be determined in consultation with the Certificate Lead Faculty
  • Practicum/Project (3 credits) which is individually designed by the student in consultation with Practicum Instructor based on his or her interests and goals. This may involve related theory, research, and/or practical application. Several Certificates require the presentation of the Practicum/Project during a Saybrook Residential Conference and/or at-a-distance presentation through video conference platforms such as Go To Meeting or Skype (see Certificate Lead Faculty for more details).
  • Integrative Paper/Seminar (1 credit) which can be a capstone paper, professional poster presentation, or mini-project designed to allow reflection, assessment of progress, integration of experience and academic learning, and forward projection into how one will use these learnings and skills. It also invites a look into other competencies one might still wish to add. (Not all certificates require an integrative paper).


  • Applied Consciousness Studies
  • Arts and Self-Expression for Health and Wellbeing
  • Building A Sustainable World
  • Community Health & Development
  • Complex Trauma & The Health Process
  • Creativity Studies
  • Death, Loss, and Meaning
  • Dream Studies
  • Foundations in Existential-Humanistic Practice
  • Multiculturalism and Social Justice
  • Organizational Leadership & Transformation
  • Peace & Conflict Resolution
  • Professional Studies in Psychophysiology
  • Socially Engaged Spirituality
  • Stress Management Education
  • Transpersonal Psychology

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