Graduate Certificate in Christian Studies

The Graduate Certificate in Christian Studies (GCCS) program is designed to equip you with an understanding of Christian formation and vocation, and the practices that nurture an ongoing life of discipleship and mission in the 21st century. In the course of pursuing the GCCS, you will be challenged to apply this understanding personally through reflection and discernment both in the classroom and in the community. The certificate can be completed in one year.


The GCCS program is designed for lay people, and enables you to develop the knowledge base, the skill set, and the multicultural sensitivities needed to understand the Christian faith and put it into faithful and effective practice in a hurting world. In the program, you will experience rich opportunities for worship, fellowship, and personal spiritual growth in the context of SPU’s evangelical Wesleyan heritage.

The program is highly flexible. You can complete the required 25 credits in one year of full-time study or over several years of part-time study. You can also select from a wide variety of courses. Whether you are interested in deepening your understanding of the Christian faith and reflecting on issues of vocation and ministry, or you are considering entering full-time professional Christian service, the flexibility of the program will work well for you. If you subsequently enroll in a Seminary degree program, credits you earn in the GCCS program are usually transferable.

Certificate Requirements

To earn a Graduate Certificate in Christian Studies, you must be accepted into the program and complete 25 credits as laid out below.

Required Courses

Certificate students are required to take the following three courses (7 credits total):

  • THEO 6001: “Christian Formation in Discipleship: Acts of Piety” (2 credits)
  • THEO 6002: “Christian Formation in Mission: Acts of Mercy and Justice” (2 credits)
  • THEO 6720: “Vocational Discernment and Discipleship” (3 credits)

Certificate students are strongly encouraged to take at least one course in each of the three 3-course “academic core” sequences (Bible, Global Christian Heritage, and Theology/Ethics), and also 3 credits of Graduate Core Practicum (12 credits total):

1. Bible (3 credits):

  • THEO 6010: “Bible 1: Interpreting and Teaching Christian Scripture” (This course is a prerequisite for THEO 6040, THEO 6070, and all post-core Bible classes.)
  • THEO 6040: “Bible 2: Introduction to Old Testament”
  • THEO 6070: “Bible 3: Introduction to New Testament”

2. Global Christian Heritage (GCH) (3 credits):

  • THEO 6020: “Global Christian Heritage 1: AD 100–AD 1500”
  • THEO 6050: “Global Christian Heritage 2: AD 1500–AD 1900”
  • THEO 6080: “Global Christian Heritage 3: AD 1900–present”

3. Theology/Ethics (T/E) (3 credits)

  • THEO 6030: “Theology/Ethics 1: Doctrine of God and Environmental Stewardship”
  • THEO 6060: “Theology/Ethics 2: Doctrine of Christ and Holistic Discipleship”
  • THEO 6090: “Theology/Ethics 3: Doctrine of the Holy Spirit and the Global Church”

4. Graduate Core Practicum (3 credits)

  • Certificate students are encouraged to take THEO 6930 “Graduate Core Practicum” (3 credits), which includes required participation in a Wesleyan-style class meeting — small-group meetings for the purpose of discussing theology, spiritual growth, and personal lives — and optional meetings with a theological mentor. 

The remaining six credits of your program can be used toward post-core graduate THEO electives. 

Faculty Contact

Laura C.S. Holmes

Associate Professor of New Testament; Associate Dean of Graduate Studies
PhD, Princeton Theological Seminary

Phone: 206-281-2208
Office: Alexander 108

SPU Graduate Catalog

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