Certificate of Sexuality and Religion (CSR)

Many communities are in crisis today over issues of sexuality. In these painful debates, religion and the interpretation of religious texts and practices often play a defining role in the status and treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) people in religious congregations and the broader society.

More than ever, strong leaders are needed to provide compassionate and informed guidance on these issues in religious communities and institutions, professional societies, advocacy organizations, and legal and legislative bodies.

PSR's Certificate in Sexuality and Religion (CSR) is designed to provide specialized training for such leadership in religious settings by providing a unique program focusing on the theological, historical, ethical, pastoral, and practical dimensions of sexuality, sexual orientation, religion, and gender identity.

Graduates of the program can expect to find vocations in the religious arena as religious directors, religious educators, activities directors, other religious work, and in some cases even clergy. Participants may come from a wide variety of backgrounds, including:

  • Seminary students, clergy and lay leaders from Protestant and Catholic traditions who want to be better equipped to lead the often painful conversations and important constructive actions required to advance the full inclusion of LGBT people within their faith communities.
  • Journalists, counselors, psychologists, and other professionals whose work involves issues of sexuality and religion.
  • Folks who may not necessarily be interested in the certificate program but who are interested in taking a CSR course or two as a Special Student or Auditor might be LGBT activists and friends who want to become more articulate about religious issues and establish collaborative alliances with religious communities.

The CSR provides working professionals and students with knowledge and skills to apply theological, historical, ethical, pastoral, and practical dimensions of sexuality, sexual orientation, and gender identity to their religious vocations. The goal of the program is to help students to demonstrate the following skills in vocations of religious leadership and work:

  • Think theologically about contemporary sexual practices and identities
  • Understand the history of faith traditions in regard to sexuality and sexual identity
  • Speak knowledgeably about contemporary sexual practices and the scientific and psychological information relevant to them
  • Consider the historical and theological development of ethical systems used to evaluate and regulate moral judgments concerning various sexual practices and identities within faith traditions
  • Gain authority and expertise in leading discussions on issues of religion and sexuality both within faith traditions and within society more broadly

CSR courses are taught by faculty from Pacific School of Religion and other Graduate Theological Union member schools. Some courses are offered by adjunct faculty selected by PSR's Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry.

Course Requirements for the CSR

CSR students complete 21 credit hours to be completed in an expected period of two years or maximum of four years part time study. Required courses include 9 hours of foundational courses, 9 hours of specialty elective courses, and 3 hours dedicated to a final project in a field of interest. The most CSR courses are scheduled in intensive formats during the summer and January sessions. Other classes are held on weekends or evenings during the regular fall and spring semesters, or are available online. As course offerings change each year, a list of course offerings that qualify that year for the CSR may be obtained below or from Director of the CSR program.

Foundational courses (9 credits)
Three credit hours in at least three of the four following foundational areas of study are required for letter grade:

  • A. Religious texts and sexuality/sexual identity
  • B. Human sexuality with a focus on sexual orientation and gender identity, including attention to contemporary scientific and psychological understandings of sexuality
  • C. Theology, ethics, and sexual identity, including discussion of the limits and conditions of appropriate sexual conduct
  • D. History of sexuality/sexual orientation issues and religion.

Electives (9 credits)

CSR Final Project (3 credits)
A final project is undertaken by each student after course work is completed. The general focus is determined at the start of the program and is used to guide the student's work throughout the course of study. Register for CSR 3001 in the semester you complete your Final Project.

Academic Program Manual for the CSR

  • Academic program manual for CSR. Both parts required:
    Part I
    Part II
    Please submit your signed Statement of Understanding by the first two weeks of the Fall or Spring you matriculate and register in this program.

Other CSR forms

For more information on how to apply for the CSR, consult the Admissions Information and Requirements chart and contact Admissions.

CSR Course offerings for 2014-2015

Required and elective coursework for the CSR program can be taken through a variety of means. PSR offers several courses each year that are designed specifically with CSR requirements in mind (“CSR-Designed Courses”). Other PSR courses and courses at other GTU schools will sometimes meet those requirements as well (“CSR-Suitable Courses”). In addition, some courses can be taken, in consultation with the instructor, so as to meet CSR expectations (“CSR-Potential Courses”).

Courses in the latter of those three categories require approval from the CSR Coordinator, who will also discern with the student which of the courses will work for CSR requirements and which ones will work for electives. Other courses not listed here may a apply to the CSR with approval from the CSR coordinator. The following is a list of courses for all three types of courses offered during the 2014-2015 academic year.

Summer Session 2014

CSR-Designed Courses

  • RS-2480: Asian Pacific Islander Sexualities & Christian Faith (Delegencia, PSR); Fulfills CSR requirement C
  • RSFT-2493: Sexuality Issues for Religious Professionals (Haffner, PSR); When taken with RS-2481, fulfills CSR requirement B
  • RS-2481: Sexualities Immersion (Tanis, PSR); When taken with RSFT-2493, fulfills CSR requirement B

CSR-Suitable Courses

  • STHR-4220: Feminist Theologies of the Global South (Kwok, PSR)
  • HM-2730: Preaching Women (Flunder, PSR)

Fall Semester 2014

CSR-Designed Courses

  • STFT-3288/8251: Transforming Christian Theology (Johnson, PSR course offered both in the classroom and online); Fulfills CSR requirement C
  • RARS-2321/8321: Sexuality in Sacred Art (Tanis, PSR hybrid course offered both in the classroom and online)

CSR-Suitable Courses

  • RSFT-2498: Faith and Public Health (Quamina, PSR)

Intersession 2015

CSR-Suitable Courses

  • CE-4040: Sexual Ethics (Dowdell, SKSM)
  • FTRS-2450: Refuge in the City (Flunder, PSR)

Spring Semester 2015

CSR-Designed Courses

  • STCE-2530/8253: Transforming Christian Community (Johnson, PSR hybrid course offered both in the classroom and online); Fulfills CSR requirement C
  • RS-8239: Varieties of LGBT Religion (Gray, PSR online course)
  • HRRS-8420: Queer Liberation Theologies (Cordova Quero, SKSM online course); Fulfills CSR requirement C

CSR-Suitable Courses

  • PSRS-4160: Sexuality and Pastoral Care (Griffin, PSR)
  • HSHR-2520: Religious Foundations of U.S. Social Movements (Schlager, PSR)
  • STRA-2084: Beauty and Critique: Creative Theologies (Hutchins, PSR)

*Required Core CSR areas:
A. Religious texts and sexuality/sexual identity
B. Human sexuality with a focus on sexual orientation and gender identity, including attention to contemporary scientific and psychological understandings of sexuality
C. Theology, ethics, and sexual identity, including discussion of the limits and conditions of appropriate sexual conduct
D. History of sexuality/sexual orientation issues and religion