Jun 15, 2024  
2021-2022 General Catalog 
2021-2022 General Catalog ARCHIVED CATALOG: To search archives, MUST use search box to left. Current catalog: catalog.usu.edu.

Interfaith Leadership Certificate

College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Department of Sociology and Anthropology

(18 credits/open to all USU degree-seeking undergraduates with at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA)

In today’s increasingly complex and religiously diverse world, there is an urgent need for interfaith cooperation, which is characterized by respect for individual religious or non-religious identities, by the capacity to create and sustain mutually inspiring relationships with people of differing faith commitments, and by mastering the vision, knowledge and skills that facilitate the ability to come together across religious differences in service to a common good. The emerging field of Interfaith Studies provides students with an appreciative knowledge of the ways that religious and non-religious commitments shape peoples’ lives as well as with the vision and the necessary skills to engage with people of differing world views and faith-commitments. This 18-credit interdisciplinary certificate program has been carefully designed to build undergraduate student capacity for serving as an Interfaith Leader, regardless of the career that you may choose. This Certificate program can be combined with any major or minor and will add real value to any post-graduation employment or graduate-level studies that you seek.


The interdisciplinary nature of this certificate allows you to select from classes already being offered in religious studies, philosophy, history, anthropology, and many other majors, while adding a core set of courses that teach the theory and method. A key component of this Certificate program is the combination of classroom instruction together with opportunities to use these concepts and skills to help solve “real” world challenges through a practicum or community-based internship experience. It is intended to add value to any undergraduate major and it has been carefully designed to give you both the tools and the experience to share authentically, engage respectfully, and to bridge religious difference in order to serve the common good.


Program Objectives

  • To help students of any major become interfaith leaders conversant in the theory and practice of interfaith engagement, as related to a variety of disciplines, their future career, and community, peace & justice issues.
  • To teach students transferable perspectives and skills including appreciation for diversity, strategies of non-violent communication, ethnographic interviewing and transcription, non-judgmental observation and participation, cultural humility and cultivation of the attitudes associated with becoming a life-long learner and an engaged citizen-scholar.
  • To enable students to integrate interfaith studies into almost any major; completion of this certificate will make graduates more attractive on the job market, given the need for such sensitivity in any field.
  • To further the university mission of cultivating a diversity of thought and culture while serving the public through learning, discovery, and engagement.



The Interfaith Leadership Certificate is open to all USU Undergraduates who have at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA. A grade of C or above must be obtained in each course that is counted for the certificate. Courses are divided into core courses (9 credits) and elective courses (9 credits).


A 3 credit foundations course (ANTH/RELS 1090) introduces students to the field of Interfaith Studies. This course is required of all who seek to obtain the Interfaith Leadership Certificate. It is offered on-line, and it is available both Fall and Spring semesters. A second 3 credit course is chosen from introductory offerings in either Religious Studies or Anthropology (RELS 1010 or ANTH 3160). While these courses may not be offered every semester, each of these two courses if offered at least once per year. The third required course is an Interfaith Leadership Practicum (currently ANTH/RELS 5195). This course serves as a capstone experience which is supervised by the Interfaith Leadership Certificate program coordinator. Students should begin discussing this internship/practicum experience with the Program Coordinator early in their course of studies to discuss both possibilities and expectations of this capstone experience.


The three elective courses (for a total of 9 credits) are drawn from multiple course offerings organized into four categories of course offerings including Appreciative Knowledge of Religious Traditions, the History of Religious Conflict and Cooperation, Ways of Knowing, Being, and Interacting in the World and Religious Engagement Beyond the Classroom. Students may choose from any course listed in the matrix, below, to fulfill these requirements. While not required, students are strongly encouraged to choose one course (3 credits) from the category called Religious Engagement Beyond the Classroom because courses in this category have some community-based or experiential learning as one of the course requirements. Because most of these courses are required or elective courses that serve one or more undergraduate majors/minors, students may count these courses for both major/minor requirements and for the Interfaith Leadership Certificate as long if the requirements for their major permit this option. Exceptions to this include ANTH/RELS 1090 and sections of ANTH/RELS 5195, which are exclusive to the Interfaith Leadership Certificate. Students are encouraged to talk with the Program Coordinator regarding any concerns or requests for clarification that may come up.


Requirements for this Certificate

  1. There is no separate admissions process necessary to pursue this Certificate.
  2. Students pursuing this Certificate must be matriculated as degree-seeking USU undergraduate students.
  3. Transfer students from other institutions may articulate semester-based courses that align with courses offered in the Appreciative Knowledge of Religious Traditions, the History of Religious Conflict and Cooperation, or the Ways of Knowing, Being and Interacting in the World categories, with permission of the Program Coordinator.
  4. Students who have taken courses that articulate with either ANTH 3160 or RELS 1010 at another institution may also articulate these courses.
  5. Students must receive a C or better in any course that they intend to count towards the Interfaith Leadership Certificate program. 


Academic Advisement

Upon declaring the intent to pursue the Interfaith Leadership Certificate, each student is assigned an advisor. Students are strongly encouraged to meet with their advisor at least once per semester to review their academic progress, plan their program, and discuss postgraduate opportunities. Students are encouraged to consult with their advisor about course election, academic programs, program requirements, and any other aspect of their college experience. Questions concerning University Studies requirements should be directed to the College of CHASS Advising Cen­ter, Taggart Student Center 302, (435) 797-3883.


Interfaith Website 
Students are strongly encouraged to use the USU Interfaith Initiative Home Page on the internet at: (http://interfaith.usu.edu) to obtain more detailed information about the program including requirements, detailed course descriptions, tentative course schedules for the coming year, funding opportunities, information about hands-on opportunities in the program, and informa­tion about graduate school and employment opportunities where an Interfaith Leadership Certificate will be especially useful.



A minimum of 9 credits of the Interfaith Leadership Certificate course cred­its counting toward the certificate must be Utah State University courses. Credits from distance and residence center courses are subject to departmental approval for application toward the Certificate.

Required Introductory Courses

Students take two courses (6 credits) of the following three courses. ANTH/RELS 1090 is required of all students. Students may then choose either ANTH 3160 or RELS 1010 to meet the second introductory course requirement.

Structured Electives

Students choose three courses (9 credits) from categories listed below. Students are strongly encouraged to take one of the three courses from the category “Religious Engagement Beyond the Classroom.”

Capstone Requirement

All students take ANTH/RELS 5195 as a capstone requirement. This community-based internship course is supervised by the Interfaith Leadership Certificate Program Director. The capstone course enrollment is by instructor permission.