Health and human services professionals throughout the United States will benefit from Western Michigan University's unique online Master of Arts in spirituality, culture and health created to address the needs of people who serve an increasingly diverse population.
The program in the Department of Comparative Religion is based upon a cultural understanding of the body, illness and health, and emphasizes practical tools for addressing religious, spiritual and cultural diversity in health and human services settings. The curriculum promotes an advanced understanding of the impact of culture, spirituality and religious belief on patient-provider relationships, and on the process of healing in the context of the current health care and human services environment in the United States.
The coursework for this program can be completed entirely online. Upon completion, individuals will be able to act in a consulting role within their organization. Students will become more culturally competent, and able to forge meaningful relationships with patients or clients and their families through an understanding of religious and cultural influences on health and healing. Students can also enroll in the courses as electives to enhance cultural competence skills within other degree programs.
If you are interested in combining an online graduate certificate in spirituality, culture and health with the online Master of Arts in spirituality, culture and health, you can do so within the 30 credit hours required for the Master of Arts. You will need to apply for both the certificate and the Master of Arts programs.
If you are interested in combining an online graduate certificate in aging studies or integrative wellness and holistic health with the online Master of Arts in spirituality, culture and health, you can do so within the 30 credit hours required for the Master of Arts. Students who are interested in combining a graduate certificate with the MA will need to apply for both the certificate and the Master of Arts programs.
To apply to the program, applicants must have:
- A completed bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.
- A 1,200 word essay outlining the applicant’s specific interest in the program and how completion of the program will contribute to the applicant’s academic, professional and personal goals.
- Three letters of recommendation from individuals whom are able to evaluate the applicant’s potential for graduate study. Letters can be submitted by current or former colleagues if the applicant has not had recent contact with undergraduate professors.
- Completed a graduate application.
Fall admission: August 1
Spring admission: December 1
Summer I or II admission: April 1
Contact Dr. Cynthia Visscher for application information.
Thank you for your interest in applying for this graduate program.
Applicants who want to take individual courses to enhance professional goals can enroll in up to three spirituality, culture and health courses as a non-degree seeking student.
The Master of Arts in Spirituality, Culture and Health consists of 30 credit hours, 12 of which must be in required courses. The remaining 18 credit hours may be elected from a variety of courses and departments.
This online program contains a field practicum that may require the submission of a activity request form if completing this activity outside the state of Michigan at the time of enrollment for this course. However, this online program can be completed without taking a traditional field placement.
Elective courses (18 credits)
Elective courses (18 credits)
Students may select 18 elective credits from the list below; at least 3 electives (9 credits) must be at the 6000 level or above. Not all classes are available every semester. Students in the program will be notified as additional elective courses are made available. Students are also encouraged to explore interdisciplinary electives in the College of Health and Human Services and other departments throughout the university to advance their specific goals and interests. Students can also enroll in some site-based classes offered through the Department of Comparative Religion MA program and attend remotely.
REL 6200 (Credits: 3; repeatable)
Religion and Alternative Medicine in the United States
REL 5100: Comparative Studies (Credits: 3; repeatable)
Death and Dying
REL 7100: Independent Research (Credits: 1-6)
One undergraduate course may be selected from the following; a waiver form must be completed prior to enrollment:
REL 3180: Death, Dying and Beyond (Credits: 4)
REL 3190: Religion and Health (Credits: 4)
REL 3170: Religion and Gender (Credits: 4)
REL 3360: Zen and Buddhist Meditation (Credits: 4)