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Religion and the Public Sphere

Graduate Certificate


Campus:  Virginia Tech Blacksburg Campus, Instructions: Residential/On Campus

Program Overview

In recent years, religion has increasingly been a focus of national and international politics, an important cultural force, and a subject of significant public concern in modern law, policy making, and international relations. The graduate certificate in Religion and the Public Sphere introduces graduate students to contemporary histories of religious influence and to debates about the role of religion in the public sphere, debates about secularism, secularization, and the differentiation between religion and politics. Students will also consider some of the major thinkers and themes of modern religious thought and the economic, political, and legal aspects of the location of religion in the modern world. Graduates of the certificate will be prepared to navigate the complex political, social, economic, and legal dimensions of the role of religion and its recent resurgence.


Why choose this program?

The Religion and the Public Sphere graduate certificate serves students in several master’s and doctoral programs at Virginia Tech, including Material Culture and Public Humanities, History, Political Science, Philosophy, English, and the Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical, and Cultural Thought (ASPECT).

A second population of students served by the certificate are non-degree-seeking students who wish to enhance their understanding of religion for professional or personal reasons. Legal and policy analysts, journalists, interpreters, and workers in NGOs, for example, will find our courses useful in navigating the increasingly diverse religious terrain of contemporary politics, ongoing cultural and social movements, international relations, and ever-changing legal frameworks.


  • 12 total credits
  • Required (both)
    • RLCL 5014—Religion and the Public Sphere (3 credits)
    • RLCL/ASPT 5124: Religion and Modernity in the West (3 credits)
  • One of the Following
    • RLCL/HUM 5584—Topics in Public Humanities (3 credits)
    • RLCL/ASPT 5134: Islamic Political Thought (3 credits)
    • RLCL/ASPT 6024: Contemporary Religious Thought (3 credits)
  • One elective in consultation with the Dept. of Religion & Culture
  • To participate in this program, click here

Religion and Culture Faculty