The Catholic University of America

Oct. 21, 2014

New Certificate Program Focuses on Christian-Muslim Relations

Beginning in spring 2015, the School of Theology and Religious Studies at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., will offer a new academic program, an online Certificate in Christian-Muslim Relations.

The certificate is designed to deepen understanding of the relations between Christianity and Islam, two religions that share a complex relationship and history. The program’s objectives are to educate students about Catholic and Muslim traditions in light of past and present Christian-Muslim relations and to apply theological and social scientific approaches to religion in the American context through the Catholic intellectual tradition.

Consisting of four online courses, the program is open to any student with a bachelor’s degree who is looking to further their understanding of the relationship between Islam and Christianity. According to Wilhelmus Valkenberg, professor of religion and culture, the certificate program will be especially helpful for military chaplains and others working in fields requiring interreligious dialogue or ecumenical relations.

Valkenberg said that he hopes by learning how the relationships between Muslims and Christians developed historically, students will be better prepared to foster positive relationships today.

“We hear about it in the press all the time now, what is often called religious violence. Religion is presented as an important factor in how people react to each other and it’s very important for those who are involved in relations with the other religion both here in the United States and abroad to have a better understanding of the people they’re working with,” Valkenberg said.

Each student will take an introduction to Islam. Other classes include History of Christian-Muslim Relations, Developing Christian-Muslim Relationships in Practice, and The Challenge of Religious Diversity in American Culture.

The deadline for applications to the first semester of the certificate program is Dec. 1. For more information on the certificate program or to apply, call 202-319-5683 or visit



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