For the second year, the Berkeley School of Theology, in partnership with Faith in Action (formerly PICO National Network), is recruiting a new cohort of faith leaders for the Public Theology Certificate Program focused on societal issues this summer. The BST /Faith in Action partnership for the creation of a program in Public Theology has been made possible by a generous grant from the Henry Luce Foundation.

Program Details

The 5-course 16-month certificate program is designed to fill the gap between what current seminary curriculum offers and the need for faith-based community leaders to bring their spiritual perspective to the most pressing issues of the day. Classes will cover issues ranging from morality and society to community organizing.  Participants will also be expected to participate in a placement at a community organization working to expand opportunities for justice.

Course Structure

Course 1 – Fall 2018 – Introduction to Public Theology

Weekend intensives; Sept 7-8, Oct 12-13, Nov 9-10, Dec 7-8

Preparing to take one’s faith public—theory & praxis

Course 2 – January 2019 – Morality & Ethics

Week long intensive; TBD

Establishing a personal ethical method from which one does their work.

Course 3 – Spring 2019 – Religion & Society

Weekly semester-long course; Dates TBD

Analysis of the role religion plays related to the critical social issues of our day

Course 4 – Summer 2019 – Community Organizing

Intensive; Days TBD

Training for public theological discourse and organizing

Course 5 – Fall 2019 – Internship Course

Working with a mentor that has expertise in the student’s area of interest

Working in the field with an expert

 Reading List for Fall 2018

  • Brueggemann, Walter.  Reality, Grief, Hope (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2014).
  • Francis, Leah Gunning. Ferguson & Faith: Sparking Leadership & Awakening Community (St. Louis, MO: Chalice, 2015).
  • Marshall, Christopher.  Compassionate Justice: An Interdisciplinary Dialogue with Two Gospel Parables on Law, Crime, and Restorative Justice (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2012).

 Learning Outcomes

The successful theological student/pastor will have

  • Selected a specific topic/field for study
  • Completed in depth research on their selected area of study
  • Established a systematic method for ethical assessment of contemporary issues
  • Engaged and critiqued the role(s) religion plays in contemporary societal issues
  • Developed practical skills to dialogue and organize in contemporary culture
  • Built working relationships with colleagues and mentors related to their particular interests
  • Participated in theological reflection, dialogue, and community organizing moments related to their topic of study
  • Completed a comprehensive mini-thesis related to their topic of study

The successful student will leave this program prepared to implement faith based strategies related to a specific societal issue of their choosing.

Who Can Apply

The Public Theology Certificate Program is open to both currently enrolled BST degree-seeking students and non-BST students. For non-BST students, applicants must be people involved in congregational leadership (both ordained and non-ordained) for at least two years, and completion of a bachelors degree is preferred.


  • BST Students: Certificate courses will be charged at the current masters tuition rate ($700 per unit), with scholarships available for up to 72% for these five courses.
  • Non-BST Students: Certificate courses will be charged at the rate of $450 per course, with scholarships available up to 100%.

Application Requirements

Public Theology Certificate Program application form – start your application below!

Essay questions – To be entered in the application form. Plan on writing approximately 250 words for each of the two questions listed here:

  1. What in particular about the Public Theology Certificate Program influenced you to apply?
  2. Select what you understand to be one of today’s most critical issues and reflect on it in terms of your own theological perspective.

Transcript – You must submit an official transcript to the Admission Office (address below) showing that you have completed at least a bachelors degree for your file to be complete.

Start Your Application Now!

Fill out this short form to start your application here:


(You should receive one email for verification and another email to open your application.)

  • Three References:

For questions, please contact the Admissions Office at or (510) 841-1905 ext 229.