LEARN MORE ABOUT THE INSTITUTE FOR RELIGION, PEACE AND JUSTICE

IRPJ – Frequently Asked Questions

Who is the Certificate in Religion, Peace and Justice for?


The Certificate in Religion, Peace and Justice is for any curious and thoughtful person who wants to integrate spiritual and theological considerations with practical peace work, nonviolent activism, peacemaking, and advocacy for either personal enrichment and knowledge acquisition or professional enhancement. The Certificate is a stand-alone credential that can enhance one's preparation and experience for use in organizations that focus on peace and humanitarian work, including NGOs and non-profits, and as a professional development upgrade. The Certificate is also a professional enhancement credential for clergy who want to guide their church community in the ways of peace and justice spiritually, theologically, and practically. The Certificate also functions as a one-year preparation for degree programs in peace and conflict studies at a number of universities. And students also have the opportunity to complete a full graduate degree at St. Stephen's University by using the courses of IRPJ's online Certificate as the online Peace Studies Track of the M.A. or M.Min in Theology & Culture (more info: www.irpj.org/graduate-degrees).




What can the Certificate in Religion, Peace and Justice be used for?


Apart from personal enrichment and gaining knowledge in an exciting field of inquiry, the certificate program is intended as spiritual, theoretical, and heuristic preparation for degree programs in peace and conflict studies, international studies, human security and peacebuilding, conflict analysis and management, humanitarian relief and development, justice studies, and religious studies. SSU students can also complete the certificate as a part of and alongside their Bachelor of Arts degree in Humanities or their Bachelor of International Studies degree. Students also have the opportunity to complete a full graduate degree at St. Stephen's University by using the courses of IRPJ's online Certificate as the online Peace Studies Track of the M.A. or M.Min in Theology & Culture (more info: www.irpj.org/graduate-degrees). The Certificate can also be used for the benefit of the organizations for which anyone—including clergy, teachers, NGO workers, and other professionals—works that advance peace and justice on behalf of the marginalized, vulnerable, and oppressed.




Is your Certificate for undergraduate or graduate students?


Both! The Certificate in Religion, Peace and Justice is designed for either undergraduate and graduate students with course expectations (i.e., amount and complexity of reading, size of assignments, research level, and quality expectations) adjusted appropriately.




What if I can't attend the Canadian School of Peacebuilding session?


No worries! While we encourage all students to attend the CSOP session in June to gain meaningful face-to-face interaction with other students and instructors, we know that not all students have the means to travel to Winnipeg for CSOP. Therefore, students indicate whether or not they plan on attending CSOP when they register. Please consult our Tuition page under Apply for more information on all available options for students.




Can I audit a course and/or take a single course rather than complete the entire certificate?


Yes! We've taken steps to make sure our course offerings are as flexible as possible to accommodate any thoughtful curious inquirer who's interested in the subject matter addressed in our certificate program and its courses. This means that students may audit any of the courses for a reduced rate if you do not need the credit, and students may take one or more of the courses we offer without completing the Certificate in Religion, Peace and Justice. To learn more, visit the Tuition page under Apply.




Are your courses transferable into other universities?


Yes, in most cases. SSU is one of three Private Chartered Universities in New Brunswick and has a Provincial Charter authorizing us to grant Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. Our students have been accepted into Masters programs all over the world, often with significant scholarships. If students from other higher educational institutions would like to take IRPJ courses and transfer them back into their degree programs, please contact the Director, Andrew Klager, so we can work with your institution to help make this happen. However, students also have the opportunity to complete a full graduate degree at St. Stephen's University by transferring the courses of IRPJ's online Certificate into the M.A. or M.Min in Theology & Culture (more info: www.irpj.org/graduate-degrees). This option is automatically guaranteed for students who wish to complete their grad studies.




Can I complete the Certificate in more than one year?


Absolutely! As we aim to be as flexible as possible for our students, we will work with you to create a manageable schedule so that you can complete the Certificate in your own time for as many semesters as it takes.




Can I donate to the Institute for Religion, Peace and Justice?


Yes, we would be thrilled if you could help support our activities and initiatives through your generous financial contibution. Just visit our donate page of this website by clicking here or the 'Donate' button on the top menue and follow the instructions. If you have any questions, please contact the Director, Andrew Klager.




What is the typical workload and time commitment for one of your courses?


For a typical IRPJ course, students can expect to devote up to 3 hours to "class time"—which would entail the video/audio lectures, weekly videos, video conference discussions, and various activities and exercises that would normally be completed in class—and about 3 to 6 hours of individual work per week (for a total of 12–13 weeks). That said, the 3 to 6 hours will vary greatly depending on the student, and many students will be able to complete this work in less time.

So a three-course semester of the Certificate in Religion, Peace and Justice would be up to 9 hrs of "class time" and approximately 9 to 18 hrs of reading and assignments per week (or less for more efficient and proficient students). Although the "class time" hours will be the same for students who choose options that include a practicum and/or the symposium retreat, they can reduce their weekly individual work outside of class to approximately 6 to 12 hours (as they will audit one course per semester) and complete the additional course work for the practicum and symposium-retreat in more intensive periods of time.

IRPJ instructors know that our students are busy, so they have also ensured that the internal components of each course are as flexible as possible without sacrificing the meaningfulness of the experience to allow students the ability to customize their Certificate schedule according to their life and work schedule. If students ever feel overwhelmed by the amount of coursework that they need to complete in the midst of a busy life, IRPJ instructors are always prepared to take advantage of the flexibility and unique benefits of online education to ease the student's burden through various means.




Do you have a referral program if I tell my friends about IRPJ and they end up enrolling?


Yes, here's how it works: 1. If you refer someone to us, let them know to select "Someone I know talked to me" on the dropdown menu of the online application ( http://ssu.ca/apply/) and to type in your name in the empty field under "Please tell us who" (and make sure they select "Certificate in Religion, Peace and Justice" under "Program." 2. For every course that's completed by the student who you referred, you get $50 each. 3. This means that if the student you referred completes the entire Certificate, you get $300! 4. Once the add/drop date of the semester in which this student is enrolled has passed, we'll send you the cheque.




Why are students required to audit the course(s) they "substitute" with either a practicum or the Canadian School of Peacebuilding session option?


This is a feature that's unique to IRPJ, and is implemented for the following reasons: 1. As a stand-alone Certificate with a set list of courses, if IRPJ is going to confer a credential on our students, we want to make sure that they are exposed to the content of all our courses, including recorded lectures, video clips, Zoom video conferences with our Guest Lecturers, and readings. 2. As our Certificate is an online program, it is important to us that students have as much face-to-face time with their instructors, guest lecturers, and other students as possible, so enrolment as an auditing student affords you the opportunity to build these relationships and interact with each other more meaningfullly. It is important to understand, however, that the cost of auditing ($450) is embedded in the cost of the practicum and CSOP session ($1,140) that students complete for credit, which means that students don't pay anything extra and are essentially receiving this content for free.




Do you offer full master's degrees too?


Yes! The Institute for Religion, Peace and Justice offers an M.A. or M.Min in Theology and Culture with an online Peace Track. ​At St. Stephen's University, we are committed to the direct engagement of our on-site module classes for our graduate degrees. However, we also want to give our students the opportunity to complete their degrees with as little disruption to their lives as possible and with content tailored to their interests. ​ To this end, students may begin with our 1-year online Certificate in Religion, Peace and Justice and transfer these credits to complete their M.A. or M.Min degree in Theology & Culture at SSU. For more info, visit here: www.irpj.org/graduate-degrees





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