Spiritual, Ethical and Religious Counseling

Spiritual, Ethical and Religious Counseling Online Graduate Certificate

About Spiritual, Ethical and Religious Counseling Certificate

Learn how to integrate spiritual perspectives into your counseling practice or pastoral care.

Facilitate awareness and positive change with a 100% online graduate certificate in spiritual, ethical and religious counseling (SERC) from California University of Pennsylvania. It's a perfect way to add specialization to a graduate degree or professional background in counseling, social work, ministry or a related field in the helping professions.

Cal U's certificate program embraces a cross-cultural approach and promotes diversity awareness. We uphold the American Counseling Association (ACA) codes of ethics and the Association for Spiritual, Ethical and Religious Values in Counseling (ASERVIC) competencies. 

Advanced program courses focus on applicable skills.

  • Theoretical applications to the field.
  • Grief and loss counseling and care.
  • Contemporary spiritual perspectives.
  • Ethics in spiritual and religious counseling.
  • The integration of spiritual, ethical and religious counseling skills.


100% Online
Our online certification program is asynchronous, which means you never have to log on to a course at a certain time. Classes utilize streaming video lectures, narrated PowerPoint presentations and online forums. Discussion groups, chat rooms and email allow for communication, interaction and insight.

Top Quality Courses
Certificate courses can be used as Act 48 continuing education units, and applied toward Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC) credentials. All spiritual, ethical and religious counseling courses are housed in Cal U's Department of Counselor Education, which is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and related educational programs (CACREP).

Learn more about applying

This three-course (9-credit) certificate can be completed in 15 weeks.
AffordableCollegesOnline.org named Cal U Best in State Online College in 2014-2015 and 2015-2016.
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Degree Benefits

This program will give you skills and tools to facilitate spiritual awareness and positive change in individuals and social systems, including:

  • Skills to treat grief and loss, existential issues, and applicable diagnoses.
  • A high level of self-awareness.
  • An understanding of counseling professionalism and the Ethical Guidelines and Standards of Practice of the American Counseling Associates.
  • A sensitivity to diversity and the uniqueness of people within social and cultural contexts.
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Graduate Outcomes

A certificate in spiritual, ethical and religious counseling prepares students and practitioners to better serve populations in a variety of counseling and ministry jobs and settings, including:

  •  Hospitals
  • Private practices.
  • Community agencies, rescue missions and shelters.
  • Churches, or faith-based counseling centers.
  • Military facilities.
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Faculty Hero: Dr. Grafton Eliason

Meet, Dr. Grafton Eliason, professor of spiritual, ethical and religious counseling and coordinator of Cal U's clinical mental health counseling program. Dr. Eliason is also an ordained Presbyterian minister who was awarded the Southwestern Pennsylvania Red Cross 2014 Hero Educator Award. His extensive publications include the co-edited books Career Development Across the Lifespan and Existential and Spiritual Issues in Death Attitudes.

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Program Philosophy

Cal U's counselor education program is predicated on the belief that humans are bio-psycho-social-spiritual beings who have the capacity for self-reflection, to be responsible for their actions, and to articulate personal meanings for existence.

Spiritual, Ethical and Religious Counseling Graduate Certificate Courses

This three-course (9-credit) certificate program starts in the summer or winter terms and is 100% online. Courses will not certify you as a Professional Counselor or Pastoral Counselor, but may be utilized for LPC, NCC and Act 48 credits.



Course Credits
CED 770  Spiritual, Ethical and Religious Values in Counseling 3
CED 771  Applied Spiritual, Ethical, and Religious Counseling Theory 3
CED 772  Grief & Loss Counseling OR CED 788 Contemporary Topics in Counselor Education 3
Total 9
Admission Requirements

Admission Requirements (Regular)  

  • Certificate:  Bachelor's degree with a GPA of 2.90 or higher (Students with a GPA below 2.90 may apply for conditional admission)
  • Official transcripts from an accredited institution
  • Interview may be required
  • One-page resume of work and education may be required
  • International Graduate Applicants

Conditional Admission Requirements

  • Conditional Admission may be granted with the following modifications of the Regular Admissions Requirements.  Those admitted conditionally based on missing document/s have up to a maximum of two semesters to satisfy these requirements:
    • Certificate:  Bachelor's degree with a GPA under 2.90 will be reviewed for a decision
    • Unofficial transcripts from all institutions attended may be requested
    • Interview may be required
    • One-page resume of work and education may be required

How to Apply:

School of Graduate Studies and Research
California University of Pennsylvania
Box 91
250 University Ave. 
California, PA 15419

  • Submit unofficial transcripts and other documents by mail (using the address above), email (gradschool@calu.edu) or fax (724-938-5712)

For additional information:
Email: gradschool@calu.edu
Phone: 1.866.595.6348

Counselor Education

Master's Degrees


Clinical Mental Health Counseling Master's Degree

A master of science degree leading to NCC and LPC credentials for students who want to work as counselors for clients across a spectrum of mental and emotional disorders.

School Counseling Pre K-12 Master of Education Degree

A master of education degree fulfilling LPC requirements for students who want to work as counselors assisting Pre K-12 students in their academic, personal and career development



Spiritual, Ethical and Religious Counseling Faculty

Dr. Grafton Eliason


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Dr. Elizabeth Gruber
Professor, Department Chairperson


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Robert Mehalik
Assistant Professor


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Dr. Jeff L. Samide


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Dr. Jacqueline Walsh


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