(ST. PAUL, MINN.-Thursday, May 12, 2022)—Starting this fall, a unique partnership between United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities (United) and the American Humanist Association’s (AHA) Center for Education in Washington, DC, will make possible two new degree programs: a Master of Divinity (MDiv) in Humanist Studies and a Master of Arts in Leadership (MAL) in Humanist Studies at United. Both programs aim to foster “leadership that is ethically grounded, informed, skillful, globally responsible, personally sustainable, and committed to meeting the needs of the Humanist community.”

For AHA, the partnership enables its Center for Education to participate in an accredited humanist degree program, “a vision long sought,” according to their April 5, 2022 press release. To help “humanist leaders, spokespersons, educators, and advocates [prepare] for organizational and community leadership careers in various contexts,” the Center for Education is supplying online access to four courses that are part of United’s new Humanist offerings.

United is also a natural fit for these new degree programs. Organically tied to the United Church of Christ, United was founded as a progressive ecumenical institution open to interreligious engagement and exploration. “It provides,” notes the AHA press release, “a culture that shapes leaders to transform the world by emphasizing rigorous academics, community experiences, mentorship, and building supportive relationships.”

United Dean Kyle Roberts concurs. “United has had a long and distinguished history as an ecumenical seminary, grounded in the liberal Protestant tradition, and unconstrained by any particular creed or confession,” he explains. “United is fertile soil for all seekers and learners who wish to do good work in the world for common good.”

“This partnership with the AHA’s Center for Education,” Roberts adds, “will enrich that soil yet further. Humanists have sought an accredited program that draws upon their educators and their philosophical traditions, but that also invites them into a broader, pluralist religious and theological community. I believe this partnership will serve us all well in cultivating more ethical leaders for a diverse world.” 

Kristin Wintermute, education director for AHA’s Center for Education, appreciates the partnership for both professional and personal reasons. “My mother, the late Carol Wintermute,” she shares, “attended United in the 1970s, seeking to become a Unitarian Universalist Humanist minister. Her aspirations led to co-deanship at the Humanist Institute, and the education [from] United always served as a foundation for her humanist leadership. Now, I hope it can do the same for others.”

To learn more about or enroll in one of the two new Humanist Studies degree programs at United, visit or