Gnosticism, Esotericism and Mysticism

Gnosticism, Esotericism and Mysticism
225 Humanities Building

April DeConick
Department Chair

The Department of Religion offers the Certificate in Gnosticism, Esotericism and Mysticism (GEM). The GEM certificate provides graduate students with a theoretical orientation, which they then can apply to their chosen concentrations (i.e., African-American religions; African religions; Bible and Beyond; Buddhism; Christianity; Hinduism; Islam; Judaism; American Religion; New Age and New Religious Movements; etc.).  Traditionally the study of religion has privileged the authoritative voices of the religious experts and the scriptural texts that uphold orthodox faith traditions.

GEM is a new approach to the study of religion that does not privilege the public orthodox framings but takes seriously the heterodox and esoteric currents that have been actively repressed, censored, or marginalized in a variety of sociological, psychological, philosophical, and political ways. GEM takes into account the plurality of religious voices and expressions, including the neglected currents, in order to reconceive religion. This approach also engages the psychology and the phenomenology of religious experience, rather than relying exclusively on the authorial framings taught by the faith traditions and transmitted in their scriptural texts, interpretations and rituals.

Gnosticism, Esotericism and Mysticism does not currently offer an academic program at the undergraduate level.


April D. DeConick
Jeffrey J. Kripal


Marcia Brennan
April D. DeConick
Anne C. Klein
Jeffrey J. Kripal
William Parsons

Associate Professors

David Cook
Claire Fanger

Assistant Professors

Niki Kasumi Clements
Brian Ogren

For Rice University degree-granting programs:
To view the list of official course offerings, please see Rice’s Course Catalog
To view the most recent semester’s course schedule, please see Rice's Course Schedule

Description and Code Legend

Note: Internally, the university uses the following descriptions, codes, and abbreviations for this academic program. The following is a quick reference: 

Course Catalog/Schedule 

  • Course offerings/subject codes: Courses from various subjects may apply towards this program

Department Description and Code

  • Religion: RELI

Graduate Certificate Description and Code

  • Certificate in Gnosticism, Esotericism and Mysticism: GEM