The Starr King Certificate in Chaplaincy Studies, directed by Rev. Dr. Pamela D. Hancock, enables you to study the full complement of Chaplaincy topics to help you understand the types of Chaplaincy positions available today, go through a formation process at your own pace, and become prepared to minister to the world.

Certificate in Chaplaincy Studies

Earn your graduate-level certificate in Chaplaincy entirely through online study at Starr King School for the Ministry. This Certificate is perfect for those who already have an MDiv (or other type of theological Master’s Degree) and wish to bolster their education in order to serve in this way.

Complete your 18 unit certificate through a set of six formation stages (1.5 units each) and three courses in the Spiritual Practice & Care of the Soul Threshold (3 units each) taken 100% online. The successful completion of one unit of CPE (no SKSM fees/units for this work) is also required for the certificate program—this is done through an Accredited CPE Center during or after your coursework. See list of accredited centers here: (If you have already completed one unit of CPE recently, you may present your evaluation to the Director for consideration to fulfill the requirement.)

Program Prerequisites

  • MDiv or comparable Master’s Degree is also required for enrollment.
  • SKSM’s ECO Core – Educating to Create Just and Sustainable Communities that Counter Oppressions
    • This counter-oppressive philosophy is at the core of Starr King’s degree programs. Drawing on Unitarian Universalist and multi-religious sources, this online synchronous course explores how in the midst of a world marked by tragedy, sorrow and injustice there remains abiding resources of beauty and grace that nourish resistance, offer healing and call us to accountability and community building. All students entering the Certificate in Chaplaincy Studies must have this ECO Core or equivalent background (as determined by Director of Program) before starting.

Required Courses

Chaplaincy Formation – 6 Stages

This will be a set of 1.5 unit per semester “Pod” courses (for a total of 9 units) that will provide you a group with whom to go through the formation process.

  • Stage 1 & Stage 6 – Focus on your own personal spiritual formation, with the emphasis on being able to articulate your beliefs in writing.
  • Stage 2 – Explains the requirements of working as a chaplain in multiple settings.
  • Stage 3 – Dives into group dynamics and organizational culture, systems and relationships within several settings; along with preparation of a CPE application.
  • Stage 4 – Examines how to function pastorally within boundaries and using pastoral authority, utilizing the Starr King – Educating to Counter Oppression lens.
  • Stage 5 – Demonstrates how to minister to those in specific traditions, cultures and identities.

Courses to Choose from in the “Spiritual Practice and Care of the Soul Threshold”

Choose three:

  • Spiritual Practices for these Times (3 Units)
  • Deep Listening for All Forms of Ministry (3 Units)
  • Depth Psychology for Chaplains (3 Units)

Optional Additional Courses:

  • Disaster Chaplaincy + Nova certificate (.50 Unit)  A good choice for those pursuing Hospital, First Responder, or Climate Crisis oriented Chaplaincy
  • Engaging Moral Injury (3 Units)  A good choice for those pursuing VA or Military Chaplaincy