At Starr King School for the Ministry, contextual education fosters the integration of theory and practice for students preparing for religious and social-change leadership. This is a “hands-on” model of learning in which emerging leaders engage practices of ministry and justice-making in various contexts and communities, honing their professional skills and benefiting from the insights of experienced mentors and supervisors.
Field education entails intentionally-reflective, supervised work, conducted in a congregational/agency setting or independently by the student as a special project. Field education is strongly encouraged, but not required for the MDiv degree. MASC students must fulfill an internship requirement to receive their diploma. Unitarian Universalist students seeking ordination must complete an internship approved and overseen by the Ministerial Fellowship Committee, which they may pursue as part of their course of study or upon graduation from Starr King.
Believing that students should follow a personalized course of study, and serving a population that resides across the country, Starr King does not follow a traditional “placement” model of field education. For the most part, students self-initiate field education opportunities that match their passions, vocational interests, and logistical capacities. The Office of Contextual Education will provide assistance in locating and crafting an appropriate field education setting.
SKSM Field Education Experiences Include:
- Unitarian Universalist congregations throughout the United States
- Unitarian Universalist justice and advocacy organizations
- Interfaith, interspiritual, and progressive religious communities
- Nonprofit organizations engaged with marginalized communities, animal rights, sustainable agriculture, homeless ministry, climate justice, LGBTQ+ rights
- Prison ministry and ex-offender support
- Independent student initiatives engaged in lobbying, grassroots organizing, community building, and pastoral care
SKSM offers two levels of field education credit: field work, which is less structured and involves less hours of work, and internships, which are part-to-full-time exercises supported by regular consultation with one’s supervisor and participation in a reflection class.
Clinical Pastoral Education
Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) is a professional clinical education for ministry with people in crisis. Most accredited centers are located in hospitals, but some CPE programs reside in other settings: hospice care, long-term care facilities, prisons, congregations, etc. CPE is not required for the MDiv or MASC degrees, but it is required by some denominations and conferences as part of their ordination requirements, including the Unitarian Universalist Association. CPE is a significant and usually necessary training for persons interested in becoming chaplains.
If you believe you are ready to pursue a field education or CPE opportunity, please follow the steps that are outlined in the Student Handbook. Detailed information regarding SKSM policies for conducting field education and CPE are available in the Field Education Handbook.
For community-based field education and CPE, contact Rev. Christopher Schelin, Director of Contextual Education
For congregation-based field education, contact Rev. Tera Little.