Most chaplaincy positions require that you obtain a Masters of Divinity. As such, we have designed this concentration with the focus of helping you obtain a career position after you graduate. However, those choosing to do Movement or Entrepreneurial Chaplaincy may find their educational grounding in our MASC program instead. In either case, we have maintained our focus on radical education, sacred activism, multi-religiosity, and social justice.

Questions? Email Matthew Waterman, Director of Admissions, at

MDiv or MASC Chaplaincy Concentration

Are you fueled by a desire to serve your community as a chaplain? If so, the Starr King Chaplaincy Concentration provides a path for those seeking to become a chaplain, board-certified or not, in a variety of settings, including: hospital, hospice, military, law enforcement, and more.

Required Courses

Required for MDiv

  • Leadership Core Course (3 Units)
  • CJSC-ECO Core Course (3 Units)
  • Multi-Religiosity Core Course (3 Units)

Chaplaincy Concentration Required Courses

  • A Theological Ethics Course of Your Choosing (3 units)
  • Spiritual Traditions Courses of Your Choosing (as many as you see fit) – please work with your advisor to determine what courses are appropriate for your journey. If you are going to be ordained through the Chaplaincy Institute, you may want to discuss this with that organization as well. Also note what is required in the “Fulfilling the Spiritual Traditions Requirements at SKSM” Document in the GROUP documents—as it goes into greater detail regarding what is required for Board Certification.

Under the SKSM Spiritual Practice & Care of the Soul Threshold:

  • Spiritual Practices for These Times (3 units) –  In this semester-long, asynchronous online course, students will explore, develop and/or deepen their spiritual practice within the context of the Climate Crisis.  The class will be experiential and explore multireligiousity, as well as Ecopsychology, science and Nature.  The core focus of this newly-redesigned course is to learn new spiritual practices, or bolster existing ones, to help navigate the Great Turning we find ourselves in as a global community.  Evaluation will be based on reflections, spiritual practice exercises, a project, and how students help create a vibrant and caring learning community online.
  • Deep Listening for All Forms of Ministry (3 units) – In this semester-long, online synchronous course, students will explore, develop and/or deepen their ability to utilize Deep Listening (also called Active Listening) to strengthen their capacity to provide parishioners, clients, patients, etc., with authentic spiritual care. The class will be experiential and multi-religious, drawing on the wisdom of experts in the field—both psychological and spiritual. Deep Listening is one of the most important tools in the “toolbox” of anyone in a helping profession, and the cultivation of this practice will be useful in the spiritual, professional and personal life of the practitioner.
  • Pastoral Care (3 units) – Some sort of “Pastoral Care” or “Pastoral Counseling” Course is required, but many are offered at SKSM.  Here is the description of the Intro to Pastoral Counseling course that has been offered in the past:  This asynchronous online course introduces students to culturally responsive counseling practices and multicultural awareness.  Students examine societal and institutional structures of power and privilege, and become more aware of biases, prejudices, and micro aggressions detrimental to the growth of the human spirit.  Students study major counseling theories and practice basic helping skills centered on Person-Centered (Rogerian) counseling and Bowen Family Systems Theory.  Pastoral elements will include individual, family, and congregational contexts.  Asynchronous course with written lectures, readings, videos and links to online resources.  Weekly personal reflections and one synchronous component: a weekly self-scheduled practice sessions with a classmate.  There are two assigned textbooks.  Intermediate/advanced course intended for MDiv students but also available to MASC ones.
  • Depth Psychology for Chaplains (3 units) – Students will be evaluated on postings, participation and a final paper based on applying Depth Psychological theories to their own development as a Chaplain. This class is intended for those in the Chaplaincy Concentration (MDiv or MASC). This course was designed to provide the psychological grounding for those going into Chaplaincy to understand the complexity of the human condition, and how Jungian Psychology can help the Chaplain navigate the complicated waters of their career. Topics included: the religious function of the psyche, ego development/individuation, shadow work, Jungian psychology & racism, and psychological issues that may arise when ministering to people.
  • 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 with a group to go through the formation process with—in preparation of ordination with whatever ordaining body you choose).
    • Stage 1 & Stage 6 – Focuses on your own personal spiritual formation, with the emphasis on being able to articulate your beliefs in writing.  While Stage 6 also includes being a chaplain in the environmental crisis we all face and specially designed Trauma training.
    • 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.
  • One unit of CPE, or equivalent (up to 10 units)

A Unique Feature of the Chaplaincy Concentration​

Our “Pastoral and Professional Formation” sets Starr King apart from many other seminaries in the United States. As we are offering a program to assist anyone of any religious or spiritual tradition, we are in collaboration with several ordaining bodies to assist those who graduate from our program to become ordained. As a result of this, we offer a unique set of courses known as “Pastoral and Professional Formation” that provides our Chaplaincy students with a cohort to go through the formation process in preparation of ordination with whatever ordaining body they choose (see the growing list below). For those on a regular 3-year track, they will stay with the “Pod” with which they started; for those on longer tracks, this Formation process will be provided in their last 6 semesters. These courses will detail the requirements of working as a chaplain in a multiple settings; how to function pastorally within boundaries and using pastoral authority; group dynamics and organizational behavior; as well as organizational culture, system and relationships; and finally, attention to each individual’s formation process. Each pod course is a 1.5 unit per semester [for a total of 9 units].


Other seminaries center around mainstream faith traditions, their theologies, and the voices and identities within them. This is a deterrent for those who have been marginalized. Starr King has its foundation in Unitarian Universalism and is inclusive to those with “the call” and who are accountable to their community by being well prepared to embody it. That means if you consider yourself to be pagan, spiritual-but-not-religious, or in another marginalized spiritual tradition, you too can have a career in Chaplaincy, like those in traditional religions. There are many seminaries in the United States that offer Chaplaincy — but what sets Starr King apart is our focus on radical learning, sacred activism, multi-religiousity, social justice, and a commitment to educating to counter oppression (ECO) and antiracism — which has been a major part of the curriculum since the late nineties. In connection to this ECO commitment, Starr King is not only UU, but multi-religious, a multi-religiosity grounded in justice concerns.

Questions? Email Matthew Waterman, Director of Admissions, at .