Joint Program for Interfaith Chaplaincy

Starr King School for the Ministry and Chaplaincy Institute Joint Program for Interfaith Chaplaincy

In a time when religious leadership is taking many new forms to respond to needs of the day, it is vital to prepare people for these roles who are able to mindfully respond in a broad variety of religious traditions with respect, preparedness and compassion. Both The Chaplaincy Institute and Starr King School for the Ministry hold this as a core value.

Since May 2014, The Chaplaincy Institute (ChI) and Starr King School for the Ministry (SKSM) formally affiliated through our Joint Program for Interfaith Chaplaincy. This affiliation provides a pathway for students to meet both the educational and ecclesiastical requirements for certification as a professional chaplain by integrating the ChI Certificate of Interfaith Studies into Starr King’s accredited master’s degree (Master of Divinity or Master of Arts in Social Change) programs.

Background and Precedent

To receive “board-certified chaplain” status from the Board of Chaplaincy Certification, Inc. (BCCI), an affiliate of the Association of Professional Chaplains (APC), requires a 72-credit Master’s degree (or its equivalent) from a seminary accredited by a member of the Council for Higher Education (such as SKSM) and ordination and endorsement from a recognized body. The ChI Interfaith Community is a religious, ordaining entity that has been recognized as an Ecclesiastical Endorsing body by both the APC and the ACPE (Association for Clinical Pastoral Education). This “ChI-SKSM Joint Program for Interfaith Chaplaincy” is especially intended for students whose vocational aim is to become a board-certified chaplain.

Collaborative Curriculum, Credits Awarded

Through the affiliation, ChI and SKSM agree to admit students jointly, allowing students to pursue both a ChI Interfaith Studies Certificate and an SKSM M.Div. or M.A.S.C. degree concurrently, with the ChI certificate as an integral component of earning their SKSM degree.   A total of 18 credits toward meeting the requirements of an SKSM M.Div. or M.A.S.C. degree will be awarded to students who complete the ChI Interfaith Studies certificate as part of their SKSM degree. It is possible that M.Div. students may be able to enroll in both the Interfaith Studies and Spiritual Direction certificates, but not concurrently and they will need to apply separately for each.

Admission and Enrollment

In the preferred and usual circumstances, it is expected and encouraged that a student will apply for joint admission prior to beginning either program. Mutually agreeable procedures have been instituted to cover exceptions:

  • If an SKSM student who has completed part of their SKSM M.Div. or M.A.S.C. degree wishes to apply for admission to the ChI Interfaith Studies Certificate Program, this is possible by joint agreement of the two institutions. In general terms, this is possible only in cases where the student still needs 18 or more credit hours to complete their SKSM degree and has a clear vocational plan to become an Interfaith Chaplain. Please contact Rev. Christopher Schelin, Director of Contextual Information, for information about applying.
  • Reciprocally, if a ChI student who has completed part or the entire ChI program wishes to apply for admission to an SKSM Master’s program (M.Div. or M.A.S.C.); the student will be welcome to do so. If admitted, SKSM will specify the academic credit and a proportional tuition reduction for the part of the ChI program that the ChI student has completed.

We look forward to continuing to enhance our ability to be of service to and support those who are on the path to religious leadership.

For more information, please contact Mary@chaplaincyinstitute.org / (510) 843-1422 or Jeremiah Kalendae at jkalendae@sksm.edu / (510) 549-4704.