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 this affiliation, ChI and SKSM agree to admit students jointly, allowing students to pursue both a ChI Interfaith Studies Certificate and a 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 towards meeting the requirements of an SKSM M.Div. or M.A.S.C. degree will be awarded to students who commit to and complete the full ChI program as part of their SKSM degree. Students are welcome to take both the Interfaith Studies and Spiritual Direction track, as long as they are not participating in the program concurrently.

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 are to be worked out for handling 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.
  • 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 / 415-843-1422 or Jeremiah Kalendae at jkalendae@sksm.edu / (510) 549-4704.