Frequently Asked Questions

Will completing this program make me a chaplain and enable me to get a job?2023-08-10T15:50:04-07:00

Completing this program is one component of qualifying for professional chaplaincy work. Employment in health care chaplaincy usually requires additional preparations such as 4 units of CPE and a master’s degree. Professional chaplains are trained and credentialed by several organizations; many employers require this further training and certification.

Where do I do my practicum?2020-03-01T05:18:17-08:00

Your practicum can be done either through a Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) site or at a location (or locations) of your choice. Possibilities include hospitals, places of worship, prisons, assisted living facilities, supporting activist groups, singing at bedsides, leading spiritual growth workshops, and many other settings. Choose a practicum that will help you build a ministry and skill set suited to your unique call to spiritual service. Some students create a blended practicum, allowing for exploration of multiple ministerial roles. Although ChI provides support for the discernment process in choosing a practicum, students are responsible for making their own practicum arrangements.

Where and when are the courses held?2023-08-10T15:51:10-07:00

All courses are held online via Zoom and Moodle, except for the spring learning retreat held at a residential retreat center in the Bay Area. Each student must attend one on-site retreat and those run from Monday noon to Friday noon.

What happens at a course intensive?2023-08-10T15:52:27-07:00

Each course has a focus theme—world religions, basic skills of interfaith ministry or a deep focus on a special topic that relates to ministry or spiritual care. Class content flows between didactic and experiential, theological and psychological, artistic and reflective modalities. Although each is different, all of the courses contain elements related to ministry, chaplaincy, spiritual care skill-building or theological literacy, broadly speaking .

I am a licensed clinician, so can I get Continuing Education Units?2020-03-01T05:37:24-08:00

We encourage you to approach your board and appeal to them for CEUs for our courses.

I am not sure if I want to take the whole program. Can I attend an open course or elective to check it out?2020-03-05T14:19:18-08:00

Yes. We appreciate that choosing to enroll in a program such as this is a considerable investment of time and resources. You may attend up to three electives without applying to and matriculating into this program. More info about enrolling for open courses and electives is here.

How soon can I start?2020-03-01T05:40:30-08:00

Our Chaplaincy Program operates on semi-rolling admissions, with four months of the year offering a required first foundational course. In some cases, students begin at another time of year with an elective or two. In most cases, you can begin as soon as eight weeks after we receive all of your application materials, including letters of reference.

How do I enroll in the program?2023-08-10T15:53:49-07:00

By completing a written application and submitting it with other required documents. Acceptance into the program is based on a written application and interview via Zoom videoconference. The Chaplaincy Program application can be requested through admissions:

Can you help me with a foreign student visa?2020-03-01T09:30:47-08:00


What are the prerequisites for enrollment?2020-03-01T19:24:37-08:00

A Bachelor’s degree. If you do not have a Bachelor’s degree, you can apply for an Education Prerequisite Waiver.

Does this course qualify for financial aid from the government?2023-08-10T15:55:10-07:00

No. However, we have our own financial aid program offering either tuition reduction or work study, for those who meet the qualifications. Please request the financial aid form from the admissions office:

Do you offer scholarships?2020-03-01T09:32:01-08:00

Yes. Please email to learn more about qualifications and the financial aid application process.

What is the cost of the program?2023-08-10T15:55:41-07:00

The tuition is $18,150 for nine required and three elective courses. There are additional seminary and community fees as well as out-of-pocket expenses that may bring the total close to $24,500. Payment can be made in installments after an initial enrollment deposit.

What if I have studied elsewhere?2018-06-07T18:57:31-07:00

If you have a theological degree from a seminary, graduate school, or the like, you may request a waiver of some of the course requirements. These are addressed on a case-by-case basis.

Can I get academic credit for this course?2023-08-10T15:56:31-07:00

We are not an accredited school in the same manner of traditional denomination-centric seminaries. However, students enrolled at the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) have taken our courses for credit in their programs with prior approval from their academic advisors. The full Chaplaincy Program is valued at 18 graduate level units toward a Masters Degree at Starr King School for the Ministry. Also, the Association of Professional Chaplains grants 24 graduate-level credits to people who have completed the program, helping to fulfill the requirements for board certification as a professional chaplain.

Can you tell me more about the integration of creativity and the arts into the curriculum?2020-03-01T09:47:27-08:00

The arts as a “second language” are emphasized at ChI because they are a primary mode through which we sense and express the Divine throughout our lives. Creative expression of the religious or spiritual experience has been part of all religions and faith traditions, dating back to prehistoric times. We hold, as a learning objective, the fostering of creative approaches to ministry as a universal, accessible pathway. Use of the arts in spiritual care connects people with meaning and with Source, whether or not they relate to the vocabulary of “God” or “the Divine.”

How many people are in the courses?2020-03-01T09:48:43-08:00

Courses typically have from ten to twenty students. Small group size ensures a relaxed, intimate environment with a high level of interaction between faculty and other participants, with ample opportunity for dialogue and questions.

How long is this program?2023-08-10T15:58:07-07:00

The shortest amount of time to complete the course work is about a year, and all program requirements can be completed in under 18 months, from application to ordination (if approved and scheduled well). Often students extend their studies over multiple years; your course of study can extend up to three years. The courses do not need to be taken sequentially after the first foundational courses, and the program calendar repeats itself each year.

How many courses are offered long-distance over the internet?2023-08-10T15:59:29-07:00

All of them, nine required courses plus eight electives!  Our entire  coursework is online and can be completed from anywhere, with the exception of the residential learning retreat and independent learning done in your own location.

What are the components of the Chaplaincy Program?2023-08-10T16:00:08-07:00

The Chaplaincy Program includes nine required courses plus three chosen elective courses, all held on Moodle and Zoom. Independent homework includes online Moodle classes, reading, writing, creative work and experiential assignments. In addition, students engage in further learning and ministerial formation in spiritual site visits, personal spiritual practice, a 200-to-400-hour practicum, and their own vocational discernment.

Who is this program for?2020-03-01T19:10:47-08:00

This program is designed for people who are called to serve in an interfaith capacity in our increasingly diverse world. Often people enroll either in open courses or the full Chaplaincy Program to satisfy a deeply held longing to live a meaningful, engaged life. Some of our graduates seek professional chaplaincy or other ministerial roles, while others evolve creative community ministries in many forms.

Who takes this program?2020-03-01T19:12:57-08:00

Our students come from a diverse range of backgrounds—from nurses to yoga instructors to business people to psychologists. They also come from a wide range of theological backgrounds—for example, Buddhists, Catholics, Pagan, New Thought, and many people who don’t define their spirituality through a specific faith tradition.



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