Islamic Chaplaincy | Hartford Seminary

Islamic Chaplaincy



Program Components

Learning Outcomes

Financial Assistance

The Islamic Chaplaincy Program at Hartford Seminary is a 72-credit program that combines academic study and practical training. The program, recognized as a Master of Divinity equivalent by the Association of Theological Schools, has two components:

48-credit M.A.
in Religious Studies
Courses including Dialogue, Arts of Ministry, Ethics, History, Scripture, and Theology with a focus in Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations
24-credit Graduate Certificate in Islamic Chaplaincy 18 credits in Islamic “Practices of Ministry” and related courses, and 6 credits of field education/practical application and training

Integral to the rationale for developing and offering the Islamic Chaplaincy Program are the strengths already in existence at Hartford Seminary which include:

  • the strong academic curriculum available through the current M.A. in Religious Studies degree program with a focused area of study in Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations;
  • the interfaith orientation, work and scholarship of the Duncan Black Macdonald Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations; and
  • the expertise of the Hartford Institute for Religion Research in working with active faith communities.

Faculty Mentoring

In consultation with the Co-Directors of the Islamic Chaplaincy Program, each student’s program will be customized to meet his or her particular educational needs and professional/vocational objectives within the formal guidelines and criteria established for the Islamic Chaplaincy Program at Hartford Seminary. Depending on the applicant’s previous education and experience and the applicant’s future goals and work setting, the applicant may be required to complete both components of the Islamic Chaplaincy Program or just the Graduate Certificate in Islamic Chaplaincy. For further information, contact the Admissions Office at


Application and Admission for the Graduate Certificate Program in Islamic Chaplaincy
(For application and admission information pertinent to the M.A. in Religious Studies degree with a focused area of study in Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations, please see the Master of Arts in Religious Studies Degree Program section.)

Admission to the Graduate Certificate in Islamic Chaplaincy requires a bachelor’s degree (or its educational equivalent) from an accredited institution, and extensive knowledge of Islam, which may have been acquired in various ways. Ideally, students applying to the Graduate Certificate in Islamic Chaplaincy will have completed a Master’s degree (or its educational equivalent).

Preference will be given to students who are working or will be working as chaplains in the U.S. or with a U.S. agency, organization or institution. International students who require visas will, in rare cases, be considered for admission; however, all documents necessary for the I-20 (financial statement and sponsorship, etc.), and a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) (minimum score of 550 (written version), 213 (computer version) or 80 (internet version)), or IELTS (minimum score of 6.5) are required.

Note: The United States Armed Forces expects students who want to be military chaplains to earn both the M.A. in Religious Studies with a focus in Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations degree and the Graduate Certificate in Islamic Chaplaincy.

Additional Admissions Stipulations:

  • Admission to a Graduate Certificate program of study does not constitute or guarantee admission to the M.A. in Religious Studies degree program;
  • Coursework that was taken for credit as a special student at Hartford Seminary prior to admission may be applied toward the 24 credits required for the graduate certificate; however, at least 6 of the 18 course credits (field education credits are excluded from this requirement) must be taken after official notification of admission to the graduate certificate program;
  • No transfer credit from other institutions will be allowed to count toward the graduate certificate;
  • Advanced Standing credit may be granted by the Academic Policy Committee only toward three of the six field education/relevant life experience credits as stipulated above.

Students wishing to be admitted prior to the start of a given semester must make sure their files are complete by the following deadlines:

  • April 15 for Summer Session or to be included in the first round of financial aid decisions for the next academic year; (To be considered for financial aid, a separate Application for Financial Assistance must be completed and submitted to the Financial Aid Committee by June 1st.)
  • July 15 for the Fall Semester;
  • December 1 for January Intersession and the Winter/Spring Semester.

An applicant’s file is complete when the following items have been received by the Admissions Office:

  • The application form and application fee of $50.
  • A personal statement of three to four pages identifying the applicant’s personal goals for the Graduate Certificate in Islamic Chaplaincy, his/her perceived strengths, and his/her potential areas for development.
  • Complete official transcripts from all previous undergraduate and graduate institutions.
  • Two letters of recommendation: One letter of recommendation from a professor or instructor who can speak to the applicant’s academic abilities and potential or a professional colleague who can speak to her or his capabilities and potential. A second letter of recommendation from the leader of a Muslim religious or community organization that speaks to the abilities and potential of the applicant to work cooperatively in community activities, exercise religious leadership and achieve a deeper understanding of his or her faith, linguistically and intellectually.

One can apply through either a paper-based or an online format, both available on our website Detailed instructions for completing the application are also provided at this link. You may also request a paper application by calling our Admissions Office at 860-509-9512.

Interview: After a student’s file is complete, the student will be contacted by the Admissions Office to set up an interview. While in most cases the interview will happen on the Hartford Seminary campus, a phone interview may be conducted where distance prohibits a visit to campus. Applications will only be sent on to the Admissions Committee for review once the interview has been conducted.

Readmission: Please see Readmission policy.

Master of Arts in Religious Studies Degree

The M.A. in Religious Studies degree requires the successful completion of 48 credits. The M.A. in Religious Studies degree with a focus in Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations is designed to provide students with foundational knowledge in the major disciplines of Islamic religious thought and practice, historical and contemporary perspectives on Islamic societies, and theological and social interaction between Islam and Christianity. Students choosing this area of focused study are strongly encouraged to take Arabic.

Please see the Master of Arts in Religious Studies Degree Program section for complete information.

Graduate Certificate in Islamic Chaplaincy

The Graduate Certificate in Islamic Chaplaincy is designed to provide Muslim religious leaders and chaplains with basic skills in pastoral care, practices of ministry, theology and ethics, dialogue and interfaith relations needed to serve as chaplains in a variety of settings. The areas of knowledge and skill acquisition provided by the 24-credit graduate certificate are:

  • the responsibilities of Muslim chaplains/religious leaders surrounding life events such as birth, death, marriage, and loss;
  • the rituals surroundings these same life events;
  • examination of Islamic law, which undergirds all Islamic rituals and includes ethics and morality;
  • the application of Islamic law to daily life;
  • exposure to and understanding of chaplaincy skills in multifaith settings; and
  • understanding of faith traditions other than one’s own.


Introduction to Islamic Law (ET-640) or Contemporary Islamic Ethics (ET-655) 3 credits
Courses in Practices of Ministry, Theology and Ethics, Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations 15 credits
 Practical Training  6 credits

All courses need to be approved in advance and in consultation with the Program Director.

Students completing the certificate will also be expected to have acquired basic skills in Qur’anic recitation as well as the foundational Islamic knowledge needed to function successfully as Muslim Chaplains.

Practical Training

All students in the graduate Certificate program in Islamic Chaplaincy must complete six credits of practical training. In most cases, this practical training will consist of three credits of Clinical Pastoral Education and three credits of field education.

Clinical Pastoral Education (3 credits): All students are required to take one unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE). When the student has completed the unit of CPE, he/she must submit an Advanced Standing petition to the Academic Policy Committee which requests three credits and include a copy of his/her CPE certificate. No tuition is charged by the Seminary for CPE.

Field Education (GC-580 – 3 credits): The content and setting of field education will vary according to the needs of the student. Normally, students are expected to work in a Muslim or non-Muslim institution 8 hours a week for 30 weeks for a total of 240 hours in a capacity that corresponds with the skills required in a specific area of chaplaincy, such as prison ministry, hospital, university, military, or community work. Students must register for GC-580 Field Education when they begin their field education placement and are charged tuition for three credits.

All field education placements must have an on-site field education supervisor and a Hartford Seminary supervisor (in most cases this will be the Director of the Islamic Chaplaincy Program). Supervisors and students will be required to sign an agreement that specifies their mutual rights and duties. The field education supervisor, the student, and the Hartford Seminary field education supervisor (Director of the Islamic Chaplaincy Program or designee) will meet (on-site or virtually if necessary) a minimum of once each semester during the field education experience. In rare instances, students may be permitted to fulfill the field education requirement outside the New England area with the consent of the Director of the Islamic Chaplaincy Program and with the assurance of appropriate means for assessing the nature and quality of the supervision.

Students with an extensive background in religious leadership may apply to the Academic Policy Committee to be granted three credits of Advanced Standing (in lieu of GC-580) for previous religious leadership experiences relevant to their intended field within Islamic Chaplaincy (ex. military, university, correctional facility, hospital, etc…). Petitions for Advanced Standing need to be made in accordance with the “Advanced Standing Guidelines of Hartford Seminary” and will be acted on by the Academic Policy Committee in consultation with the Director of the Islamic Chaplaincy Program.

Islamic Chaplaincy Colloquium: All students are required to attend the annual Islamic Chaplaincy Colloquium throughout their studies. The Colloquium is designed to facilitate collegial sharing, peer education, spiritual formation and networking among students, alumni and practitioners in the field of Islamic Chaplaincy. Students who are currently carrying out their Field Education are expected to prepare presentations and facilitate workshops at the colloquium that reflect on their experience of working in particular areas within the field of chaplaincy. A fee for the Colloquium will be automatically added to the account of each student in the Islamic Chaplaincy program.

Students who have completed the Islamic Chaplaincy program will be able to:

  • Demonstrate foundational and critical knowledge of the Islamic tradition as relevant to Muslim chaplains.
  • Develop an appreciation of living in a pluralistic world and dialogical skills needed to work in multi-faith and diverse settings.
  • Enhance abilities related to spiritual/pastoral care and community service.

For information about financial assistance available through Hartford Seminary see the Financial Aid section of the website.  In addition to the general options listed there, there are two financial assistance programs available through the seminary only for Islamic Chaplaincy students

Islamic Chaplaincy Fund: Islamic chaplaincy students who qualify for Hartford Seminary need-based aid as of the Fall semester in any academic year may also be eligible for a small, supplemental award.  Contact the director of the Islamic chaplaincy program for further information.

FADEL Education Foundation and Hartford Seminary Prison Chaplaincy Scholarship.  As the scholarship’s name states, only students who will pursue careers in Correctional chaplaincy are eligible for this program. Contact the director of the Islamic chaplaincy program for further information.

Gainful Employment Disclosure: Graduate Certificate in Islamic Chaplaincy

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