Pathways to Chaplaincy
The Master of Arts in Chaplaincy (MAC) is designed to equip students to serve as chaplains in many settings – from hospitals and prisons to universities, the military, and beyond. The MAC provides rigorous preparation for chaplaincy service in the interreligious environment of Hartford Seminary, and it offers an optional specialization in Islamic Chaplaincy. As part of the Islamic Chaplaincy Program at Hartford Seminary, students can take the MAC degree with a specialization in Islamic Chaplaincy after completing the MAIRS degree with a specialization in Islamic Studies.
See “The Islamic Chaplaincy Program at Hartford Seminary.”
The MA in Chaplaincy equips students to integrate spiritual caregiving theory and practice by combining classwork and Field Education, Clinical Pastoral Education and individual advisement. The program provides students the concrete skills necessary for working in a multifaith environment, preparing them to meet the “Common Qualifications and Competencies for Professional Chaplains” published by the Board of Chaplaincy Certification, Inc. (BCCI) and the “Standards of Practice for Professional Chaplains” of the Association of Professional Chaplains.
The MAC is a 36-credit degree program that can be completed in two years by a full-time student. The program can be completed online, but it may take a distance student more than two years to complete.
Hartford Seminary is a partner of the Chaplaincy Innovation Lab.
Required Core (12 credits)
- Chaplaincy Models and Methods (3 credits)
- Theology and Scriptures in Spiritual Care Practice (3 credits)
- Psychology and Sociology for Chaplaincy (3 credits)
- Religious and Cultural Ethics for Chaplaincy (3 credits)
Elective Courses (15 credits)
Courses should be chosen with an eye toward mastery of BCCI competencies not addressed in other courses, and they should be chosen with the guidance of the Program Director. Electives will be selected based upon the student’s interest in pursuing chaplaincy in the fields of Health Care, Prisons, Military, Education, Community, and in Third Spaces.
Specialization in Islamic Chaplaincy
Instead of five electives, students will take TH-614: Muslim Pastoral Theology and four courses from those approved for the program, with advisement from Program Director.
Field Education (6 credits)
Field Education for the MA in Chaplaincy is provided in cooperation with the MA in Peacebuilding. The aim of the two-semester (6 credit) practicum is for students to examine and reflect on how change and care happen in society. Two students will be placed in each field education site, such as a homeless shelter, high school, house of worship, or other service organization.
Students will be active in this course two different ways each week:
- Approximately six hours of service each week
- One two-hour class period each week.
In class, students will learn the principles of project-based social change, and will analyze and reflect upon their service experience in terms of peacebuilding, chaplaincy and project-planning concepts. We are aiming for a symbiosis between students’ academic learning and service work. We will ask them to examine how constructive social change and caregiving occur through many lenses: intellectual, emotional, structural and personal. Given the large number of contact hours, reading will be kept to a minimum and most assessment will be completed during class time. The class will be taught in person with the option for remote students to join virtually. Chaplaincy students who must join virtually will meet with Chaplaincy Coordinator and the Chaplaincy Director to discuss appropriate field-education placements. The class will be graded Pass/Fail.
Clinical Pastoral Education (3 credits)
Students must complete one-full unit of ACPE accredited Clinical Pastoral Education. Students can substitute one additional unit of CPE as an elective; the additional unit of CPE must be level II or higher.
- As captured in the BCCI competencies, students will be able to use the intellectual, interpersonal, and professional skills needed to provide chaplaincy care in complex, pluralistic environments. These are described in the Sections I-IV of the Common Qualifications and Competencies for Professional Chaplains, set by the Board of Chaplaincy Certification Inc. These include:
Section I: Integration of Theory and Practice Competencies
Section II: Professional Identity and Conduct Competencies
Section III: Professional Practice Skills Competencies
Section IV: Organizational Leadership Competencies
2. Graduates will have demonstrated knowledge of the Association of Professional Chaplains’ fifteen “Standards of Practice for Professional Chaplains.”
3. Graduates will have command of the Association of Professional Chaplains Code of Ethics, the evidence for this being recorded on Hartford Seminary’s “Code of Ethics Worksheet.”
4. Graduates will have a working knowledge in scriptural languages, and/or ability to recite passages from scripture.
- July 15 for the Fall Semester; to be considered for financial aid, separate Applications for Financial Assistance must be completed and submitted to the Financial Aid Office by June 1st.
- December 1 for the Spring Semester.
- Prior Education: Complete official transcripts from all previous undergraduate and graduate institutions must be submitted to the Admission’s Office. A bachelor’s degree (or its educational equivalent) at a high level of achievement from an accredited institution is a prerequisite for admissions. Admission is granted only on the basis of the terms stated in the Hartford Seminary Catalogue and in the admission letter. In unusual circumstances, a limited number of highly qualified students without the requisite Bachelor’s Degree will be considered for admission.Applicants possessing international education credentials are required to submit transcripts in English or accompanied by a certified English translation. Non-U.S. transcripts must be evaluated by a credential evaluation service such as wes.org or by a member organization of NACES (www.naces.org)
- Statement of Purpose: Each Statement of Purpose is unique and is meant to be an expression of the individuals that write them. We want to know what is important to you, what has shaped you, and, ultimately, who you are. You have the opportunity to tell us about the aspects of your character and experience that help us understand why you are a good match with this program. We also want to know how you would both gain from and contribute to our unique environment.The Statement of Purpose should be four to five pages (typed, double-spaced) and should reflect on:
* your goals in seeking theological education and the experiences or values that have led you to do so;
* the reasons you have chosen Hartford Seminary, in particular;
* your educational/ vocational goals;
* your perceived strengths and potential areas for development;
* the life experiences that have most significantly shaped you in terms of your interest in chaplaincy
- References: Three letters of recommendation. At least one letter must be from a faculty member of an institution from which the applicant has earned a degree or another person who can speak to the applicant’s potential for graduate level study; at least one recommendation must be from an individual who can speak to the applicant’s potential for service as a chaplain.
- English Language Proficiency: Students who are not native English speakers or who have not had English as a primary language of instruction in their academic studies, are required to submit scores of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) examination and achieve a minimum score of 80 on the internet version of TOEFL or 550 on the paper based total; or 6.5 on the IELTS.
- Interview: An interview with the Coordinator or the Director of the Chaplaincy program will be scheduled once the items listed above are submitted.
All completed applications are reviewed by the Admissions Committee.
Ready to start your application? Click one of the links below.
MAIRS Students in the Ministerial Studies or Islamic Studies specializations may continue on to complete the 36-credit hour professional MA in Chaplaincy (MAC), through an internal application process. Students who have completed both the MAIRS and MAC degrees will have completed 72 hours of graduate studies in religion, which is the minimum number of graduate credits required by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) for the Master of Divinity degree.
Though Hartford Seminary does not confer the Master of Divinity degree, the seminary has designed the combined MAIRS and MAC degrees to honor ATS requirements for Master of Divinity programs, which require that graduates will have:
- an understanding of scripture, the theological traditions and history of the school’s faith community, and the broader heritage of other relevant religious traditions;
- awareness of cultural and social issues, have a global awareness and, skills in navigating the multifaith and multicultural nature of the societies in which students may serve;
- have engaged in personal and spiritual formation, including development in personal faith, professional ethics, emotional maturity, moral integrity, and spirituality;
- have had the opportunity for developing religious and public leadership; and
- have engaged in supervised and evaluated practical experiences in areas related to the student’s vocational calling in order to achieve the learning outcomes of the degree program.
Because of the number of credit hours included in the MAIRS and MAC degrees (72) and because of the subjects covered, ATS considers graduates who have completed both programs to have “MDiv equivalency” for the specific purpose of qualifying students for admission to a Doctor of Ministry program, the terminal ministerial degree. Students should consult with their denomination, religious institution, sponsor, or employer to determine if an “MDiv equivalent degree” meets the requirements for professional ministry.
Note: The United States Armed Forces expects students who want to be military chaplains to complete at least 72-credit hours of graduate theological education. Applicants should inquire with a local Armed Forces recruiter to review the MAIRS and MAC degrees.