Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) | Hartford Seminary

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

As a result of the most recent strategic planning process of the Board, in fall 2021, Hartford Seminary is redesigning its current 48-credit hour Master of Arts in Religious Studies (MARS) to a 36-credit hour Master of Arts in Interreligious Studies (MAIRS).

The Seminary is also rebuilding its two prominent certificate programs, the Graduate Certificate in Islamic Chaplaincy and the International Peacemaking Program, into 36 credit-hour professional Master’s degrees.

The Master of Arts in Chaplaincy (MAC), will be a 36-credit hour professional degree, designed to help students master the chaplaincy competencies published by the Association of Professional Chaplains. Students may take the general degree, or choose a specialization in Islamic Chaplaincy.

The International Peacemaking Program (IPP) is being redesigned into a one-year full-time residential program; a 36-credit hour Master of Arts in International Peacebuilding (MAP).

The Cooperative MDiv Program, which provides MARS students the opportunity to transfer up to 36-credit hours to a partner institution where they will go on to complete their MDiv, is being reimagined as the specialization in Ministerial Studies of the 36-credit hour MAIRS degree.

These FAQ sheets are designed to help currently matriculated and active Hartford Seminary students to learn about these new degrees, which will begin in the fall semester of 2021. Students will have the option of remaining in their current programs and completing their current requirements, or they may elect to transfer into one of the new degree programs.

The Seminary will be hosting three different information sessions in mid-December to provide further opportunity for students to ask questions. These dates and times will be posted soon.

Glossary of Terms:

COOP-MDiv: Cooperative MDiv Program

GCIC: Graduate Certificate in Islamic Chaplaincy

IPP: International Peacemaking Program

MAIRS: Master of Arts in Interreligious Studies

MAP: Master of Arts in International Peacebuilding

MARS: Master of Arts in Religious Studies

In the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact your advisor for guidance.

General Questions

Can I still complete my current degree program?

Yes! All students currently enrolled (or who have been active within the last two years) will have until May 2025 to complete their program requirements. Students who have been inactive since 2018 must contact the Registrar to verify their student status.

When do I have to decide whether I want to complete my current degree or transfer into the MAIRS or MAC?

All students must notify the Registrar by May 1, 2021 of their intention to either continue in their current program or request transfer.

 I have a W or F on my current transcript. Will those notations follow me onto my new transcript?

The transcript will note the start and end dates of your previous programs, but all coursework completed with the school, irrespective of degree, will continue to be displayed on the transcript.

 How do I let the Seminary know my decision?

All students will be asked to fill out one of the following forms:

Intent to Complete Program Form
Transfer Request to MAIRS
Transfer Request to MAC

Frequently Asked Questions about the Master of Arts in Interreligious Studies (MAIRS)

 I am a MARS, MATLS or MARS/GCIC student. Can I transfer directly into the MAIRS?

Yes!  Students currently enrolled in any Master’s program, regardless of concentration, can transfer directly into the MAIRS. For the requirements of the MAIRS program, see the program overview sheet.

Students may choose one of three specializations:

Interreligious Studies – provides a flexible course of study based upon the student’s area of interests
Islamic Studies – focuses on the foundational texts of Islam as they are lived and interpreted by Muslims.
Ministerial Studies – provides students with a foundational study of the arts of ministry, and a pathway to transfer to a partner MDiv institution.

Will my current courses count toward the MAIRS?

The MAIRS is a new program with its own specific requirements. To see how your current courses will transfer please refer to the MA in Interreligious Studies Program Overview.

  • DI-530 or DI-540 will count for the requirement Introduction to Interreligious Understanding.
  • Students who have completed under 24-credit hours in their current program will be required to take two of the team-taught seminars
  • Students who have completed anywhere from 24-42-credit hours will have their courses reviewed by the Academic Policy Committee of the faculty to determine whether any of their previous courses can fulfill the team-taught seminar requirement.

Students who have completed at least 42-credit hours are encouraged to complete their current degree. You may contact the Registrar’s Office with any specific questions about course transfer.

I want to transfer to the MAIRS but all my courses don’t count.  Will I lose those credits?

In the event that all of your current courses do not fit into the MAIRS degree requirements, they will still remain on your transcript. If you eventually decide to go on to complete the MA in Chaplaincy those credits will be evaluated for fulfilling the requirements of that program. Courses 10 years or older will not be eligible to count toward future degrees.

I am a Special Student. How may credits can I take before I must apply and matriculate to continue taking courses?

Special Students are allowed to take up to 6 credits before they must apply to a certificate or degree program.

I have a previous degree from Hartford Seminary. Can I turn this in and transfer into the new MAIRS or MAC?

If you have completed a degree program, you are not able to transfer courses into a new degree. You are welcome to apply for these new degrees, however.

I am transferring into the MAIRS or MAC program, and I have Advanced Standing credits. How will these be applied to my new degree?

Advanced Standing credits will be applied as electives. They cannot be applied to the Field Education, CPE or any other core requirement of the degrees.

I have completed the Graduate Certificate in Islamic Chaplaincy or the Graduate Certificate in Religious Studies. Can I turn this in and transfer into the new MAC or MAIRS?

If you completed a graduate certificate prior to 2019, you will need to complete an application through the Admission’s Office. During the Admissions process all prior earned credits will be assessed for potential transfer into the new programs.

The new MAIRS degree Thesis requirement is 3 credits. How is this different from than the 6 credits in the MARS degree?

Students who plan to write a Thesis should determine this as early as possible in their program and in consultation with their advisors.  This information will be included in the Student Advising Plan and Report.  Doing so will ensure that students can assess how some courses will contribute to the proposed thesis topic.  Students should have a general thesis proposal outlined and discuss it with their advisor in the semester prior to registering for this final requirement.

 I’m currently enrolled in the Cooperative MDiv Program, what does this change mean for me?

Current Cooperative MDiv students can remain in their program and transfer to one of our partner schools under the current guidelines, or they can transfer to the MAIRS with a Specialization in Ministerial Studies. The Ministerial Studies specialization of the MAIRS is designed with special attention paid to ensure all courses taken will transfer via our partnership agreements with Boston University School of Theology, Chicago Theological Seminary, Drew University, and Yale Divinity School.

Please contact the Academic Dean with additional questions.

Can I complete the MAIRS entirely online?

The MAIRS degree is designed to be completed entirely online within two years. However, those students who elect to specialize in Ministerial Studies or Islamic Studies will need to take some face-to-face courses. Those students in the Ministerial Studies specialization who desire to transfer to Yale Divinity School are currently (Post COVID) not allowed to take any online courses.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Master of Arts in Chaplaincy (MAC)

I’m currently enrolled in the Islamic Chaplaincy Program (MARS & GCIC), what does this change mean for me?

Students in the Islamic Chaplaincy Program can choose to finish their current program or transfer directly into the MAIRS with a specialization in Islamic Studies. Upon completion of the MAIRS, you will be admitted to the MAC with a specialization in Islamic Chaplaincy.


Can I transfer directly into the MAC?

Yes. Students currently enrolled (or who have been active within the last two years) in the MARS, MARS/GCIC, or only the GCIC may transfer directly into the MAC. Students who have been inactive since 2018 must contact the Admission’s Office.

If you plan it complete both the MAIRS or MARS, and the MAC, it is strongly recommended that you complete that program first prior to the MAC. For the requirements of the MAIRS program, see the program overview sheet.

Will my current courses count toward the MAC?

The MAC is a new program with its own specific requirements.

If you are currently enrolled in the combined MARS & GCIC, and also plan to transfer to the MA in Interreligious Studies, please consult the MA in Interreligious Studies Program Overview for course requirements.

  • All students will be required to take the four required chaplaincy courses.
  • All other course work will be reviewed by the Academic Policy Committee of the faculty to determine whether it can fulfill the elective requirements of the program.

You may contact the Registrar’s Office with any questions about course transfer.

I have previously completed Field Education in the GCIC or GCIMCL, will that count toward the MAC degree?

To have prior field education considered for transfer, you must submit all Field Education evaluations for review to the Registrar’s Office.

Are the MAC Field Education and CPE requirements able to be completed remotely, or do I need to complete these in Hartford?

The Field Education and CPE requirements may be completed in or near your home location. However, you must meet will need to check with the Director of Field Education before you make any plans.

Can I complete the MAC entirely online?

Yes, however, required courses will not be offered online every year.

If I complete the MAIRS and MAC programs at Hartford Seminary, is that an “MDiv equivalent”?

It depends on your specific context. Students who have completed both the MAIRS with a specialization in Islamic or Ministerial Studies 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. 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 considering the MAIRS and MAC degrees should consult with their denomination, religious institution, sponsor, or employer to determine if the combination of these programs will meet their specific requirements for professional service or ministry.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Master of Arts in International Peacebuilding (MAP)

Can I transfer into the MAP?

Unfortunately, no. The MAP is a specialized, accelerated professional degree that requires a new application. Current Hartford Seminary courses will not transfer into this new program.

Can I complete the MAP entirely online?

Unfortunately, no. While students might take one or two online courses, the MAP is a cohort based one-year full-time residential program.

Can I enroll in the MAP as a part-time student?

Unfortunately, no. The MAP is a cohort based one-year full-time residential program.

If you are interested in the MAP degree, please contact the Admissions Office.

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