Certificate in Chaplain Studies

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Certificate in Chaplain Studies

The Certificate in Chaplain Studies allows MDiv students who are interested in pursuing the call to ministry as a chaplain to deepen their theological preparation and practical skills for this important ministry that usually occurs outside of the local congregation either in hospitals, other health care facilities, prisons, the military, or the workplace.

The Certificate in Chaplain Studies does not provide professional credentials with professional chaplain’s associations. However, it enhances the theological and practical understanding of the ministry of chaplaincy and will strengthen the qualifications and preparedness for those who wish to pursue ministries of chaplaincy upon graduation from seminary.

MDiv students who wish to attain a Certificate in Chaplain Studies should speak with the professor of pastoral pare about their interest and intent as early on in their degree program as possible.

Program of Study and Course Requirements

Earning this certificate requires a total of five courses. Three required courses must be taken in the following order while enrolled in the MDiv degree program at MTS:

  • PC 200 Introduction to the Theology and Practice of Pastoral Care (3 hrs.)
  • PC 210 Chaplaincy as Vocation: Theology and Practice of Chaplaincy (3 hrs.)
  • PC 350 Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) (3 or 6 hrs.)

Note: A CPE unit must be approved by the professor of pastoral care and may only be taken from an accredited program with either the Association of Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE) or the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy (CPSP)

Two additional elective courses must be selected from courses in the area of pastoral care, or any of the following (or others approved in advance by the pastoral care professor) that focus upon significant themes, practices, and contexts of pastoral care and the ministry of the chaplain.

  • CM/PM 350 Death and Dying (3 hrs.)
  • IFC 300 Jesus, Jails, and Justice (3 hrs.)
  • IFC 302 The Church’s Call to Radical Hospitality (3 hrs.)
  • TH 360 Faith and Healing in the Christian Tradition (3 hrs.)
  • TH 363 Introduction to Bioethics: A Christian Perspective (3 hrs.)

Note: Students must earn a minimum grade of the letter grade “B” in the required and elective courses.

Transfer Credits: Upon approval of the Professor of Pastoral Care, the Registrar, and the Academic Dean, up to two courses may be accepted for transfer credit from another accredited seminary. In most cases, the equivalent of PC 200 (Theology and Practice of Pastoral Care) and PC 210 (Chaplaincy as Vocation: The
Theology and Practice of Chaplaincy) will not be accepted for transfer. A CPE course taken more than five years prior to the request for transfer will not be accepted.

Upon completion of the courses required by the chaplaincy track and upon graduation from Memphis Theological Seminary, the student will be awarded the Certificate in Chaplain Studies.

Check out our Chaplaincy Information Sessions

Our videos share the insight from our former students and current students who serve in the area of chaplaincy. They answer questions about the industry, educational requirements as well as discuss the impact the pandemic has had on how they serve. Our VP of Academic Affairs also discusses how our degree curriculum that offers a specialization in chaplaincy studies.



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We appreciate your interest in Memphis Theological Seminary. The MTS admissions staff is committed to supporting you in your theological journey. We are here to help you while you are discerning your call, considering degree and certificate options, and supporting you as you do ministry in the real world. At MTS we are committed to educating and sustaining men and women for ordained and lay ministry in the church and the world through shaping and inspiring lives devoted to scholarship, piety, and justice. Please don’t hesitate to ask how we can assist you along in your journey.

Rev. Fekecia Gunn

(901) 334-5887

Rev. Dr. Felecia LaVant

(901) 334-5804

Luke Waters

(901) 334-5841