The Certificate in Chaplaincy is designed to prepare students for vocational chaplaincy in a variety of contexts, including health care, hospice, prison, higher education, military, and more. The certificate can be earned as part of a residential master’s degree program (residential M.Div., Th.M., M.T.S.).

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Alumnus Rev. Carly Sawyer wearing a white coat standing in the Trauma Bay in the ED at the UVA Medical Center

"I absolutely love my work as a hospital chaplain. I have the privilege of being invited into folks' lives on their worst days, and I do not take that honor lightly. I also love being part of the health care team and working alongside physicians, nurses, and social workers to provide well-rounded holistic care to our patients."

Duke Divinity offers a robust, distinctive Christian theological approach to chaplaincy through academic and formation experiences and high-quality contextual learning opportunities with partners including Duke University Hospital, Duke Chapel, and others. Duke Divinity alumni serve as chaplains across denominations and institutions.

Students in the program have the opportunity to participate in clinical pastoral education (CPE) and other vocational formation, courses in pastoral care and ministry for chaplaincy, advising on how to pursue ecclesiastical endorsements, and informational interviews with practitioners and alumni.

In addition, the certificate is flexible enough to be earned alongside either the Certificate in Prison Studies or the Certificate in Theology, Medicine, and Culture for students in the residential M.Div. and M.T.S. programs.

About Chaplaincy

Chaplains are religious professionals who provide spiritual care, including interreligious spiritual care, in a variety of institutional settings including hospitals, hospice, prisons and correctional facilities, military, education, police and fire departments, corporate businesses, and more. This certificate is designed to prepare students to serve as Christ’s ambassadors in these and other contexts.

A man in a sweater dips bread into a Communion cup held by a blonde woman

Clinical Pastoral Education

Contextual Learning in the Service of Others

Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) is a transformative, supervised contextual learning experience in the spiritual care of others. Students pursuing the certificate in chaplaincy have the opportunity to do CPE.

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Requirements

Find detailed information about requirements and courses for current students (NetID required) »

The Certificate in Chaplaincy is sufficiently flexible to allow student in the Residential M.Div. and M.T.S. degree programs to obtain both the Certificate in Chaplaincy and the Certificate in Prison Studies or the Certificate in Theology, Medicine, and Culture. Please confer with the appropriate certificate directors to determine the most efficient pathway.  

For more information about the certificate contact:
Jan Holton
Associate Professor of the Practice of Pastoral Theology and Care

  • Introduction to Pastoral Care
  • Ministry for Chaplaincy
  • At least one course relevant to the context of chaplaincy in topics such as:
    • upper-level pastoral care
    • institutional type of ministry (military, higher education, healthcare, etc.); or
    • religious diversity or interreligious engagement;
    • a course relevant to the context of chaplaincy specific to the student’s interests (with approval of the certificate director)

Formational Requirements

  • One unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE)
  • Advanced Spiritual Formation
  • Focused formational experience
    • Students will select at least one additional formational experience that will give them insight and experience into a particular form of chaplaincy. This might include participating in Chaplaincy Innovation Lab webinars, Field Education, shadowing a chaplain, work-study, and more.

  • Ministry for Chaplaincy course
  • At least one course of the following:
    • upper level  pastoral care
    • institutional type of ministry (military, higher education, healthcare, etc.); or
    • religious diversity or interreligious engagement
  • Focused formational experience such as
    • participating in Chaplaincy Innovation Lab webinars, Field Education, shadowing a chaplain, work-study, and more.
  • Thesis with a focus or subfocus related to chaplaincy or pastoral care

  • Introduction to Pastoral Care
  • Ministry for Chaplaincy
  • At least one course relevant to the context of chaplaincy in topics such as:
    • upper-level pastoral care
    • institutional type of ministry (military, higher education, healthcare, etc.); or
    • religious diversity or interreligious engagement;
    • a course relevant to the context of chaplaincy specific to the student’s interests (with approval of the certificate director)
  • Advanced Spiritual Formation
  • Focused formational experience such as:
    • Chaplaincy Innovation Lab webinars, Field Education, shadowing a chaplain, work-study, and more.
  • Thesis with a focus or subfocus related to chaplaincy or pastoral care.