Interreligious Chaplaincy: Program Overview
Welcoming first cohort of students in Fall 2020
The first of its kind, the GTU’s interreligious chaplaincy program equips leaders to practice spiritual care among diverse populations. The program offers students the opportunity to earn a Certificate in Interreligious Chaplaincy, as well as an MA in Islamic, Jewish or Hindu Studies--religious traditions underrepresented among institutional chaplains. The certificate will also be open to students who have previously earned a qualifying master’s degree. The program is scheduled to welcome its first cohort of students in Fall 2020.
Spiritual care is a vital need across industries, including hospitals, universities, military, government, immigration, family and social services, incarceration, disaster relief, organizational and rehabilitation contexts. This program provides the skills to effectively serve persons from diverse religious backgrounds in a wide variety of situations and life stages. Coursework will incorporate practical spiritual care and interreligious training, as well counseling, theology, and ethics. The certificate fulfills requirements for board certification to practice chaplaincy, but also provides spiritual caregiving skills that can be applied outside the context of traditional chaplaincy.
Students interested in the combined MA and certificate should apply to the GTU MA program, indicating their interest in pursuing the certificate in interreligious chaplaincy along with an MA in Jewish, Islamic, or Hindu Studies. Students seeking to enter the certificate program who already possess a qualifying master’s degree, or who are currently enrolled in the MA program at the GTU, should use the "certificate" section of the application. Begin your application now.
NEW - ICP Jewish Studies Fellowship - The GTU's Richard S. Dinner Center for Jewish Studies is pleased to offer a fellowship for students in the GTU’s Interreligious Chaplaincy Program (ICP) who are affiliated with the Center for Jewish Studies. Apply for the ICP Jewish Studies Fellowship now.
“The Interreligious Chaplaincy program will prepare students of Jewish, Muslim, and Hindu traditions for careers in spiritual care where they are grounded in their faith and competent to care for diverse communities. The impact of this program, and the work of the leaders it will train, will be felt locally and internationally.”
Dr. Kamal Abu-Shamsieh, Director
GTU Interreligious Chaplaincy Program
Yes, the ICP welcomes applications from all students, GTU or a similar accredited institution, regardless of their background.
If the applicant is interested in applying to the MA & certificate in interreligious chaplaincy Track (72 credits), you must select an affiliation with one of the following centers of study at the GTU: Center for Dharma Studies, Center for Islamic Studies, or Center for Jewish Studies. Your curriculum will be tailored accordingly.
If the applicant is interested in applying to the stand-alone certificate in interreligious chaplaincy Track (24 credits), you must have a qualifying MA or PhD from the GTU or equivalent. Otherwise, approval must be granted by Dr. Kamal Abu-Shamsieh, program director, for graduates from other institutions or disciplines. Depending on each applicant, the program director, may require the applicant to complete a certificate in religious studies in Jewish, Islamic, or Hindu Studies (18 credits).
An applicant must provide a GRE and TOEFL score and transcripts from previous institutions when applying for the combined 72 credit MA and Certificate in Interreligious Chaplaincy, also known as ICP Track One. This is standard across all MA applications (excluding application for admission to Academic Year 2021-2022).
GRE scores are not required for application to the standalone certificate program (ICP Track Two). However, TOEFL scores are required for international applicants with a degree from an institution outside the United States.
Students who completed at least one unit of CPE may apply for a waiver. Each situation is unique and should be discussed with the Director of Interreligious Chaplaincy to determine applicability of past CPE to meeting the GTU’s program requirements.
Each student must work with the program director on the CPE placement, prior to applying to CPE. The placement and approval are at the discretion of the Director.
Applicants applying to the combined MA and certificate in the ICP may apply for financial aid through the GTU in the same fashion as other MA programs. Only the MA portion of the program qualifies for federally funded financial aid.
Domestic applicants must file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), complete the GTU Financial Aid application, and all other application requirements by the priority deadline. International students must complete the GTU financial aid application and provide all supplemental documentation to the GTU Financial Aid Office.
Currently, Interreligious Chaplaincy applicants intending to affiliate with the Richard S. Dinner Center for Jewish Studies (CJS) are eligible to apply for the ICP Jewish Studies Fellowship. Additional fellowships with the Centers of Islamic and Hindu Studies may be available in the future.
Yes, anyone is eligible to apply to the Interreligious Chaplaincy Program who meets the academic requirements, regardless of religious affiliation or background.
It is possible to take some ICP courses without residency at the GTU. Few interreligious chaplaincy courses will be synchronized and students may join the classroom remotely, if necessary. Special accommodations for remote learning are being made for Fall 2020 in light of public health guidelines concerning mitigation of transmission of COVID-19.
The program begins with coursework in the MA portion of the program, selecting their center of affiliation and tailoring their MA curriculum accordingly, in consultation with the Director of Interreligious Chaplaincy. Available areas of study include Hinduism, Islam, or Judaism. Students may register for chaplaincy courses as electives while working on the MA portion of their program; however, students must complete the MA portion of the program first. Following completion of the MA portion of their program, students are eligible to progress with the certificate portion and build towards eligibility to apply for Board Certification.
GTU PhD graduates are encouraged to apply for the 24-credit stand-alone Certificate in Interreligious Chaplaincy. The acceptance of non-GTU graduates is at the discretion of the program director.
Requirements for the MA track conform to those of the standard MA application. Applicants who are interested in the MA-track (Track One) should apply through the regular GTU MA application process, selecting one of the following areas of study and center affiliations: the Center for Dharma Studies (Hinduism), Center for Islamic Studies (Islam) or Center for Jewish Studies (Judaism). On the MA application, applicants should indicate their intention to pursue the certificate in interreligious chaplaincy. No prior coursework in Judaism, Hinduism, or Islam is required.
For those who are interested in the standalone certificate track (Track Two), applicants must already be in possession of an MA or PhD from the GTU, or equivalent with approval of the Director for Interreligious Chaplaincy. In addition, applicants must provide a letter of recommendation from a peer in the spiritual care field, religious leader, or faculty member. The applicant may use the interview with the program director in lieu of a letter of recommendation.
The combined MA and certificate interreligious chaplaincy program is subject to the same application deadlines as all other GTU MA programs:
- Priority deadline for fall entry is March 1st
- Priority deadline for spring entry is October 1st.
However, applications submitted after the priority deadlines will also be accepted on a rolling basis as space permits, up to two weeks prior to the start of term.
The deadline for the standalone ICP certificate application is as follows:
- Priority deadline for fall entry is August 15th
- Priority deadline for spring entry is December 15th
As with all other GTU degree programs, International students who have not matriculated from an English-speaking institution are required to submit official TOEFL scores with an expected minimum score of 80 (internet based).
2020-21 MA tuition per credit is $800
2020-21 fulltime annual tuition is $19,200
2020-21 Certificate tuition per credit is $500
Please refer to the Tuition and Fees webpage for more information.
Placement and approval of previous scholarly study is at the discretion of the program director. The program director will assess the competency knowledge of each applicant by examining the transcripts as well as prior leadership and community involvement during the interview with each applicant. The completion of 18-credit certificate in Jewish, Hindu, or Islamic Studies will be recommended to establish competency, prior to taking chaplaincy courses.