Denver Seminary is a non-denominational Evangelical Protestant Seminary committed to preparing men and women to engage the needs of the world with the redemptive power of the gospel and the life-changing truth of Scripture. To minister effectively in today's ever-changing world, Christians must focus on fully comprehending the Bible, living a life of character and integrity, and leading in a global environment.
Our full spectrum chaplaincy program consists of a 10 credit-hour Chaplaincy Certificate of Completion; an M.A. in Chaplaincy (72 hrs); an MDiv with a Chaplaincy Concentration (97 hrs) and a DMin in Leadership in Chaplaincy (34 hrs). Currently, all but the required CHP 650 Community-based Clinical Pastoral Education and DMin chaplaincy concentration courses can be completed by synchronistic webcam distance education.
Under the expert guidance of Dr. Jan McCormack, the Director of Chaplaincy and Pastoral Counseling, you will be equipped for the full range of chaplaincy contexts. Dr. McCormack is a Board Certified Chaplain with the Association of Professional Chaplains (APC), is pursuing ACPE (Association for Clinical Pastoral Education) Supervisory Certification, and is a retired Air Force Chaplain. Her experience also includes hospital, police, prison, business and industrial, crisis and trauma, and NASCAR and drag-racing chaplaincies. She serves on the national boards of the ACPE, the Military Chaplains (MCA) and the APC. Chaplain McCormack is the co-author of The Work of the Chaplain. Under her mentorship, students are well prepared for a calling to chaplaincy as a vocation.
Our graduates are serving as chaplains in the military, healthcare, sports/recreation, transportation, crisis & trauma, hospice, prisons, police & fire departments, business/industry, and eldercare settings. Whether you are exploring; committed to chaplaincy as a vocation; already a chaplain wishing to gather more extensive chaplaincy skills; a retiree looking for a meaningful, specialized ministry; or wishing to obtain post-graduate doctoral work, Denver Seminary is the place where chaplaincy is highly valued as a primary form of ministry.
Learn more about chaplaincy
A chaplain is a spiritual leader who performs the same types of rites, services and ceremonies as a pastor or priest but in environments outside of the church. Chaplains often serve a group of people who are not organized as a church or mission or who are otherwise unable to attend a church for various reasons such as health, confinement or military or civil duties.
One of Denver's local radio stations, AM91, recently conducted a week-long interview series with faculty, students and alumni of Denver Seminary's chaplaincy program. You can listen to or download the talks below:
- Dr. Jan McCormack: stream | dwnld
- Brad Kenney: stream | dwnld
- Kathy Bird: stream | dwnld
- Ken Webb: stream | dwnld
- Naomi Paget: stream | dwnld
- Steve Reed: stream | dwnld
Watch a short video about chaplaincy:
Certificate of Completion in Chaplaincy
This 10 semester-hour certificate program is ideal for students wishing to pursue a volunteer chaplaincy position; a chaplaincy vocation where the criteria for employment is not as standardized or credentialed; for persons wishing to “try out” the vocation before committing to a long-term educational, clinical and religious judicatory commitment; or for a retiree looking for a new “specialized ministry” vocation.
Courses: Brief Counseling; Brief Counseling Practicum; The Many Faces of Chaplaincy; Officiating Worship and Religious Services; and Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE)
MA in Counseling Ministries with Chaplaincy Concentration
The Master of Arts in Counseling Ministries allows students the flexibility to design their own curriculum using elective options, which combine biblical and counseling principles. This flexibility allows students to tailor their education to their ministerial needs or goals. The MA degree is designed for those who intend to pursue a volunteer chaplaincy position or vocation where the MDiv degree is not required, such as eldercare, hospice, sports, local prisons, and police or fire chaplaincies. This degree does not qualify a graduate for a counseling license nor for military or federal prison positions.*
In addition to the MA core, the MA in counseling ministries with a concentration in chaplaincy involves 18 hours of required counseling courses plus 12 hours of chaplaincy specific courses (62 total hours):
- Required counseling courses (18 hours): Counseling Theories; Human Development and Counseling; Therapeutic Communication; Group Experience; Counseling Issues in Ministry; Brief Counseling; Social and Cultural Foundations in Counseling; and Integration of Counseling and Theology
- Chaplaincy courses (12 hours): Brief Counseling Practicum; The Many Faces of Chaplaincy; Officiating Worship and Religious Services; Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE); and choice of 2 counseling electives (4 hours)
* Be sure to check with your own religious judicatory for any and all chaplaincy endorsement requirements and the particular place of employment to assure this degree would meet all requirements.
MDiv with a Chaplaincy Concentration
This 97 semester-hour degree prepares graduates for ministry in the church, the military, federal prison systems, hospitals and all other forms of paid and volunteer chaplaincies. As the “gold-standard” degree, the MDiv fulfills the educational requirement for licensing and ordination, endorsement to the specialized ministry of chaplaincy and for certification with various professional chaplaincy organizations.* This program allows students to be commissioned as military reserve chaplain candidates while in seminary. It also prepares students for doctoral-level studies in many theological schools.
In addition to the MDiv core (85 hours), this concentration includes 12 hours of chaplaincy specific courses:
- Brief Counseling; Group Experience; Counseling Issues in Ministry; Community-Based Clinical Pastoral Education; The Many Faces of Chaplaincy; and Officiating Worship and Religious Services
* Be sure to check with your religious judicatory for any and all chaplaincy endorsement requirements.
DMin Leadership in Chaplaincy
The DMin program offers students the ability to gain a terminal, practical ministry degree. It is designed for the person who desires to pursue personal, academic and ministerial excellence in a disciplined, strategic, interactive learning environment. This program is perfect for a practicing chaplain who has been in ministry a minimum of three years, is moving from being a chaplain clinician to a supervisory chaplain, is already a supervisory chaplain or wants to become an ACPE Supervisor or APC board-certified chaplain. The DMin combines required seminars with electives and independent studies to customize the program for personal educational and career goals.
The one-week seminars in January and July are on the Denver Seminary campus. Extensive reading and special assignments both precede and follow the sessions. Seminars include faculty instruction, peer-group interaction, self-analysis, theological reflection, independent research, and practical projects. A minimum of three years and a maximum of six years are available for completion of the degree. Our Leadership in Chaplaincy program is designed for practicing chaplains who provide point-of-service care to individuals. For chaplains to help the most, they must also work to improve the working environment. This involves supervising others and working with the institutional organization. It requires understanding systems in three areas:
- Organizational Leadership: Effective Chaplains Lead from Where They Are Chaplains serve as servant leaders and supervisors within secular institutions. This seminar focuses on understanding the institutional organization as a human system and the means by which the chaplain can leverage moral power and limited institutional authority to provide effective servant leadership from within the “chain of command.” Students will develop a strategic plan to maximize their ministry leadership to “lead from where they are.” (DMC 801)
- Prevention: The Stabilizing Influence of Chaplaincy
Chaplains work within both internal and external organizational systems. Because systems break down when people break down, chaplains work with the human side of systems to bring stability that enables the systems to accomplish their purpose. Chaplains deal with communication, collaboration, and personal need at all organizational levels to help prevent the breakdown of the human side of the organization. (DMC 802)
- Restoration: Chaplaincy in the Time of Crisis
Crises happen. Organizations break down. Whether it is a disaster to individuals, to the organization, or even a national mass casualty, chaplains are needed to help bring a sense of calm and cooperation by developing temporary procedures and systems to meet the crisis. Crises impact people. Restoration to a “new normal” requires people working together in new ways following the crisis. Chaplains help restore the effective communication and cooperation needed to move beyond the crisis. (DMC 803)
In addition, two of the eight 3-credit-hour courses can be chosen from:
- Clinical Pastoral Education (2 CPE units equal 3 credit hours)
- The ACPE papers required for supervisory certification (6 credit hours)
- Studies toward APC board certification (3 credit hours)
- Military War College PME and Chaplaincy Integration I & II (3 credit hours each)
- Senior Chaplain Supervisory PME and the Practice of Supervisory Chaplaincy (3 credit hours)
- Courses from other DMin areas of study (3 credit hours each)
The remaining three courses in the 34-credit-hour program are in:
- Learning to use what you’ve got
- Learning to appropriately work with the church
- Learning to identify root causes of problems and work toward solutions
Additional off-campus requirements are:
- One year of mentoring (1 credit hour)
- Two learning contracts to understand and work with systems (1 credit hour each)
- A project and thesis to work on an area of your ministry (7 credit hours)
For more information
For information or assistance concerning any of the degrees in Denver Seminary’s chaplaincy program, please contact us:
800-922-3040 ext. 1278 or 303-762-6937