Loyola University Chicago

Institute of Pastoral Studies

MDiv - Chaplaincy Concentration

Curriculum Planning Worksheet for M.Div. Chaplaincy Concentration  

The IPS Master of Divinity (M.Div.) offers a unique Chaplaincy concentration to prepare students for the process to be certified as a Board Certified Chaplain (BCC via BCCI) with the Association of Professional Chaplains (APC) or The National Association of Catholic Chaplains (NACC).

The M.Div. degree is a 72-credit-hour (24-course) degree program* that builds on top of the Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies (MAPS) degree program. Course descriptions for several of the core courses below are described in the MAPS degree's core curriculum section of this website.

All components of the M.Div. Chaplaincy concentration, except for CPE, can be completed online or on-campus. Students can complete the CPE requirement at any ACPE accredited location (across the USA). Some courses are also available in the summer through the IPS Rome program.

M.Div. – Chaplaincy Concentration Curriculum

In sum, the curriculum requirements include:

  • Coursework
  • Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE)
  • Contextual Education (Additional CPE Units)
  • Mid-Point Review
  • Final Integration Paper


Critical Understanding

15 courses, 45 credit hours

Context, 2 courses, 6 credits:

  • IPS 555—The Human Person and Psychological Development, 3 hours
  • IPS 532—The Social Context of Ministry, 3 hours

Scripture, 3 courses, 9 credits

  • IPS 417—Literature of Ancient Israel, 3 hours
  • IPS 416—Christian Origins: An Exploration of the New Testament, 3 hours
  • Scripture Electives, 3 hours

Systematic Theology, 4 courses, 12 credits

  • IPS 570—Introduction to Theology and Ministry, 3 hours
  • IPS 531—Christian Doctrine and Its History: God, Christ & the Spirit, 3 hours
  • IPS 402—The Church and Its Mission, 3 hours
  • IPS 404—Theologies of Suffering, 3 hours

Ethics, 2 courses, 6 credits

  • IPS 553—Moral Theology and Catholic Social Teaching, 3 hours
  • Healthcare/BioEthics[1] Elective, 3 hours—A variety of bioethics courses are offered through Loyola's Neiswanger Institute for Bioethics.

Christian Living, 4 courses, 12 credits

  • IPS 541—Liturgy and Christian Sacraments, 3 hours
  • IPS 545—Foundations of Christian Spirituality, 3 hours
  • IPS 403—Spiritual Paths in World Religions, 3 hours
  • Spirituality Elective, 3 hours

Ministerial Practice

7 courses, 21 credit hours

  • IPS 560—Liturgical Leadership in Public Prayer, 3 hours
  • IPS 565—Pastoral Leadership or BEHL 419 Organizational Ethics II
  • IPS 564—Introduction to Pastoral Care & Counseling, 3 hours
  • Ministerial Electives, 4 courses, 12 credit hours
  • (Optional Elective for those seeking APC Certification,* additional 3 hours)

Contextual Ed

Four Units of CPE

Based on the requirements for Board Certification as a chaplain, the M.Div.—Chaplaincy concentration requires students to complete four units of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE). Three of these units must be submitted for Advanced Standing credits for two Contextual Education courses (6 credit hours): IPS 580 and IPS 581. * More information on CPE can be found here.  During the fourth and final unit of CPE, students must concurrently register for IPS 530, a zero credit registration course.

M.Div. Midpoint Review

When students reach the half-way point in their coursework, they begin preparing for contextual education. As part of this preparation process, students will also do a Midpoint Review. The student will write a brief statement (3-4 pages) on his or her “Vocational Identity, Vision, and Practice." This statement will first be approved by the Faculty Coordinator for Contextual Education. It will be submitted to the student's advisor, and the student and advisor will meet to discuss the statement and the student's progress toward the completion of the M.Div. program. Alternatively, if the advisor has concerns about the student’s progress, further work may be requested to successfully complete this review (e.g., further units of CPE, spiritual direction, or pastoral counseling, re-taking courses in which one did not receive a grade of C or higher, etc.). Failure to successfully complete this review and/or any additional steps requested in this process may be grounds for dismissal from the program.

Final Integration Project

The final program requirement is IPS 493—the Health Care Integration project. In IPS 493, students are mentored in the process of preparing the materials required to sit for board certification. 

More information about the vocation of chaplaincy can be found here.

To learn more about the Spiritual Direction concentration, please fill out our request for information form or attend an information session.

[1] If student is going into chaplaincy in a different area, e.g., prison chaplaincy, a different ethics elective may be substituted here.

* Certification through APC only allows 1 unit of CPE to count for 3 credits towards the 72 credits of graduate work required.  Students who plan to seek board certification may need to take an additional 3 credit elective.