Master of Divinity in Chaplaincy



75 credit hours

Program Length

as few as 36 months


Nationally Accredited by ATS

Be Equipped to Serve with CIU’s MDiv in Chaplaincy 

Are you ready to start a career in chaplaincy? CIU’s Master of Divinity in Chaplaincy equips you with the tools, knowledge and skill set you need to provide spiritual knowledge and support in a wide range of settings. As a potential student of the Master of Divinity degree, you can expect to receive a comprehensive biblical education that will prepare you for effective ministry leadership. Our program offers a personalized curriculum designed specifically for your area of interest in ministry, whether it be within a local church, para-church organization or mission agency. Our faculty members are well-trained and passionate about engaging you in meaningful learning throughout your course of study. Here are the objectives of the Master of Divinity degree, which will enable you to: 

  • Analyze and synthesize the basic content, context and themes of the Old and New Testaments, with an emphasis on God’s historical-redemptive mission as revealed through Scripture’s metanarrative and exemplified in the Great Commission. 
  • Practice sound exegesis and exposition of the biblical text in its original languages, with an emphasis on how passages speak to contemporary issues in individual and corporate contexts. 
  • Engage contemporary global challenges to orthodox belief and practice based on support from key biblical passages that undergird foundational doctrines, applying insights from the history of global Christianity to 21st century issues, needs and challenges. 
  • Observe cultures and worldviews from a biblical perspective as the basis for effective, biblically-contextualized ministry that equips and encourages others to grow as disciples and disciple-makers in the church, mission field and/or marketplace. 
  • Apply biblical principles, techniques and paradigms to the practice of leadership, pastoring, preaching, teaching and counseling. 
  • Demonstrate proficiency in ministry and organizational knowledge, skills and attitudes gained through M.Div. studies in a focused internship under the supervision of an on-site mentor and a faculty advisor. 

The Master of Divinity degree is available in a fully online format with an eight-week structure or in a residential 16-week format. Our program offers course credit transfer from other institutions, allowing you to continue your educational journey with us. Through our program, you will gain the knowledge and skills necessary for effective ministry leadership, and we will support and encourage you every step of the way. 

Why Choose Columbia International University

Columbia International University offers an evangelical context for your education and practical hands-on learning with professors from a wide array of evangelical denominations. The faculty are skilled teachers and scholars who make it a priority to support and encourage their students. 

Overall Benefits of the Degree

If you are looking to minister to individuals in a corporate business workforce context, then our Master of Divinity in Chaplaincy program is the perfect fit for you. Our faculty are well-trained and dedicated to providing you with a meaningful learning experience throughout your course of study. Through a personalized curriculum, we will equip you with a comprehensive range of biblical-theological knowledge and practical skills for effective ministry leadership in your area of interest. With 10 areas of specialization, we prepare you for the career context that interests you. For example, if your focus is corporate chaplaincy, our program can prepare you for a variety of ministry roles within the multi-faceted corporate business workforce context. As part of our commitment to meeting your individual needs, we also offer course credit from other institutions if you started a master’s program and decided to complete your M.Div. at CIU. Whether you’re called to serve as a chaplain or just want to integrate your faith into your workplace, our M.Div. in Chaplaincy program will provide you with the tools and skills you need to succeed in your chosen ministry. 

Featured Faculty

What Will I Study?

In addition to the Master of Divinity core, you will take courses such as:

  • CNS 6404 Short Term Counseling

    You will learn the basic model common to short-term cognitive therapies and its application to treating dysfunctional emotions and self-sabotaging behaviors. You will learn cognitive, behavioral, and emotive interventions as well as techniques to help prevent relapse. You will also consider how to integrate your client's faith/spirituality with the basic model and interventions.

    3.00 credit hours
  • CHP 6060 Clinical Pastoral Education

    Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) is a form of chaplaincy or counseling internship in which you are taught through hands-on practice, clinical supervision, and academic study to observe, listen, communicate, and respond to someone's spiritual and emotional needs. In CPE training, you will gain the knowledge, skills, and practical experience to assist people in crisis with competence and confidence. CPE can be completed in a resident or distance-learning environment. You have the option of completing one unit of CPE (3 semester hours) or two half-units (1.5 semester hours) to fulfill graduation requirements. Permission of program director required.

    3.00 credit hours
  • CHP 6100 Introduction to Chaplaincy

    In this course, you will explore the various types of chaplaincy ministry, including their commonalities, distinctives, and expectations. You will develop a comprehensive theology of chaplaincy and create a plan to employ it in your own ministry setting.

    3.00 credit hours
  • CNS 6408 Care and Counseling Techniques

    This course will introduce you to the foundational techniques and skills of [pastoral] care and counseling. You will learn how to counsel strategically within the client's process of spiritual, emotional, and relational growth utilizing a holistic therapeutic approach. Emphasis will be placed upon development of the counseling and care professional as well as the development of techniques and skills.

    3.00 credit hours
For a comprehensive list of courses related to this program visit the Academic Catalog.

Admission Requirements

  • completed application
  • affirmation that you are a Christian and agree with CIU’s Statement of Faith
  • official transcript(s) for completed bachelor’s degree(s) * +
  • official transcript(s) for any graduate-level coursework +
  • essay (approximately 800 words)
  • church leader reference
  • * If you have not completed an undergraduate bachelor’s degree, you can still potentially apply for admission in accordance with CIU’s Non-Baccalaureate Policy.
  • + If you have attended a school outside of the United States, you must have your transcripts validated through World Education Services.

International applicants also need:

  • submitted test scores for one of the following standardized tests for the English language:
  • completed educational background form (provided after application submission)
  • financial certification of funds form (provided after application submission)

Accreditation and Accolades

ATS (The Association of Theological Schools)
ABHE (The Association for Biblical Higher Education)
SACSCOC (The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges)

Career Path Opportunities

Chaplaincy students come from a variety of professions and walks of life, seeking to care for and serve others for God’s glory. The degree concentration teaches the professional and practical knowledge and skills you will need to minister effectively in any of the following roles: 

  • Healthcare Chaplaincy in a local Hospital
  • Military Chaplaincy in the Army, Navy or Air Force
  • Corporate Chaplaincy in the marketplace or with a major corporation
  • Institutional (prison) Chaplaincy
  • Public Safety (Police, Fire, EMS) Chaplaincy
  • Sports Chaplaincy with colleges, universities or pro sports teams
  • Community Chaplaincy working in homeless shelters
  • Disaster Relief Chaplaincy
  • Educational Chaplaincy
  • Recreational Chaplaincy

Top FAQs

What career opportunities are available with an M.Div. in Chaplaincy?
  • Ministering to the sick in a major medical center or to vets in a Veterans Administration Hospital
  • Serving military personnel and their families worldwide as a chaplain in the military (Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Air Force, Space Force)
  • Ministering in a local jail, juvenile hall or state/federal prison system
  • Ministering to sports teams at the university level or major pro sports teams and organizations (football, baseball, Soccer, NASCAR, Athletes in Action)
  • Ministering in a local marketplace with major corporations or businesses
  • Discipling students in educational programs at colleges and universities
  • Ministering to police officers, sheriff deputies, fire and EMS personnel
  • Ministering on a cruise ship, to passengers at airports or at national parks through recreational chaplaincy
  • Responding to a natural disaster as a disaster relief team member
  • Providing ministry in caring and comforting to the indigent and homeless through a local community mission program
Can I take this program residentially, online or both?

Our M.Div. in Chaplaincy is fully available either residentially or online. All required courses are offered in both formats.

As a residential student, you will benefit from close interaction with professors and other students, building relationships that can support you for a lifetime of ministry. Classes are designed around block schedules, which gives you flexibility if you are working or serving in ministry while taking courses. Residential students have the option to take courses online if they wish.

As an online student, you will benefit from courses that foster your learning within the context of a chaplaincy-focused learning community. We recognize that not everyone can uproot themselves and move to seminary. For this reason, all our courses are asynchronous. This allows you to continue working and serving where you are located while taking courses. At the same time, you will be provided with opportunities to have regular live online meetings with your professors and classmates, if you so desire.

How long does it take?

Residential courses follow a 16-week semester format, with two semesters per calendar year (Fall and Spring). Thus, residential students can complete this program in about three years (full time, taking three courses per semester) or in about five years (part time, taking two courses per semester).

Online courses follow an eight-week term format, with six terms per calendar year (Spring 1, Spring 2, Summer 1, Summer 2, Fall 1, Fall 2). Online students may complete this program in about two years (full time, taking two courses per online term) or in about four years (part time, taking one course per online term).

Hybrid students can complete this program in about three years.

When can I start this program?

Residential courses follow a 16-week semester format and have two starts every year. The spring semester begins in January and the fall semester begins in August, with a break for summer in between semesters.

Online courses follow an eight-week term format and have six starts each year. Every eight weeks is a new start, meaning there are two online terms offered each spring, summer and fall.

How much does it cost?

At $575 per credit hour, the degree can be completed with a total tuition cost of $43,125.

Am I provided with Bible software?

Yes, upon enrolling in your first course, you will receive a professional-level copy of Accordance Bible Software, customized for your studies Columbia International University. It is yours to keep upon graduation.


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