MA in Pastoral and Spiritual Care for Military Chaplains

Degree Overview

40 Credit (post-MDIV) Master of Arts in Pastoral and Spiritual Care (MAPSC) Degree Program for Military Chaplains

This flexible degree program gives chaplains the opportunity to further their theological education in a program which allows them to concentrate on pastoral care courses as well as courses in psychology, counseling, and social work at The University of Denver (DU) and also allows chaplains to include courses (like comparative religions) most relevant to their work.

The MAPSC degree can be completed in 40 quarter credits if military chaplains have previously completed an MDIV degree or its equivalent from an accredited institution prior to enrollment at Iliff. This professional degree draws on courses from across the theological curriculum and allows for a degree of specialization. The chaplains are integrated into courses with other theological students and have the possibility of petitioning to complete their degree with a final four or eight credit summative project focused on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the military.

Specific requirements may be negotiated based on prior educational experience. A minimum grade point average of 2.75 is necessary for admission. Students who average 40 quarter credits a year (13-14 credits each quarter of the academic year, or 10 credits each quarter, for four quarters that include the summer quarter) will complete the course work for the MAPSC degree in one year.

Iliff offers a distinct advantage for MAPSC students. Students may simultaneously earn graduate certificates while earning their master’s degree. In addition, Iliff’s unique signature course, Authentic Engagement™, can help students learn how to engage communities in any setting.

Learning Goals:

All degrees are supported by learning goals. For more details on the learning goals for this degree program, see the Masters Student Handbook.

Degree Curriculum

Concentration Courses

The required pastoral care courses listed below will be offered [either on-campus or online] each year that military chaplains are enrolled at Iliff:

Impact of War on Pastoral Care of Families – 4 credits

This course examines the pastoral needs of soldiers, protestors, bystanders, refugees and veterans in the context of family dynamics. Religious symbolism and ethical orientations operating in families will be analyzed through case studies, research literature and novels.

PTSD: Pastoral, Psychological, and Theological Responses – 4 credits

This course uses an intercultural approach to spiritual care of military personnel, veterans and their families. Students have the opportunity to observe groups on the inpatient psychiatric units at the Veterans Administration Medical Center (VAMC) in Denver. Students will reflect upon the observations, as well as their own experience of trauma using theological and psychological perspectives.

  • Ethical Perspectives on War and Peace – 4 credits
  • Religions in the World – 4 credits
  • Elective Courses

In addition to these required courses (16 credits) which will be offered annually, chaplains will choose from pastoral care or general electives that are offered at Iliff, or psychological and social work courses offered at The University of Denver during the year they are enrolled. There may also be pastoral counseling courses offered at Denver Seminary that are relevant to their plan of study.

Consultation and Guidance

The consultation and guidance requirements which are required in the 80 credit MAPSC will be waived since chaplains will have gone through similar evaluations and assessments in the process of becoming ordained.

Clinical Pastoral Education – 8 credits

In general, chaplains coming into this program will have had clinical pastoral education (CPE). Exceptions are considered if they have had CPE within a timely period before entering the degree program. Chaplains who have not had CPE will normally be required to do a unit of CPE as part of their MAPSC. They may take an additional unit of CPE (for up to a total of 16 credits) if it is determined in consultation with their Advisor and the Pastoral Care Faculty that their educational background and professional goals justify this decision. Chaplains who have had CPE will have the option of doing an additional unit during their degree program. Iliff has strong collaborative relationships with a variety of clinical settings. We will make every effort to help military chaplains find a CPE setting in which ministry to persons with PTSD is featured.

Optional Summative Project

Chaplains can also do a four or eight credit summative project (registering for one or more independent studies) focused on the experience of PTSD in the military, which will be supervised by one of the pastoral care faculty.

Overview of degree requirements for 2013-2014
Required courses

  • Impact of War on Pastoral Care of Families – 4 credits
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – 4 credits
  • Ethical Perspectives on War and Peace – 4 credits
  • Religions in the World – 4 credits
  • Total of 16 credits
  • CPE (8 credits total) – 1 Unit (waived if chaplains have already done CPE) – 8 credits
  • Electives (16 credits total) – Pastoral and Spiritual Care electives (at least 10 credits) + General electives (optional)

Degree Requirements

The MAPSC degree may be completed in 40 quarter credits if the student has previously completed an MDIV degree or its equivalent from an accredited institution. A minimum grade point average of 2.0 is necessary.

h3. Degree requirements include:

  • Core Requirements – 16 credits (includes two comparative religious tradition, must include Intro to Pastoral Theology and Care for students without an MDIV from Iliff)
  • Clinical Pastoral Education – 8 credits
  • Electives – 16 credits (includes 2 comparative religious tradition for students without an MDIV from Iliff)

Students in the 40 hour MAPSC are required to take eight hours of CPE. Exceptions are considered if they have had CPE within a timely period before entering the degree program. An additional unit of CPE (for up to a total of 16 credit hours of CPE) may be taken if it is determined in consultation with the advising center and the Pastoral Care faculty that their education background and professional goals justify this decision. If an additional eight credits of CPE are approved, they will be in addition to the 16 credits in pastoral and spiritual care electives.

Specific requirements may be negotiated based on prior educational experience. The consultation and guidance requirements, as well as the courses in Vocation and Orientation (PPF 104) and Identity, Power, and Difference (PPF 105), which are required in the 80 credit MAPSC, will be waived since similar evaluations and assessments in the process of acquiring an MDIV

Overview of degree requirements for 2013-2014

For Students Without an MDIV From Iliff

  • Core Requirements: Pastoral and Spiritual Care courses: 16 or more credits (Intro to Pastoral Theology and Care would be part of these credits)
  • CPE: 1 Unit (waived if students have done CPE recently) – 8 credits
  • Special Requirement: 2 comparative religious tradition – 8 credits
  • General Electives: Optional general electives (may include a second unit of CPE if approved) – Up to 8 credits
  • Total: 40 credits

For Students With an MDIV From Iliff

  • Core Requirements: Pastoral and Spiritual Care courses: 16 or more credits
  • CPE: 1 Unit (waived if students have done CPE recently) – 8 credits
  • Special Requirement: 2 comparative religious tradition – Waived
  • General Electives: Optional general electives (may include a second unit of CPE if approved) – Up to 16 credits
  • Total: 40 credits

Degree Options

​Personal and Professional Formation (PPF) for MAPSC

Students in the MAPSC degree are typically preparing for professional ministry in the church or vocational leadership in agencies of service and community transformation. This preparation is often done in conjunction with the student’s religious denomination. While decisions about ordination or other authorization for ministry are the purview of denominations and/or credentialing bodies, MDIV, MASC and MAPSC students address PPF as a part of their degree program in addition to each degree’s unique requirements.

Personal and professional development is maximized through intentional pursuit. PPF helps both students and Iliff to evaluate the students’ fitness, readiness and competencies for religious leadership in ways that shape their programs at Iliff and inform their decisions about the form and direction of their professional lives after graduation.

PPF curriculum includes the Consultation and Guidance process; Vocation and Orientation and Identity, Power and Difference; Part-time and Full-time Internship, and optional additional experiences such as Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE).

Consultation and Guidance (C&G)

C&G enables students to begin an intentional and systematic process of personal growth, which can continue throughout their ministry. C&G begins with psychological testing and interpretation regarding personality type and vocational interests. It includes the development and completion of a three-phase growth plan to address personal, professional, and spiritual goals in light of the assessments and the student’s vocational interests. Details about the C&G process may be found in the Master’s Student Handbook.

Vocation and Orientation PPF

Two credits, usually upon first quarter of entry

This course introduces students to the process of vocational discernment and provides an introduction to graduate theological education at Iliff (pass/fail).

Identity, Power, and Difference PPF

Two credits, succeeds Vocation and Orientation

Prior to enrolling in Internship and/or Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE), students must also take Identity, Power and Difference. This course helps students develop professional skills for both working sensitively and openly across difference and becoming social justice allies. Two credits.

Internship

At Iliff, internship is an action/reflection-based learning process that assumes four levels of vocational development: (1) individual and communal exploration of vocation (2) an understanding of how social location, difference, and power dynamics shape professional practice (3) supervised practice of ministry/professional practice, and (4) the ability to reflect theologically on practice as a primary resource for a lifetime of continuing reflection and growth.

Students must have completed Phase I & II of the Consultation and Guidance Process and taken both Vocation and Orientation (recommended in the first quarter of enrollment) and Identity Power and Differences, or have the permission of the Director of Professional Formation to participate in internship.

MASC Internship Seminar

Eight Credits-Summer

The primary internship model for the MASC program is a 220 hour internship hours (inclusive of weekly one-hour mentor meetings with the community partner supervisor) over the summer term. Concurrently, students enroll in an eight-credit hybrid summer Internship Seminar, which meets twice for two-day weekend praxes at both the beginning and end of the summer. Students will also participate in an online seminar component throughout the summer. Prerequisite: Vocation and Orientation; Identity, Power, and Difference; and Phases I & II of the Consultation and Guidance process in the Master’s Student Handbook.

Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE)

CPE is a form of action/reflection education most often done in a hospital setting where the student serves as a chaplain intern. CPE work can also be done in local parishes, hospices or other sites. The CPE process includes intensive group interaction with peers, leaders, significant individual reflection and discernment regarding call, gifts and limitations, and theological and psychological perspectives. CPE meets -Internship requirements for MAPSC students with a pastoral care, CPE is an elective for others. For more information see The Master’s Student Handbook or contact the Office of Professional Formation, (303) 765-3115.

Professional Competence

In addition to the academic requirements and professional skills, professional ministry students develop moral and spiritual capacities appropriate to their profession. Although decisions about ministerial authorization are made by denominational bodies, the Iliff faculty makes assessments regarding professional competence and fitness for ministry.

Cooperative Degree With the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Denver

Iliff offers several professional degree programs which provide foundational knowledge and expertise in pastoral care and counseling for parish ministry as well as for community work in non-profit and for-profit settings. Students who wish to obtain a counseling license or those interested in more extensive training in community organizing and leadership should consider combining the Iliff degree with further training in clinical and community work.

A cooperative arrangement between the University of Denver (DU) and Iliff School of Theology and The Graduate School of Social Work (GSSW) at DU allows qualified students to pursue concurrently the Master of Arts in Pastoral and Spiritual Care (MAPSC) degree with the Master of Social Work (MSW) degree. The Cooperative Degree Program offers students the opportunity to apply theological learning to social service settings.

Admission Requirements

Students may apply for participation in the Cooperative Program before beginning study on either degree or after having begun work on one of the two degrees. Admission to the program is not possible after requirements for either degree have been completed.

Admission requirements of both schools must be met. Admission to one degree program is not contingent on admission to the other. Provisions of the cooperative arrangement apply only to students who are admitted to both programs. Students pursuing both degree programs must notify in writing the Registrars at both Iliff and the GSSW of their cooperative status.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Students will seek financial aid and pay tuition and fees to each school. Federal financial aid, however, cannot be drawn from both schools simultaneously. Each year students in the cooperative program will have a school of primary registration. Students who require financial assistance will apply to the school of primary registration for that assistance on a yearly basis. In rare instances, students will be allowed to adjust their primary school of registration on a quarterly basis.

Length of Study

Each school allows students to transfer a predetermined number of credits from one degree program into the other. This allows students to complete both degrees in a shorter amount of time. For example in the MDIV cooperative degree students transfer 20 quarter credit hours from the GSSW (DU) to Iliff and transfer 15 credits from Iliff to GSSW. Thus, students who attend full-time can finish at least one quarter early from each degree program. Students may elect to take courses over a longer period of time or shorten the period by enrolling for courses in the summer.

Sample course of study for cooperative MDIV/MSW

  • First Year, Iilff – 40 credits
  • Second Year, GSSW – 45 credits
  • Third Year, Iliff – 40 credits
  • Fourth Year, GSSW – 30 credits
  • Fourth Year, Iliff – 20 elective credits

100 total quarter credits at Iliff
75 total quarter credits at GSSW