Graduate Diploma Of Chaplaincy And Spiritual Care

Course description

The Graduate Diploma of Chaplaincy & Spiritual Care is AQF level 8 and can be completed full-time over one year and can be considered as one-half of the Master of Chaplaincy & Spiritual Care. The Graduate Diploma is surrendered by students who go on to complete the Master of Chaplaincy & Spiritual Care.

Entry Requirements

Entry to the Graduate Diploma of Chaplaincy & Spiritual Care is based on evidence of a capacity to undertake higher degree studies including a:

  • Bachelor degree,
  • Bachelor Honours degree or
  • Graduate Diploma degree.

Applicants must attend an interview as part of the application process.

Experience based entry scheme for those without undergraduate qualifications:

Applicants over 21 years of age who have not completed an undergraduate degree may be considered for admission if they successfully complete the Graduate Certificate, having been admitted under the Special Admission Rules.

Admission to the Graduate Diploma of Chaplaincy & Spiritual Care program is not automatically assumed on completion of the Graduate Certificate of Chaplaincy & Spiritual Care. Applicants must attend an interview where their capacity to undertake Diploma-level training will be assessed.

Course Outcomes

The course offers personal and professional preparation in identifying spiritual needs and developing strategies to facilitate spiritual growth and find meaning in routine and crisis situations. This includes an understanding of a range of theoretical models, frameworks and approaches drawn from disciplines such as theology, counselling and psychology oriented towards the pastoral ministry and mission for which students are being prepared. The Graduate Diploma prepares graduates to provide chaplaincy and spiritual care in a range of Christian ministries and secular organisations as well as encouraging students to enhance, broaden and deepen their discipleship and insights into their own spirituality.

Graduates will be able to integrate their knowledge of spiritual care and the use of the self in meeting spiritual needs, so they can undertake highly skilled pastoral work such as chaplaincy and as a pathway for further learning. This includes an understanding of the theory and models of human lifespan and spiritual development and the implications for providing spiritual care at different life stages. There is an opportunity for students to build theoretical knowledge, practical skills and intellectual rigour by the application of learning in subject areas such as theology, ethics, organisational behaviour, and the role of spirituality in contemporary culture. Graduates will have advanced knowledge in spiritual care theory and methods to enable them to respond to a diverse range spiritual needs across the lifespan. They will be able to offer spiritual support within their role boundaries and in the context of legal, ethical and organisational frameworks.

They will have a broad understanding of diversity and needs of those from a culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, diverse sexual orientations, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, care givers and those with a disadvantaged background. Graduates will have the cognitive skills required to analyse, consolidate and synthesise knowledge in order to provide solutions to complex problems such as grief, loss and trauma, as well and identifying when a referral to other professionals is appropriate. Graduates will be able to sensitively champion the importance of holistic spiritual care across the multidisciplinary team by working collaboratively with others.

The course utilises an integrative approach to spiritual care drawing on spiritual development models such as Fowler's theory of faith development. The course is structured to allow students to select elective units to reflect specialisation of learning in topics relevant to the context of choice. The Graduate Diploma will also provide the necessary skills for further advanced training in counselling through the Master of Chaplaincy & Spiritual Care.

Career Options

The Graduate Diploma course serves those who wish to be more fully equipped for Christian life and service in the world through providing pastoral and spiritual care in their existing careers for example as pastors, teachers, health care professionals and community care workers.

Credit Points

96 credit points at 800-level

Course Duration

1 year full-time, or up to a maximum of 3 years part-time. 

Course Structure

Students complete 5 core units, 2 specialty units (at least both units in one specialty stream must be completed), and the practicum unit.

Other Protocols of the Course:
  • Students who have 1 year of prior study in a chaplaincy and spiritual care related under-graduate course and 3 years of experience working as a chaplain or equivalent may receive exemption (through the Recognised Prior Learning policy (RPL)) from CHA801 - Professional Chaplaincy & Spiritual Care Practices 1, CHA807 Biblical & Theological Dimensions of Chaplaincy & Spiritual Care and will select replacement subjects from the elective units offered in the Masters. This must be applied for at the time of application.
  • All students complete the capstone practicum unit Clinical Chaplaincy & Spiritual Care Skills 1.

Course Structure

Core Units
(5 units)
CHA801 Professional Chaplaincy & Spiritual Care Practices 1 12
CHA802 Professional Chaplaincy & Spiritual Care Practices 2 12
CHA807 Biblical and Theological Dimensions of Chaplaincy & Spiritual Care 12
CHA811 Legal, Ethical and Cultural Issues in Chaplaincy & Spiritual Care 12
CHA812 Human Development 12
Specialties (Choose 1 speciality = 2 units)
Aged Care Stream CHA821 Palliative and Dementia Care 12
CHA822 Spirituality in Aging 12
Pastoral Care Stream CHA831 Mental Health Presentations in Chaplaincy & Spiritual Care 12
CHA832 Psychological Crisis & Trauma 12
School Chaplaincy &
Spiritual Care Stream
CHA841 School Chaplaincy & Spiritual Care 1 12
CHA842 School Chaplaincy & Spiritual Care 2 12
Practicum Unit
  CHA850 Clinical Chaplaincy & Spiritual Care Skills 1 12