Master of Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care

Course description

The Master of Chaplaincy & Spiritual Care degree is AQF level 9 and can be completed full-time over 2 years and provides professional training in chaplaincy & spiritual care.

Entry Requirements

Entry to the Master 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 Diploma of Chaplaincy & Spiritual Care, having completed the Graduate Certificate first under the Special Admission Rules.

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

Course Outcomes

The Master of Chaplaincy & Spiritual Care (Coursework) qualifies individuals to apply an advanced and specialised body of knowledge to a range of pastoral situations in a senior chaplaincy or spiritual care role. Graduates will be able to take a leadership role in the strategic design, implementation and evaluation of a spiritual care program across an organisation, group or context. They will be able to integrate their knowledge of pastoral care within a broader body of knowledge of theology, ministry, mission, sociology, psychology and organisational behaviour. A key objective of this course is to provide students with the knowledge and understanding of the nature and purpose of pastoral care and increased expertise in pastoral care interventions. This course increases effectiveness of pastoral and spiritual care ministry by integrating theory, practice and critical reflection. Graduates will have the critical skills and strategies to continually evaluate their practice and the role of pastoral ministry in dealing with issues of crisis, suffering and emotional and spiritual healing in the light of Christian theology and mission.

Graduates will have extensive knowledge in pastoral care combining theory and practice including recent developments in evidence-based research. The course will challenge and develop their cognitive, technical and creative skills to investigate, analyse and synthesise complex ideas, concepts, theories and frameworks to apply in a broad range of pastoral care situations. They will also have advanced knowledge and understanding of the legal, ethical and cultural factors impacting on pastoral care. Graduates will have an advanced theoretical and practical understanding of the complexity in human development and behaviour, including spiritual care that enables them to respond effectively with pastoral interventions for complex problems, (e.g. loss, relationship breakdown, bereavement, abuse and trauma). Whilst the course will prepare graduates for a chaplaincy and spiritual care role that may involve some pastoral counselling, this course does not prepare students to engage in specialised counselling or psychotherapy

Graduates will have an enhanced ability to critically evaluate research and the capacity to apply scientific knowledge to the practice and development of pastoral care systems. They will be able to utilise cognitive, technical and creative skills in investigating, analysing, synthesising and communicating complex information to apply in variety of situations. In a leadership role, they will have the capacity to advocate for the role of pastoral care by engaging and influencing key stakeholders.

Career Options

Graduates will be able to operate as autonomous and professional senior pastoral care roles such as senior chaplain, director of mission, manager of spiritual care etc. Graduates will be generally employed in organisations or institutions where spiritual care is recognised to be integral to holistic care. This award will also provide up to 50% advanced standing towards the Master of Counselling degree as a pathway to further study.

Course Structure

Full-time students complete 48 credit points each semester.

Students complete:

  • 9 core units, (108 credit points),
  • 5 Elective/Specialty units (at least both units in one specialty stream must be completed) (60 credit points),
  • One Practicum unit (24 credit points).

Rules of Progression

  • 800 level units must be completed to progress to the second year of study.

Other Protocols of the Course:

  • Students who have 1 year of prior study in a chaplaincy 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, 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 2.
Credit Points

192 credit points at 800 and 900-level.

Course Duration

2 years full-time, or up to a maximum of 6 years part-time. 

Course Structure

Core Units
(9 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
CHA901 Leadership and Management for Chaplaincy & Spiritual Care 12
CHA902 Chaplaincy & Spiritual Care in Systems: Leading Transformational Change 12
CHA903 Social Research 12
CHA904 Theological Reflection for Ongoing Formation in Chaplaincy 12
Specialties (Select 1 or 2 specialties)
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
Elective Units (Select at least 1)
  CHA921 Group Dynamics & Facilitation 12
  CHA922 Chaplaincy & Spiritual Care Practice - Extending the Mission of the Church 12
Practicum Unit
  CHA950 Clinical Chaplaincy & Spiritual Care Skills 2 24