Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Chaplain?

A chaplain is a professional who offers spiritual advice and care in a specific institutional context, such as a college or university campus, hospital, prison or military unit. Although chaplains often provide religious services for members of their own faith communities, the main role of a chaplain is to facilitate or accommodate the religious needs of all individuals in the institution in which he or she is working. Chaplains often serve as experts on ethics to their colleagues and employers, providing insight to such diverse issues as organ transplantation, just-warfare, and public policy. Professional chaplains do not displace local religious leaders, but fill the special requirements involved in intense institutional environments. Thus, a Muslim chaplain is not necessarily an “Imam,” although an Imam may work as a chaplain. There is a need for both male and female Muslim chaplains. For example, female Muslim students on college campuses or hospitalized Muslim women may feel more comfortable with a female Muslim chaplain.

Why is Hartford Seminary an excellent setting to train in Islamic Chaplaincy?

The Islamic Chaplaincy Program complements the strengths already in existence at Hartford Seminary:

a) the strong academic curriculum available through the Master of Arts degree program with a concentration in Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations;

b) the interfaith orientation, work and scholarship of the Duncan Black Macdonald Center for the Study of Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations; and

c) the expertise of the Seminary’s Hartford Institute for Religion Research in working with active faith communities.

The Macdonald Center is the country’s oldest center for the study of Islam and Christian-Muslim relations. It embodies the Seminary’s long-term commitment – begun in 1893 – to the study of Islam and Christianity and the complex relationship between the two religions throughout history and in the modern world.

Hartford Seminary and the Macdonald Center believe deeply that mutual respect and cooperation among faith groups can and must develop. The Islamic Chaplaincy Program is a natural result of that belief.

Is Hartford Seminary’s Islamic Chaplaincy Program equivalent to a Master of Divinity?

Yes, the Association of Theological Schools recognizes Hartford Seminary’s Islamic Chaplaincy Program as an M.Div. equivalent.

What is the course schedule?

Most classes meet late afternoons and evenings during the academic year. Hartford Seminary also offers excellent opportunities to take intensive 5-day courses during January Intersession and in the June summer session. These courses require students to complete reading and writing assignments prior to the start of classes and to submit final course assignments by the end of the spring semester for January Intersession classes or prior to the start of the fall semester for summer session classes. Please consult the catalogue for a full listing of courses, which are generally offered on a two-year cycle.

Are online courses available?

Online courses may be taken for credit or audited just like the on-site courses at the Seminary.

Can credits be transferred?

Students who have taken graduate level courses in religion from an accredited institution that have not been applied toward a previous degree may ask for these courses to be applied toward their Master of Arts degree. Students may receive up to 18 credits of transfer credit. Students who have completed at least one semester as a matriculated student may apply to receive up to six credits toward their degree for relevant life experiences. Application for advanced standing credit are reviewed by the Academic Affairs Committee and granted where appropriate. The total credit awarded for advanced standing and transfer credit combined may not exceed 18 credits.

Is financial aid available?

Financial aid is available in the form of admissions scholarships and need-based grants to matriculated students who qualify and who are enrolled in Hartford Seminary degree programs. Students must file the FAFSA for consideration for need-based grants and federal loans. A Hartford Seminary financial aid supplement must also be submitted. Students are required to reapply for financial aid each year.


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