Spiritual Care (GCSC)

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The field of spiritual care or chaplaincy is broad and diverse, with practitioners working in contexts as diverse as healthcare, prisons, the military, postsecondary education, business and corporations, civil services (such as city, police, fire), and inner-city/street organizations. The Graduate Certificate in Spiritual Care (GCSC) is designed to equip individuals with foundational skills and aptitudes needed for a variety of spiritual care or chaplaincy contexts. Curriculum for the GCSC is designed to equip students in four areas of competency: (a) skills for professional spiritual care practice, (b) disciplines for self-knowledge and selfcare, (c) leadership skills, and (d) the ability to engage in spiritual care across lines of diversity and difference.

The GCSC has been developed through a partnership of St. Stephen's College with four other theological colleges in the Province of Alberta:

Each college contributes one or more courses toward the curriculum of the GCSC; special arrangements are in place for students to enrol and transfer any of the courses outlined in the Program Requirements (below) between the various colleges.

Learn about collaborative partnership

The GCSC provides students with foundational competencies for a broad range of spiritual care and chaplaincy work. Some employment contexts (such as healthcare) and professional certifying bodies (such as the Canadian Association for Spiritual Care) will require additional training.

Length of Program

Students taking a full course load can complete the GCSC in two years. Students must complete all requirements within four years from the date on which they register in the program.

Taking Courses at Other Theological Colleges

Students at St. Stephen’s College are permitted to enrol in any of the courses listed in the Program Requirements outline above, even when those courses are offered by a college other than St. Stephen’s. Each college maintains their own course registration process; students of St. Stephen’s must contact the registrar of the partner college to enrol in their desired course. Students are required to pay the tuition rate as set by the college offering the course. When transferring one of the approved courses back to St. Stephen’s College, students must complete a Transfer Credit Request form.

Course offerings and registration at the partnering colleges:

About the Collaborative Program in Spiritual Care

GCSC Program Requirements (21 Credits)

Courses offered at St. Stephen's College are underlined. Courses offered at other theological colleges are parenthetically noted.

Required Courses (12 Credits) Credits
One of: SSC589 Spiritual and Theological Reflection in Professional Practice: An Introduction, or SC501 Foundations of Spiritual Care (Ambrose) 3
One of: PPSYC583 Professional Ethics in Psychotherapy and Spiritual Care, SC625 Professional Ethics (Ambrose), or STP576 Bioethics: Moral Issues from Life Sciences (Newman) 3
One of: LE503 Leadership & Leadership Formation (Ambrose), or 2P3231 Spiritual Leadership (CBT) 3
One of: SSC547 Diversity in Faith and Culture, MI502 Intercultural Competence (Ambrose), or MI620 Gospel in Multi-Cultural/Faith/World (Taylor) 3
Electives (6 Credits)
Students choose two electives from the following list. Note: CPE (=6 credits) fulfills Elective 2 + Field Education.
SSC5823 Spiritual Assessment in the Promotion of Health (SSC) 3
SC610 The Ministry of the Chaplain (Ambrose) 3
SC613 Introduction to Prison Chaplaincy (Ambrose) 3
SC615 Spiritual Care of the Dying (Ambrose) 3
LE633 Leadership and Resilience (Ambrose) 3
CC602 Crisis Counselling (Ambrose) 3
PT501 Personal Formation & Development (Ambrose) 3
2C1243 Dealing with Conflict (CBT) 3
2P3215 Spiritual Formation (CBT) 3
STP575 Spiritual Direction (Newman) 3
STP586 Introduction to Pastoral Counselling (Newman) 3
PC431 Personal Development & Ministry (Taylor) 3
PC632 Crisis Intervention (Taylor) 3
PT540 Spiritual Formation (Taylor) 3
Field Placement / Field Education (3 Credits)
Students choose one field education course from the following list. Note: CPE (=6 credits) fulfills Elective 2 + Field Education.
CPE5889 Supervised Pastoral Education 6
SC715/716 Clinical Psychospiritual Education (Ambrose) 6
STP470 Theological Field Education (Newman) 3
PT712/721 Pastoral Internship or Mentoring (Ambrose) 3
MI712/720 Intercultural Internship or Mentoring (Ambrose) 3
2P2341/2P2342 Capstone Ministry I & II (CBT) 3
FE442/443/444 Field Education (Taylor) 3
Admission Requirements
  1. Baccalaureate Degree from an institution of higher education approved by a Canadian provincial authority, or the demonstrated educational equivalent. Grade average minimum must be 72%/B/3.0 during last 60 credits of course weight.
  2. General readiness to function in an integrative adult learning program in terms of both personal qualities and academic competencies.
  3. Commitment to one's lay profession or employment (paid or volunteer) as a ministry. Note: Persons who define their work activity as being committed to the improvement and nurture of society and the world community, including such fields as education, faith/religious community assignments, chaplaincy, mediation, management, media services, the arts, health care, counseling, Intercultural relationships, and care of the earth are recognized by St. Stephen's College as being in ministry.
  4. Willingness to engage in a program that is broadly ecumenical and multifaith; readiness to engage deeply in personal reflection; commitment to the practice of a spiritual life.
  5. Language Requirements: All applicants must be proficient in English prior to admission. Proficiency is demonstrated by either (a) possession of a prior diploma or degree where the primary language of instruction was English, (b) demonstration of sufficient coursework completed in English, or (c) a satisfactory score on an approved English language examination (either TOEFL iBT, IELTS, CAEL, or PTE Academic). For full details, see the “English Language Proficiency” section of the St. Stephen’s College Academic Calendar.
Application Deadline:

Applications can be submitted throughout the year. The recommended starting course(s) are scheduled in June/July each year; in order to begin with these courses, it is advised that applications be submitted prior to November 1 for international applicants and April 1 for Canadian and Permanent Residents. Applications are processed within two months of submission. Applications which require a baccalaureate equivalency review are processed within four months of submission. Upon acceptance to the program, students can begin coursework. Applicants applying for a Baccalaureate equivalency review: equivalency fee is $225; if equivalency is granted, applicants then pay the normal application fee.


Upon admission, students are invited to register for and attend the St. Stephen's College Orientation Day (in early June). Coursework begins as early as June of the admittance year.

**Note: Graduate Certificates are conferred by St. Stephen's College, not by the University of Alberta. For more information, see our About Graduate Studies at SSC and Institutional Charter pages.

**Note: Students in graduate certificate programs do not qualify for government student loans. For more information, see the SSC Academic Calendar.
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