Study our Contemporary Chaplaincy course and get equipped to support others and share God’s love with the people in your church, workplace, school, youth group and beyond.

Are you passionate about supporting others and sharing God’s love and hope with them? Do you have a desire to step into everyday places and meet people where they are? This course will equip those serving or looking to serve in a broad range of settings.

What you will gain

  • Ability to assess challenges/opportunities in a Chaplaincy context

  • An understanding of mission – who owns it and how you can join in

  • An awareness of the importance of culture and context

  • A range of models of Chaplaincy to use and apply to your context

  • Strategies for developing an environment of faith enquiry

  • Tools for engaging with and using apologetics within atheistic and multi-faith environments

  • A self-care assessment toolkit

Why study with us?

Your spiritual growth and wellbeing is important to us. At Waverley Abbey College, we have a heritage of creating ways for people to grow in faith, and this permeates the whole course. You will reach new depths in your relationship with God as you study with us.

The course dives into theology, unpacking key areas, while also benefiting from theory such as psychology and sociology that will help you understand contemporary contexts. Waverley Abbey College is renowned for this kind of teaching method.

You will be engaging in a Chaplaincy placement right from the start, while studying the skills you need to finesse your practice. As well as teaching you useful, life-changing Chaplaincy methods and tools, the course includes times for reflection and discussion.

“It’s like a large toolbox that I haven’t used before… I would recommend this course to anyone.”

Contemporary Chaplaincy Student

Further information

Tutor-Led Online

This study option is delivered by weekly sessions via Zoom with an experienced tutor and cohort of passionate students. From this, they are set assignments which will be marked by their allocated tutor. There are 30 sessions in total (term time only), each lasting 2 hours each, and students are required to complete 5 hours a week in a placement during this time.

Students should aim to allocate around 8-10 hours a week overall for sessions, placement and assignments.

Self-Paced Online

This study option is video based through our learning e-portal and so offers the freedom for students to work at their own pace through the content and assignments. Each student is allocated a tutor who they have access to for queries, support and assignment assessment. There is also the opportunity for attend optional live webinars.

There is a suggestion of 18-20 hours spent on each module, plus a mandatory 150 hours of placement over the course. If you choose to, you might wish to commit an average amount of 8-10 hours a week to the course and placement. Completion within 1 year of enrolment is required and it is recommended that students spend at least 6 months in the course.

Application Process

What is the application process?

When you click “apply” on your preferred study option, you will be asked for some basic personal details and supporting information. This is limited at this stage to your personal ID (to verify who you are) and a short personal statement stating why you would like to undertake the course. Once this information is submitted, you will be invited for an informal interview (30-minute Zoom interview). Following the interview, students admitted to the course will be sent an offer letter via email.

How long is the application process?

The length of time from pressing ‘Apply’ to either receiving an offer to join your selected cohort (Tutor-Led) or receiving an offer to start your course (Self-Paced) can be as little as 7 days. This depends on your availability for an interview and how quickly we can complete the process together.

Programme Content

Certificate in Contemporary Chaplaincy contains six modules. The modules fall into three main areas of study and practice:

  • Theology and Theory
  • Contemporary Practice
  • Self-Reflection

Module one provides an introduction to the course. Students will become familiar with the Waverley Integrative Framework, which underpins all of our learning and courses here at Waverley Abbey College. Additionally, this module will consider the various Chaplaincy and local mission contexts that students might find themselves in.

Module two introduces a Theology of Chaplaincy. This bible-based module considers ‘God as Chaplain’ and ‘Incarnation as Divine Strategy’, in addition to looking at biblical and contextual theological aspects for the modern-day Chaplain.

Module three looks at various models of Chaplaincy, and the ways in which our impact as Chaplains can be measured, within the range of settings in which we serve.

Module four considers the Chaplain in faith and non-faith contexts, and the challenges each brings. Further we look at ministry opportunities in third place environments, while also equipping the student to develop their own seeker course content appropriate to their context.

Module five considers ‘The Chaplain and Self-Care’. Burn out and self-neglect are very real dangers in Christian ministry. This module will equip students to develop methods of self-reflection that assess their spiritual health.

Module six runs throughout the course and is a Personal Development Plan (PDP). Students collate a portfolio of work and self-reflection based upon the five principles of the Waverley Integrative Framework.

Course Assessments Methods

The course will be assessed through allocated homework for each module with end of module assignments, submitted either as written essays or video options. In addition, a Personal Development Plan will be produced for end of course assessment. This PDP will include a journal, presentation and a 2,000-word written analysis.

Additional Personal Costs

Books: Students will need to purchase a number of books. Students need access to a laptop and the internet throughout the course.

Ordination: Students wishing to be considered for ordination on successful completion of the course, will need to pay the associated fees for this. In addition, an annual subscription will be payable to Waverley Abbey Ministries for continued accreditation/affiliation.

What you can do after the course

On successful completion, there are three paths students can take:

1. Take their Certificate and use what they have learnt to minister as a Chaplain.

Completion of the Certificate in Contemporary Chaplaincy also will enable students to explore Chaplaincy in a number of ministry contexts. These contexts fall under two main categories: Regulated (NHS, Prisons, Armed Forces)* and non-regulated (schools, retail, sports, private organisations, industrial, community etc).

Students desiring to serve within the regulated sector will need to meet the specific assessment requirements of the relevant sector they are interested in. This can range from further qualifications (i.e. a diploma in Theology) to age limits (i.e. The Armed Forces). Keep reading to discover potential opportunities for ordination that give more access to some regulated sectors.

2. Do the above AND affiliate to the Association of Waverley Abbey Ministers (AWAM), our very own professional body that supports chaplains in their ongoing ministry and service.

Benefits of joining AWAM include:

a. Professional ongoing support in your ministry.

b. Ministry accountability.

c. Ongoing professional development and training options.

d. Connection to a broad body of other chaplains and ministers.

e. Opportunity to apply for ordination.

f. Webinar and seminar access on keynote subjects.

3. Do all of the above AND apply for ordination through AWAM in conjunction with our ordaining partners Churches in Communities International (CiCi).

The Prison Service and Ministry of Justice recognize the CiCi credentials available to Contemporary Chaplains.

Learning Outcomes
  • Ability to assess challenges/opportunities in a Chaplaincy context

  • An understanding of mission – who owns it and how you can join in

  • An awareness of the importance of culture and context

  • A range of models of Chaplaincy to use and apply to your context

  • Strategies for developing an environment of faith enquiry

  • Tools for engaging with and using apologetics within atheistic and multi-faith environments

  • A self-care assessment toolkit


What is the difference between Tutor-Led and Self-Paced?

Tutor-led is a live, weekly cohort (on Zoom) of between 10-14 students, with a facilitator guiding you through the material/homework/assignments. Self-paced is the same course but students study at their own pace with the help of a support tutor who gives email support.

How long is each course format?

The tutor-led version is 30 weeks, with 5 x 6-week modules, all taking place during term time. A schedule of dates for each cohort is available on this page in the Tutor-Led Online dropdown. The self-paced course can be completed anywhere between 6-12 months from enrolling.

Are there many books to buy?

Students need only buy one ‘essential’ book (current cost around £15). The other academic resources are made available free of charge via our Virtual Learning Environment. There are other book that you may wish to purchase but are not mandatory.

Will I have access to the College library?

Yes. If in the local area of the Farnham campus, students can access the on-site library. Additionally, students have access to our online library and academic resources.

Is there homework and assignments?

Yes. For the Tutor-Led, there is weekly homework of between 1-2 hours, plus an assignment at the end of each 6-week module. For the Self-Paced, modules and related homework can be done at your own pace, with assignments completed at the end of each module. Assignments must be submitted prior to been given access to the next module.

Will I receive tutor support?

Yes. For the Tutor-Led course, your weekly facilitator/s will be your support tutor/s. For the Self-Paced course, you are allocated a support tutor on commencement of your studies.

Do I need a placement – and how does this work?

Yes. Students need to complete 150 hours of placement across the duration of the course, whichever study option they choose. Often, students have their own local contacts or are already involved in a church or community-based project which might be perfectly suitable as a Chaplaincy placement. Alternatively, Waverley can offer placement advice where needed. This is covered in the pre-course interview.

What award will I receive on completion of the course?

You will receive the Certificate in Contemporary Chaplaincy from Waverley Abbey College.

Tutor Led Online

  • One-off payment: £2,000
  • Pay by instalments: £200 every month for 10 months

Self-Paced Online

  • One-off payment: £2,000
  • Pay by instalments: £400 every month for 5 months

The course can be started as soon as the student is accepted.

Bespoke programmes for your team

Our highly renowned chaplaincy training can be tailored to suit the needs of your team, group, network or organisation. This means that individuals in your organisation can be awarded the Waverley Abbey College Certificate in Contemporary Chaplaincy, having studied in a way that suits your context, ministry and maximises the impact you want to see. 

Email hello@waverleyabbeycollege.ac.uk to discuss your options. 



Sep 2024 –  Cohort AA – Wed lunchtime
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Sep 2024 –  Cohort AB – Thu evening
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