"Here, Christianity is not just a part of your life, it's all of your life."

John Baker
Seminary Graduate

A Collaborative Program of Studies in Spiritual Care

Program Details

In commitment to creating competent, compassionate spiritual care providers to meet the needs of Albertans, the theological colleges in Alberta are collaborating to offer a graduate program in Spiritual Care. 

This program of studies is intended to introduce skills for professional practice, disciplines for self-knowledge and self-care, leadership skills, and the ability to engage diverse sectors so that graduates are able to provide spiritual care or chaplaincy work in a variety of contexts. 

The colleges recognize that some employment contexts (e.g. Alberta Health Services and Covenant Health) and some professional certifications may require additional training (e.g. Clinical Pastoral Education). 

Take courses as an Occasional Student from the Canadian Baptist Theological Seminary (CBT) and transfer the credits to one of the other four seminaries in the Collaborative.

The Theological Colleges Collaborating for This Work

Canadian Baptist Theological Seminary & College (Cochrane)

Don McNaughton, DMin
Professor of Counselling & Director of Student Formation don.mcnaughton@cbtsc.ca

Ambrose University (Calgary)

Jo-Ann Badley, PhD
Dean of Theology

Newman Theological College (Edmonton)

Sr. Zoe Bernatsky, STD
Assistant Professor, Moral, Spiritual, Pastoral Theology

St. Stephen’s College, at the University of Alberta (SSC) (Edmonton)

Fred Tappenden, PhD
Principal and Dean, and Professor of Theology

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Required Courses - 12 Credits

Students choose one course in each of these four categories. Each category represents a core competency in Spiritual Care.

Basic Spiritual Care Skills

Foundations of Spiritual Care (Ambrose) An introduction to the scope and provision of spiritual care within various institutional settings. 

This course blends academic rigour with experiences of reflection and group sharing to develop skills in using theological reflection in a variety of personal and professional practice contexts. 


An exploration of the ethical development of persons in the helping professions, particularly within the context of Christian ministry. 

Students examine a variety of Professional Codes of Ethics as well as pertinent case examples from their workplace or personal experiences as part of exploring the nature of a professional relationship and integrating their own personal values into their understanding of ethics.

An exploration of ethical issues and pastoral implications in the contemporary context using case studies and decision-making frameworks. 


An exploration of the ethical development of persons in the helping professions, particularly within the context of Christian ministry. 

An exploration, analysis, and application of the field of leadership and personal leadership skills in adaptive leadership placed around the core issue of character development.


An exploration of cultural fluency to equip individuals to become more intentional about engaging in intercultural interactions to develop habits that value “others” and their “otherness.”

As a foundation for professional competencies in multicultural topics and skills for interfaith communication, this course provides opportunities to look at one’s own culture, beliefs and traditions reflectively while also exploring the cultures, beliefsand traditions of others. 

Electives - 6 Credits

Students choose two elective courses


The course examines the nature and dynamics of conflict and offers an approach to conflict resolution that is sensitive to the character and purposes of God.

This course assists persons in their spiritual and character development, with a view to becoming more wholly integrated through examination and exercise of Christian faith practices.


An introduction to institutional ministry and the challenges of ministry in multi-faith, multicultural settings.

An introduction to chaplaincy practices in a criminal justice context. 

An exploration of the theological issues and pastoral challenges presented in the care of dying persons including clinical constructs that enhance the practice of spiritual care.

A study of the biblical call to endurance in life and service, complemented by an examination of contemporary research on resilience.

Principles of crisis intervention and their application in pastoral counselling.

An exploration of the nature and goal of spiritual formation with an examination of the inheritance of spiritual practices from Christian Scripture and church history.


An exploration of the principles of spiritual direction including practical aspects of spiritual direction and the facilitation of growth in the Christian life. 

An introduction to the ministry of pastoral counselling with a focus on the development of skills and an understanding of ethical issues. 

St. Stephen’s

As an element of whole person healthcare, spiritual assessment invites interdisciplinary reflection on understandings of the human person, health, health promotion, spirituality, spiritual needs,and spiritual care. 

Field Placement - 3 Credits

Clinical Pastoral Education- 6 Credits

Clinical Pastoral Education is an optional component of the certificate and may be required for some employment contexts. CPE (6 credits) can be used as field placement (3 credits) and an elective (3 credits). Admission to CPE is regulated by Supervisor-Educators recognized by the Canadian Association of Spiritual Care.

Contact Info

ACCREDITATION and partnerships

Government of Alberta

Recognized by the Province of Alberta. Accredited by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS), click here to learn more, and the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE), learn more here.

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