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    Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
    Doctor of Ministry Office
    130 Essex Street
    South Hamilton, MA 01982
    Fax: (978) 646-4574
    Hours: 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. M-F

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Advanced Standing for Military Chaplains

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Since 2006, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary has been pleased to provide qualified military chaplains with advanced standing in our Doctor of Ministry program. Advanced standing enables military chaplains to join their quality military training with the renowned theological education of Gordon-Conwell.

Advanced chaplain training through the military is necessary for eligibility:

  • Air Force - Intermediate Chaplain Course
  • Army - C4
  • Navy - JPME

Approval for Advanced Standing Credit

Dr. Ken Swetland serves as the chaplain advanced standing mentor.

Approval to advanced standing, and completion of an advanced standing project, is required prior to their first residency. Chaplains may count reading and submit written work done as part of their advanced chaplain training to fulfill this advanced standing assignment.

In each case, approximately 2,000 pages of reading from the texts for the chosen omitted residency must be done, and an annotated bibliography must be submitted. An advanced standing assignment relating to the omitted residency must also be done, as shown in the samples below.

For Pastor as Person

Submit a 10 page paper describing call to ministry, theology of ministry, leadership style, areas where personal growth is recognized as a need, family history and insights into how family dynamics have affected one's development, spiritual growth, how conflict in ministry has been handled, and personal means of handling stress. It is a paper geared to reflecting and examining intentionally personal development and areas of needed growth as a pastoral leader. If any psychological assessment instruments have been done post-college, insights from these tools are to be included in the paper.

For Pastor as Counselor

Submit a 10 page case study on a pastoral counseling issue handled by the chaplain. Guidelines for the case study will follow those required in the syllabus in preparation for the residency.

For Pastor as Preacher

A combination of assignments from the preaching residency (pre- and post-residency) will be required, including submitting outlines of two sermons on specified texts, and utilizing group evaluations of the sermon.

Advanced Standing Applies to our Pastoral Skills Track

At one, two-week long, residency a year for three years, the Pastoral Skills track addresses three key areas of effective ministry; preaching, care-giving, and leadership (person hood). Advanced standing enables the qualified chaplain to receive credit towards one of these three residencies; enabling them to attend two residencies instead of three and to pay eight quarters of tuition instead of twelve.

As our most popular track, we begin a small cohort of new Pastoral Skills students once in Spanish (listed as Liderazgo) and three times each year in English (listed by entry point as February (Charlotte campus), April (South Hamilton campus), and October (also at the South Hamilton campus)). The start location locks the applicant in to a module rotation. Switching from one cohort to another is not allowed. A schedule of start dates dates is online.

When selecting a start year and campus for application, the chaplain seeking advanced standing must choose a starting point that places the two attended residencies consecutively on the same campus. Due consideration, however, is given to chaplains on deployment.


As Preacher

As Person

As Counselor





















Application Requirements

All application materials are available on our website, both as .pdf downloads and in an online portal. Military chaplains may submit an abbreviated application; a briefer autobiography and personal statement and one recommendation form instead of three. Requirements for official transcripts sent directly from all colleges, seminaries and other institutions of higher education attended, the application fee, and letter of endorsement from the current ministry context remain. Intentions to pursue advanced standing must be declared during the application process.

Proof of completion of advanced training through the military must also be submitted; this can be in official copies of training records or (more usually) a confirmation letter from a commanding officer.