The Graduate Masters of Divinity in Islamic Studies is a three to four year program designed specifically for students who wish to become professional and credentialed Muslim leaders, spiritual care givers, or chaplains. The curriculum, presented below, was developed in consultation with some of the most prominent Muslim chaplains, therapists, bioethicists, and spiritual care givers in America, and, as a result, it offers a richness of practical education in conversation with contemporary counseling and psychology education. Our program development consultation partners also included some of America’s leading Jewish and Christian seminaries, and so students enrolling in this program benefit from the best of expert opinion, even across the boundaries of tradition.
As is evidenced below, the program requirements ensure a robust theological preparation that overlaps entirely with the Islamic Theology-track of our MA program, but – instead of awarding a Master’s of Arts in Islamic Theology at the end of the second year (the 36 credit hour mark) – the MDIS degree program requires an additional three terms of full-time, rigorous training in the core competencies Muslim spiritual caregivers and chaplains need to be effective in their day-to-day work within a North American environment. These competencies include the basics of pastoral care, psychological assessment and counseling, cross-cultural communication, conducting and/or facilitating Islamic devotional rites and lifecycle ceremonies, unique skill-sets for spiritual care within hospitals and prisons, working competently with trauma, and developing service programs to meet constituent needs.
Therefore the MDIS program consists of three to four years (72 hours) of academic study, pastoral education, and fieldwork/internship experience. This is quite consistent with the requirements found within Divinity programs at some of our sister institutions here in Chicago and across North America. While studying alongside our MA Students in the Islamic Theology track, MDIS students are required to fulfill all of the requirements for the MA, which is conceived to consist of two years of full-time study (36 credit hours). Then, in the third and fourth years of the MDIS program, students are required to take a minimum of eleven (11) courses, seven (7) of which are core requirements of the MDIS program. Each of these courses count for three (3) credit hours of study except for IS 601 (the spiritual care/leadership/chaplaincy training practicum), which includes a final paper and so counts for a total of six (6) credit hours.