About half of all young adults will study in higher education and for many this is a formative and life changing experience. In some universities many students live on or around the campus and there may be a Chaplaincy Centre on or near the campus. In other institutions there will be several campuses scattered around a city and no real focus for the work with large numbers of students travelling in each day. Most chaplaincies are linked in some way to a university department offering support services for students and this often includes providing multi-faith facilities and prayer rooms.

University chaplaincy is very rarely about ministering to a congregation of students, where these do exist they are only a small part of the chaplain’s work and often there is no settled group of students connected to the chaplaincy. Higher Education chaplains seek to minister and witness to the whole institution - students and staff, to build links between the university and faith communities, and to uncover the presence of God in the complicated world of the secular university. The university is a place where all ideas are open to challenge and change - this is a vibrant, diverse, international environment which can be very demanding.

"As a chaplain I relate to a wide range of people from many different faiths and spiritualities. It’s a privilege to hear people’s stories and experiences and to be able to explore wide ranging issues and solutions." Cass Howes, Coordinating Chaplain, University of Bedfordshire

“It's a privilege to be a university/HE chaplain. It offers a perfect opportunity to answer Christ’s imperative to love our neighbour, whoever they may be. Chaplaincy offers pastoral support to students and staff in their place of study and work, affirms people of all faiths and none, encourages good relationships between people of different faith traditions and gives opportunity to explore together values of unity, peace, justice and love.” Melvyn Kelly, Chaplain, Leeds Universities 

The following videos have been made by university chaplaincy teams and give an insight into the work of higher education chaplaincy. 


 Click here for Cardiff University Multifaith Chaplaincy: Meet the chaplains video

Videos featuring Higher Education Chaplaincy

Ten Principles for Christian Higher Education Chaplaincy

As agreed by Churches Higher Education Liaison Group in January 2018 

  1. We provide a faith based pastoral and advisory presence for students and staff of the university. This includes opportunities for worship, religious observance and faith exploration and education. 
  2. We will seek loving and respectful cooperation both within the chaplaincy team and with other providers of faith based support to the university staff and students
  3. We will encourage the respectful use of sacred space, whether our own or belonging to others.
  4. We comply with the code of conduct of the University and are answerable to the University and to our sending bodies in the performance of our role.
  5. We follow the Diversity and Equality Policies of the University. If there is a potential or perceived clash between our faith position and the needs of those we support we will signpost to other chaplains or services who can meet their needs.
  6. We do not misuse our position to proselytise.
  7. We use appropriate confidentiality and privacy policies, have appropriate relationships with those we serve and refer appropriately to our partners in services. We will encourage students to be independent and to find their own path.
  8. We maintain records in accordance with data protection and safeguarding guidelines ensuring that our activities are duly recorded and scrutinised.
  9. In undertaking this ministry we do not act in any way that brings our chaplaincy into disrepute.
  10. We cooperate with and respect those of other faiths (or none) while being faithful to the beliefs, practices and discipline of our own tradition.

For more information check out our Chaplaincy Resources and Links and Chaplaincy Reading pages.

Check out these Chaplaincy Blog posts too:
A journey to being a university chaplain
Suffering, kingdom and patient endurance
University Chaplaincy: Welcome Week
Go-between chaplains

These pages may also be helpful:
The Methodist Podcast Episode 33
Report highlights value of university chaplaincy

These external links may also be of interest:
Relationship, Presence and Hope: University Chaplaincy during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Cardiff students go dog walking to get out and about and socialise during the pandemic
Covid: Cardiff students go on dog walks to stop loneliness
University chaplaincy: about more than kind words and pizza

The Methodist Church is not responsible for any third party content linked to from this website.

You will find contact details on our Chaplaincy Contacts page.

For contact details of higher education/university chaplains, please see our Higher Education Chaplaincy Contacts page.