Chaplains found to have significant positive impact on life of students

4 June 2019

A major new report has concluded that university chaplains have a significant impact on individual students.

A major new report has concluded that university chaplains have a significant impact on individual students.

Chaplains on Campus: Understanding Chaplaincy in UK Universities is a new study conducted by academics from Coventry, Durham and Canterbury Christ Church Universities. It found that chaplains and university managers agreed that pastoral and religious work were the primary aims of chaplains, and that they typically focussed on exploring faith, providing pastoral support, and building community in their day to day activities.

When asked what difference they had noted in the last twelve months, three-quarters of the chaplains surveyed reported an impact on individual students and two-thirds reported changes in atmosphere or sense of community.

Students and staff echoed these findings. A student reported that chaplaincy “has been central to my university experience”. The Deputy Director of Student Services at one university said that “Chaplaincy makes a significance difference to…individual students’ experience and lives – particularly students who may be vulnerable, or be looking for some support.”

Reverend Dr Jeremy Law, Dean of Chapel, said: “This positive report shows that chaplains do a wonderful job supporting students pastorally. A lot of this work is unpaid, with many chaplains working as volunteers. We estimate that this unpaid work could equate to £4.5million per year across the sector. One of the recommendations from this report is for funding for chaplaincies to be increased by universities.”

Responding to the publication of this major research project, the Bishop of Winchester, Tim Dakin, the lead bishop for Further and Higher Education in the Church of England, said: “This ground-breaking research provides churches and other religious bodies with a hugely important resource for supporting chaplains and chaplaincy in their ministry. Chaplains are on the frontier of our engagement with young people and with universities as leading social institutions.”

Read the full report here

Understanding Chaplaincy in UK universities: Chaplains on Campus report launch and conference is to be held at Canterbury Christ Church University on Friday, 7 June. For more information and to book your place visit here.


Notes to editors

  • Chaplains on Campus is based on multiple interviews and in-depth institutional studies, involving over 400 university chaplains, managers and religion or belief organisations, and nearly 200 students. The Report describes the ministry of presence, pastoral care, prophetic engagement and exploring faith.

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Last edited: 13/06/2019 14:49:00