The term “chaplain” has become a widely used and accepted term to refer to individuals who represent any religion or philosophical tradition.

Chaplains are usually, but not always, ordained in a religious or spiritual tradition and work within a certain group or community. They can be found in many places such as hospitals, the armed forces and universities. The role of a chaplain varies depending on the community to which they belong.

Chaplains at UBC

Opportunities for religious observance are available under the guidance of Chaplains representing a variety of faiths. Chaplains are an important spiritual resource for students, but they are not UBC employees and are completely separate and independent from UBC. They are accountable to and financially supported by their own religious constituencies, and they do not act under the direction or authority of UBC.

What do the chaplains do?

The main function of the chaplains is to guide members of the UBC community in engaging with their spirituality and faith. The details of each of the chaplains' work are slightly different depending on the faith community they serve. Most chaplains offer one-on-one pastoral and spiritual counseling, and opportunities to engage in the faith tradition they represent. Most of the chaplains have student groups that include some combination of fellowship groups, meals, worship, faith exploration, and training or study in the traditions of their respective faith. These groups are a good way to explore some of the "big questions" of life, as well as just have some fun and get to know your peers.

Besides serving their own faith communities, chaplains cooperate on several fronts. They participate in international student orientations, Imagine UBC, the Wellness Fair, and Convocation. Chaplains participate in special programs, as well as occasionally sponsor workshops and lectures, film festivals, and art displays. They also sometimes partner with others on campus to develop programs on social and ethical issues.

University Multifaith Chaplains Association

Chaplains generally have a professional graduate degree beyond a basic baccalaureate. To become part of the University Multifaith Chaplains Association, members are expected to fulfill the conditions required by their religious body, whether this be ordination or its equivalent through education or training.

The University Multifaith Chaplains Association makes a vital contribution to the wellbeing of the UBC community by engaging people in faith and spirituality, and meditation and emotional healing. The Association also encourages community, including intercultural dialogue and collaboration, citizenship and leadership, and friendship.

If you have questions

The University Multifaith Chaplains Association office is in UBC Life Room 1303, but most chaplains also have other spaces they use. If you are looking for a particular faith tradition, the contact information for each chaplain can be found on their individual pages.

If you are looking for more general information (or are not sure which chaplain offers what you are looking for), you are welcome to contact the Coordinating Chaplain, Craig O'Brien, at