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Program information

The Renewal Program, offered by the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University (JST-SCU), is located in Berkeley, in the San Francisco Bay Area, in Northern California.  JST is adjacent to the University of California, Berkeley, and is a member school of the Graduate Theological Union, the most comprehensive center for the graduate study of religion in North America. 


As part of your Renewal Program, you may take up to six credits of coursework -- that is, two three-unit classes or a combination of one- and three-unit classes. Renewal Program participants choose classes according to their interest.  Therefore, not everyone is in the cohort is in the same class, yet we come together for recreation and special presentations on Wednesdays.  (A great benefit of our program is that our participants have the opportunity to take classes with younger students.)

In addition to six-units of JST and GTU course offerings, the Renewal Program offers an opening and closing retreat, ongoing spiritual direction, and excursions to sites in the Bay Area.  Wednesday gatherings, designed specifically for Renewal Program participants may include presentations from JST's faculty or other leading presenters on such topics of interest as spirituality, mysticism, cosmology, scripture, the arts, and personal development.


The short answer is no.  

Only if you choose to take a course for credit, in which you will also receive a grade, would you need to complete such course requirements.

However, a more attractive option for your renewal may be to audit classes.  With this option, you will enjoy reading and participating in discussions, without having to write papers or take exams. (If you choose to audit, you will not receive a grade.)

School, from the Latin, scola, is rooted in the Greek word meaning “leisure,” and it is in that vein that we hope the courses you select at JST and the GTU may be part of your holistic renewal experience.

Our participants come from the local area and from all around the globe. While the renewal program is primarily for Catholic ordained, vowed religious, and laity who have been working in ministry --particularly those who are depleted or in transition--we also welcome other spiritual care providers (chaplains, missionaries, pastoral agents) and faith-based change-makers, teachers, nonprofit professionals, corporate executives, and other leaders .  We not only welcome diversity, we embrace it!

Generally speaking, our fall semester runs from mid-August through mid-December and our spring semester runs from mid-January through mid- to late-May. Ideally, participants come for a semester or two of sabbatical (two are highly recommended).


You may come for one or two semesters: fall or spring, or both. If you wish to participate in the Renewal Program for two semesters, you may start in the fall semester and continue into the spring, or start in the spring semester and continue into the fall.


Please contact the Renewal Program for specific dates by emailing

The Renewal Program has no offerings during June and July. Therefore, if you come for the two semesters that run over the summer months (spring and fall), you may choose to do some traveling in the U.S. (or other countries, depending on your Visa stipulations) during this period. To avoid paying rent, you will need to clear your apartment of your belongings during this period. If you need to stay in JST housing over the summer months, please the Assistant Director of Housing at

Program and housing fees are subject to annual increases.

Basic Program Fee
The 2020-2021 program fee is $7,000 / semester.  Through a gift from a generous benefactor and the support of JST-SCU, we are offering a tuition discount of 25% – making the cost $5,250 – with the possibility of additional merit and needs-based scholarship funding of up to 65%.  Progra tuition includes up to six credits of coursework (for audit or for credit), two retreats, spiritual direction, and Wednesday workshops.

JST offers a variety of housing options. Most participants rent a unit in one of the three JST resident buildings near the school.

The current rates are:

Studio - $5, 094 per semester
One Bedroom - $5, 922 per semester
Two bedroom (not shared) - $6, 552 per semester
Two Bedroom (shared) - $4, 554 per semester

These below-market rates are subsidized by JST.

Health Insurance
Health insurance is a requirement of higher education in the United States. Renewal participants from the U.S. typically have acceptable insurance coverage. International Renewal Program participants are required to have health insurance obtained from Santa Clara University (SCU).  $2,500 / semester estimate.

Miscellaneous Expenses
Costs for personal and educational expenses, such as food, books, transportation, medical, and optional travel vary widely.  Here is an estimate based on individual needs:


Estimated costs:
Groceries: $1,200-$1,500
Dining Out (optional): $400
Books and Supplies: $100
Local Transportation: $300 (BART, bus, and rideshares)
Long Distance Trips (optional): $600
Toiletries/Haircuts: $100
Renewal Excursions: $100
Socials (optional): $200
Entertainment and Cultural Outings (optional): $120-$300
YMCA Gym (optional): $140
Miscellaneous (prescriptions, etc.): $500


Estimated Total Cost Per Semester
$17,000 - $18,600   

You may request a scholarship for financial assistance.  The amount allocated is based on the total number of applicants seeking financial assistance and how much money is available for financial aid in a given semester.  This money is not allocated until after the completion of the application process for JST's Renewal Program. Travel expenses to and from the Renewal Program are never covered through financial assistance.


If you have a Provincial or Superior, or consultors for your religious congregation, we encourage you to see what funding may be available for your Renewal Program.


Most participants prepare their own meals, and they also frequently take turns cooking with other members of the program. Taxis and ridesharing apps, such as Uber and Lyft, can help get you to where you need to go, if not by public transportation or on foot. While several grocery stores are within walking distance, you can also arrange for stores, such as Safeway, to deliver your groceries. The Renewal program will also arrange periodic rides to shops and doctors’ appointments. There are also several places to dine within walking distance. 

A J-1 Visa is required of all international participants. Once you have been accepted into the Renewal Program, you will be contacted by JST’s Office of Admissions and SCU’s Office of Global Engagement for the next steps to take in securing your J-1 Visa. 

“My sabbatical was a watershed in my life... that has made all the difference. I am eternally grateful.”
—Francis Baum, MSC
Kew, Australia
Carrie Rehak

Carrie Rehak

Director of the JST Renewal Program
Phone: (510) 549-5046
Office: Room 104