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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.  

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.


Current USD rates for the Renewal Program and associated expenses for the 2019-2020 academic year are as follows (subject to annual increases):

$7,000 / semester; covers up to six units of courses, ongoing spiritual direction, retreats, excursions to points of interest, and Wednesday seminars.

Housing at JST includes a kitchen with appliances and glassware/dishware/silverware.  See additional information on JST Housing.

Furnished Studio Apartment (very limited availability): $5,100 / semester 
Furnished One-Bedroom: $5,900/semester 
Furnished Shared Two-Bedroom: $4,500 USD /semester

The JST Jesuit community may provide housing to Jesuits in the Renewal Program, provided space is available (please contact the Director of the Renewal Program for more information).  The possibility of staying in another religious community or elsewhere in the area would need to be explored by the applicant.

Health Insurance
International Renewal Program participants are required to have health insurance obtained from Santa Clara University through the Gallagher Silver Plan.  The approximate cost for this insurance is currently $2,200 / semester. Domestic participants will stay on their current health insurance plan.

Miscellaneous Expenses
$1,000/  semester estimate: costs for food, books, travel within the U.S., etc., vary greatly for each person. 

Estimated Total Cost Per Semester
$15,000 to 17,000 (depending on one's housing option; health insurance; costs for food, books, and miscellaneous expenses.  

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.


There are several options for grocery shopping around the school. To explore shopping options, click here.

Most participants prepare their own meals, and they also frequently take turns cooking with other members of the program. If you prefer a quality cafeteria option, try the Consortial Dining Plan of the Graduate Theological Union. A healthy, delicious meal is available six days a week, with “all you can eat” entrees, just two blocks from the JST apartments on the campus of the Pacific School of Religion. You can sample the fresh fruit, salads and breads, made to order breakfasts, homemade soups, vegetarian options, and freshly baked desserts at a reasonable cost. Accommodations can be made for particular dietary needs and restrictions. For more information, visit



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 Rehakimage

Carrie Rehak

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