Clinical Pastoral Education

Clinical Pastoral Education at UT Southwestern Medical Center is fully accredited by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE Inc.) since November 2014. ACPE is a multicultural, multifaith organization devoted to providing education and improving the quality of ministry and pastoral care offered by spiritual caregivers of all faiths through the clinical educational methods of CPE.

Each single unit of CPE consists of 100 educational hours in a combination of group and individual supervision and 300 clinical hours of hospital ministry.

About the Program

Three CPE programs are offered per academic year at UTSW:

  • First, a full-time, three unit, year-long Residency beginning in August is offered with stipend and benefits included
  • Second, a single-unit Summer CPE program is also offered from June-August, with no stipend or benefits
  • Third, a part-time extended unit, based on interest by potential students, with no stipend or benefits

What Students Will Learn

Through the use of case studies (“verbatims”), theological reflection, group discussion and interaction, student art, film, and a variety of other educational methods, students are introduced to a variety of themes, including narrative pastoral care, listening and leadership skills, and care for individuals and groups in cultural context. Focus is on pastoral identity, competence, and reflection in alignment with ACPE Standards and Outcomes.

According to ACPE, CPE is “a process model of education that is student centered, vigorously reflective, and potentially transformative. We understand professional competence as the integration of personal story, religious heritage and theological understanding, and knowledge of the behavioral sciences. This integration leads to personal awareness, integrity in relationships and receptivity to diversity.”

What the Program Prepares Students To Do

Clinical Pastoral Education helps students prepare for a variety of ministries including hospital chaplaincy, pastoral ministry in a congregational setting, volunteer ministries, nonprofit ministry, and pastoral counseling. Students seeking board certification will need to have completed a minimum of four CPE units, among other requirements for professional certification as a chaplain with APC, NACC, NAJC, etc.

Requirements for Applicants

Applicants should have a bachelor’s degree from a CHEA recognized program. Seminary degree completed or in progress is preferred. English language proficiency adequate to function effectively in the clinical and educational settings is necessary. For the three-unit residency program, a prior unit of CPE is preferred.

Tuition is $300 for single-unit students (summer and extended/part-time units) and there is no tuition for residents. An interview is required. It can be conducted on site or via Skype if the applicant is not local.