Students Considering CPE

CPE and the Office of Supervised Ministries

Clinical Pastoral Education is not required by YDS.  It is a national program that is entirely independent of YDS, except that you could receive some financial aid from YDS while you do it, and you can receive academic credit for taking it. 

  • The Director of OSM is simply the liaison with CPE programs.
  • Anyone can take CPE.  Most MDiv students take CPE.  Many denominations or dioceses require CPE for ordination.
  • Because it can be quite demanding (spiritually, emotionally and physically) and because it plays a significant role in your formation for ministry, we want to help make it the best experience possible—by doing what we can to
  1. Prepare you;
  2. Accompany you in thought and prayer;
  3. Support your transition to coursework afterwards.

What to expect

CPE helps students become more aware of themselves as ministers and of the ways they affect those to whom they minister.

  • Most programs are in clinical settings (hospitals, nursing homes, hospice)
  • 1 CPE unit = 400 hours, and includes patient care, group & individual supervision, and didactic sessions
  • CPE is accredited by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE) or its counterparts, either the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) or the Canadian Association for Spiritual Care (CASC).

Choosing a Site

CPE programs must be accredited by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE).  Their website ( lists accredited centers and contacts, and has the universal application form and answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ).

CPE Application Process

Students apply directly to each program as early as Oct./Nov. for summer programs in competitive areas (e.g., Boston), but usually before January for all sites.  There may be an application fee. 

  • Allow sufficient time to complete the lengthy application.
  • Common application questions:
  1. A reasonably full account of your life.
  2. A description of your spiritual growth.
  3. A description of your work (vocational) history.
  4. An account of a “helping incident” in which you were the helper.
  5. Your impressions of Clinical Pastoral Education.
  6. References:  1) academic, 2) denominational, 3) personal
  • Some sites have additional requirements for paperwork or references.
Application for CPE Funding.doc31 KB