Clinical Pastoral Education

Clinical Pastoral Education, or CPE, is a practice-based learning experience that brings students into supervised encounters with persons in crisis. It provides an in-depth pastoral experience with individual and group supervision by certified teaching educators. Yale Divinity School does not offer a CPE program. However, YDS students may receive transfer credits and funding if they are accepted into an ACPE accredited site.
  • CPE is offered through programs accredited by the Association of Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE)
  • Students taking one unit of CPE, taken during a summer or an academic year, can receive 6 transfer credits (elective) and fulfill the internship requirement for the MDiv degree. To receive credit for CPE at YDS, students must submit a copy of the first summary page of your CPE evaluation. Contact Jenny Davis for additional information.
  • Summer units last approximately 10-12 weeks; extended units vary from 4-8 months; all require 400 hours.
  • YDS students can receive a stipend of up to $5000 via work study funds.  
  • Although a CPE unit may fulfill the internship requirement for MDiv candidates, Clinical Pastoral Education is not required by YDS for any degree program, but many denominations require CPE for ordination. Both Berkeley Divinity School and Andover-Newton Theological Seminary at Yale require CPE for the graduate certificates.
  • MAR and STM students are encouraged to apply for credit and/or funding as well, as long as it fits within the bounds of their degrees.
  • Students can apply for summer intensive units or part-time extended units to CPE programs through the ACPE website starting in the fall.
  • Applications for summer CPE units are due November 1. Each program has its own application procedure, schedule, and policies, but all use the ACPE application form.
  • Students who are currently engaged in a YDS Internship may not take CPE while they are interning. In other words, they may not intern at a site and take CPE at the same time.

Choosing a CPE Site

Most programs are in clinical settings (hospitals, geriatric care facilities, hospices), but there are a variety of settings available in parts of the United States and Canada, including community organizations, prisons, and churches. The ACPE web site has a searchable directory of accredited sites, including contact information.  Students should contact individual sites for information about their program. The Director of Supervised Ministries, Jenny Davis, can offer advice and direction in filling out the ACPE application form and guidance in finding a site that best meets the student’s needs. An information session about CPE is offered every September.  It includes details about applications, interviews, selecting a site, and presentations by students who have completed CPE. 


  • Nearly all CPE programs charge tuition, which varies from approximately $600-$1000. YDS does not pay the student’s CPE tuition. 
  • YDS offers a stipend in the form of work-study funding (up to $5000 dollars) to help cover living expenses during the time of CPE.  Like other work-study positions, students submit weekly timesheets, are paid biweekly, and employment taxes are withheld.
  • A few CPE programs offer stipends or housing. If a student receives payment from their site (other than housing or travel compensation), that amount is subtracted from the YDS stipend.
  • Students graduating in the spring may still be eligible for funding for a summer intensive unit of CPE after commencement.
  • Procedure to receive aid: Submit a copy of your acceptance letter and an Application for CPE Funding to Jenny Davis at least two weeks before starting CPE or before May 10 for graduating students.

Additional Information 

  • Andover Newton at Yale Divinity School offers a six-week long preparatory course for students planning on enrolling in a summer unit of CPE, REL 3903b. Open to all YDS students, this class is designed to help students fully engage in the CPE experience.