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 chaplains.

  • CPE is offered through programs accredited by the Association of Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE). YDS does not itself offer CPE. However, the Director of Supervised Ministries does offer advice and direction in filling out the ACPE application form and guidance in finding a site that best meets the student’s needs. Any student can apply to these CPE programs through the ACPE website. (
  • The Director of Supervised Ministries is the YDS liaison with CPE programs around the United States and Canada, and offers an opportunity for area CPE supervisors to speak about their programs to interested students in a public forum, usually in the early fall.
  • One unit of CPE, which can be taken during a summer or an academic year, can receive 6 transfer credits and fulfill the supervised ministry requirement for the M.Div. degree.
  • CPE taken for credit at YDS provides the unique experience of the Interprofessional Workshop on Palliative Care at Yale Medical School. It brings together students from several professional schools—medicine, social work, nursing, and divinity—to explore how professionals work together in end-of-life care.  
  • In addition, starting spring of 2019, Andover Newton at Yale Divinity School offered a six-week long preparatory course for students planning on enrolling in a summer unit of CPE. This is a uniquely designed class that helps students fully engage in the CPE experience.
  • Eligible students (MDiv or MAR) may receive a stipend of up to $4,000 through the Office of Finance and Administration. At this time, YDS does not offer support to STM or other degree program students.
  • Clinical Pastoral Education is not required by YDS for any degree program, but many denominations require CPE for ordination. Students preparing for ministry are strongly encouraged to take it.

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

CPE Settings

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. Each program has its own application procedure, schedule, and policies, but almost all of them use the ACPE application form

Choosing a CPE Site

The ACPE web site has a searchable directory of accredited sites, including contact information.  Students should contact individual sites for information about their program.

Academic Information

  • 1 CPE unit = 6 hrs of transfer elective credits at Yale Divinity School    
  • CPE can fulfill the MDiv requirement for supervised ministry, if you choose to designate it as such.
  • Summer units last approximately 10-12 weeks; extended (part-time) units vary from 3-8 months; all require 400 hours.
  • You can receive up to 15 hours of internship credits toward the MDiv degree.  
  • Many supervisors and students recommend taking a pastoral care course before CPE, but it is not required.
  • Procedure to receive academic credit at YDS: a copy of (the first summary page of) your CPE evaluation and participation in a two-hour interprofessional workshop at Yale Medical School.  Contact the Director of Supervised Ministries for additional information.

Financial Aid

  • CPE programs charge tuition, which varies from approximately $600-$1000. YDS does not pay the student’s CPE tuition.  A few CPE programs offer stipends or housing.
  • YDS provides financial aid to students who are using CPE to fulfill some of their degree requirements.
  • Aid is offered in the form of work-study funding (up to $4000 dollars) to help cover living expenses during the time of CPE.  Like other work-study positions, students submit weekly timesheets, are paid weekly or biweekly, and employment taxes are withheld.
  • Procedure for aid: MDiv and MAR students are eligible for aid. Submit a copy of your acceptance letter and an Application for CPE Funding to the OSM at least two weeks before starting CPE.
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Related Links


Office of Supervised Ministries

(203) 436-5703
(203) 432-5356