Loyola University Chicago

Institute of Pastoral Studies

Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE)

Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) is an interfaith method of theological education through which a student exercises and learns pastoral skills within a context of responsible relationships to people and under the direct supervision of a certified pastoral supervisor. It provides a learning situation for a ministerial student and continuing education for ministers in which they may develop awareness of the theological and psycho-social concerns of persons in crisis. CPE addresses personal growth matters of self awareness and self reflection, a key ministry concern.

The Institute of Pastoral Studies does not offer CPE or have a CPE placement. CPE is conducted in accredited sites (generally but not exclusively hospitals) around the country.  Students arrange for CPE placements through the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (www.acpe.edu).  More information on the application process is provided below.

One unit of CPE is required for all IPS M.Div. and Counseling for Ministry (MACM) students.  Four units of CPE are required for students in the MAPS—Health Care Chaplaincy concentration.  CPE may also be taken by MAPS students in fulfillment of their Contextual Education requirement.  All IPS students are welcome to incorporate CPE into their course of studies.


The objectives of CPE are:

  • To become aware of oneself as a minister and aware of the ways in which one's ministry affects other persons
  • To develop the ability to utilize the experiential method of learning 
  • To develop the ability to utilize the peer group for support, dialogue, and feedback in a way in which integrates personal characteristics with pastoral functioning
  • To use individual supervision for personal and professional growth and for developing the capacity to evaluate one's ministry
  • To grapple theologically with human experience and to enhance the interface between theology and the psychological sciences in understanding the human condition
  • To become aware of how one's attitudes, values and assumptions affect one's ministry 
  • To develop an awareness of the pastoral presence in interdisciplinary relationships

Application and Timing

Persons apply to CPE programs by completing a common CPE application, which can be located on the ACPE website, www.acpe.edu. This website lists accredited ACPE programs by geographical region. Your completed common application can be sent to CPE supervisors at multiple CPE programs. The application procedure normally includes an interview with a CPE Supervisor. For placements outside the Chicago area, CPE interviews can be facilitated by William Schmidt, a member of the IPS faculty who is a certified CPE supervisor.

One unit of CPE comprises 400 hours (300 clinical, 100 pedagogical hours) and can be completed in two formats—intensive or extended units.  Intensives are full-time immersions (generally ten 40 hour weeks).  These are generally offered in the summer.  Applications for a full-time summer unit (ten 40 hour weeks) are best completed during the previous fall semester.

CPE can also be completed in an extended unit format (twenty 20 hour weeks).  Extended units are offered throughout the year.  Applications for extended units should be made six months in advance.

Fees for individual units of CPE range from approximately $450-700 per unit.

After completing a first unit of CPE, students may pursue additional units.  Students requiring four units of CPE may take units 2-4 sequentially or as a 'residency.'  CPE residencies are generally full-time, year-long commitments (9-12 months).  CPE residents are provided salary and benefits.  More information on CPE residencies can be found through the ACPE website.

CPE Information Sessions

Below you will find an overview of CPE provided by Jerry Kaelin, CPE Supervisor at Loyola University Medical Center, in October 2013. This video provides a helpful orientation to the program as well as vital information for anyone considering CPE.

CPE Information Session Jerry Kaelin

Navigating the CPE Website

The following directions should assist you in navigating the ACPE website at http://www.acpe.edu.

For general information:

  • Click on Prospective Student Information and Frequently Asked Questions on the left hand side of the page. This FAQ section contains an excellent starting point for students to obtain general information about CPE.

To locate sites:

  • Click on Directories on the left hand side of the page
  • Click on Accredited Centers
  • On the map click on your region
  • Click on the link for your state at the top of the page
  • Review the list of sites, noting that they are listed alphabetically by hospital system

To obtain an application form:

  • Click on Forms on the left hand side of the page
  • Click on CPE Application under either the Adobe Acrobat Reader format or Microsoft Word format headers

To view objectives and outcomes for Level I CPE:

  • Click on Manuals and Standards on the left hand side of the page
  • Click on 2005 Standards Manual
  • Objective and outcomes are listed on pages 10–12 of the manual (sections 309-311)