Pastoral Care

Diploma of Ageing and Pastoral Care


Registered Training Organisation: Holy Family Services

The Diploma of Ageing and Pastoral Care is an accredited and practical course suitable for a wide range of people involved in the care and support of elderly persons. Stirling Theological College and Churches of Christ Community Care (CCVT) are proud to sponsor this important initiative in local, accredited training in pastoral care and ageing. This course is suited for people interested in pastoral care and ageing, pastoral carers from any faith background, and those working or volunteering in community roles and in aged care.

This is a VET course, which is accredited by Holy Family Services (NSW) and taught in East Melbourne, Victoria.

Course Structure

There are five modules in the Diploma. Each module is composed of blocks with a total of six days attendance for each module. The blocks are scheduled over an 18-month period. Attendance is required from 9.00am–4.30pm for each of the set days. Between face-to-face sessions, participants will be required to engage with older persons in a workplace or community setting for a minimum of eight hours a month, and complete assessment tasks.

The Diploma of Ageing and Pastoral Care consists of five modules:
  • Pastoral and Spiritual Care of the Elderly
  • Pastoral Care and Ageing
  • Pastoral Care and Dementia
  • Pastoral Care in a Palliative Setting
  • Pastoral Care Coordination

Units of Competency:

  • CHCCSL502A: Apply specialist interpersonal and counselling interview skills.
  • CHCCSL503B: Facilitate the counselling relationship.
  • CHCCSL501A: Work within a structured counselling framework.
  • CHCORG428A: Reflect and improve on own professional practice.
  • HLTHIR403B: Work effectively with culturally diverse clients and workers.
  • CHCCM402E: Establish and monitor a case plan.
  • CHCCS503B: Develop, implement and review services and programs to meet client needs.
  • CHCICS410A: Support relationships with carers and families.
  • CHCCS502B: Maintain legal and ethical work practices.
  • CHCORG525C: Recruit and coordinate volunteers.
  • CHCQM501B: Facilitate an accreditation process.
  • HFSPC1: Facilitate pastoral and spiritual care services for elderly persons.
  • HFSPC2: Provide pastoral care support responsive to the specific needs of elderly persons living with dementia.
  • HFSPC3: Provide pastoral and spiritual care in a palliative setting.

Entry requirements

  • CHCPAS401B Undertake pastoral work.
  • CHCCS426B Provide care and support relating to grief and loss.

These units can be undertaken as additional units within the Diploma.


All participants must have a placement in a setting where they can offer pastoral care to older people for a minimum of eight hours per month for the duration of the course. If you are not placed in a setting where supervision is provided, you may need to fund an external supervisor in addition to the course fees. The Course Coordinator can assist with making these arrangements.


Graduate Diploma in Pastoral Care [GradDipPastCare]

The Graduate Diploma in Pastoral Care provides students with the opportunity and skills for reflective and critical engagement in the conversation between the ‘texts’ of (i) human experience, (ii) contemporary culture (iii) ministry or service or wider societal context and (iv) Christian scriptures and tradition. The purpose of this engagement is to encourage the development of relevant, flexible strategies for effective pastoral mission and practice in partnership with all those who seek to serve the world through individual or systemic practice.

The Graduate Diploma in Pastoral Care consists of 90 points comprised of:

  • 30 points in the discipline of Pastoral Theology and Ministry Studies.
  • A unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (30 points).
  • A further 30 points.

Click here to see the regulations

Click here to download a useful course planner

Master Pastoral Care (MPC)

The Master of Pastoral Care enables students to apply an advanced body of knowledge and skill in pastoral care in relation to broader theological studies. Students broaden their knowledge and skills and deepen their engagement with select areas of study to prepare themselves for professional practice and further learning.

Course learning outcomes

Graduates of the Master of Pastoral Care:

  1. have advanced knowledge of sources, terms and concepts required in pastoral care, and of the relation of pastoral care to broader theological studies
  2. have mastery of research principles and methods, including analytical skills applicable to pastoral care
  3. have advanced skills of interpretation and critical reflection on a range of approaches and methodologies in pastoral care, with awareness of implications and application to contemporary issues in professional ministry, in order to generate and evaluate ideas for professional practice and further learning
  4. articulate and communicate knowledge and insights in pastoral care to specialist and non-specialist audiences
  5. apply relevant skills in pastoral care through the execution of a substantial research-based project, capstone experience or piece of scholarship.

Course structure

The Master of Pastoral Care consists of 180 points comprised of:

  • 60 points of Foundational units comprised of: i) 30 points in the discipline of Biblical Studies; 15 points in the discipline of Systematic Theology; 15 points in the discipline of Pastoral Theology and Ministry Studies
  • 60 points of Elective units in the discipline of Pastoral Theology and Ministry Studies
  • 30 points of Praxis units
  • Either a Capstone unit of at least 15 points in the discipline of Pastoral Theology and Ministry Studies or in synthesis with it, or a Research Essay
  • Further Foundational, Elective, Praxis or Capstone units.

Download Course Planner

Follow on study

Graduates who have completed a Research Essay at a specified standard may be eligible for admission to a higher degree by research.

Click here to see the course regulations.

Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE)

Placement in a hospital (clinical) setting offers the opportunity to develop skills in pastoral and spiritual care with people across the spectrum of society and to integrate one’s operational theology with the actual offering of care in situations of major and minor life transitions including birth and birthing, ageing, trauma, rehabilitation, mental health issues, dying and death. The clinical setting confronts people with the major questions of meaning and purpose and in meeting them in these profound places, the CPE student learns the possibilities for offering effective pastoral care.

While all hospital based Clinical Pastoral Education Centres have placements in the clinical setting, several accept students with external placements in a variety of settings, including aged care, mental health, community and schools. External placements offer students the opportunity to reflect on their experience as pastoral and spiritual caregivers in their current or intended area of pastoral practice.


View 2020 CPE Placements

Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) is offered through the University of Divinity in partnership with ASACPEV (the Association for Supervised and Clinical Pastoral Education in Victoria, Inc).  The program is required by some churches for formal ministry accreditation or ordination, and is available to pastoral and spiritual carers. Most units are offered in hospital or clinical contexts, but some can be undertaken in a variety of ministry contexts. The CPE program is led by ASACPEV’s accredited supervisors.

CPE Units

Three CPE units are available at postgraduate level only:

DP9100S Clinical Pastoral Education Level 1

Enrolment in DP9100S requires the following co-requisite study:

In Undergraduate programs:
At least one unit at 2000 level or higher in CT AND at least one unit in DP AND at least one unit in Field B; AND demonstrated pastoral competence; AND a successful interview with the CPE Centre Director or delegate.

In Postgraduate programs:
At least one Unit in Field B or in CT AND One Unit in DP; AND demonstrated pastoral competence; AND a successful interview with the CPE Centre Director or delegate.

DP9273S Clinical Pastoral Education Level 2
DP9170S Clinical Pastoral Education (Specialist)

Enrolment in DP9273S and DP9170S requires the satisfactory completion of DP9100S Clinical Pastoral Education Level 1.

These are postgraduate units, which can be taken in undergraduate courses, such as the Bachelor of Ministry, Bachelor of Theology or the Advanced Diploma in Theology and Ministry, as well as in postgraduate courses. The units are taught at a postgraduate level so the postgraduate unit fee applies. CPE units cannot be audited. A full time unit is based on a 38-hour week.

Demands of the CPE Program

The CPE program demands much of students, both in time and emotional investment. Encounters with others can be challenging, as can the reflection on those encounters. The discipline of writing up journals, case studies and verbatims, enhances personal integration. Students who are new to hospital or healthcare settings, or multi-faith and multi-cultural settings may find these confronting. CPE is often reported as one of the most rewarding units taken by students.

Enrolling in CPE

Students interested in taking a unit of CPE should first speak with a Registrar at any of the University of Divinity Colleges.

Enrolments are managed through the University’s Colleges in conjunction with the University’s CPE Liaison Officer, Allison Whitby, who is located at Stirling Theological College. The CPE Liaison Officer can offer advise on who to contact at which CPE Centre, and the ASACPEV website can also guide students.


Contact Alison Whitby:
Phone Number (Stirling Theological College): (03) 9790 1000


Students wishing to undertake CPE are required to follow application procedures, including an interview with a CPE Centre Director before they can be offered a place in the program. With the letter of offer, a student can then enrol in the required unit.