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.

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 elective level:

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.