Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE)

Contact CPE Liaison Officer

For information about the CPE Program please contact:

Allison Whitby
Phone: (03) 9790 1000


Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) is offered in partnership through Stirling, the University of Divinity and ASACPEV (the Association for Supervised Pastoral Education in Victoria Incorporated).  The program is required by some churches for formal ministry accreditation or ordination, and is available to many pastoral and spiritual carers who wish to include it in their formation, professional development or formal studies.  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.

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 Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) student learns the possibilities for offering effective pastoral care.

While all hospital-based CPE 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.

Demands of the CPE Program

The CPE program demands a great deal from students, in both time and emotional investment.  The encounters with others can be challenging and reflection on those encounters may be confronting. The discipline of writing up journals, case studies and verbatims enhances personal integration which makes the CPE program a demanding but enriching process.  Students who are new to hospital or healthcare settings or multi-faith and multi-cultural settings may find challenges confronting.  CPE is also often reported as one of the most rewarding units taken by students in the University.  Students enrolling in a part-time CPE should expect to commit at least a half time load to CPE. A full-time unit is based on a 38-hour week.

CPE Units

Three CPE units, each worth 48 points, are available at the University of Divinity:

Clinical Pastoral Education Level 1 (DP9100S)

Enrolment in DP9100S requires the following co-requisite study:

CPE 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.

CPE 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.

Note that the CPE units may be studied concurrently with the other units.

Clinical Pastoral Education Level 2 (DP9273S)

Clinical Pastoral Education (Specialist) (DP9170S)

Enrolment in DP9273S and DP9170S requires satisfactory completion of DP9001S Clinical Pastoral Education Level 1.

These are postgraduate units which may 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. A full time unit is based on a 38-hour week.


How to enrol in CPE

Students interested in taking a unit of CPE should first speak with a Course Advisor or Registrar at any of the University’s Colleges.

Enrolments are managed through the University’s Colleges in conjunction with the Stirling’s CPE Liaison Officer, Allison Whitby, (see contact details above). The CPE Liaison Officer can offer advice on who to contact at which CPE Centre, and the ASACPEV website can also guide students.

Students wishing to undertake CPE are required to follow application procedures that include an interview with a CPE Centre Director before they can be offered a place in the program (if one is available).  With the letter of offer, a student can then enrol in the required unit.


Read two articles recently published in Vox.

Spiritual Care and Mental Health Scholarship 2021 Reflections

Developing a Pastoral Identity Though The Service of the Community of Faith