Clinical Pastoral Education

Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) is offered through the University of Divinity in partnership with ASPEA (the Association for Supervised Pastoral Education in Australia, Inc).  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 ASPEA’s accredited supervisors.

Enrolling in CPE

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. Allison can be contacted at or at Stirling on (03) 9790 1000.

Students interested in taking a unit of CPE should speak with a Coursework Coordinator at one of the University’s Colleges to begin the application process.  The CPE Liaison Officer can advise on who to contact at which CPE Centre, and the information on the ASPEA website can help guide this selection.

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.

CPE Units

Two CPE units, each worth 30 points, are available at the University of Divinity:

DP9100S Clinical Pastoral Education Level 1

Enrolment in DP8273S requires satisfactory completion of units in Systematic Theology, Pastoral Theology and Ministry Studies, and Biblical Studies.

DP9273S Clinical Pastoral Education Level 2

Enrolment in DP9273S requires satisfactory completion of DP8273S 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 postgraduate level, and the postgraduate unit fee applies. CPE units may not be taken as audit units.

Demands of the CPE Program

The CPE program demands a great deal of 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.