Curriculum structure

The first three options of the Master of Science degree are designed to meet the outcomes of Level II Clinical Pastoral Education. The fourth option is offered to persons seeking certification as ACPE Supervisors. Outcomes for these options are described in section 312 and 313 of the ACPE Standards:

  • The first option is Chaplain Certification concentration and is available to individuals who have a previous graduate degree or who have at least two years of graduate education in theology, the behavioral sciences, or the health related sciences. It is assumed that completion of this option will take 4-5 semesters.
  • The second option is the Dual Degree concentration (M.S./M.Div.) which will be offered cooperatively with two Richmond area graduate institutions of theological education (Baptist Theological Seminary of Richmond) and The Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology of Virginia Union University). The dual degree is designed as a four-year program with four full semesters spent in residence at VCU. Students enrolled in the dual-degree program will remain in good standing at VCU while enrolled in their seminary studies. Each sponsoring institution will grant its respective degree.
  • The third option is an Accelerated Master of Science degree available to students who hold a Master´s degree and who have completed one unit of ACPE clinical pastoral education.
  • The fourth option is offered to persons seeking concentration in Supervisory Clinical Pastoral education according to the Standards of the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, Inc (ACPE). Individuals seeking admission to this track will have completed the Master of Divinity degree and at least four units of clinical pastoral education. This track may also be completed in 4-5 semesters.

    The program curriculum consists of a total of 44 credit hours. As is presently the case with the certificate program, enrollment for all courses by non-Patient Counseling majors requires the permission of the instructor. The completion of the first three curriculum options completes the minimum educational requirements of national certifying bodies such as the Association of Professional Chaplains, Inc.

Curriculum Plan(click link for curriculum in VCU Bulletin)

Option One: Chaplain Certification Track

Master of Science in Patient Counseling (VCU)

Electives might include PATC 592 or courses in the 620 and 630 series, 697, as well as courses in Rehabilitation Counseling or Gerontology.

Students who have completed at least one unit of accredited clinical pastoral education may seek faculty approval to waive the PATC 515 prerequisite requirement for more advanced courses that include clocked clinical hours.


Option Two: Dual Degree Track

Master of Divinity (STVUU, BTSR) and

Master of Science in Patient Counseling (VCU)

Option Three: Accelerated M.S. Track

Master of Science in Patient Counseling

Option Four: Supervisory CPE Track

Master of Science in Patient Counseling

Persons who have previously completed the MDiv degree, or its equivalent as assessed by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, and four units of accredited Clinical Pastoral Education may seek admission to the M.S. degree with a focus on Supervisory CPE. Only students admitted to this track are eligible to take courses numbered 653 through 696. The M.S. requires a minimum of 44 credit hours according to the following model:

Electives might include PATC 665, 692, 697, or for those still in the certification process, 696, which may be repeated.

Persons interested in pursuing certification as a supervisor by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education will be expected to follow, under faculty guidance, the procedures outlined in ACPE's Manual on Certification.

Each full-time semester at VCU is designed to meet the requirements for one unit of supervisory CPE as accredited by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, Inc.

Students who have completed degree requirements may continue to enroll as special students if completing residency requirements at VCUHS or certification requirements with the ACPE.

Statement of Accreditation

Virginia Commonwealth University/VCU Health is accredited to offer CPE (Levels I/II) and Supervisory CPE by ACPE:  The Standard for Spiritual Care and Education, One West Court Square, Suite 325, Decatur, GA 30030, 404-320-1472.  ACPE URL: www.acpe.edu. ACPE CPE is Trademarked by the ACPE.

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