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Clinical Pastoral Education

Program | CPE Fair | Costs | Applying | Contact

Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) at Andover Newton

Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) is a uniquely valuable learning experience and thus recommended for all individuals seeking theological education. It can be taken for credit as an elective, but it is no longer a requirement for the Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree programs. Students should check with their denominational bodies for individual requirements.

While Andover Newton does not arrange placements nor directly oversee CPE, we are here to help you in any way we can and support you as you participate in this enriching and stimulating program.

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What is CPE?

Working within a variety of settings, Clinical Pastoral Education participants offer pastoral care to people facing life challenges. Participants reflect on those experiences alone and with others, learn from them, and have the opportunity to practice what has been learned in further experiences in ministry.

Out of an intense ministry involvement and the feedback from peers and teachers on that engagement, students develop new awareness of themselves as persons and pastors, and of the needs of those to whom they minister.

From theological reflection on specific experiences, students gain a new understanding of the human situation. Working as part of an interdisciplinary team of helping persons, participants develop skills in interpersonal and interprofessional relationships.

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What does CPE prepare me for?

CPE may be used as preparation for parish ministry, chaplaincy, teaching, counseling, and certification as a CPE supervisor. The individualized contract for learning may consist primarily of integrating theological, psychological and pastoral insights into pastoral functioning for parish work.

CPE can provide a program of training for chaplaincy or pastoral care and counseling. The student in CPE, with the consultation of the supervisor, plans a curriculum based on vocational goals.

Some students, after completing CPE, enroll in Supervisory CPE working toward certification as a CPE Supervisor. In Supervisory CPE the student learns the theory and practice of supervision and has an experience of supervising CPE students under the guidance and with the consultation of a CPE Supervisor.

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CPE Tasks

The structure of the typical day of CPE depends on the site. Generally speaking, a significant amount of time will be spent in actual practice; visitations, worship, etc. Notable time will also be spent in supervisory, small group, and team meetings. Written work varies but includes verbatim records of visits, case studies, and reflections.

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Costs and Finances

Stipends and Benefits

Some sites do offer small stipends, free housing, on-site meals, free parking or other benefits. Contact the site for more information.

Financial Aid

If you usually apply for ANTS Financial Aid, your application is affected by your decision to take either extended (academic year) or intensive (summer) CPE. Any per credit hour award you receive in the academic year prior to doing CPE will also be applied to the credit hours for which you register for CPE.

An estimate of your living expenses during CPE will be factored into your award for the following year. It may be possible to receive a student loan disbursement during CPE in order to help with room, board, and travel expenses. Please check with the Director of Financial Aid for more individualized and up-to-date information.

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Students are responsible for securing their placement. This can be quite a lengthy process; the application in itself is a journey.

  • Intensive (summer) CPE applications should be submitted early in the fall of the previous year. Summer CPE settings are very competitive and students should not expect to be admitted to their first choice.
  • Extended (academic year) CPE is less competitive, but applications should be submitted during the previous spring. Interviews are valuable tools for choosing a site; your relationship with the supervisor is vital to the CPE experience.

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When should I enroll?

The question of when to take CPE depends on financial, familial and educational circumstances.

  • CPE taken early on in theological education can help provide direction for the academic program and highlight “growing edges” to work on.
  • CPE taken toward the end of the degree helps to pull the experience of theological education together.

Finding a time and setting that fits as smoothly as possible with the rest of your life will help you benefit and enjoy this educational experience.

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Where do I enroll?

The Association of Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE) has accredited over 350 clinical pastoral education centers and clusters throughout the United States. These centers include psychiatric and general hospitals, correctional institutions, juvenile treatment centers, parishes, counseling agencies, centers for the aging and community settings.

View a copy of the annual Directory of Accredited CPE Centers at the ACPE website:

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How do I enroll?

An individual that has demonstrated through a written application and interview the ability to participate in CPE, may enroll. While CPE participants often have some theological education, it is not necessary to be enrolled in or register through a seminary in order to take CPE.

  • Obtain information about the CPE centers from any CPE Supervisor, regional director, and seminary representative at Andover Newton or the ACPE office.
  • Request an application or a specific application from the site itself if it uses its own form.
  • Complete the application and mail it to your first choice of CPE centers with any application fee.
  • Schedule interviews with supervisors in those settings; if not possible, you may be asked to interview with a local CPE supervisor.

Any CPE supervisor, regional director, or ACPE liaison professor is available for consultation concerning openings in CPE. Write to the central ACPE office for general information or visit the ACPE website:, but send applications directly to local center.

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Registration at Andover Newton

  • Participants in intensive (summer) CPE register in May, during Summer Session Registration.
  • Extended CPE participants register both semesters of that academic year (1.5 credits, fall and spring). There is a separate form for registering for CPE; contact the Registrar’s Office.
  • To register, you will need a copy of the letter of acceptance from your site supervisor and evidence of having paid the fee charged by your CPE site (receipt or cancelled check).
  • When CPE concludes, you and your supervisor fill in the CPE completion certificate, which you return to the Registrar who will record a “PASS” grade on your transcript. Do not send a copy of your CPE evaluation to this office; keep all copies which you will send to any institutions requesting them in the future.

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