Program accreditation
Association for Clinical Pastoral Education

Program goal

To provide clinical education for pastoral care professionals as well as other health care providers in the spiritual care of patients and families within an interdisciplinary context

Student learning outcomes

  1. Graduates will demonstrate awareness of self with congruence in the care of patients, families and staff (ACPE Standard 312, Outcome 312.1).
  2. Graduates will demonstrate ability to provide care with sensitivity and respect in a diverse patient, family and staff environment (ACPE Standard 312, Outcome 312.2).
  3. Graduates will demonstrate the knowledge and provision of intensive and extensive pastoral/spiritual care to persons in crisis (ACPE Standard 312, Outcome 312.3).
  4. Graduates will demonstrate incorporation of theological understanding and knowledge of the behavioral sciences in care of patients, families and staff (ACPE Standard 312, Outcome 312.4).
  5. Graduates will demonstrate effective participation as a member of a comprehensive health care team (ACPE Standard 312, Outcome 312.5).
  6. Graduates will demonstrate responsible care and professional boundaries (ACPE Standard 312, Outcome 312.6).
  7. Graduates will demonstrate the utilization of individual and group supervision for personal and professional development as well as ongoing evaluation of clinical practice (ACPE Standard 312, Outcome 312.7).
  8. Graduates will demonstrate awareness of professional standards in chaplaincy (ACPE Standard 312, Outcome 312.8).
  9. Graduates will demonstrate ability to self-supervise and critically reflect on their own pastoral encounters (ACPE Standard 312, Outcome 312.9).

VCU Graduate Bulletin, VCU Graduate School and general academic policies and regulations for all graduate students in all graduate programs

The VCU Graduate Bulletin website documents the official admission and academic rules and regulations that govern graduate education for all graduate programs at the university. These policies are established by the graduate faculty of the university through their elected representatives to the University Graduate Council.

It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the Graduate School website and academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites. However, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on the VCU Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School websites, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on academic regulations for graduate students.

Other information

Students receive a Department of Patient Counseling student handbook during orientation.

Apply online at

Admission requirements

Degree: Semester(s) of entry: Deadline dates: Test requirements:
M.S. Fall (preferred) Jun 1 GRE
Nov 1 TOEFL (required for international students)
Mar 1

In addition to the general admission requirements of the VCU Graduate School, applicants must have successfully completed undergraduate training and hold a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent from an accredited institution reflecting ability to perform at the graduate level; graduate degree in a health-related field; or two years of graduate theological education. Students must apply and be accepted to VCU’s Graduate School to participate in the clinical pastoral education program.

Application fact sheets and narrative instructions can be found on the ACPE website.

Dual degree: Master of Science in Patient Counseling and Master of Divinity

  1. The dual degree (M.S./M.Div.) option is offered cooperatively with the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology of Virginia Union University.
  2. The program is designed as a four-year program with four full semesters spent in residence at VCU. Typically, students apply to the Department of Patient Counseling during the first semester of seminary enrollment.
  3. Students admitted to this option must have a minimum GPA of 3.0. Submission of the Graduate Examination Record is required when this GPA requirement is not met.
  4. Applicants holding degrees from recognized foreign institutions should display an acceptable level of English proficiency by achieving a minimum score of 550 on the TOEFL paper-based examination or 100 on the Internet-based examination. The ability to communicate orally and in writing must be presented to the Department of Patient Counseling admissions committee.
  5. 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.

Degree requirements

In addition to general VCU Graduate School graduation requirements, students must:

  1. Complete a minimum of 44 credit hours in accordance with the approved curriculum
  2. Complete all core courses
  3. Complete all required elective course hours
  4. Submit official seminary transcript with VCU Application to Graduate

Final granting of the Master of Science degree requires an oral review with the faculty demonstrating completion of outcomes for Level II Clinical Pastoral Education or Supervisory Clinical Pastoral Education as determined by the chosen track of study.

Curriculum requirements

Course Title Hours
Core curriculum
PATC 515Basic Patient Counseling9
PATC 611Theory and Practice of Patient Counseling I5
PATC 612Theory and Practice of Patient Counseling II5
PATC 613Group Process I2
PATC 614Group Process II2
PATC 615Theory of Group Leadership2
PATC 617Supervised Clinical Practice I5
PATC 635Clinical Ethics2-3
PATC 639Pastoral Care Management2
PATC 640Research Basics for Hospital Chaplains1
PATC 641Evidence-based Inquiry for Hospital Chaplains1
PATC 642Developing and Presenting Chaplaincy Research1
Pastoral care (seminary course)3
Ethics (seminary course)3
Course may be taken in patient counseling, gerontology and rehabilitation counseling. Other electives may be allowed with prior permission of the program director and chair.1
PATC elective course (500 level or higher)
GRTY elective course (620 and 630 series)
RHAB elective course (620 and 630 series)
Total Hours44-45

Total graduate credit hours required (minimum) 44

Graduate program director
Angela H. Flack, M.Div.
Director of education, assistant professor and ACPE supervisor
Phone: (804) 828-0540

Additional contact
Russell H. Davis, Ph.D.
Professor and Rev. Robert B. Lantz Chair, Department of Patient Counseling, CPE supervisor (ACPE)
Phone: (804) 828-0540

Program website: