This is the preliminary (or launch) version of the 2024-2025 VCU Bulletin. Courses that expose students to cutting-edge content and transformative learning may be added and notification of additional program approvals may be received prior to finalization. General education program content is also subject to change. The final edition and full PDF version will include these updates and will be available in August prior to the beginning of the fall semester.

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. Utilize behavioral sciences to examine one’s narrative history and its intersection with the provision of spiritual care [ACPE Category A]
  2. Deliver spiritual care with intercultural and interreligious humility [ACPE Category B]
  3. Provide spiritual care with a trauma-informed lens [ACPE Category B]
  4. Address one’s implicit biases in their spiritual care [ACPE Category B]
  5. Assess group dynamics as related to the provision of spiritual care [ACPE Category C]
  6. Maintain professional boundaries and evaluate one’s boundaries as related to spiritual care encounters [ACPE Category C]
  7. Utilize evidence-based spiritual care interventions and diverse spiritual care resources [ACPE Category D]
  8. Evaluate the influence of organizational dynamics and organizational well-being in spiritual care [ACPE Category D]
  9. Maximize the clinical method of learning to expand self-awareness and clinical skills [ACPE Category E]
  10. Evaluate ethical decision-making and interdisciplinary teamwork in complex clinical situations [ACPE Category E]
  11. Establish an ongoing plan for professional consultation and continued learning [ACPE Category E]
  12. Integrate relevant research in one’s practice of spiritual care [ACPE Category E]
  13. Integrate relevant philosophical, psychological, sociological and theological theories into spiritual care practice [no related ACPE category]

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.

Degree candidacy requirements

A graduate student admitted to a program or concentration requiring a final research project, work of art, thesis or dissertation, must qualify for continuing master’s or doctoral status according to the degree candidacy requirements of the student’s graduate program. Admission to degree candidacy, if applicable, is a formal statement by the graduate student’s faculty regarding the student’s academic achievements and the student’s readiness to proceed to the final research phase of the degree program.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following degree candidacy policy as published in the VCU Graduate Bulletin for complete information and instructions.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on degree candidacy requirements.

Graduation requirements

As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on graduation requirements.

Other information

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

Apply online today.

Admission requirements

Degree: Semester(s) of entry: Deadline dates: Test requirements:
M.S. Fall May 1 International students required to present TOFEL testing

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, as well graduate degree in a health-related field. 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.

Accelerated chaplain certification concentration in the Master of Science

  1. The accelerated chaplain certification concentration in the Master of Science in Patient Counseling is available to students who hold a master’s degree and who have completed one unit of ACPE clinical pastoral education.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Degree requirements

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

  1. Complete a minimum of 30 credit hours in accordance with the approved curriculum
  2. Complete all core courses
  3. Complete all required elective course hours

Curriculum requirements

Course Title Hours
Core requirements
PATC 611Theory of Spiritual Care and Chaplaincy Practice I3
PATC 612Theory of Spiritual Care and Chaplaincy Practice II3
PATC 613Group Process I2
PATC 614Group Process II2
PATC 615Group Process III2
PATC 617Theory of Spiritual Care and Chaplaincy Practice III3
PATC 635Clinical Ethics2
PATC 639Spiritual Care Management2
PATC 640Research Basics1
PATC 641Evidence-based Spiritual Care and Chaplaincy Inquiry1
PATC 642Developing and Presenting Spiritual Care and Chaplaincy Research1
PATC 646Clinical Practicum I2
PATC 647Clinical Practicum II2
PATC 648Clinical Practicum III2
Courses may be taken in patient counseling, gerontology and rehabilitation counseling. Other electives may be allowed with prior permission of the program director and chair.2
PATC elective course (500 level or higher)
GRTY elective course (620 and 630 series)
RHAB elective course (620 and 630 series)
Total Hours30

The minimum number of graduate credit hours required for this degree is 30.

Angela H. Flack, M.Div.
Assistant professor, director of education, graduate program director and adviser
(804) 828-0540

Additional contact
Marilyn J.D. Barnes, M.P.H.
Assistant professor and chair
(804) 828-0540