Clinical Pastoral Education

UCSF Medical Center's Spiritual Care Services provides professional education in Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) in a clinical setting under the guidance of certified supervisors. The program, established in 1961, is accredited by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education.

Chaplains provide spiritual support to patients, families, friends and staff members at UCSF Medical Center's Parnassus Heights, Mount Zion and Mission Bay campuses. An integral part of our health care team, chaplains representing many faiths are available around the clock to be a caring presence, offer spiritual and emotional support, and listen with openness and understanding.

Theological students, ordained clergy, members of religious orders and qualified laypeople learn to minister to patients and their family members, as well as staff, in crisis situations. Students perform pastoral services, participate in seminars, study written case studies and relevant readings, and write reports.

Chaplain interns gain insights and understanding by viewing complicated life situations from different viewpoints. Theological reflection is important as chaplain interns seek ways to integrate theology with life experience.

The average CPE group size is five to eight people. We encourage and value diversity, and aim to attract students from various backgrounds and cultures.

Levels of CPE

We offer three levels of CPE training:

  • Level I CPE — This level of CPE is for all people who are taking their first unit of CPE. Interns have the opportunity to learn about CPE, make self-discoveries, take risks in initiating relationships and giving critiques, and identify personal strengths and weaknesses inherent in pastoral functioning. Level I CPE units are offered in the fall, winter, spring and summer.
  • Level II CPE — Level II CPE includes developing pastoral reflection, pastoral formation, pastoral competence and, for some people, pastoral specialization. Level I CPE must be completed before beginning Level II CPE.
  • Supervisory — Supervisory training is available for people who have completed the objectives of Level II CPE and are interested in ACPE certification.

CPE Schedule

CPE units are offered on a full-time and part-time basis. We also offer yearlong programs to students who would like to complete units consecutively. This program begins in early September and finishes in mid-September.

The full-time CPE program requires 40 hours each week for three months. The program runs Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Each chaplain serves as the duty chaplain once every seven days on average, which includes sleeping overnight in the hospital.

Program Fees

The tuition for a single unit of CPE is $600. The tuition for a yearlong program (4 units) is $1,800. There is a non-refundable deposit of $250, payable upon acceptance into the program, which is credited toward the tuition amount. Payments are used solely for the ongoing costs of the CPE program, which includes quarterly and annual accreditation and certification fees.


There is a stipend available for people who participate in the yearlong program; please contact our office for specific details. Basic medical insurance is provided at no cost to the student, and additional insurance may be purchased for the student's dependents. Yearlong students can accrue up to 15 days of personal leave time, and they are also eligible for UCSF-recognized holidays.

CPE Director

The Rev. Dr. Peter Yuichi Clark is an ordained American Baptist minister, a board-certified chaplain with the Association of Professional Chaplains and a certified educator in the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE). Clark holds a B.A. degree from Baylor University, a M.Div. degree from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., and a Ph.D. degree in religious studies from Emory University in Atlanta.

Clark teaches in the UCSF School of Medicine and is a professor of pastoral care at the American Baptist Seminary of the West, a member school of the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. He has served on the ACPE board of representatives and as ACPE theory paper editor for the journal Reflective Practice: Formation and Supervision in Ministry, and he is the author of numerous book chapters and journal articles.

Before arriving at UCSF in 2010, Clark provided chaplaincy care in general hospitals, psychiatric hospitals, continuing care retirement communities and the United States Air Force Reserve.

Related Information

Contact Us

Clinical Pastoral Education
Rev. Dr. Peter Yuichi Clark
Phone: (415) 353-1941

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