Clinical Pastoral Education at the UVM Medical Center

Upcoming CPE units at the University of Vermont Medical Center:

  • Full-Time 2021 Summer Unit: June 1 - August 13, 2021 - This CPE unit is now full. 
  • Part-Time Extended Unit: October 18, 2021 - April 2, 2022 - This CPE unit has a waiting list.

The majority of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) programs are hospital based. Often there are placements within the local community as a means to broaden the ministry experience. Through individual and group supervision students learn skills for ministry and at the same time deepen their self knowledge and their own skills for ministry. Following is a brief description about CPE.

  • CPE is interfaith professional training for ministry. It brings theological students and ministers and laypersons of all faiths into supervised encounters with persons in crisis.
  • Out of an intense involvement with persons in needs, and the feedback from peers and teachers, students develop new awareness of themselves as persons and of the needs of those to whom they minister.
  • Within the interdisciplinary team process of helping persons, students develop skills in inter-personal and inter-professional relationships.
  • CPE students work alongside staff chaplains and other interdisciplinary team members in an environment that works towards what is best, not only for the patients of the hospital, but also their families.
  • A key learning component is challenging students to examine their ministry approaches, their interpersonal postures, and personal and theological meaning making within a large institution.

CPE Program Outcomes and Elements

CPE Program Outcomes

  • CPE prepares students to provide pastoral and spiritual care to patients in hospitals, nursing homes and community agencies.
  • CPE may fulfill a one-unit requirement of a theological degree program.
  • One year of CPE may be accepted by theological schools as the required intern year of ministry.
  • CPE may serve as part of a graduate program at a theological school in which academic study and supervisory CPE are combined.
  • CPE may assist an individual in his/her discernment for ministry
  • CPE may provide personal growth development for the individual to use in his/her work place
  • CPE may lead to chaplain certification after 4 units

Program Elements

CPE combines professional education and supervised ministry. It is this combined focus that helps maximize insight and growth from this experiential learning.

CPE uses an adult learning model of education wherein students set their own goals and contract for learning. It is in this setting that students reflect on and learn from their own experiences by seeking feedback from peers and supervisors. This type of learning aids students in developing self-awareness, both as persons and as pastoral ministers.

The patient or client to whom the chaplains minister is often referred to as "the living human document." Each student is encouraged to develop various ways of ministering from these "documents." Interactions with peers and supervisor, in this learning context, provides helpful critique for the student.

The CPE environment challenges the student to reach out in new ways and to take risks in an educational environment that is safe and conducive to learning and growing in pastoral identity.


CPE Interns receive a meal allowance in the hospital cafeterias: lunch during class days, dinner and breakfast when serving as the on-call night chaplain, and three meals when on weekend duty.


Tuition is $900 per unit, the balance payable during the first week of the program unless otherwise arranged with the supervisor. A non-refundable deposit of $200 is required at the time of acceptance and is credited toward tuition cost.

Housing for Summer Program

The UVM Medical Center Clinical Pastoral Education program is able to assist with housing for summer students. We can supply contacts for Catholic students for local rectories. We can supply contact for other students with the Episcopal Diocese of Vermont with their rental housing on Lake Champlain. All students are responsible to make arrangements and to pay the agreed upon rent.

Scholarship Assistance

The Sheldon Trust Scholarship Fund is available to assist students who have financial need. Employee Health and CORI check must be completed before Interns will be able to visit patients.

Who May Enroll

The UVM Medical Center CPE has seen seminarians ordained ministers, lay men and women, religious sisters, nurses and social workers enrolled in our program. Some will enroll in CPE as a requirement from their ordination body. Others desire to follow a career as a chaplain. Still others sign up for CPE for a personal growth experience or to discern a ministry direction.

For more information, please contact Rev. Nancy Wood, MDiv, BCC, ACPE Certified Educator at Nancy [dot] WoodatUVMHealth [dot] org or (802) 847-7740.