This is the preliminary (or launch) version of the 2020-21 VCU Bulletin. This edition includes all programs and courses approved by the publication deadline; however we may receive notification of additional program approvals after the launch. 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. Students will articulate the central themes and core values of their religious heritage and the theological understanding that informs their ministry (ACPE Standard 311, Outcome 311.1).
  2. Students will identify and discuss major life events, relationships and cultural contexts that influence personal identity as expressed in pastoral functioning (ACPE Standard 311, Outcome 311.2).
  3. Students will initiate peer group and supervisory consultation and receive critique about one’s ministry practice (ACPE Standard 311, Outcome 311.3).
  4. Students will risk offering appropriate and timely critique (ACPE Standard 311, Outcome 311.4).
  5. Students will recognize relational dynamics within group contexts (ACPE Standard 311, Outcome 311.5).
  6. Students will demonstrate integration of conceptual understandings presented in the curriculum into pastoral practice (ACPE Standard 311, Outcome 311.6).
  7. Students will initiate helping relationships within and across diverse populations (ACPE Standard 311, Outcome 311.7).
  8. Students will use the clinical methods of learning to achieve their educational goals (ACPE Standard 311, Outcome 311.8).
  9. Students will formulate clear and specific goals for continuing pastoral formation with reference to personal strengths and weaknesses (ACPE Standard 311, Outcome 311.9).

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.

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 at

Admission requirements

Admission requirements
Degree:Semester(s) of entry:Deadline dates:Test requirements:
CertificateFallJun 1TOEFL: international students
SpringNov 1
SummerMar 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. Students must apply and be accepted to VCU’s Graduate School to participate in our Clinical Pastoral Education program. This program also requires the submission of a resume, the Association of Clinical Pastoral Education application materials and a personal interview with faculty. Application fact sheets and narrative instructions can be found on the ACPE website.

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. 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 complete 12 credit hours of study according to one of the established curricula. Course substitutions require faculty approval.

Curriculum requirements

Core requirements
PATC 515Basic Patient Counseling9
PATC 500-level or higher elective3
Total Hours12

The minimum total of graduate credit hours required for this certificate is 12.

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

Additional contact
Russell H. Davis, Ph.D.
Professor and graduate program director
(804) 828-0540

Program website: