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. 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 members 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.

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:
M.S.FallJun 1GRE
SpringNov 1International students required to present TOEFL scores.
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, 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

Core requirements
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
PATC 639Pastoral Care Management2
PATC 640Research Basics for Hospital Chaplains1
PATC 641Evidence-based Inquiry for Hospital Chaplains1
PATC 642Developing and Presenting Chaplaincy Research1
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 total of graduate credit hours required for this degree is 30.

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: