Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE)

At the center of the Shaw Chaplaincy Institute for Spiritual Care and Compassionate Leadership is our renowned Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program. The Shaw Chaplaincy Institute is an Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE)-accredited center offering a full CPE program on a seminary campus. We are fully accredited to offer Level I, Level II, and Supervisory CPE programs. San Francisco Theological Seminary first blazed a trail when Rev. John F. Shaw (M.Div. ’54) and Mrs. Julia Shaw endowed the first CPE chair embedded in the curriculum of a seminary.

This program is offered for pastors, religious professionals, theology students, and qualified laypersons who seek further development of their pastoral skills. Students learn how to integrate knowledge from theological, psychological, and social science disciplines into the practice of pastoral ministry. SFTS offers a Supervisory Education Fellowship to one student preparing to become a certified ACPE supervisor.

The Shaw Chaplaincy Institute is unique in that it provides students with the flexibility of choosing a community-based learning center, as opposed to learning and training in a hospital or military program. Affiliate learning sites include a variety of venues such as congregational and parish-based settings; state, police, and firefighting agencies; prisons; and addiction recovery facilities.

During CPE training, students receive close supervision while involved with persons seeking spiritual and/or religious care. Out of intense involvement with persons in various levels of crisis and need, and with feedback from peers and teachers, CPE students develop a new awareness of themselves and the needs of those they serve.

Program Structure

  • Three sessions of CPE coincide with the SFTS academic calendar
  • 13–17 weeks of class
  • 11 hours of structured education each week
  • 22–30 hours of direct spiritual care each week
  • Campus-based, in-person program


Ready to Apply?

Choosing a CPE program is an important decision, and we at the Shaw Chaplaincy Institute are here to support your spiritual care learning. We offer three units each year, and review applications on a rolling basis. There are three steps in our application process:

  1. Download the ACPE Clinical Pastoral Education application.
  2. Next, please contact Paul Gaffney, the Program Manager, to notify him of your intent to apply. Email or call (415) 451-2882. He’ll be on the lookout for your application!
  3. The final step is to complete the University of Redlands application  where you will upload your ACPE application.

What Happens Next?

Following our receipt of your application, we will review it and respond within 14 days. If your application is adequate and complete, and if we have space in an upcoming unit, we will invite you in for an interview. Following your interview, you will be notified of your acceptance status within 14 days.

Get in Touch

Questions or thoughts? Meet the team here. We’d love to hear from you!


The CPE Program of the Shaw Chaplaincy Institute at University of Redlands Graduate School of Theology is accredited for Level 1, Level 2, and Certified Educator CPE by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, Inc., ACPE: The Standard for Spiritual Care and Education, We Work Floor 4, 120 West Trinity Place, Decatur, GA 30030, (404) 320-1472,