Clinical Pastoral Education

UNC Hospitals offers a unique opportunity for theological students, clergy and qualified lay persons to learn the art and science of pastoral care with suffering persons in a fast-paced and supportive environment.

Pastoral Care and the CPE Program are well integrated into the life and mission of UNC Hospitals. CPE students are valued members of the health care team, and participate in patient care, family meetings and ethics consults. CPE students work alongside staff chaplains within a large pastoral care department, with opportunities for multidisciplinary learning throughout our hospitals. CPE provides students with the opportunity to integrate their personal history and their theological heritage into an authentic pastoral identity. Students work with their supervisor to craft individual learning goals in this adult education format.

Each unit of CPE consists of at least 400 hours of training, 100 of which are spent in group and individual supervision. The curriculum is based on the clinical method of learning, utilizing information from the actual practice of ministry as the content for reflection.

CPE Internship Programs

UNC Hospitals offers several internship programs to suit student needs. Intern units are designed to introduce students to the basics of pastoral care in several diverse settings. Academic credit for internships is available for transfer into graduate-level theological institutions.

  • Tuition: $425
  • Admissions for internship units is rolling. Students may apply at any time, and we will continue to accept qualified students until a unit is full.
  • Students may submit one application for multiple internship programs, or request to be considered for multiple sites. You are welcome to speak with our admissions coordinator to discuss which setting is right for you.

UNC Medical Center Internships

Semester Internship

Beginning mid-August and running through December, or beginning early-January and running through early May, this program offers students the opportunity to participate in a part-time unit following the semester calendar. Students meet for one day of educational seminars each week and provide two days of clinical coverage each week, and participate in the overnight on-call rotation.

  • Fall Program: August 23 – December 17, 2021 (17 Weeks)
  • Spring Program: January 4, 2021 – April 30, 2021 (17 Weeks)

Summer Internship

This 11-week internship begins after Memorial Day and ends in early August. This is a full-time program. In addition to educational and clinical work each week, students participate in the overnight on-call rotation.

  • 2021 Summer Program: May 25, 2021 – August 6, 2021 (11 Weeks)

Community-Hospital Internships at UNC Hospitals Hillsborough Campus

Students will learn through experiences at a community non-profit or congregation, as well as experiences caring for patients at UNC Hospitals Hillsborough Campus. Didactic seminars, case studies, and other educational opportunities will take place at the UNC Hillsborough campus. Community opportunities may include work with agencies addressing homelessness, addictions, disability, aging, or other marginalized populations. Students may choose to complete a portion of their clinical hours in congregations. Students participate in the Hillsborough campus on-call rotation.

  • Fall Program: August 23 – December 17, 2021 (17 Weeks)
  • Spring Program: January 4, 2021 – April 30, 2021 (17 Weeks)
  • 2021 Summer Program: May 25, 2021 – August 6, 2021 (11 Weeks)

Mental & Behavioral Health Internships at UNC WakeBrook

For persons interested in pastoral care to persons with mental and behavioral health needs, UNC’s WakeBrook Campus in Raleigh provides a unique opportunity. The hospital provides psychiatric services in residential and outpatient clinics for children and adults including crisis and detox services. Students will gain experience in providing direct spiritual care to this population and learn how pastoral care intersects with mental and behavioral health.

  • Currently we are not accepting applications for this program.

CPE Residency Programs

At UNC Hospitals, our CPE residency programs are each one year long, lasting from July to June. As a UNC Hospitals Chaplain Resident you will provide spiritual care to patients, families and staff. You will also participate in a year of Clinical Pastoral Education (three units) to enhance the professional development of your spiritual leadership and pastoral/spiritual care skills.

CPE Residency

This residency program is offered for persons interested in specialization in pastoral care or chaplaincy. Board-certified staff chaplains mentor residents. Students provide patient care and participate in the on-call rotation. Prerequisites include a college degree, theological education, and completion of at least one unit of CPE.

  • 2021-2022 Residency Year: July 1, 2021 – June 30. 2022. Applications Due December 31st 2020.

Second-Year CPE Residency in Palliative Care

This residency program is offered for persons interested in specialization in palliative care chaplaincy. UNC's palliative care chaplain serves as a mentor to this resident. Students provide patient care and participate in the on-call rotation, with a specific focus on palliative care patients in UNC Hospitals. Prerequisites include the above, plus completion of an ACPE Accredited first-year CPE Residency program.

  • 2019-2020 Residency Year: 2021-2022 Residency Year: July 1, 2021 – June 30. 2022. 

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Certified Educator CPE

For persons interesting in becoming ACPE Certified Educators, UNC Hospitals is accredited to offer Certified Educator Clinical Pastoral Education. Applicants must have completed four units of CPE and be admitted into the ACPE Certified Educator Program. Contact us to inquire about program availability, stipend, and benefits.

  • UNC Hospitals is not currently accepting applications for this program.

To Apply

Are you interested in applying to our internship or residency programs? UNC Hospitals accepts the standard ACPE application. Click below to begin the application process, or contact us for more information.

Clinical Pastoral Education Program
Department of Pastoral Care
UNC Hospitals
101 Manning Drive
Chapel Hill, NC 27514

More Information

Click below to learn more.

If you would like more information about any of our programs, sign-up for our interested student mailing list. You'll hear more about CPE, our students, and the unique aspects of our program. We will also let you know about openings in our programs. 


Many students take CPE at UNC Hospitals with the goal of becoming certified as a chaplain. Credit for completed units of CPE can be applied towards requirements for ordination, seminary degrees, or professional certification.