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Clinical Pastoral Education Programs


Clinical Pastoral Education Programs

Description of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE)

CPE at the UCLA Health System offers the opportunity to develop important clinical skills for professional ministry while developing as an effective and soulful spiritual care provider.  CPE utilizes an experience-reflection model of education, where students function as hospital chaplains assigned to multi-disciplinary patient-care teams and patient medical units.  Through group and individual supervision, case presentations, lectures, and spiritual reflections, students synthesize their own spiritual foundations and theological education with spiritual teachings of other traditions, along with key tenets of psychology, counseling and clinical skill development, in order to enhance their capacity for professional ministry.  Small groups provide a safe and supportive atmosphere to explore learning opportunities and to mutually grow in self-understanding and competence.  Students in our programs also serve as on-call emergency chaplains for our hospitals and are given opportunities to provide leadership for interfaith prayer services, and occasional ecumenical services, all as components of our curriculum.  CPE is a unique experience that combines patient interactions with peer reflection and thoughtful, sensitive guidance, in order to further develop the art of professional ministry.  A unit of CPE consists of a minimum of 400 hour commitment, combining study, clinical experiences, emergency on-call coverage, group interaction, and individual supervision.

CPE at UCLA Health System

The Spiritual Care Department of UCLA Health System  offers all levels of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE).  Our programs are designed to provide different options to meet individual needs for clinical theological education for spiritual care ministry.  All of our programs are accredited the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE) in accordance with the ACPE Standards.  We offer the following:

  • Level I CPE is an introductory program in which the student develops basic clinical skills while developing a professional identity and growing in personal authority for spiritual care practice.  It is offered both as a full time program, generally run over 10-12 weeks, and as an extended part-time program, generally run over 16-22 weeks.  Graduates receive credit for one unit of Level I CPE.
  • Level II CPE is for applicants who have completed Level I CPE program(s) and met the Level I objectives of the ACPE Standards.  Generally, the Level II curriculum is offered as a component of the CPE Residency Program, offered at both Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and Santa Monica UCLA Medical Center.
  • Supervisory CPE: Supervisory education is for the student who has fully satisfied ACPE's Level II objectives and outcomes, and is interested in working toward certification as a Supervisor of the CPE process.

Admission Requirements

Level I

  • A completed application accompanied by the application fee.
  • An admissions interview.
  • Graduation from high school/GED; Baccalaureate degree preferred.
  • Faith group identification.
  • Student and supervisors Final Evaluations from any prior CPE (if applicable).
  • Acceptance into a CPE program and payment of the non-refundable deposit.
  • Compliance with all of UCLA Health Systems Health and Background Clearance Requirements.
  • Payment of tuition fees during the first week of the program.

Level  II

  • A completed application accompanied by the application fee.
  • An admissions interview.
  • Baccalaureate degree or its equivalent; Masters Degree or equivalent (completed or in process) preferred.
  • Faith group identification and affiliation.
  • Student and supervisors Final Evaluations from prior CPE demonstrating successful addressing of Level 1 outcomes.
  • Acceptance into a CPE program and payment of the non-refundable deposit.
  • Compliance with all of UCLA Health Systems Health and Background Clearance Requirements.
  • Payment of tuition fees during the first week of the program.


  • Supervisory CPE is available to qualified applicants as openings occur.  Position openings are posted as they occur at www.acpe.edu site.

How to Apply 

Please download the ACPE standard CPE Application form which is on line at: www.acpe.edu. There is no page-length requirement or limit to the application's essay questions, but most applications are no more than seven pages total.  Along with your written application, please include the application processing fee of $30 (non-refundable) in U.S. currency via money order, cashier's check or personal check made payable to:  UC Regents/Spiritual Care. 

Mail Applications Materials to: 

Rev. Yuko Uesugi,
UCLA Health System
Department of Spiritual Care
Rm. 12-217 CHS
10833 LeConte Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90095. 

Or, you may E-mail applications to: cpe@mednet.ucla.edu.  If you send your application by e-mail, please send application fee of $30 to the above address so that your application can be processed.  Selected applications will require an interview on site (or by phone for international and out-of-state applicants).  We will contact you for an interview, if selected for one, after all applications are reviewed.

Interview Information

For our CPE programs, we conduct an in-person interview with the ACPE certified supervisors at UCLA Health System.  For non-resident students, a teleconference or other alternative interview procedures may be established, but a direct in-person interview is preferable. 

Deposit and Tuition for CPE programs at both sites

Tuition is $500 per unit of CPE.

If accepted into an internship program at either full-time or extended (part-time), a non-refundable deposit of $150, which will be applied to tuition, is required to hold a space in the program.

If accepted into a residency program, a non-refundable deposit of $200 is required to hold a space in the program.  We offer a full tuition scholarship for a one-year commitment to the Residency or Supervisory CPE Programs. 

The Supervisory Staff:

Rev. Karen Schnell is the Director of the Spiritual Care Department. She functions as a CPE Supervisor, Administrator for the Department, and Chaplain.  She is ordained for ministry and endorsed for Chaplaincy by the United Church of Christ, and certified as a CPE Supervisor through the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education.  She holds a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and a Master of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.  Rev. Schnell did the majority of her CPE and Supervisory training at UCLA Medical Center, and her chaplaincy experience included medical intensive care, oncology, palliative care, emergency services, and general hospital ministry.  She also served as the Manager of Spiritual Care and Education and Chaplain at Children's Hospital Los Angeles for five years.

Rev. Yuko Uesugi is the Director of ACPE Clinical Pastoral Education and Associate Director of the Spiritual Care Department.  She is a certified ACPE Supervisor and an ordained Elder of the United Methodist Church (UMC). She completed the ACPE internship and residency programs at UCLA Westwood and Santa Monica Hospital.  She is a native of Japan, and came to the U.S. in 1996 in order to pursue her theological education. She holds her B.A. in Business Administration from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo, Japan and M.Div. Degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. Rev. Uesugi has chaplaincy experience in cardiology, psychiatry, oncology, and general hospital ministry and management experience of the Spiritual Care Department at Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center and Orthopaedic Hospital.

Rev. Tim Thorstenson, D.Min, is the CPE Supervisor at UCLA Santa Monica.  Tim has been supervising CPE at all levels for 25 years, and has served on ACPE's national board and chaired several committees.  He is a Lutheran minister who specializes in process theology and evolutionary spirituality.  Tim has also served as the Director of Clinical Ethics and lead ethics consultant for two health care systems in Minnesota prior to coming to Los Angeles.

Rev. Keri Olsen is a certified ACPE Supervisory Candidate.  She is commissioned as a Deacon and endorsed for chaplaincy by the United Methodist Church.  she completed her first four ACPE accredited units through internship and residency in Atlanta, Georgia.  She completed 4 more units as a CPE resident at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.  She holds a B.A. in Religious Studies with a Studio Art minor from University of the Pacific in Stockton, California and holds a Master of Divinity from Emory: Candler School of Theology in Atlanta, Georgia.  Rev. Olsen grew up in Hemet, California. Her chaplaincy experience includes neurology/stroke, high risk pregnancy, medical intensive care, psychiatry, pediatric hematology/oncology, liver transplant, and general hospital ministry.

UCLA Health System CPE Program Sites

CPE Programs are offered at two sites: Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Westwood, and UCLA-Santa Monica Medical Center in Santa Monica.


CPE at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center

The Medical Center:

The Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center is the cornerstone of the network of health care facilities known as UCLA Health System.  Licensed for 530 beds, it is a world-renowned teaching and acute care facility where treatment is provided for a full range of medical conditions from neonatal care to geriatric medicine.  In addition, RR UCLA Medical Center is one of the world's largest organ transplant centers, and one of the nation's leading hospitals for bone marrow transplantation.  There are specialized intensive care units, state-of-the-art operating suites, a Level I Trauma Center, and a comprehensive oncology department.  It is rated the best medical center in the West.  RR UCLA Medical Center also includes:

  • Mattel Children's Hospital, which is located on two floors of the RR UCLA Medical Center and holds 90 of its 530 beds.  It offers a full spectrum of primary and specialized care for infants, children, and adolescents.  In addition to a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) and a Level III Neonatal ICU, there are more than 20 specialty services, including Hematology/Oncology, Neurology, Nephrology, Cardiology, and Cardiothoracic Surgery, Gastroenterology, Liver Transplant, Allergy, Immunology, and Pulmonology.
  • The Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital at UCLA, located on one floor of RR UCLA Medical Center, is licensed for 74 of the 530 licensed beds.  RNPH is among the world's leading centers for comprehensive patient care, research and education in the fields of mental health, developmental disabilities and neurology.  This hospital provides expert evaluation and treatment programs designed for patients suffering from a variety of illness, including depression, childhood and adolescent disorders, seizure disorders, genetic syndromes, schizophrenia, eating disorders, mental retardation, neurobehavioral problems, psychosomatic illnesses, sexual disorders, sleep disorders, autism, alcoholism, and drug abuse.

The CPE Programs:

  • The Residency Year generally begins in early September and concludes at the end of August of the next year.  CPE residents receive a complement of medical and psychiatric clinical experience.  This is a full-time program, 40 hours per week, plus on-call in the evenings and weekends.  Residents are paid a stipend of approximately $34,600 - $35,500, which is the total annual compensation, including time spent responding to after-hours emergency on-calls.  In addition, UCLA will provide residents with medical, dental, and vision insurance, paid vacation, and holidays, and a full tuition scholarship for four units of CPE.  Admission criteria include having a faith group affiliation, master's level theological education, ordination path and previous CPE (preferable).  Those accepted into the residency program are required to live within a 30-mile radius of the hospital.  Graduates of the residency program receive four units of Level I and/or Level II CPE credit.
  • The Level I Internship is held in conjunction with the residency program.  This is a full-time unit that runs early September through late November.  We normally have one or two openings for the fall quarter and occasionally in winter and spring.  If you're interested in applying for the winter or spring quarters, please contact us first to ascertain if there are any internship openings for these units.
  • Supervisory CPE is available to qualified applicants as openings occur.  Position openings are posted as they occur at www.acpe.edu site.

Program Dates: (For the dates for the CPE Programs at UCLA-Santa Monica Medical Center, please see the CPE at UCLA-Santa Monica section)

CPE Programs

Program Dates

Program Application Deadline

Residency Year: Aug 31, 2015 - Aug 28, 2016

Sep 1, 2014 (if you need a Visa)


March 15, 2015 (all others)

Full Time Internship Units:    
    Winter Quarter Jan 5, 2015 - Mar 20, 2015 Contact Alycia Murphy at CHS Spiritual Care Office for opening
    Spring Quarter Mar 23, 2015 - May 29, 2015 Contact Alycia Murphy at CHS Spiritual Care Office for opening
    Summer Quarter  Offered at UCLA Santa Monica Feb 15, 2015
    Fall Quarter  Aug 31, 2015 - Nov 25, 2015 Contact Alycia Murphy at CHS Spiritual Care Office for opening


CPE at UCLA Santa Monica Medical Center

The Medical Center:

UCLA Santa Monica Medical Center and Orthopedic Hospital is located in the heart of Santa Monica.  A beautiful new acute-care hospital with a long tradition in the community, UCLA SM is licensed for 315 beds, with medical specialties in oncology, cardiac care and perinatal care.  It is the No. 1 ranked hospital in the country for geriatrics program (the US News and World Report).  The medical center also provides emergency services, family medicine programs, and the internationally known adolescent oncology program.

The CPE Programs:

  • Level I and Level II Internships are offered two times per year.  The extended unit begins in October, and runs through April.  The summer unit is offered as a full-time unit, and runs early June through mid-August every year.  Each unit consists of 400 hours of on-site work.
  • A Level II residency is offered as full-time, nine-month experience, running from September through May.
  • Supervisory CPE is available to qualified applicants as openings occur.  Position openings are posted as they occur at www.acpe.edu site. 

Program Dates:

  • Full-Time Internship CPE
    • Summer Quarter: June 8, 2015 - Aug 21, 2015
  • Extended (part-time) Internship CPE
    • October, 2014 - April, 2015


Information for International Applicants

All prospective international CPE students must complete the ACPE standard Application form which is on line at: www.acpe.edu. All written materials must be in English.  The $30 non-refundable application fee must be in the U.S. currency.  Personal checks, Casher's check and money orders are acceptable forms of payment.  Credit cards, cash or money transfer are not accepted.  Payment needs to be made payable to: UC Regents/Spiritual Care.

If you are an international applicant and applying to a CPE Residency program, you will have to obtain appropriate documentation from U.S. Immigration, which usually implies a visa.  If you live in the U.S. with Resident Alien status, please provide a copy of immigration registration card and any other relevant documents such as work permits, green cards, working visa, etc. in order to verify your legal right to work during the entire CPE Residency program dates.  If you are in the midst of visa application, please include your explanation in your application materials.

If you are an international applicant, applying to a CPE Residency program, and do not have a valid immigration/non-immigration visa to legally allow you to work in the U.S. during the CPE Residency program dates, you will need to obtain a J-1 visa issued through ACPE National office.  You need to apply to the CPE Residency program at least a year prior to the start of the desired program to allow time for visa processing (Please see our program application deadline).   

Also, please note that we have a requirement for the international student to have lived in the U.S. for at least one year prior to their application to our CPE Residency program.  Based on our past experiences, international students who have not spent time in the U.S. prior to entering the program found themselves needing to orient to the U.S. culture, our large teaching hospital, and CPE group all at once.  These compound demands were overwhelming and impacted negatively on the student's CPE learning experience.  Therefore, we find this requirement necessary in order to allow the international student to have a much stronger CPE learning experience.  Sometimes international students do a year of seminary or doctoral studies, or an internship in a church/religious setting in the U.S. for a year prior to their CPE training.  It is the applicant's responsibility to make arrangements for such a year, if the applicant does not have prior experience in the U.S. 

As your prepare and submit your application, in addition to the standard application essay questions listed on the ACPE standard Application form, please answer the following question: 
Your experience of living in the U.S.  Include the length of your stay in the U.S. and a brief statement about your function/role (studied in a seminary, church internship, ministry function, etc.) during the stay.

Special Notations

  • UCLA CPE program does not offer a stipend for full-time or extended CPE interns.  A stipend with benefits is offered only to CPE Residents and Supervisory CPE students.
  • UCLA CPE program does not offer housing for CPE students.  Please visit the www.dailybruin.ucla.edu (the UCLA online campus newspaper) and www.cho.ucla.edu (UCLA community housing office website) for housing options.

We are available to assist you with any questions you may have about the process.  Please contact UCLA Health Spiritual Care Department at (310) 825-7484 or e-mail cpe@mednet.ucla.edu.