Field Education

Field Education Definitions and Instructions

More detailed information can be found in the SKSM Field Education Handbook.

Field education is defined by hands-on learning experiences in which developing religious and social-change leaders engage practices of ministry and justice-making in various contexts and communities. These settings enable students to hone their professional skills, benefit from the insights of experienced mentors and supervisors, and progress in vocational discernment. SKSM students may enroll in Clinical Pastoral Education, Congregational/Community Field Work, or Parish/Community Internships.

Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE-4012)

Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) is a professional clinical education for ministry with people in crisis. Though most accredited centers are in hospitals, there are CPE programs in hospice, long-term care facilities and prisons. CPE is not required for the MDIV or MASC degrees, but it is required by some denominations and conferences as part of their ordination requirements, including the UUA. Furthermore, CPE is required for professional training for a career in chaplaincy.

All training programs require a minimum of 400 hours of work on-site for one unit of CPE credit, and students registering with SKSM will also receive 10 academic credits.  One CPE unit can be completed in a 10-12 week intensive program or also in an extended period.

You are strongly advised to enroll at a training site approved by a respected accrediting agency. The two most well-known are:

  • Association of Clinical Pastoral Education (ACPE) –
  • College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy (CPSP) –

Please confer with your religious organization about its requirements concerning CPE accreditation.

Steps to CPE Enrollment with SKSM

Interested students should:

  • Discuss with their advisor if they are ready for the experience and when in the course of their studies CPE can be sustainably engaged  (a particular semester or during the summer).
  • Check all the information on CPE offered by the SKSM Student Handbook and Field Education Manual (video and handouts available, please contact Rev. Christopher Schelin, Director of Contextual Education).
  • Attend the annual GTU CPE Fair in October, if in residence.
  • Check the ACPE and CPSP sites for updated lists of training centers. Additional announcements regarding CPE programs are posted regularly through SKSM media channels.
  • Apply for programs.
  • Communicate with Rev. Schelin and your advisor when you receive a supervisor’s acceptance letter and decide to enroll in that particular program.
  • During a given term, register for the CPE course under Rev. Schelin’s name: CPE-4012 –Please contact Rev. Schelin to confirm you are registering for the right number of credits.
  • Send your CPE supervisor’s evaluation to Rev. Schelin by last day of term.
  • Please note that the academic calendar does not necessarily coincide with that of your CPE program. Should the CPE supervisor not be ready to write the final evaluation by the last week of the academic year, the student needs to ask for an Incomplete and return the evaluation later.  If you are taking an extended unit, please ask your supervisor to submit a midterm evaluation of your work. Credits cannot be given without the evaluation.
  • Please share your CPE evaluation with your advisor and discuss it at your next advising meeting
  • A standard 400 hour CPE is 10 units.  Psychology or Pastoral Care courses are not required to enroll in CPE. The GTU usually offers an introduction to CPE course in the January Intersession.

Note: When a unit of CPE is taken across two semesters the student can choose between two options, to be discussed with Rev. Schelin:

  1. Split the credit across the two semesters. In this case, in order to process the credits at the end of the first semester the CPE supervisor needs to provide either a midterm evaluation or an alternative statement about satisfactory work. The final evaluation can be presented in the second term.
  2. Register the credits only in the second semester and present the final evaluation by the last week of the term.

Guidelines and Advice for Students Seeking Ministerial Fellowship with the UUA

As stated in the UUA’s requirements, Candidates seeking Preliminary Fellowship must have completed one unit of CPE. It is highly recommended that an aspiring minister complete this requirement before meeting with the Ministerial Fellowship Committee. The MFC may grant a CPE equivalency should the candidate demonstrate relevant experience and provide references.

Please contact the Ministerial Credentialing Director for further information. The St. Lawrence Foundation has limited funds available to offset the costs of the CPE stipend. For more information, please go to:

Our advice for you:

  1. Much of what you get out of CPE depends on the quality of the supervisor. Make sure you pick an established program with a supervisor with a good reputation. Ask around about the supervisor, and make sure you feel comfortable with them before choosing a program.
  2. Although the UUA will sometimes approve CPEs without ACPE accreditation, we recommend against this. These programs can be uneven in quality, and can be cancelled on short notice, leaving you without options.
  3. Be sure you discuss with your advisor your readiness for CPE. CPE is an intense and rich learning opportunity; you want to do this in the right place in your ministerial formation for maximum benefit.
  4. Be sure to take your CPE supervisor’s feedback seriously, and discuss it with your advisor and other mentors.

Further Resources

An excellent FAQ for students:

SKSM Video Introduction to CPE with Rev. Dr. Peter Yuichi Clark (in 10 parts):

Field Work and Internships

SKSM divides field education into the two categories of congregational and community-based settings and into the two levels of field work and internship.

Field Work is a less-structured field education experience involving a schedule of less than 15 average hours per week. Examples of field work include as volunteering for a non-profit, teaching a class over several weeks or serving on a committee. The field work student must benefit from the oversight of a mentor but weekly, formal meetings are not required.

Internship is a field education experience that entails a minimum of 15 average hours per week (up to 40), weekly formal supervision at the site, and registration in a reflection class offered by SKSM. There are two Intern Reflection classes. One is designed for those working in a parish setting (with Rev. Tera Little), and one is for those working in a community institution (with Megan Dowdell). Please see course descriptions online. These courses are available only in the Fall and Spring terms.

Steps to Field Work/Internship Enrollment with SKSM

Students should:

  1. Discuss desires and opportunities with their advisor and consult as to the feasibility of conducting field education at this point in their academic career.
  2. Discuss desires and opportunities with the Director of Contextual Education, in the case of community field work/internships, or with Rev. Tera Little, in the case of congregational field work/internships. At this point students can determine if they will propose a new field education setting or seek to engage an established setting.
  3. Submit a CV/bio of the intended mentor/supervisor if this is the first time this person in serving in such a capacity. All mentors/supervisors must be approved by SKSM.
  4. Determine what learning will happen (Learning Agreement), how the learning will be evaluated, and what learning goals will be employed.
  5. Register for Fall, January or Spring field work or internship on Student Planning.
  6. Submit the learning agreement within two weeks of the start of the term.
  7. Submit the midterm evaluation before Reading Week or at the designated midpoint of a summer assignment.
  8. Submit the final evaluation by the last day of classes in order for a grade to be issued. No credit will be granted without an evaluation and it is the responsibility of the student, not the supervisor, to ensure that evaluations are submitted on time.

Guidelines for Students Seeking Ministerial Fellowship with the UUA

According to the UUA’s requirements, an Aspirant seeking to reach Candidate status must submit a copy of a final evaluation for a CPE/field education unit to the Ministerial Credentialing Office. All SKSM field education courses qualify for the necessary experience to meet this requirement.

Any Candidate seeking Preliminary Fellowship through the Ministerial Fellowship Committee must complete either a full-time, nine-month internship or a part-time, eighteen-month internship. Please consult Rule 12 of the MFC Rules for further information.

Field Education Deadlines

Fall 2016

Learning Agreements (Field Work & Internships)                                      September 19

Mid-term Evaluations (Field Work & Internships)                                      October 21

Final Evaluations (Field Work & Internships)                                             December 16

Copies of Supervisor Evaluations (CPE)                                                     December 16

Submission of Incomplete Work                                                                 January 6


January Intersession

If registering for credit for ongoing CPE or Field Work in January please submit evaluation by February 5.


Spring 2017

Learning Agreements (Field Work & Internships)                                      February 13

Mid-term Evaluations (Field Work & Internships)                                      March 24

Final Evaluations (Field Work & Internships)                                             May 19

Copies of Supervisor Evaluations (CPE)                                                     May 19

Submission of Incomplete Work                                                                 June 9


Maintaining Proper Paperwork

  • All forms must be completed in full. E-signatures via email confirmation from the necessary parties may be accepted if you cannot complete a signed form by the deadline.
  • Please file the appropriate paperwork for your field education category. Field work and field internship experiences, as well as congregational and community settings, are distinct and have separate forms.
  • If you cannot submit your final evaluation with your supervisor in time, you must file a Petition for Incomplete form by the end of the day on December 16/May 19 instead.

(Forms available in Word format at

If you are interested in Field Work during the Summer, please consult with the Director of Contextual Education (Community) or Rev. Little (Congregational) before the end of the Spring term.