Dec 04, 2022  
2011-2012 Graduate Catalog 
2011-2012 Graduate Catalog Archived Catalog

Pastoral Care Specialist (CPCS) Certificate

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Master of Science and Graduate Certificate Programs in Pastoral Care and Counseling


The Department of Pastoral Care and Counseling offers a Master of Science degree program in Pastoral Counseling as well as graduate certificate programs in both Pastoral Counseling and Spiritual Direction. The Master of Science in Pastoral Counseling and graduate certificate programs in Pastoral Counseling and Spiritual Direction actively integrate psychology and spirituality in an ecumenical learning community that is both spiritually nurturing and intellectually challenging. The Neumann approach stresses a developmental understanding of individuals and groups, preparing students to meet the unique mental and spiritual demands of a complex pluralistic world, while responding in a spirit of contemplative love. People of all faiths and spiritual practices are welcome. Spiritual Direction certificate programs provide training in spiritual direction, spiritual direction supervision, and additional courses in spirituality.


The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), has granted accreditation to Neumann University’s Master of Science in Pastoral Counseling degree program, under the standards in Community Counseling, 1001 N. Fairfax Street, Suite 510, Alexandria, VA 22314; Telephone: 703-535-5990; Fax: 703-739-6209; or, [email protected]. The Pastoral Counseling Program is also accredited by the American Association of Pastoral Counselors (AAPC), 9504A Lee Highway, Fairfax, VA 22031; Telephone: 703-385-6967; Fax: 703-352-7725; E-mail: [email protected]; or The Pastoral Counseling Program is also approved to be a provider of CEUs by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC), 3 Terrace Way, Greensboro, NC 27403; Telephone: 336-547-0607, Fax: 336- 547-0017; or,

Admission Requirements

Applicants for either a degree or certificate program in the Department of Pastoral Care and Counseling must complete the following:

  • Submit a completed Graduate Student Application for Admission, or apply online through the Neumann University web site at
  • An essay not to exceed three pages describing one’s religious or spiritual journey, including pivotal life experiences and instances of helping others, which embody a sense of calling to pastoral care, pastoral counseling, spiritual direction, or spiritual direction supervision.
  • Three letters of recommendation from persons with whom you are familiar and who can speak to your academic suitability for graduate studies, your personal maturity, and your potential for the ministry of pastoral counseling or spiritual direction. If applying for a Spiritual Direction certificate, one of the letters must be from your Spiritual Director, affirming that you have a regular, ongoing relationship.
  • Provide official transcripts from each regionally accredited, degree-granting institution attended, including that of the baccalaureate degree and, if applicable, the master’s degree.

Applications are processed on a rolling admissions basis. An interview with a designated Pastoral Care and Counseling faculty member will be scheduled as part of the application process.

To begin classes in the Fall semester, it is recommended that, in order to allow time for the interview process to occur, all admission requirements should be completed and submitted to the Office of Admissions by August 1. Similarly, to begin classes in the Spring semester, all admission requirements should be completed and submitted to the Office of Admissions by December 1.

Limitation on Transfer Credit

Because of the ever-evolving and pre-paradigmatic nature of the foundation on which Pastoral Care and Counseling rests, the program has set a limit of seven years for the acceptance of transfer credit for which a minimum grade of “B” has been earned from any regionally accredited, degreegranting institution to Neumann University. This time limitation applies to all Core and required courses. Transfer of equivalent elective courses, however, may exceed this time limitation with the written approval of the Dean of the Division of Education and Human Services. Exceptions to this policy can only be made with the written approval of both the Dean of the Division of Education and Human Services and the Director of Pastoral and Theological Studies.

Non-Matriculated Students

A maximum of 9 credits earned over no more than three semesters may be taken as a non-matriculated student. To transfer non-matriculated credits to a degree or certificate program, a student must receive permission from the Director of the Program.

Course Schedule

Pastoral Counseling and Spiritual Direction courses meet on weekdays in the late afternoon and during the evening, with some elective courses being offered on Saturday and Sunday.

Progression/Retention/Graduation Requirements

For the Master of Science in Pastoral Counseling, continued progress requires that the student maintain both a “B” average after the completion of 18 credit hours and a satisfactory rating in all characteristics judged necessary for the profession. Students in practicum and internship courses must demonstrate competence in technical performance and professional attitude in the clinical setting. All degree requirements for the program must be completed in no less than two years and not more than five years. Students who wish an exemption to this time frame must submit a written request to the Director of the program. Graduation from the program is contingent upon: (1) submitting a signed Application for Graduation form to the Registrar on or before the date specified in the Academic Calendar, (2) completion of the program with at least a cumulative 3.00 GPA, with no more than two grades of “C,” and (3) successful completion of a final Integrative Paper in which the student integrates the practice of pastoral counseling or spiritual direction, using both theological and psychological resources.

Professional Membership and Liability Insurance

Students in Pastoral Counseling or Spiritual Direction programs are required to carry student liability insurance throughout their clinical sequence (i.e., clinical case practicum and internship). Proof of insurance is kept on file in the department office. Information on purchasing insurance may be obtained from the program secretary.

Certificate for the Pastoral Care Specialist (CPCS)

The Certificate for the Pastoral Care Specialist (CPCS) program seeks to strengthen pastoral identity, spirituality, and pastoral care practice through a combination of theoretical understanding and practical skills. This certificate meets all the requirements and standards of membership in the American Association of Pastoral Counselors (AAPC) category of the same name.

The Certificate for the Pastoral Care Specialist program is designed for persons, e.g., ministers, deacons, hospice workers, and/or lay pastoral caregivers, who, while involved in ministries of pastoral support and caregiving, do not aspire to function as pastoral counselors/psychotherapists.

To earn the CPCS, the student must successfully complete 18 credits of required course work and clinical practice, as well as confer with a faculty advisor at the conclusion of his/her study to complete a consultation portfolio that provides needed resources and contacts for continuing referral and consultation. This portfolio both serves as the culminating integration and summation of all course work taken throughout the certificate program, and meets the stated directive of the AAPC that the Pastoral Care Specialist “receive guidance regarding the limits of supporting pastoral care, including the criteria for referral to qualified professionals.”

Certificate for the Pastoral Care Specialist Program Outcomes

At the completion of the CPCS Program, the student will be able to:

  • Understand pastoral care theology and principles.
  • Embrace holistic training in the integration of the psychological with the spiritual.
  • Develop competencies in crisis intervention; substance abuse; grief and loss; and supportive counseling methods for individuals, marriages, and families; as well as diagnosis and referrals.
  • Increase an awareness of the importance of demographic issues (such as age, faith tradition, ethnicity, gender) when dealing with a diverse population of clients.
  • Reinforce the belief and application that “knowledge, while valuable of itself, is to be used in the service of others” (Neumann University Mission Statement).
  • Be prepared for continuing study, if desired, in the Pastoral Counseling Master’s degree program at Neumann University. (All credits that are obtained in the CPCS program can be applied to the Pastoral Counseling Master’s Degree Program and/or a Spiritual Direction certificate.)

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