Jun 12, 2024  
2019-2020 Graduate Catalog 
2019-2020 Graduate Catalog Archived Catalog

Pastoral Care Specialist (CPCS) Certificate

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Master of Science and Graduate Certificate Programs in Pastoral Clinical Mental Health Counseling


The Department of Pastoral Clinical Mental Health Counseling offers a 60-credit Master of Science degree in Pastoral Clinical Mental Health Counseling as well as certificate programs for advanced study (CAS) and in the category of Certified Pastoral Care Specialist (CPCP). The programs stand on a solid foundation that respects the dignity of each person and stresses a developmental understanding of individuals and groups.  The aim of each is to prepare students to meet the unique mental and spiritual demands of a culturally diverse world in an ecumenical and collegial setting.


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 Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree program, under the standards in Mental Health Counseling, 1001 N. Fairfax Street, Suite 510, Alexandria, VA 22314; Telephone: 703-535-5990; Fax: 703-739-6209; or, cacrep@cacrep.org. The Pastoral Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program is also approved to be a provider of Contact hours by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC), 3 Terrace Way, Greensboro, NC 27403; Telephone: 336-547-0607, Fax: 336- 547-0017; or, www.nbcc.org.

Admission Requirements

Applicants with a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited, degree-granting institution are eligible for entrance to the Master of Science in Pastoral Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program, subject to the approval of the program director.

Applications should submit the following: 

  • A completed Graduate Student Application, in print or online through www.neumann.edu.
  • Official transcripts from all institutions attended.
  • An application essay not to exceed three pages describing your interest in becoming a counselor and specifically a pastoral counselor upon completion.  
  • Three official 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 graduate work. 

Once admission materials have been received and processed through the Office of Admissions, the graduate program director will arrange for an interview, if appropriate, following a review of all candidate credentials.    

Limitation on Transfer Credit

Because of the ever-evolving and pre-paradigmatic nature of the foundation on which Pastoral Clinical Mental Health 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 required courses.  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 nine 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 Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Spiritual Formation and Direction courses meet on weekdays in the late afternoon and into the evening.

Progression/Retention/Graduation Requirements

For the Master of Science in Pastoral Clinical Mental Health Counseling, continued progress requires that the student maintain both a “B” average as outlined in student handbook 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 coordinator 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 seminar 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 are required to carry student liability insurance throughout their clinical sequence (i.e., practicum through internship).  Proof of insurance is kept on file in the clinical files in the department office. Information on purchasing insurance may be obtained from the clinical coordinator or 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 The interview will determine that the student has an understanding of the integrative nature of pastoral work, the characteristics necessary in extending pastoral care and support, and the limits to the specific roles for which he/she is trained.  A major understanding of these is in appropriate termination and referrals.  At the conclusion of the program, the student is eligible to apply for certification through the AAPC region in which he/she practices and/or resides.

Certificate for the Pastoral Care Specialist Program Learning 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.)

Pastoral Care Specialist Required Courses: 18 Credits

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