Christian Counseling Doctorate Degree Programs

Aug 17, 2018

If you're interested in combining your passion for helping others and your faith, consider a degree in Christian counseling. Though master's degree programs are more common, Christian counseling doctorates can prepare you to research methods of improving the ways parishioners are counseled.

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Often, counseling programs at the doctoral degree level look at psychology and the clinical experience. The following Christian universities all have doctoral programs in Christian, pastoral, or biblical counseling that express the importance of faith in education and service.

School Comparison

The following tuition figures are based on graduate per-credit rates, except for Westminster Theological Seminary, which lists the course price. Take a look at a sampling of Christian counseling schools from different denominations across the nation.

School Name Institution Type Denomination Location Graduate Tuition (2018-2019)*
America Evangelical University 4-year, private not-for-profit Wesleyan Los Angeles, CA $350
Neumann University 4-year, private not-for-profit Roman Catholic Aston, PA $860
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary 4-year, private not-for-profit Southern Baptist Wake Forest, NC $394 (Southern Baptist members), $790 (Non-members)
Piedmont International University 4-year, private not-for-profit Baptist Winston-Salem, NC $340
Westminster Theological Seminary 4-year, private not-for-profit Other Protestant Glenside, PA $2,300 (per course)

Source: *College websites

Overview of Universities with Doctoral Degrees in Christian Counseling

Christian counseling doctoral programs look at the research side as well as the clinical side of counseling. Christian counseling specifically trains you to work in churches and faith-based organizations, helping members and those who are in need of spiritual guidance. There are several degree options out there, including PhD programs and Doctor of Ministry programs.

America Evangelical University

A West Coast option for a doctoral Christian counseling degree can be found at America Evangelical University. Its Doctor of Counseling program is designed to prepare graduates for work in churches and religious organizations as a Christian counselor. In order to enter this program, you need to have graduated with a Master of Divinity or a Master of Arts in Christian Counseling. Along with a dissertation, some of the courses you'll complete include family therapy, human sexuality, martial theory, moral issues in Christian counseling, contemporary theology, and spiritual assessment. This college was founded by the Korean Evangelical Church of American, and the education programs heavily rely on the teaching in the Bible. AEU urges students to use their education and faith to better the community through service.

Neumann University

The pastoral counseling PhD program at Neumann University can be completed in 12 months. This program is geared toward working adults who would like to continue their education without spending too much time on campus. Over the course of each 14-week semester, students spend five or six weekends completing on-campus classes. The remaining program requirements consist of web-based instruction and assignments. Some of the courses you'll find in this program include doctoral research methods, quantitative analysis, social change and advocacy, mental health ethics, and human development. If you'd like to get involved in campus life, there are over 30 student clubs and 24 sports teams. There are also Sunday night masses each week and service immersion trips.

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary works not only to prepare men and women to work in the church but also to promote a strong women's program for students and wives of seminary students. The program includes courses, opportunities for women to work in leadership roles with local churches, and the Thrive mentoring program, which pairs two women associated with Southeastern for a school year. All chapel services at the university are open to the public and take place Tuesdays and Thursdays each week. The counseling doctoral program at Southeastern awards a Biblical counseling PhD that uses the Bible as its authority. The program focuses on psychology through a biblical perspective and explores counseling methods related to mental disorders, behavioral issues, and marital issues.

Piedmont International University

At Piedmont International University, there are several concentrations to choose from when studying in the D.Min. degree program. One of these concentrations is biblical counseling. For all the concentrations, you'll take the same foundational courses, but the concentration courses will vary. For biblical counseling, your courses will cover the following topics:

  • Biblical counseling
  • Marriage and family counseling
  • Counseling ethics
  • Counseling administration
  • Professional development

Spiritual life on campus is very important at Piedmont. Chapel is a requirement between Tuesday and Friday, and any meetings scheduled during those times must be approved by Student Services. Community service, a 40-day prayer event, dorm devotionals, and several other worship and service opportunities are held throughout the school year.

Westminster Theological Seminary

Rather than a PhD program in Christian Counseling, Westminster Theological Seminary offers a Doctor of Ministry in Counseling. During this program you'll learn all about pastoral theology and how evangelism works in holistic care and counseling. You'll have six years to complete the 30 credit hours, which include an applied research project, but it could take less than that. This seminary school offers fellowship groups for students from several cultural backgrounds as well as worship and prayer groups throughout the week.

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