Counseling programs that combine the Christian faith and psychology are often called Christian counseling programs. You may also find master's degrees in pastoral counseling or biblical counseling, which are essentially the same. In this article, we'll take a look at the different programs available across the US.
The Christian counseling programs discussed here are all offered through Christian colleges and feature opportunities for hands-on training in the counseling field. These programs are broken down by denomination, location, and tuition in the table below. Here, we look at the tuition per credit hour cost.
|School Name||Institution Type||Denomination||Location||Graduate Tuition (2019-2020 per credit hour)*|
|South Florida Bible College & Seminary||4-year, private not-for-profit||Interdenominational||Deerfield Beach, FL||$350|
|Andrews University||4-year, private not-for-profit||Seventh Day Adventist||Berrien Springs, MI||$964|
|Liberty University||4-year, private not-for-profit||Evangelical Christian||Lynchburg, VA||$565|
|Dallas Baptist University||4-year, private not-for-profit||Baptist||Dallas, TX||$1,053|
|The Master's University and Seminary||4-year, private not-for-profit||Interdenominational||Santa Clarita, CA||$435|
Source: *College websites
Overview of Universities with Master's in Christian Counseling
Deciding to study Christian counseling can lead to other opportunities at Christian colleges. Not only will you spend time completing internships and projects, you will also have the chance to spread your faith and values through service and fellowship.
South Florida Bible College & Seminary
It takes about two years to complete the Master of Arts in Pastoral Care at South Florida Bible College & Seminary. By the completion of this program, you should be prepared to work in a religious organization counseling church members. You will spend at least 100 hours in an internship putting your skills to practice as part of the seminary's mandatory field experience. Some of the courses you can expect to find at this seminary include:
- Couples counseling
- Substance abuse counseling
- Human sexuality
- Theories on pastoral counseling
- Philosophies of mental health counseling
- Group counseling theories and practices
- Marriage and family counseling
Along with the field service, you'll have several worship opportunities each month.
Andrews University has an MDiv (Master of Divinity) in Pastoral Counseling. Though this specific emphasis at Andrews University does not lead to licensure, you can seek certification from an outside source. The courses you take during this 12-credit emphasis look closely at Christianity and counseling in a professional and ethical setting. On top of ethics and pastoral counseling courses, you can take electives in healing ministry, social issues and the Church, and dynamic group techniques. This program also includes a practicum where students can get hands-on experience. Campus ministries are all over campus at Andrews, with worship and a wholesome lifestyle an important part of student living. Students have a Code of Student Conduct to follow that looks at biblically grounded principles, such as healthy living and sexual purity.
At Liberty University, the Graduate School offers a Master of Arts in Human Services Counseling with a Christian Ministries focus. Many of the courses focus on youth ministries and discipleship in particular, as well as human development and spirituality in counseling. Along with the academic side of Liberty, there are 24-hour prayer groups, community groups for worship and study, and community service opportunities. Liberty University also has a lot of online programs available, but does not want students feeling left out. There are campus community connections and ways to get involved over social media, to keep your spirituality and community strong at home.
Dallas Baptist University
Though the price per credit at Dallas Baptist University is $1,053 for graduate courses, there are scholarships and grants available for students. If you are a member of the Baptist church, you can apply for the DBU Ministerial scholarship and the BGCT Ministerial financial aid grant, which are each worth $100 a credit. Dallas Baptist University works with Habitat for Humanity to get students involved in community service, and there are several Baptist Student Ministry (BSM) programs, including the Brother Bills Helping Hand group, Exodus ministries for at-risk children, retirement home ministry, and a skate park ministry for skateboarders. The M.A. in Christian Counseling is a 36-hour program, including a service learning requirement. There are also online and hybrid courses to make your learning more accessible.
The Master's University and Seminary
The M.A. in Biblical Counseling at the Master's University consists of 34 credits. These courses are offered both online and on campus, providing a lot of flexibility for your learning. There are also Summer Intensive programs, which allow all on-campus programs to meet either once a week for 15 weeks in the semester, or for an intensive week of study once during the semester with follow-up online work. This program includes an internship requirement as well as a thesis. Some of the courses include:
- Biblical counseling
- Biblical conflict resolution
- Biblical change
- Marriage and family counseling
- Procedures and problems
- Counseling and physiology
Chapel is held on campus three times a week, and chapel and other discussions are put online for students to watch as well. And as with most Christian-based colleges, there are several community service opportunities.