Western Seminary

Updated December 1, 2022 · 3 Min Read

Learn more about the various counseling degree programs available at Western Seminary.

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Studying Counseling at Western Seminary

Western Seminary appears in our ranking of the Top 25 Most Affordable Master’s Degrees in Counseling in the West.

Launched in 2013, the Master of Arts in Counseling in Portland has given Western Seminary students therapeutic insights for resolving emotional, behavioral, and spiritual issues. Chaired by Dr. Kay Bruce, the 68-credit, non-thesis program uses an integrative Christian approach for ethical, culturally inclusive practice. Most follow the standalone track in Clinical Mental Health Counseling for Oregon LPC licensure. Others can pursue dual M.Div. or M.A. in Ministry specializations for Pastoral Care, Chaplaincy, Women's Transformational Leadership, or Biblical Studies. The 20:1 student-faculty ratio keeps courses like Neuropsychology, Personal Development, and Suicide Prevention small. Before the capstone integration paper, MAC majors must complete 700 clock hours at practicum placements, such as the Unity Center, Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare, Cedar Hills Hospital, and Grace Clinic.

Satisfying LMFT licensure, Western Seminary's Master of Arts in Marital and Family Therapy is available in Sacramento or San Jose for a relational context to therapeutic processes. Directed by Dr. Beverly Wiens, this 72-credit, three-year program offers evening or Saturday sessions each seven-week term for working adults. Five extra credits would add the CCAPP-approved Addiction Studies Certificate. Students focus on nurturing healthy relationships in Christian or secular settings with courses like Group Dynamics, Human Sexuality, Domestic Abuse, and Child Psychology. Answering God's call will involve 325+ clinical hours at approved agencies, including Triad Family Services, My Dream Ranch, Windows of Hope, St. Joseph's Behavioral Health, and First Baptist of Elk Grove. Western students may also take the Greece Study Tour, publish Renewal, join the ReGeneration Project, attend the Verity Forum, and become Spurgeon Fellows.

About Western Seminary

Western Seminary was established in 1925 on East Salmon Street by pastor Walter B. Hinson as the Portland Baptist Bible Institute with an initial class of 36. Renamed two years later, Western aligned to the Conservative Baptist Association of Oregon in 1949 and developed the Pacific Northwest's first Doctor of Ministry. Since 1985, Western Seminary has extended beyond its five-acre Hawthorne District campus atop Mt. Tabor with satellites in San Jose, Phoenix, Sacramento, Seattle, and Reno. Endowed for $1.13 million, the private, nonprofit evangelical Christian seminary also partners with Jerusalem University College in Israel. Given 4.0/5 stars on Niche, Western is ranked the 17th most affordable theology school and 49th best seminary nationally. Western Seminary currently enrolls 980 graduates, including Counseling majors, to join notable alums like Tim LaHaye, Stu Weber, and Bruce A. Ware.

Western Seminary Accreditation Details

In September 2017, Western Seminary underwent ad-hoc evaluation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) to keep its Level VI accreditation without sanctions under president Dr. Randal Roberts. Located in Redmond, this regional body is recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) to assure quality for Western's 13 master's, three doctoral, and four certificate programs. The Gospel-centered institution is approved by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS). The M.A. in Counseling is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs (CACREP) through 2023. Western Seminary is also authorized by the Oregon Board of Licensed Professional Counselors and Therapists (OBLPCT).

Western Seminary Application Requirements

Getting into Western Seminary is deemed "minimally difficult" on Peterson's because of the Fall 2016 acceptance rate of 76 percent. The M.A. in Counseling requires evidence for the completion of a four-year bachelor's or foreign equivalent degree at accredited institutions. The quality of post-grads' academic history is judged with a minimum 2.5 GPA cutoff. Curriculum prerequisites are 16 liberal arts credits, especially Psychology, with a "B" average or higher. A maximum of 20 graduate credits can be transferred, including eight Bible credits from Association of Theological Schools (ATS) members. Taking the GRE is only required if students' bachelor's degrees are unaccredited. International learners must score at least 20 on the Reading and Writing and 25 on the Speaking and Listening sections of the Internet TOEFL exam.

Western Seminary enforces master's deadlines of August 1st for Fall, December 1st for Spring, and April 1st for Summer starts. International candidates must push the dates up to April 1st, September 1st, and January 1st respectively. Create a SemConnect account to log into the online application system. If needed, mail extras to 5511 SE Hawthorne Blvd. in Portland, OR 97215. The M.A. in Counseling and M.A. in Marital & Family Therapy both require setting up an on-campus interview by contacting online@westernseminary.edu or dialing (503) 517-1800. Prospective counselors generally need to submit the following:

  • $50 application processing fees by check or credit card
  • Official transcripts from colleges with 7+ credits earned
  • Four academic/character references (at least one pastoral)
  • Signed World Evangelical Alliance Statements of Faith
  • Resumes or statements of Christian service involvement
  • Typed, research-oriented writing sample of 10-15 pages

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Tuition and Financial Aid

Masters-level tuition at Western Seminary is currently $565 per credit. However, the Portland M.A. in Counseling charges slightly more at $595 per credit. Auxiliary courses are discounted to $225 per credit. Enrichment coaching classes are $415 per hour. Each term, students must pay a $220 education resource fee. It's estimated that counselors will spend $4,980 every semester full-time or $36,580 total. The M.Div. in Pastoral Care Specialization would bill $44,070 total. Continuing for the Doctor of Ministry costs $595 and the Doctor of Intercultural Studies costs $635 per hour. The Certificate in Transformation Coaching (CTC) is priced at $1,800.

The NCES College Navigator reports median yearly tuition of $13,560 at Western Seminary, but 50 percent of full-time graduates receive financial aid. Institutional awards include the Ministry Partnership Grant, President's Pathway Scholarship, Alumni Scholarship, Learning Together Program Scholarship, Visit Scholarship, and Supporting Church Staff Grant. Completing the FAFSA application with code G07178 after January 1st opens Direct Unsubsidized and Graduate PLUS loans up to $13,333 yearly. Lenders like Ascent, SoFi, Sun Trust, Discover, and Sallie Mae offer alternative loans. VA and U.S. military tuition assistance benefits are applied from the Montgomery or Post-9/11 GI Bill. The Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program is offered to financially needy master's students. Beaver State residents might earn OSAC funds, such as the Jessie M. Bork & Jessie M. Bell Scholarship. Western Seminary also suggests external programs like the AAMFT Diversity Scholarship, NBCC Scholarship, Future Counselors of America Scholarship, and Pride Foundation Scholarship.

Learn more about available degrees at the Western Seminary website.

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