The Top Christian Colleges for a Counseling Degree 2021

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A professional interested in helping others through a Christian lens may want to consider earning anonline master’s in Christian counseling. These programs examine psychological principles and practices, provide clinical experience for students to diagnose and treat patients, and teach learners to implement a Christ-centered approach.

The curriculum typically includes mental health counseling ethics, crisis intervention, trauma counseling, and family dynamics. Topics often include Bible interpretation, narrative approaches to theology and salvation, and ministry-related conflict resolution. While colleges and universities offer most coursework online, degree-seekers should anticipate multiple applied experiences, including a practicum and internship.

Most programs require about 100 practicum hours and 600 internship hours to qualify for licensure. Christian counseling degrees comprise about 60 credits, which enrollees can typically complete in 2-3 years of full-time attendance. Part-time students may need double the program length to complete their degrees, while accelerated programs may require less than two years to complete.

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Top 10 Christian Colleges for a Counseling Degree

Rank School Location
1 Saint Cloud State University Saint Cloud, MN
2 University of Holy Cross New Orleans, LA
3 Springfield College-School of Professional and Continuing Studies Springfield, MA
4 Oklahoma Baptist University Shawnee, OK
5 Averett University Danville, VA
6 Morningside College Sioux City, IA
7 Cornerstone University Grand Rapids, MI
8 Mid-Atlantic Christian University Elizabeth City, NC
9 Johnson & Wales University-Providence Providence, RI
10 Maryville College Maryville, TN

Featured Online Programs

Figuring out where to apply? These top, accredited schools offer a variety of online degrees. Consider one of these accredited programs, and discover their value today.

  1. Saint Cloud State University

    Saint Cloud, MN

    As one of the, SCSU offers several counseling programs at the master's level, which prepare enrollees to work with particular client populations of their choosing.

    Degree-seekers interested in counseling can pursue master of science programs in clinical mental health counseling; rehabilitation counseling; rehabilitation and addictions counseling; and school counseling.

    The clinical mental health counseling curriculum follows a cohort model with 18 students enrolled each year. Learners participate in one year of supervised clinical experience on campus before completing their internship requirement. The rehabilitation counseling program offers on-campus and online formats in part- or full-time enrollment.

    Rehabilitation and addictions counseling students work with the on-campus recovery community group to mentor undergraduate students. Learners focused on school counseling can take advantage of evening and summer courses and state-of-the-art clinical counseling rooms.

    Each applicant must possess a 2.75 GPA in either all of their undergraduate work or the most recent half.

  2. University of Holy Cross

    New Orleans, LA

    Located in the bustling, culture-rich city of New Orleans, Louisiana, Holy Cross ranks as one of the top.

    Master's students can earn their counseling degree in clinical mental health counseling; marriage, couple, and family counseling; and school counseling.

    An enrollee can also earn a Ph.D. in counselor education and supervision. The graduate counseling programs feature a flexible online format, allowing learners to continue working as they earn their degrees. Online opportunities include 60 graduate credits for master's programs and an additional 54 graduate credits at the doctoral level.

    In addition to online coursework, graduate students at the master's and doctoral levels must participate in two long-weekend (Friday-Monday) residencies on-campus, completing two three-credit graduate courses. Master's enrollees typically complete their degree requirements in 3-4 years, while doctoral students take about 3-3.5 years to earn their degree.

  3. Springfield College-School of Professional and Continuing Studies

    Springfield, MA

    Springfield features some of the best degrees at the doctoral, master's, and bachelor's levels. Bachelor's students can enroll in the substance use disorder counseling program that offers on-campus and online options. The college also offers a doctoral program in counseling psychology.

    Master's enrollees can pursue programs in art therapy/counseling, athletic counseling, clinical mental health counseling, rehabilitation counseling, and school counseling. Bachelor's students enjoy affordable tuition rates of $500 per credit hour. These learners explore crisis intervention, dynamics of case management, and counseling from a racial perspective.

    Counseling students at the master's level who want to pursue counseling without specializing in a particular area can enroll in the general counseling program. This track specifically serves enrollees who are not interested in professional licensure.

    Each candidate must provide transcripts of any past schools attended, two letters of recommendation, and a resume.

  4. Oklahoma Baptist University

    Shawnee, OK

    As one of the students, OBU offers a bachelor of arts in psychology. The private liberal arts university in Shawnee, Oklahoma, was founded by the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma and boasts accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.

    The 128-credit curriculum comprises 40 credit hours of behavioral and social sciences classes, 17-19 credit hours of flex core courses, 37 credit hours of psychology: pre-counseling classes, 18 credit hours of minor courses, and 11-14 credit hours of electives.

    Each candidate must complete an application and provide official high school transcripts demonstrating a minimum 3.0 minimum GPA, ACT scores of at least 20 or SAT scores of at least 1030, a completed FAFSA, and an essay. During the admissions process, prospective students also complete personal interviews with admissions counselors.

  5. Averett University

    Danville, VA

    Located in Danville, Virginia, Averett offers a that allows degree-seekers to better understand the relationship between the body and mind by emphasizing human behavior and how the mind works. The psychology program offers students a background in various aspects of the discipline through several focus areas.

    Throughout the rigorous curriculum, learners explore effective behavior, psychology as a social science or as a natural science, and research design. Degree-seekers also complete integrative experiences during their senior year, including a seminar on the history of psychology.

    Counseling students can explore one of three concentration options to tailor their degree to align with their interests and career goals. Learners can pursue concentrations in integrative health psychology, biological psychology, or clinical and counseling psychology.

  6. Morningside College

    Sioux City, IA

    Located in Sioux City, Iowa, Morningside College offers a in counseling psychology. Degree-seekers can tailor their program to align with their professional goals and interests by choosing a minor. Students can also consider choosing more than one major or minor.

    Degree-seekers enjoy the intimacy of a private college setting and benefit from a more personalized learning experience. Morningside allows students to take advantage of the counseling lab to observe counseling sessions and expand their skills. Learners interested in pursuing dual majors can consider related fields, including general psychology, biopsychology, and developmental psychology.

    The psychology program emphasizes research at the core of the curriculum, allowing degree-seekers to explore the topics that interest them and the fundamentals of the field. Students can interact with professionals and build skills through interviews, conferences, and club meetings.

  7. Cornerstone University

    Grand Rapids, MI

    Christian counseling students can pursue at CU. During the program, students examine and explore psychological theories, ideas, and applications through a Christian perspective. Learners can apply the concepts they learn in professional, volunteer, and internship experiences.

    During the program, each student completes an original research project and a research paper to present at state, local, and national conferences. Degree-seekers can satisfy their program requirements within four years of full-time study. Each undergraduate learner must also complete an academic practicum or internship.

    Graduates can integrate cognitive skills, such as information literacy, communicative fluency, and analytical inquiry into their professional work. Each candidate must provide a completed application, ACT or SAT scores, official high school transcripts demonstrating a minimum 2.5 high school GPA, and any official college transcripts.

  8. Mid-Atlantic Christian University

    Elizabeth City, NC

    One of the students, MACU offers a bachelor of arts and bachelor of science in counseling and psychology. Both bachelor's programs comprise 120 credits of coursework.

    BA students complete biblical studies minor coursework, general studies courses, language courses, counseling and psychology major courses, and open electives. BS students complete all of the same requirements, without the focus on language courses. During the rigorous curriculum, students explore marriage and family counseling, research methods in psychology, and counseling theories.

    Each candidate must complete an application and pay the associated $30 fee. A prospective student must also provide official transcripts, an essay, SAT or ACT scores, and reference forms. Enrollees can complete their FAFSA to determine scholarship eligibility.

  9. Johnson & Wales University-Providence

    Providence, RI

    The in counseling psychology at Johnson & Wales' Providence campus allows degree-seekers to explore a broad foundation of knowledge about human emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. During the program, learners can focus on understanding how different social environments can affect human development. Students also explore the psychological and biological motivations behind certain behaviors.

    This rigorous program requires students to participate in an internship, using their strong scientific foundations to apply research across different workplace settings. Graduates leave their program with the knowledge, skills, and clinical experience needed to begin their counseling careers or enroll in advanced programs.

    Counseling psychology students explore specialized course topics, including principles of group counseling, counseling theories and techniques, and introduction to case management. Along with courses, students can pursue free elective credit for minors, internships, or study abroad opportunities.

  10. Maryville College

    Maryville, TN

    Located in Maryville, Tennessee, Maryville College offers a that exposes students to a broad foundation of mental processes and behavior while emphasizing cognition and human behavior. The rigorous program provides degree-seekers with the tools they need to conduct scientific studies.

    The counseling track prepares students to pursue postgraduate work in counseling or clinical professions. Learners can further specialize their degrees by pursuing concentrations in relationship and sexual health, civic engagement, psychology in the community, and global citizenship, among others.

    During the specialized curriculum, students explore marriage and family therapy, school counseling, clinical psychology, and social work. The core curriculum requires each student to complete 51 credit hours of coursework in courses, such as culture and intercultural dynamics, composition and speech, and quantitative literacy. The psychology major program requires 47 credit hours of major coursework, with 37 credit hours in psychology and ten credit hours in related areas.

Applying to a Christian College for a Counseling Degree

Colleges and universities maintain distinct admission requirements, so applicants will need to research each prospective school. However, most institutions require official transcripts, a 2.5 GPA at minimum, and program-specific essays. Other requirements may include multiple letters of recommendation from former educators and current or former employers.

Each degree-seeker should also anticipate submitting a resume, participating in interviews, and completing a criminal background check. Christian counseling schools may also require students to submit GRE scores. Some programs offer to waive the GRE requirement for individuals with GPAs of 3.5 or higher. A master’s in Christian counseling leads to licensure. Applicants do not need a license, certification, or specific undergraduate degree for admission.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What Is the Difference Between a Christian College and a Regular College?

    Christian colleges offer the same fundamental coursework as secular colleges and often hold the same regional and programmatic accreditations. However, Christian colleges may require religious coursework. Traditional courses may also take on a Christian lens.

  • What Is Accreditation and Why Is it Important?

    Accrediting organizations set minimum standards for schools and programs to ensure that students learn pertinent knowledge and skills. Regional and national accrediting bodies review entire schools, while specialization accrediting bodies focus on specific programs in a particular field. Counseling related accrediting agencies include the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs and the American Psychological Association.

  • What Can You Do With a Counseling Degree from a Christian College?

    Students who earn online Christian counseling degrees qualify for the same jobs as graduates from non-Christian programs. Potential fields include academic, marriage and family, mental health, and school counseling. However, a degree with a Christian lens may also allow practitioners to work in religious institutions.

  • What Degree Is Needed for Christian Counseling?

    Students with undergraduate degrees qualify for certain roles within the field. However, most states require a counselor to hold a master’s degree from an accredited institution. A master’s in Christian counseling qualifies graduates to complete their state’s licensing exam. Students may also pursue an optional spiritual certification.

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