Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling

Multi-site and Hybrid Options

Asbury Seminary’s 60-hour Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling develops counseling skills designed to enhance your ministry in a variety of settings, including as a pastor, lay-counselor or chaplain. Our Christian counseling degree is designed for those who plan to pursue vocations in congregation-based ministries or non-profits. Our Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling program is ranked in the top 10 Christian Counseling Schools, according to

The mission of the Department of Counseling and Pastoral Care is to equip students to serve diverse communities by facilitating healing and growth through reflectively integrating Christian values, principles and resources with pastoral or professional counseling competencies and practices.

What to expect from the degree

As you complete your degree, you’ll be able to

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of major theories of pastoral care and counseling and life cycle development.
  2. Integrate theological tenets with psychological knowledge and skills to offer pastoral care and counseling in a variety of pastoral counseling settings.

*Refer to the Academic Catalog for the exact wording of Program Learning Outcomes.

Advanced Standing

Save time and money with our advanced standing program. Here’s how it works.

If you received a religion major or minor from an accredited college or university, you can receive a maximum of 12 credits toward a Master of Arts degree.

*Transcripts evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Admissions Requirements

  • Application (online at
  • $50 non-refundable Application Fee
  • Accredited baccalaureate degree
  • M.A. and M.Div. programs require a cumulative GPA of 2.75/4.0, except for the M.A. (BS), M.A.(TS), and Counseling programs, which require a 3.0/4.0 cumulative GPA
  • Official transcripts from all schools where classes were taken for more than one semester
  • Personal history essay (300 words for each)
  1. Share your life story, including at what point you began your relationship with Jesus Christ. Talk about your growth since that time and what brings you to apply to Seminary at this season in your life. Include your thoughts on how you would like to see your faith grow during your time in Seminary.
  2. What draws you to your desired major/area of study? What is your intended outcome upon degree completion? Why is that career or ministry choice meaningful to you?
  3. Discuss a local, national, and/or international issue and why you are passionate about it.
  4. Counselors of faith have at least two sources of information that they can draw upon to counsel others. Imagine a continuum where #1 represents the position of “using Bible only” and #5 represents the position of “psychological studies only.” Where would you currently place yourself on this continuum?
  5. Describe how relating to persons who are different from you (race, gender, age, economic, sexual orientation) has impacted you.
  • Four references completed on the Admissions Office form at, including at least one pastoral reference, at least one reference from a professor or academic administrator, and at least one reference from a counseling/mental health professional. References from family members are excluded.
  • For applicants whose primary language is not English, a TOEFL score of 550 (79 internet-based) or an IELTS score of 7.
  • Background Check
  • A personal interview may be required upon request by the Admissions Committee

Application Process

When all your transcripts have been received, and you have a satisfactory GPA, you will be invited to contact the counseling office to set up the Counseling Tests and Inventories. These tests provide information about your social, emotional, and psychological functioning. The information is reviewed by professors in the area of Counseling and Pastoral Care for admissions purposes only. Your test results will be maintained in a secure file and will not be used for any other purposes.

Following the completion of the admissions requirements and the Counseling Tests and Inventories, you will be invited to attend a group interview, in which all counseling applicants will be in attendance. The interview is usually held two to three weeks following the deadline for admissions requirements and Counseling Tests and Inventories.

Once the group interview has been completed, the counseling faculty will communicate their recommendation to the Admissions Office for further processing. The Admissions Office will then notify you of the Admissions Committee’s decision regarding your application.

Hrs Course ID Course Name
3 MS501 Missional Formation (must be taken in initial 21 hrs at ATS)
3 BT501 Biblical Narrative
3 CH501 Church History—One
3 CO601 Counseling Theories and Techniques (AUGUST Intensive)
3 PC675 Ethical & Legal Issues in Pastoral Care & Counseling
3 CO655 The Counseling Relationship: Process and Skills [PRQ or Concurrently: CO600 or CO601]
3 PC510 Care of Persons
3 PC515 Pastoral Crisis Intervention
3 PC520 Pastoral Diagnosis in Care and Counseling
3 CO526/TH501 Counseling and Christian Beliefs -or- Basic Christian Doctrine
3 CO622 Human Development Across Lifespan [PRQ: CO600 or CO601 & CO720] – SUMMER
3 CO730 Advanced Issues in Cross-cultural Counseling [PRQ: CO600 or CO601]
3 PC670 Pastoral Approaches to Marriage and Family Counseling
3 PC655/660 Clinical Practical Education -or- Practicum in Pastoral Counseling [PRQ: CO600 or CO601, CO655 & PC520] -or- [PRQ: CO600 or CO601, CO655 & PC520]
3 NT(IBS)510/511 NT(IBS)510 Matthew -or- NT(IBS)511 Mark
3 TH601 Theology of John Wesley
As Needed
3 Elective Course*
3 Elective Course*
3 Elective Course*
3 Elective Course*

* Notes: General Electives may be used for ordination requirements or for an area of focus as follows:

  • Marriage and Family Pastoral Counselor: CO716, CO520, CO600, CD/MF620, CO611, MF/CD615, MD/CD616
  • Chaplaincy: CO716, CO520, CO600, PC621, CO680, CO755
    Note: if a student is looking for Chaplaincy Certification, 72 total hours from an accredited school are required. Students may take the additional 9 credit hours from any of the MAPC/MAC courses.
  • Grief Pastoral Counselor: AS625, AS663, CO716, CO520, CO600, PC621
  • Aging and Spirituality Pastoral Counselor: AS625, CO716, CO520, CO600, PC621, AS663, SF501

Asbury Seminary awards more than 400 scholarships annually because we want you to graduate with minimal debt. We offer too many scholarships to list conclusively. For more information, email

To apply for financial aid:

  1. Complete your online application.
  2. Fill out your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  3. Once you’re admitted to the Seminary, you will receive an Asbury Seminary Financial Aid form.
  4. After completing this, the Financial Aid office will contact you with any scholarship offers.

Cost of Attendance: 2022-2023

Degree Total Credits Cost
Master of Arts 60 credits $692/credit hour
Total $41,520
Academic Year 2022-2023 All Campuses Fall/Spring All Campuses Summer
Technology Fee $210 per semester $105 per semester
Graduation Fee $200 one-time fee $200 one-time fee
Student Services Fee $150 per semester $75 per semester


Institutional scholarships are available through Asbury Theological Seminary. Scholarships are highly competitive and priority consideration is given to those who have completed their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the Asbury Financial Aid Application, and who have been admitted by the Admissions Office by March 1.

Recipients of scholarships must represent strong promise for Christian ministry and demonstrate a financial need.

Some of the scholarships include:

  • Mary Whetstone and Walter J. Knabe Scholarship – average award $10,700
  • Windgate Scholarship – average award $10,000
  • J.C. McPheeters Scholarship – average award $7,000
  • Timothy C. Tennent Church Planting and Cross-Cultural Missionary Service Scholarship – average award $4,500
  • Leo H. Naughton Scholarship – average award $3,200
  • Asbury Deans Scholarship – average award $1,500