Master of Arts in Pastoral and Spiritual Care

Asbury Seminary’s 48-hour Master of Arts in Pastoral and Spiritual Care* provides desired training in pastoral and spiritual care and counseling for those who do not wish to pursue licensure or certification and/or for those who will be working in countries where US licensure or certification are not required to work as pastoral counselors. It may also serve as an alternate degree path for denominations that will accept shorter degrees for ordination.

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.


*This program does not constitute a degree in spiritual direction or spiritual formation.

Study online. Stay on mission.

You can complete this 48-hour degree in as few as two years with online classes delivered both asynchronously and synchronously.

What to Expect from the Degree

As you complete your degree, you will be able to

  1. Articulate an understanding of theological foundations for pastoral and spiritual care.
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of major theories of pastoral & spiritual care as well as common issues encountered in this ministry.
  3. Demonstrate the ability to integrate theological tenets with psychological knowledge and skills in offering pastoral and spiritual care.
  4. Demonstrate an awareness & sensitivity to gender, sexuality, family & multicultural issues in pastoral and spiritual care.

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

Admissions Requirements

  • Application Form
  • Accredited baccalaureate degree
  • Official transcripts from all postsecondary schools where at least 12 hours of coursework was completed
  • Personal History Essay – 1050-1500 words (350-500 words per question)
    1. Share your testimony starting with how you met 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. Optional: If your GPA is not a good indication of your academic ability, please explain.
  • Four references (references cannot be related to applicant)
    1. Four references, including a pastoral reference (required) and a professor or academic administrator reference (recommended). Laity or personal acquaintances are accepted.
  • $50 Nonrefundable Application Fee
  • For applicants whose primary language is not English, a TOEFL score of 550 (79 internet-based) or an IELTS score of 6.5
  • Background check (completed by the Admissions Office)
  • A personal interview may be required upon request by the Admissions Committee

Matriculation Requirements

  1. Completion of 48 credit hours, as outlined in the Academic Catalog, including all required courses;
  2. Attainment of a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.00/4.00;
  3. Fulfillment of all degree requirements in not more than seven calendar years from the first term of enrollment.

The following degree plans have been approved for the 2023-24 academic year. Download the PDF below to see a full listing of all your degree requirements.