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 topcounselingschools.org.
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
- Demonstrate knowledge of major theories of pastoral care and counseling and life cycle development.
- 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.
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.
- Application (online at asbury.to/apply)
- $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)
- 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.
- 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?
- Discuss a local, national, and/or international issue and why you are passionate about it.
- 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?
- 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 asburyseminary.edu, 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
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.
Methods of Instruction
Asbury Theological Seminary offers a variety of options for course delivery. The section code designations can assist in determining the delivery modality for the courses.
- Bilingual (BL): Bilingual courses are taught in Spanish and utilize English texts as resources.
- Face to Face (W): Courses offered on a weekly basis in a classroom setting only on our Wilmore campus.
- Hybrid (W, OL, M, TB, T, C): Semester-long courses with both online and in-person requirements.
- Independent Study (I): An independently arranged research course in a subject area or topic not covered by a course currently listed in the academic catalog.
- Independent Course (I): An independent arrangement of a course currently listed in the academic catalog and completed outside of the classroom, as contracted between professor and student. Independent courses are registered with the catalog course number and are graded per the catalog course description.
- Intensive (W, OL, M, TB, T, C): Course may meet once or twice a semester for multiple days. The majority of the learning will take place during the required in-person portion of this class.
- Online (X): Courses offered completely online with no specific synchronous meeting requirement.
- Synchronous (SR or SN): Courses offered online with regular weekly meetings at a set time. Some courses are cross-listed with an in-person section.
- Travel Courses (TR or TRX): Courses that include face-to-face instruction at a location other than the approved campus and extensions. Some travel courses may include a domestic or overseas cultural immersion or attendance at a significant conference related to course content.
- Completion of 60 credit hours, as outlined in the Academic Catalog, including all required courses;
- Attainment of a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.00/4.00;
- Completion of a minimum of 12 credit hours on Asbury Theological Seminary’s physical campus or extensions with at least 6 of the 12 credit hours completed on the Kentucky campus to satisfy residency requirements;
- Fulfillment of all degree requirements in not more than seven calendar years from the first term of enrollment; and
- Completion of the online graduation application by last day of add/drop period (Summer add/drop deadline for December/January graduation and January add/drop deadline for May/August graduation).
- Successfully pass Professional Development Meeting Two.
Learn more about what other graduates of Asbury Seminary are doing.
Eddie KaufholzDirector of Strategic Communications and Campaigns at Bread for the World.
Chief Habila Sa’iduChief of Godogodo Chiefdom, Nigeria.
Stephanie M. RaglinDirector of Programs at the Hope Center.
Pastor, Embry Chapel AME Church in Elizabethtown, Ky.
Christopher GossDirector of Worship Arts, Youth & Young Adults Ministries, Mosaic UMC, Georgia.
Deb AdamsFounder, Gracie's Place.
Aaron ReynoldsLeadership Development Program, Chick-fil-A.
Michael HammondPresident and Chief Servant, Faith Covenant Ministries, Missouri.
Rob MehnerDirector of Pastoral Care and Training Education, New Life Children's Home, Guatemala.
Dr. Randy JessenExecutive Director, Global Hope.
Connor ReavyStudent and Marathon Runner.
George WassonLead Pastor, Faith Point Church, Floyds Knobs, Ind.
Kaylea Hutson MillerAward-winning journalist and Managing Editor at The Grove Sun and the Delaware County Journal, Okla.
|Hrs||Course ID||Course Name|
|3||MS501||Missional Formation (must be taken in initial 21 hrs at ATS)|
|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|
* 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 email@example.com.
To apply for financial aid:
- Complete your online application.
- Fill out your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
- Once you’re admitted to the Seminary, you will receive an Asbury Seminary Financial Aid form.
- After completing this, the Financial Aid office will contact you with any scholarship offers.
Cost of Attendance: 2023-2024
|Master of Arts||60 credits||$712/credit hour|
|Academic Year 2022-2023||All Campuses Fall/Spring||All Campuses Summer|
|Technology Fee||$225 per semester||$110 per semester|
|Graduation Fee||$200 one-time fee||$200 one-time fee|
|Student Services Fee||$160 per semester||$80 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