25 Best Master’s in Pastoral Counseling Online Degree Programs for 2020

Are you looking for a counseling program that will help you become a competent faith-based counselor? If yes, then a master’s in pastoral counseling will help in your journey. The core of these programs centers on the Bible. You will learn to handle the Scriptures and effectively serve people. An online master’s degree in pastoral counseling focuses on many ways to provide guidance. Pastoral counselors relate to their clients on several levels. They learn to help beyond the formal counseling process.

The approach of a Christian counseling or pastoral counseling program is to:

  • Combine spiritual guidance and professional level of mental health treatment to help people 
  • Use psychotherapy and psychological understanding for healing and growth with spiritual resources 
  • Help people in the church and other varied professional settings with Christ-centered solutions 

A typical master’s degree in pastoral counseling curriculum includes topics like:

  • Basic Christian Counseling 
  • Advanced Biblical Counseling 
  • Counseling Through the LifeSpan  
  • Mastering Pastoral Counseling
  • Counseling Skills Development  
  • Advanced Counseling Issues  
  • Marriage and the Family 

Students of online pastoral counseling programs gain an understanding of how to counsel members through a variety of life experiences, integrate systematic and historical theology with biblically-based strategies, learn to apply their knowledge to contemporary situations, and strive for effective emotional and spiritual healing of others.

They go on to work in pastoral care, family service centers, Christian schools, non-profit organizations etc.

Here we have shortlisted the top 25 schools that offer an affordable online master of counseling degrees. An online program is designed for busy professionals like you who wish to learn as they work. The flexible format allows students to get an advanced degree without giving up the day jobs. The ranking has considered accreditation, curriculum, student support systems, tuition, and flexibility. For the sake of rating, schools have been ranked based on the affordability of the programs.

Rating and Ranking Methodology

Tuition 

  • Net Price Below $10,000: 4 points 
  • Net Price Below $15,000: 3 points 
  • Net Price Below $18,000: 2 points 
  • Net Price Below $20,000: 1 point

Program Flexibility (asynchronous course delivery, hybrid options, part-time/full-time schedule, etc. ) – 1 point per item

Online Student Support Network (faculty mentors/advisors, etc.)— 1 point per item

Accreditation (School-Wide and Program-Specific) – 1 point per item

“Wow” Factor – 1 point

 
 

#25 Dallas Baptist University

Dallas, TX

M.A. in Christian Counseling Online

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Points: 5 

dallas-baptist-university

Dallas Baptist University offers an online Master of Arts in Christian Counseling. The non-licensure program offers Christ-centered education. Students learn to incorporate biblical principles into a counseling ministry. The curriculum combines theological and Counseling foundation. 

Graduates to work in local churches, denominational agencies, ministry-based organizations, non-profits and para-church organizations. Students learn to use their skills in shepherding and servant leadership. They are prepared for the practical ministry of Christian Counseling.

Fast facts:

  • 36 credits
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
  • Tuition per credit: $1,053

#24 Fordham University

Bronx, NY

Pastoral Care (M.A.) Online

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Points: 5

Fordham University offers an online Master of Arts degree in pastoral care. It prepares students to engage in ministerial work. The program nurtures in-depth study,  meaningful reflection, and the interdependence of theory and practice. The core comprises philosophical, theological, historical, psychological, sociological, and cultural foundations. Graduates become competent and effective pastoral caregivers in their present and future ministries. 

Fast facts:

  • 36 credits
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Offered through: Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education
  • Tuition per credit: $960

#23 Garrett–Evangelical Theological Seminary

Evanston, IL

MA in Pastoral Care and Counseling Online

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Points: 6 

Garrett–Evangelical Theological Seminary offers an online Master of Arts in Pastoral Care and Counseling (MAPCC). The program is interdisciplinary in nature and is designed to produce socially engaged practitioners-scholars who are:

  • Highly skilled
  • Critical
  • Reflective
  • Compassionate

Students develop a robust and evolving sense of pastoral identity. They are equipped to integrate theology with psychological theories to address human suffering and facilitate the healing and flourishing of persons and communities.

Fast facts:

  • 48 credits
  • Accreditation: The Association of Theological Schools; The Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition per credit: $815

#22 Amridge University

Montgomery, AL 

MA in Professional Counseling Online

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Points: 7

amridge-university

Amridge University offers an online Master of Arts (M.A.) in Professional Counseling. The program combines faith-based education with counseling knowledge. It includes:

  • Psychology theory
  • Scientific research
  • Clinical practice

It covers the different approaches and clinical techniques for therapy. Graduates of this program work in varied settings like church, private practice, government and community agencies. The curriculum prepares stu­dents for licensure in Professional Counseling.

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Option for dual licensure in Professional Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy.
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
  • Offered through: School of Education and Human Services
  • Tuition per credit: $675

#21 Mid-America Christian University 

Oklahoma City, OK

Online MS in Counseling-Marital, Couples and Family Counseling/Therapy

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Points: 7 

mid-america-christian-university

Mid-America Christian University offers an online Master of Science in Counseling – Marital, Couples and Family Counseling/Therapy. The program prepares students or Oklahoma licensure. It:

  • Approaches the practice of marriage and family therapy from a biblical perspective that Emphasizes traditional Christian values. 
  • Trains students for a compassionate, ethical practice in a variety of settings that are both secular and church-based
  • Helps develop the skills and expertise required to treat a wide range of relational and behavioral problems

Fast facts:

  • 60 credits
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Offered through: Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education
  • Tuition per credit: $642

#20 Freed–Hardeman University

Henderson, Tennessee

MA in Pastoral Care and Counseling Online

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Points: 7

Freed–Hardeman University offers a Master of Arts in Pastoral Care and Counseling. It balances theoretical research with practical applications to real situations. The program is for preachers, youth ministers, associate ministers, and bible school teachers.

The curriculum meets the academic and spiritual goals of students. They get spiritual and practical tools to provide care and counseling in a ministry context. It offers a deeper knowledge of God’s Word. It is a good fit for students who wish to provide support and counsel to those facing emotional/psychological challenges. 

Fast facts:

  • Offered through: Graduate School of Theology
  • 48 credits
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. 
  • Tuition per credit: $610

#19 Regent University

Virginia Beach, VA 

M.A. in Pastoral Counseling Online

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Points: 8

Regent University offers an online master’s in pastoral counseling degree. It teaches counseling techniques and knowledge in substance abuse, crisis counseling, marriage, and family. It combines Christian psychology with mental health counseling and clinical pastoral education.

The key focus of the program is to teach students:

  • To integrate biblically-based strategies for effective emotional and spiritual healing
  • Test treatment issues and gain guidance for referral and collaboration
  • Help students address legal, ethical, and liability issues

It is a non-licensure degree that equips students with Christian counseling tools for crisis management.

Fast facts:

  • 30 credits
  • Offered through: School of Psychology & Counseling
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition per credit: $595

#18 Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

Wake Forest, NC

Online MDiv in Biblical Counseling

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Points: 8

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary offers an online MDiv in Biblical Counseling. The program:

  • Prepares students for a wide variety of biblical guidance ministries in local churches
  • Equips men and women of God to become wise, merciful counselors
  • Gain understanding people as spiritual, moral, relational and psychological beings
  • Teaches counseling, pastoral care, and family ministry skills

The program is a good fit for those with long-term local church ministry goals. Graduates of this program work with non-profit, counseling ministries, and secular agencies.

Fast facts:

  • 88 credit hours 
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition per credit: $580

#17 Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Kansas City, Missouri

Online  MDiv-Biblical Counseling

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Points: 8 

midwestern-baptist-theological-seminary

Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary offers an online Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree. It is the first professional degree for individuals who expect ordination. It also provides a solid foundation for doctoral training and a ministry of college or seminary level teaching.

Courses in the Biblical Counseling concentration include: 

  • Biblical Counseling in the Local Church 
  • Biblical Interpretation & Counseling Methods 
  • Biblical Counseling & Emotional Issues 
  • Addictive Behaviors & Biblical Counseling 

It prepares students to serve as pastors, associate pastors, evangelists and missionaries. Students gain increased Bible and theological knowledge. They learn to integrate their faith to help people from all walks of life. 

Fast facts:

  • 90 credit hours 
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition per credit: $580

#16 Liberty University

Lynchburg, VA

Online MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

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Points: 9

liberty-university

Liberty University offers an online Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling. Students receive counseling skills and biblical knowledge help people from all walks of life. The curriculum combines theology with psychotherapy, theory with structured practicum and internship, and modern psychology with ministry training.

It is designed to:

  • Provide the knowledge, values, and skills to empower others
  • Help people overcome many challenges
  • Enhance understanding of human psychology through field-tested techniques
  • Learn clinically and biblically sound methods for counseling people
  • Develop holistic wellness for diverse groups

Fast facts:

  • 36 credits
  • Offered through: School of Behavioral Sciences
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Tuition per credit: $565

#15 Grand Canyon University

Phoenix, AZ

Online MS Mental Health Counseling-Christian Counseling

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Points: 9

grand-canyon-university

Grand Canyon University offers an online Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with an Emphasis in Christian Counseling. It empowers professionals to take a Christ-centered approach to their practice.

The program:

  • Integrates the principles of the Christian worldview into the counseling practice
  • Teaches the clinical skills to treat mental, behavioral, social and emotional problems
  • Offers foundational knowledge in psychological principles and best practices

The degree can be a pathway toward licensure as a clinical counselor. The curriculum meets the requirements established by the NCC, CCMHC and the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners.

  Fast facts:

  • 74 credits
  • Offered By: College of Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC) 
  • Tuition per credit: $550

#14 Southeastern University 

Lakeland, FL

MS in Pastoral Care and Counseling Online

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Points: 10

Southeastern University offers an online Master of Science in Pastoral Care and Counseling. It includes a comprehensive curriculum founded on biblical insights. The program: 

  • Combines advanced counseling methods with ministry practices 
  • Teach students to improve the lives of those who are struggling with a variety of challenges
  • Help students gain the skills necessary to utilize theological principles to promote physical and mental wellbeing

The program is ideal for ministry professionals as well as lay leaders in the Church and faith based agencies.  

Fast facts:

  • 36 credits
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. 
  • Tuition per credit: $495

#13 Gardner–Webb University

Boiling Springs, NC

Master of Divinity Online

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Points: 10 

Gardner-Webb University offers an online Master of Divinity. The program balances practical knowledge, spiritual formation, and theological understanding. Students learn to nurture, encourage, and serve in a variety of Christian ministries. They also learn to conduct thoughtful and critical assessments of church history and theology. They study and reflect the data, meaning, and implications of Christian faith.

It offers six concentrations. These are:

  1. Pastoral Studies
  2. Biblical Studies
  3. Congregational Health through Formation: Christian Education
  4. Pastoral Care and Counseling
  5. Missiology
  6. Intercultural Studies

Graduates go on to lead as Christian ministers and scholars.

Fast facts:

  • 51 credits
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. 
  • Tuition per credit: $485

#12 Hampton University

Hampton, VA

MA in Pastoral Counseling Online

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Points: 11

hampton-university

Hampton University offers an online Master of Arts degree in Pastoral Counseling. It teaches professional counseling skills to spiritual leaders within the church and communities. The goal of the program is to create an environment conducive to the development of professional counselors. The program has a non-denominational focus. It provides intensive training in nurturing neighborhoods and parishes.

The curriculum teaches graduates to:

  • Advance to optimize individual development
  • Academic and career development
  • Emotional and spiritual health

They serve in various community and school settings as leaders and advocates. 

Fast facts:

  • 54 credits
  • Offered through: School of Liberal Arts & Education 
  • Accreditation: CACREP; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. 
  • Tuition per credit: $440

#11 Calvary University

Kansas City, MO

MA in Biblical Counseling Online

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 Points: 11

Calvary University offers an online Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling. The program utilizes courses in Bible, practical theology and biblical counseling principles. It provides the knowledge and use of the Holy Scriptures and practices a biblical counseling approach. Studentswill :

  • Learn to articulate a biblical philosophy of counseling
  • Get a basic knowledge of the counseling process
  • Develop communication skills needed for counseling one-on-one and in small group situations

The program prepares men and women for counseling ministries in churches and parachurches, community and non-profit organizations.

Fast facts:

  • 54 credits
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. 
  • Tuition per credit: $437

#10 Shasta Bible College & Graduate School

Redding, CA

MDiv: Biblical Counseling and Christian Family Online

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Points: 12

shasta-bible-college-and-graduate-school

Shasta Bible College & Graduate School offers an online MDiv in Biblical Counseling and Christian Family. It is meant for individuals seeking to enhance their biblical counseling abilities. Typical students of this program include biblical counselors, family counselors, pastors, ministers, evangelists, missionaries, and teachers in churches or parachurch organizations. 

Program Learning Outcomes include: 

  • Demonstrate adequate knowledge of research methods 
  • Demonstrate the ability to exercise spiritual gifts in pastoral ministry
  • Demonstrate the ability to use Biblical tools and languages to accurately exegete and effectively communicate God’s word
  • Demonstrate the ability to interpret and apply God’s word in any area of Christian ministry

Fast facts:

  • 96 units
  • Accreditation: Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS)
  • Tuition per unit: $375 

#9 Holy Apostles College & Seminary

Cromwell, CT

Online M.A. in Pastoral Studies

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Points: 12 

holy-apostles-college-and-seminary

Holy Apostles College & Seminary offers an online Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies. Students have the option to specialize in pastoral counseling. The award-winning program prepares students to serve competently and effectively as professional counselors. Graduates go on to work in settings like ecclesial ministries, various parish settings, youth ministries, etc.

It offers several concentrations. These are:

  • Apologetics
  • Catechetical Ministry
  • Marriage & Family Studies
  • Pastoral Counseling
  • Spiritual Direction
  • Youth & Young Adult Ministry
  • General Studies

Students gain an understanding of ministry within the life and mission of the Roman Catholic Church.  

 Fast facts:

  • 36 semester hours
  • Accreditation: Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the New England Commission of Higher Education, Inc. 
  • Tuition per credit: $360

#8 South Florida Bible College & Theological Seminary  

Deerfield Beach, FL 

MA in Pastoral Care and Counseling Online

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Points: 12 

South Florida Bible College & Theological Seminary offers an online Master of Arts (M.A.) in Pastoral Counseling. It provides a flexible and affordable path to the skills and knowledge needed for Christian counseling. In this program, students learn to: 

  • help people recognize their spiritual needs and connect with God’s healing grace
  • develop Biblical counseling skills 
  • address the relational, mental, and spiritual needs of suffering people 

The program is both a study of human psychology and a Biblically-based ministry practice degree. 

Fast facts:

  • 36 credits
  • Offered through: School of Behavioral Sciences
  • Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation of the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE)
  • Tuition per credit: $350

#7 Ohio Christian University

Circleville, OH

Online MA in Ministry-Pastoral Care and Counseling

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Points: 13 

ohio-christian-university

Ohio Christian University offers an online Master of Arts in Ministry-Pastoral Care and Counseling. The program enhances the ministry skills of pastors and lay leaders. It consists of:

  • 24-semester credits of ministry courses
  • 12-semester credits of concentration

Concentration options include:

  • Practical Theology
  • Sports, Recreation, and Fitness Ministries
  • Pastoral Care and Counseling

The last concentration is meant for students interested in counseling ministry. They are trained to serve in the church and society. The concentration does not qualify graduates to work as a licensed counselor. 

Fast facts:

  • 48 credits
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Tuition per credit: $338

#6 Bob Jones University

Greenville, SC

Online Biblical Counseling, MA

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Points: 13 

Bob Jones University offers an online Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling. The program trains competent and compassionate evangelists. Students learn to:

  • Engage in Christ-centered, Scripture-driven counseling in partnership with local church ministries
  • Gain a broad look at counseling and psychology from a biblical perspective
  • Evaluate secular and Christian psychological theories biblically and objectively
  • Gain a clear understanding of the sufficiency-of-Scripture model of biblical counseling

The curriculum covers essential counseling topics from a biblical perspective such as depression, anxiety, trauma, addictions, grief, financial problems etc. Graduates may qualify for an advanced ABC (Association of Biblical Counselors) certification.

Fast facts:

  • 41 credits
  • Offered through: BJU Seminary & Evangelism Center
  • Accreditation: Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS) 
  • Tuition per credit: $330

#5 Maranatha Baptist University

Watertown, WI

Online Master in Biblical Counseling

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Points: 13 

maranatha-baptist-university

Maranatha Baptist University offers an online Master in Biblical Counseling. The curriculum covers areas such as:

  • Crisis counseling
  • Addictive behavior
  • Foundational knowledge of Biblical Counseling
  • Theological courses – classic as well as current trends in theology
  • Research and communication skills

The program is meant for students seeking a spiritually fervent life of ministry. It also prepares them for advanced training in Biblical Counseling. Graduates go on to work in various settings like a church, youth ministry, schools, and missionary settings. No matter which profession they choose, they become effective communicators of biblical counsel.

Fast facts:

  • 33 semester hours 
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC) 
  • Tuition per credit: $330

#4 Luther Rice College & Seminary 

Lithonia, GA

Online MA in Biblical Counseling

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Points: 14 

Luther Rice College & Seminary offers an online  Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling. It is designed for students who wish to serve as a counselor in local churches and other ministry settings. The program prepares students for state licensure, to serve as a non-licensed counselor in a variety of Christian and church contexts. Coursework includes: 

  • Introduction to Psychology and Counseling Theories 
  • Introduction to Biblical Interpretation
  • Applied Theology for Spiritual Development 
  • Crisis Counseling
  • Methodology for Counseling

Students will need to complete a counseling practicum which can occur in a variety of settings. 

Fast facts:

  • 36 credits
  • The program can be accelerated for completion in 18-24 months. 
  • Accreditation: Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE)
  • Tuition per credit: $297

#3 Amberton University

Garland, TX

Online MS in Family Studies-Christian Counseling 

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Points: 14

Amberton University offers an online  Master of Science in Family studies with a Specialization in Christian Counseling. It is an interdisciplinary program that merges the fields of Christian Counseling, Counseling, and Human Behavior and Development. The degree provides graduates with – 

  • Skills for crisis management and family enrichment
  • Helps them emphasize family life education
  • Allows them to interact with other social systems in a wide range of organizations 

Graduates work in social service agencies, religious institutions, parent education programs, juvenile services, foster care programs, daycare facilities, retirement and/or assisted living facilities. 

Fast facts:

  • 36 credits
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Tuition per credit: $855 per 3 Credit Hours

#2 Faith International University & Seminary 

Tacoma, WA

Online MA in Christian Counseling 

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Points: 15

Faith International University & Seminary offers an online Master of Arts in Christian Counseling. It is designed for those who desire to serve as a pastoral or professional counselor in the church or other settings. The program:

  • Combines theological foundation with Christian-based counseling theory and practice. 
  • Prepare the student to take the National Counselor Exam or the National Certified Mental Health Counselor Exam 
  • Prepares them to work toward state licensure in Washington 

Students develop an informed and integrated biblically-based, systemic pastoral counseling knowledge. Graduates work in community mental health agencies, hospitals, church-related counseling ministries and private pastoral practices.  

Fast facts:

  • 72 credits
  • Accreditation: Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools Accreditation Commission
  • Tuition per credit: $250

#1 Colorado Theological Seminary

Wheat Ridge, CO

MA in Clinical Pastoral Counseling Online

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Points: 16

Colorado Theological Seminary offers an online Master of Arts in Clinical Pastoral Counseling Program. It is designed to give the student a solid background in Christian Counseling. Coursework includes: 

  • Basic Christian Counseling
  • Testing/Measurements
  • Christian Psychology and Counseling
  • Mastering Pastoral Counseling
  • Counseling the Codependent

The curriculum meets the requirements for the National Christian Counselors Association (NCCA) licensure. 

Fast facts:

  • 48 semester hours
  • Affiliated to: The Association for Biblical Higher Education.
  • Tuition per credit: $109.33 

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