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25 Best Master’s in Pastoral Counseling Online Degree Programs 2019

Top Counseling Schools - Best Online Degrees-01

Online programs in pastoral counseling offer affordable and accredited options for students who wish to gain a degree in the field as they continue with their day jobs. They learn to help people heal through spiritually-integrated mental health care. They combine evidence-based therapeutic practices with the spiritual, emotional, intellectual and physical well-being of their patients. Some of these programs include an internship that leads to the required certification or licensure for practice. Pastoral counselors may practice without licensing credentials but must hold a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Licensure rules vary from state to state.

Online pastoral counseling is an area of specialization for students who opt for clinical mental health counseling in the Christian context. The programs combine psychology and behavioral sciences with courses in theology and spirituality. The programs are designed for people who wish to help others in crisis by fostering healing and transformation beyond religious and cultural differences.

In this article, we have reviewed the 25 colleges that offer some of the best online pastoral counseling programs and related courses. Most are accredited and ranked by the major publications like U.S. News and World Report. The pastoral counseling online programs are ranked by tuition and affordability.

#25 Amridge University

Montgomery, Alabama

Online Master of Divinity in Professional Counseling

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Amridge University offers a pastoral counseling online degree with a difference. The 100% online Master of Divinity in Professional Counseling prepares students to become effective counselors in religious settings. The online program requires 96-credits and includes courses like critical introduction to the new testament; spiritual leadership; critical introduction the old testament; theories of counseling and psychotherapy; community and social systems; human development; theories of personality development; human sexual development; marriage and family development; counseling for abusive relationships; social and multicultural diversity; advanced therapy; ethics and professional identity; group counseling; lifestyle and career development; interpersonal and family dynamics; social and multicultural diversity; and assessment of individuals and families.
Tuition per credit: $650

#24 Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

Wake Forest, North Carolina

Online Master of Divinity in Biblical Counseling

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The online pastoral counseling program offered by the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary can be completed in 3-4 years and helps graduates prepare for state licensure. The accredited Master of Divinity in Biblical Counseling program is available 100% online and requires 88 credits to be completed. Courses include marital and premarital counseling; counseling individuals with problematic emotions; counseling and the church; counseling theory; counseling parents and children; cross-cultural counseling; counseling individuals with addiction problems; and mentored counseling internship. Graduates learn to apply their specialized pastoral counseling skills for successful careers in pastoral counseling. Tuition per credit: $580

#23 Ohio Christian University

Circleville, Ohio

Online Master of Arts in Ministry with a concentration in Pastoral Care and Counseling

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Ohio Christian University offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Leadership and Ministry: Pastoral Ministry Concentration. The program is designed for students to want to lead as Christians in their areas of influence, in secular and religious settings. Students get an in-depth training on how to lead a church and a ministry within a church. They learn to apply practical ministry skills to help individuals in all areas of life and meet the pastoral needs of a local congregation, or even a non-profit organization. The 120 Semester Credits online program includes courses like Exploring Christian Ministry, Spiritual Formation in the Evangelical Church, Advanced Bible Study Methods, Ministry Leadership, Christian Ministry Administration, Pastoral Ethics, Foundations of Teaching and Preaching along with Pastoral Care and Counseling.
Tuition per credit: $416

#22 Hampton University

Hampton, Virginia

Online Master’s in Counseling

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Hampton University offers an online master’s degree in pastoral counseling that is designed for individuals seeking to build up a career in faith-based counseling. It is, however, popular with students who want to practice in a secular setting and seeking licensure as well. The online Master of Arts in Counseling, Community Mental Health Counseling: Pastoral Counseling Emphasis is offered 100% online and has a nondenominational focus. Students learn to provide professional counseling service to within the church and communities as they focus on nurturing their neighborhoods and parishes. The 70-credit online program includes courses like Introduction to Research and Program Evaluation, Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy, Advanced Counseling Theory and Techniques, Treating the Substance Abuser, Pastoral Community and Mental Health Internship, Crisis Intervention and Grief Counseling, Abnormal Psychology, and Psychopathology among others. It also includes a practicum and a comprehensive examination.
Tuition per credit: $ 695

#21 Loyola University

Chicago, Illinois

Online Master’s in Pastoral Counseling

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Loyola University’s online Pastoral Counseling program prepares students to meet the licensure requirements of the state of Illinois and some other states so that they can build up a wider practice. The 60-credit master’s in Pastoral Counseling online teach students to provide therapeutic pastoral counseling services in faith-based contexts in their role as pastoral clinicians. Courses include fundamentals of pastoral counseling, addictions and modes of therapy, models of pastoral counseling, human relation skills, and theology of the developing person. Loyola is a top-ranked and accredited institution by the U.S. News and World Report
Tuition per credit: $788

#20 Mid-America Christian University

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Online Master of Science in Counseling

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Mid-America Christian University’s broad-based pastoral counseling program online incorporates a Christian faith-based viewpoint for the pastoral care and counseling curriculum. The 63-credit Online Master of Science in Counseling with an emphasis on Pastoral and Spiritual Direction is 100%. Courses include psychopathology; theories of counseling and psychotherapy; advanced principles and techniques of pastoral counseling; spiritual direction and spiritual formation; interpersonal communication in counseling and relationships; individual counseling and psychotherapy techniques; marriage and family systems and treatment; human development; marital and family treatment techniques; research methods; prayer, spirituality, and ministry; multicultural treatment planning for individuals and families; ethics and professional studies; and assessment of individuals and families in counseling.
Tuition per credit: $711

#19 Colorado Christian University

Lakewood, Colorado

Online Master’s in Counseling

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Colorado Christian University’s CACREP-accredited pastoral counseling program online teach students to combine theology and clinical psychology to serve as counselors. The 60-credit online master’s degree in pastoral counseling or individuals seeking careers as counselors or pastoral counselors. Courses include a counseling core, Bible and theology, along with nine hours of a practicum or internship. The 100% online program helps students master the art of combining theory and faith with clinical psychology to become successful counselors. They also get geared for licenses per state rules.
Tuition per credit: $681

#18 Gardner-Webb University

Boiling Springs, North Carolina

Online Master of Divinity / Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling

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Gardner-Webb University’s accredited pastoral counseling program online prepares students to practice counseling by combining psychology and theology. The 100% online Master of Divinity/ Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling requires 90 credits to be completed. Courses include crisis intervention theories; ministry as lifelong learning – pastoral care and counseling; issues in advanced pastoral care and counseling; interpersonal relationships and family systems theory; and clinical aspects of care. Students can opt for one or both the programs in the School of Divinity and the School of Psychology and Counseling at the same time. Coursework is evenly distributed between the two when one opts for a dual master’s degree. Both online programs integrate theology, faith, spirituality, and counseling theory.
Tuition per credit: $450

#17 Aquinas Institute of Theology

Saint Louis, Missouri

Online Master’s in Pastoral Ministry

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aquinas-institute-of-theology
The Aquinas Institute of Theology is known for its varied faith-based programs and their pastoral counseling degree online is one of their popular ones. Students who wish to go into that area of work opt for the 48-credit online master’s in Pastoral Ministry. Courses include foundations of pastoral care, foundations of the morality of Catholic social teaching, and theology of worship and sacraments among others. Along with these, students have to complete a practicum and internship to gain more hands-on experience in the practice of ministry. The online program is offered in collaboration with the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City and seeks to help students counsel others through a combination of theological, spiritual and ministerial skills.
Tuition per credit: $735

#16 Dallas Baptist University

Dallas, Texas

Online Master of Arts in Christian Counseling

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Dallas Baptist University’s pastoral counseling program online is designed to equip students with counseling skills for the modern world where they can excel in both religious and secular settings. The 36-credit online Master of Arts in Christian Counseling prepares students for a variety of roles like pastors, counselors, ministers, and leaders of non-profit organizations. Courses include introduction to Christian counseling; biblical servant leadership; Christian history and heritage; spiritual formation and worship; counseling theories and techniques; abnormal psychology; lifespan human development; conflict resolution in ministry; Christian counseling skills; group counseling methods; marriage and family counseling; a Christian approach to human sexuality; counseling victims of trauma; biblical foundations and models for small group ministry; and victim assistance ministry training.
Tuition per credit: $959

#15 Houston Baptist University

Houston, Texas

Online Master’s in Pastoral Counseling Online

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The Houston Baptist University’s online pastoral counseling program is designed to prepare students to build a satisfying and successful career in helping others. The 60-credit online master’s degree in pastoral counseling combines faith-based values and online master’s degree in pastoral counseling skills that students learn to integrate and apply to their work. They have the option to specialize in various areas and tailor their degree further. Courses include addiction and recovery, crisis response, marriage, and family, along with professional life coaching. Houston Baptist University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Tuition per credit: $550

#14 Fordham University

Bronx, New York

Online Master of Arts in Pastoral Care

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Fordham University is a popular choice for students who wish to get their Master of Arts in Pastoral Care online. The 36-credit program prepares trains students to provide pastoral counseling through ministry work. They learn to support people through challenging times by integrating counseling theory and theology. It is designed for students and professionals who are interested in ministry work, especially in the roles of pastoral counseling and pastoral caregiving. Courses include human growth and development, professional ethics in pastoral counseling, pastoral counseling theory, social and cultural foundations of pastoral counseling, along with theology of pastoral counseling and spiritual care. Students can also prepare for a certification in chaplaincy from the National Association of Catholic Chaplains or the Association of Professional Chaplains. Fordham is ranked with U.S. News and World Report as the 61st best national university in the country.
Tuition per credit: $902

#13 Grand Canyon University

Phoenix, Arizona

Online Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with An Emphasis in Christian Counseling

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Grand Canyon University’s accredited pastoral counseling program online is offered by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. The 100% online Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with An Emphasis in Christian Counseling is a highly sought-after course and requires 74 credits to be completed. The online courses include counseling theories, counseling skills in the helping relationships, human growth and development, marriage and family therapy, social and cultural diversity issues in counseling, introduction to graduate studies in the health sciences, and tests and appraisal in counsel.
Tuition per credit: $395

#12 Regent University

Virginia Beach, Virginia

Online Master’s in Pastoral Counseling

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Regent University’s pastoral counseling program online prepares graduates to be an effective counselor in Christian as well as secular settings. The 100% online Master’s in Pastoral Counseling is a 33-credit program that includes courses like addictive behavior and substance abuse, marriage and relationship counseling, helping skills and techniques, counseling skills and techniques, issues in pastoral counseling, and pastoral care-counseling and conflict. Regent University is ranked as a leading online national university by the U.S. News and World Report.
Tuition per credit: $710

#11 Kentucky Christian University

Grayson, Kentucky

Master’s in Christian Leadership Online

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Kentucky Christian University offers an online Master of Arts in Christian Leadership which includes pastoral care (counseling) studies, leadership, and ministry along with other core requirements. The 100% online program is very affordable and requires 36 semester hours to be completed. Courses include ethical foundations for Christian leadership, conflict management, leadership development, pastoral care and counseling, Old and New Testament research, spiritual leadership, along with the theology of preaching. Students are prepared to lead in ministerial settings by combining pastoral, administrative, communicative and evangelistic skills.
Tuition per credit: $640

#10 Faith Evangelical College & Seminary

Tacoma, Washington

Online Master of Arts in Christian Counseling

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The pastoral counseling program online offered by the Faith Evangelical College & Seminary prepares students to serve in Christian-based counseling roles in a variety of settings. The 100% online Master of Arts in Christian Counseling needs 72 credit hours to be completed. The courses include foundations of biblical counseling; essential doctrines of Christian counseling; introduction to crisis intervention; introduction to pastoral counseling; introduction to marriage and family counseling; cross-cultural counseling; human growth and development; domestic violence and anger management; group counseling; addictions and substance abuse; legal and ethical issues in counseling; psychopathology; and assessment and diagnosis.
Tuition per credit: $225

#9 Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Kansas City, Missouri

Online Master’s in Theological Studies

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The pastoral counseling program online offered by the Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary prepares students for successful pastoral counseling careers. The online Master’s in Theological Studies has a counseling emphasis within the 45 credits that teach students to combine psychological tenets within a faith-based practice. Courses include counseling theories, marriage and family counseling, diagnosis and treatment of addiction disorders, and the helping relationship. Students also have to take several Bible history and theology classes. The online program is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools.
Tuition per credit: $350

#8 Liberty University

Lynchburg, Virginia

Online Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling-Theology

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Liberty University’s pastoral counseling program online prepares graduates to be effective in their biblical counseling roles as they become ministry professionals and church leaders. The 100% online Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling-Theology requires 36 credits to be completed. Courses include an introduction to pastoral counseling; theology and spirituality in counseling; integration of psychology and theology; premarital and marital counseling; along with crisis intervention and pastoral counseling. Students learn to combine psychology and the Christian philosophy to help people in various life challenges. Liberty University is accredited by SACSCOC.
Tuition per credit: $415

#7 Maple Springs Baptist Bible College and Seminary

Capitol Heights, Maryland

Online Master of Arts in Christian Counseling

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Maple Springs Baptist Bible College and Seminary help students develop and excel as pastoral counselors through their 100% online Master of Arts in Christian Counseling program. Graduates learn to integrate theories of psychology and theology to support the emotional and spiritual needs of people through ministry in the church setting. The accredited online program needs 54 credits to complete. Courses include principles of counseling; counseling the chemically dependent; counseling techniques and practices; counseling case studies; and Christian writing and research. Students have to complete a counseling practicum as well.
Tuition per credit: $266

#6 Apex School of Theology

Durham, North Carolina

Online Master of Arts in Christian Counseling

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The pastoral counseling program online offered by the Apex School of Theology teach students to work with individuals and families through challenging issues in the church and secular settings. The 100% online Master of Arts in Christian Counseling requires 60 credits for completion. Courses include foundations in theology; introduction to pastoral counseling; history of Christian thought; advanced developmental psychology; family systems therapy; theories of personality; counseling theories and techniques; individual and systems assessment; introduction to professional and ethical counseling; group dynamics in counseling; abnormal psychology along with pre-practicum and clinical practicum counseling skills.
Tuition per credit: $233.33

#5 Shasta Bible College and Graduate School

Redding, California

Online Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling

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Shasta Bible College and Graduate School is one of the most popular destinations in the southwest for a degree in faith-based courses and their online programs are highly sought after as well. The 100% online Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling programs is designed for students to make a career in pastoral care and counseling. The 39-credit program teaches students to integrate Christian perspectives with counseling theory to pursue ministry or ministry-related counseling. Courses include physiology for biblical counseling and family life education; the biblical counselor and family life educator; foundations of interpersonal relations and conflict resolution; courtship, marriage, and the family; marital and family counseling; theology of biblical counseling; counseling children, adolescents, and their families; premarital preparation and counseling, addictions; and self-confrontation for the biblical counselor and family life educator.
Tuition per credit: $350

#4 Johnson University

Knoxville, Tennessee

Online Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science in Pastoral Care and Counseling

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Johnson University offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Pastoral Care and Counseling and an online Bachelor of Science Pastoral Care and Counseling. The hybrid programs prepare students to serve as effective leaders in Christian ministries with pastoral care and counsel in order to help people in their parishes. The 30-credit online program includes courses like Encountering Cultures, Pastoral Counseling, Exegetical Methods, Interpersonal and Family Relationships, Biblical Teaching and Preaching, Spiritual Formation for Ministry, Introduction to Counseling Ministry, Family Life Education Methodology, and a Counseling Ministry Practicum.
Tuition per credit: $400

#3 Holy Apostles College and Seminary

Cromwell, Connecticut

Online Master’s in Pastoral Studies

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The pastoral counseling program online offered by the Holy Apostles College is accredited and considered a highly affordable one. The 100% online Master’s in Pastoral Studies: pastoral care and counseling concentration are designed to help students develop counseling skills per the Roman Catholic Church tenets. The online program requires 36 semester-hours to be completed. Courses include fundamentals of practical theology, methods in teaching, pastoral care of marriage and family, intercultural competencies, and spiritual direction skills and practice. Holy Apostles is recognized by major publications like U.S. News and World Report.
Tuition per credit: $320

#2 Maranatha Baptist University

Watertown, Wisconsin

Online Master’s in Biblical Counseling

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Maranatha Baptist University’s pastoral counseling degree online prepares students for a career in full-time ministry and other secular counseling positions. It teaches them to combine the basics of psychology and theology in their counseling roles. The 100% online Master’s in Biblical Counseling requires 33-semester hours to be completed. Courses include biblical counseling, counseling problems and procedures, counseling addictive behavior, crisis counseling, methods of biblical change, and theology, marriage and family counseling, and practice of pastoral counseling. The school is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 56th best regional college in the Midwest.
Tuition per credit: $322

#1 Luther Rice University & Seminary

Lithonia, Georgia

Online Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling

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The pastoral counseling program online offered by the Luther Rice University & Seminary prepares students to become clinical counselors in churches and other ministry settings. The 100% online Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling requires 36 credits to be completed. Courses include an introduction to psychology and counseling theories; introduction to the Old Testament; foundations of biblical counseling; spiritual formation; helping skills; marriage and family counseling; crisis counseling and pastoral care; methodology for biblical counseling; issues, ethics, and legal concerns for counselors; and biblical counseling practicum. The school is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the Association for Biblical Higher Education.
Tuition per credit: $274

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