Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling (M.A.)

Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling (M.A.)


The  Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling non-licensure program is designed to equip students with a biblical worldview of human behavior and the application of helping skills. Students will master coursework and review the literature in the field considered essential to the master’s level preparation of ministry-based workers who seek to offer services in areas such as addictions and recovery, pastoral counseling, marriage and family, leadership, life coaching, etc., that are consistent with a biblical worldview. Students are encouraged to evaluate their own specific needs and to take advantage of available resources for personal and professional development as they seek a degree relevant to the field of pastoral counseling.

Program Learning Outcomes

The student will be able to:

  • Compare and contrast theoretically informed pastoral counseling strategies.
  • Articulate an understanding of pastoral counseling that rests on solid theological/psychological/spiritual principles.
  • Integrate critical thinking skills in the practice of Christian scholarship.
  • Explain the role and importance of pastoral counseling within ministry and/or agency-based settings.

Program Specific Admission Requirements

In addition to the general admission procedures, applicants to the Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling must meet the following requirements:

  1. Earned baccalaureate degree or its equivalent (in any field) from an institution accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S., Department of Education (e.g., SACSCOC, TRACS, ABHE, etc.). Applicants who hold a prior degree from an unaccredited institution may be considered for admission on Academic Caution.
  2. First-time applicants are asked to submit a written recommendation from a pastor.
  3. Minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.0 (on a 4.00 scale).

Transfer of Credit

Students may transfer up to 18 hours of coursework into the Pastoral Counseling program. For a transferred course to replace a Liberty University course, the following requirements must be met:

  1. The school at which the course was taken must be appropriately accredited.
  2. The course credit must be at least three semester hours or five quarter hours.
  3. The student must have earned a grade of C- or better in the course.
  4. The course must overlap one of Liberty’s courses by at least 80%.

Courses related to counseling that meet all but the last criterion may be transferred in as elective courses. Course work must have been completed within the previous 10 years. Transfer credits will not be accepted for the following courses:

PACO 500Introduction to Pastoral Counseling3
PACO 501Foundational Doctrines for Pastoral Counselors3
PACO 509Spiritual Formation in Pastoral Counseling3
PACO 617Theories and Techniques in Pastoral Counseling3
PACO 699Pastoral Counseling Internship3

Credit will not be awarded for life experience or continuing education workshops.

Scheduling Intensive Courses

Please note that MAPC courses are offered only if enrollment is sufficient.

Optional Intensives

Currently, there are only two (2) PACO courses that are offered as optional intensives: PACO 509 Spiritual Formation in Pastoral Counseling (3 c.h.) and PACO 617 Theories and Techniques in Pastoral Counseling (3 c.h.). Please note that these are offered only if enrollment is sufficient.

  • Associate pastor
  • Counselor
  • Lay leader
  • Missionary
  • Youth pastor
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