Help Families Grow Together with the Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling Degree – Dobson Center Marriage and Family Studies
Liberty University’s 100% online Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling – Marriage and Family Studies is designed to equip ministry professionals and church leaders with the skills they need to become biblical counselors in Christian ministries and agency-based, non-licensure settings.
Students in the online Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling degree will study psychology, the Christian understanding of human nature, and how God’s creation informs biblical counseling. This degree program provides a balanced treatment of spiritual and mental health studies — which can help equip ministry professionals already in the field or students who want to move into a Christian counseling role.
The marriage and family specialization section of this degree in biblical counseling is designed to broaden your understanding of challenges commonly posed to married couples and their families. Our pastoral counseling degree in marriage and family studies was created in conjunction with Dr. James C. Dobson — a world-renowned Christian psychologist, author, radio host, and family expert who has been providing faith-based counseling to families for decades. By choosing Liberty’s Christian counseling program in marriage and family studies, you are choosing a degree that was created with your success in mind.
*Some exclusions apply. Please refer to our exclusions page for more information.
Why Choose Liberty’s Online Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling – Marriage and Family Studies Degree?
If you are already a ministry professional and would like to help people struggling with spiritual and mental health crises, completing an online Christian marriage counseling degree program like the Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling will help you get there. This non-licensure program is designed to build on your ministry experience to support your Christian counseling and pastoral care role.
If you want to branch out into a Christian counseling role, the field-specific training and biblical counseling techniques in the online Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling can help provide much-needed support for biblical counseling in a variety of settings.
The marriage and family studies area of focus for the online Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling offers you marital counseling and family studies training to help you start a new ministry or expand your current ministry scope. Liberty’s James C. Dobson Center for Child Development, Marriage, and Family Studies can help ensure that your ministry training is recognized and field-tested.
What Are the Benefits of Liberty’s Online Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling?
- Unlike many online Bible colleges or online seminaries, Liberty University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
- Study a balanced perspective on the theological principles that underlie psychology and successful marriage and family therapy to receive effective Christian counseling techniques with a firm biblical worldview.
- If you choose to take advantage of the optional on-campus intensives, you will have additional hands-on training and meet directly with your peers and professors.
- Gain marketable real-world experience in Christian counseling and marriage and family therapy by helping people in your community with the pastoral counseling internship.
- The online Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling falls within the School of Behavioral Sciences but receives
the divinity graduate tuition rate of just $395 per credit hour for part-time students, as well as the online seminary’s block rate. Students attending full time (9-15 credit hours) are eligible for a block rate of $2,750 per semester!*
*Credits taken above 15 credit hours for the Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling online are charged at the part-time rate.
What Will You Learn in the Online Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling – Dobson Center Marriage and Family Studies?
The core content of the online master of arts in pastoral counseling – marriage and family counseling degree provides a broad set of foundational Christian counseling skills and knowledge along with field-specialized topic courses and hands-on skill areas. If you choose to earn a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling, you can learn how the science of psychology reflects biblical principles of personhood and human nature. You will also study how mental health treatment benefits from spiritual health.
In the online Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling, you will also have the opportunity to pursue hands-on training on campus during 2 optional intensives. In addition, all pastoral counseling students will gain experience in their own communities through the pastoral counseling internship.
The marriage and family studies track features lectures and material from world-renowned psychologist, author, radio host, and family expert Dr. James C. Dobson. Courses in the marriage and family studies track will guide you through exploring issues and strategies for counseling children and adolescents, healthy and biblical models for families and marriages, and discipline strategies for raising healthy kids that can be shared with parents.
Our MA in Pastoral Counseling – Marriage and Family Studies is divided into 2 sections: core pastoral counseling courses and family-focused courses. The core pastoral counseling courses feature subjects such as foundational doctrines of pastoral counseling, multicultural issues, spiritual formation, and crisis intervention. This section of the degree program also covers marriage and family counseling techniques, theories of pastoral counseling, and a pastoral counseling internship that allows you to gain valuable, real-world experience in an approved setting near you.
With Liberty University’s James C. Dobson Center for Child Development, Marriage, and Family Studies, you will receive advanced, field-tested, and evidence-based marital and family counseling training. Our professors are distinguished experts with years of real-world experience, so you can gain knowledge firsthand from proven industry professionals.
The marriage and family studies specialization offers an overview of issues and strategies for counseling and disciplining children, effective disciplinary strategies for families, and foundations of marriage and family systems. In this section of our Christian counseling degree online, you will also study the Biblical factors that inform healthy sexuality.
*Please note that while the marriage and family studies area of focus may allow you to apply for some Christian counseling certifications, the online Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling is not designed to fulfill all clinical requirements for state-licensed professional counseling. You can view Liberty University’s licensure-track Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy degree for more information about counseling licensure.
- DBMF 600 — Counseling Children and Adolescents: Issues and Strategies
- DMBF 605 — Parenting and Child Disciplinary Strategies: Raising Healthy Kids
- DBMF 610 — Marriage and Family Systems: Foundations, Models, and Techniques
- DBPC 620 — Healthy Sexuality: Biblical and Developmental Factors
MA in Pastoral Counseling Program Highlights
- We are recognized by multiple institutions for our academic quality, affordability, and accessibility. Our commitment to excellence also helped us rank in the top 10% of Niche.com’s best online schools in America. Earning your online M.A. in Pastoral Counseling from a nonprofit university with this kind of recognition can help set you apart from others in your field.
- Tuition for all undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs has not increased in 9 years. While many other online colleges have raised tuition, Liberty has been able to keep costs low as a nonprofit university.
- Students are able to complete the online Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling – Marriage and Family Studies in just 1.5 years.
- Liberty University’s online seminary, the John W. Rawlings School of Divinity, has experienced Christian counselors and ministry professionals who teach practical ministry skills while imparting deep theological teaching.
- Develop broad experience in Christian counseling and pastoral care to address mental and spiritual health issues in your biblical counseling practice.
MA in Pastoral Counseling Degree Information
- This program falls under the School of Behavioral Sciences.
- Download and review the Degree Completion Plan for this program.
- View the Graduate Behavioral Sciences Course Guides (login required).
Liberty University is dedicated to providing world-class educational experiences to military students across the globe. Whether you are a current service member, discharged or retired from service, or the spouse of a service member or veteran, we are here to support you every step of the journey.
As a thank-you for your dedication and service to our country, Liberty is honored to serve and support you in your pursuit of online education by offering the following benefits:
- Tuition discounts – $275 per credit hour for graduate courses
- Additional discount for veterans who serve in a civilian capacity as a First Responder (less than $625 per course)
- Discounted divinity block rate: $2,475 per semester – only $165/credit at 15 credit hours*
- 8-week courses, 8 different start dates each year, and no set login times (may exclude certain courses such as practicums, internships, or field experiences)
*Credits taken below 9 and above 15 credit hours for the online Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling are charged at the part-time rate.
Potential Career Options with a Pastoral Counseling Degree in Marriage and Family Studies
Students who complete a degree in Christian counseling like the online Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling will be equipped for ministry-based, non-licensure counseling roles in many areas including marriage and family counseling, addiction counseling, and counseling women. Graduates of the marriage and family studies track will be equipped for specialized marital counseling and family therapy ministry.
- Associate pastor
- Church counselor
- Marriage and family therapist*
- Outpatient care counselor
*May require a counseling license.
Admission Requirements for Our Online M.A. in Pastoral Counseling
A regionally or nationally accredited bachelor’s degree with a 2.0 or above cumulative GPA is required for admission in good standing. Please visit our admission requirements page for more detailed admissions-related information.
All applicants must submit the following:
- Admission application
- Application fee*
- Official college transcripts
- Unofficial college transcripts may be accepted with a completed official transcript request form**
- Proof of English proficiency (for applicants whose native language is other than English)
*There is no upfront application fee; however, a deferred $50 application fee will be assessed during Financial Check-In. This fee is waived for qualifying service members, veterans, and military spouses – documentation verifying military status is required.
**An official transcript is needed within 60 days of acceptance or before non-attendance drops for the first set of matriculated classes, whichever comes first.