Our Master of Arts in Religion – Pastoral Counseling Degree Trains You to Bring Spiritual Growth to Your Congregation
Liberty University’s 100% online Master of Arts in Religion (M.A.R.) is designed to prepare students entering ministry with an in-depth but practical education in theology, biblical studies, and ministry practice. While completing the online Master of Arts in Religion, one of Liberty University’s most popular online ministry degrees, you will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in a thorough program that provides flexibility to tailor the degree plan to your passions and needs. Students who complete an online ministry degree program like the online Master of Arts in Religion will be able to effectively pursue ministry in churches, parachurch organizations, and nonprofit organizations while opening the door to further study at the graduate and doctoral levels.
The online Master of Arts in Religion degree in pastoral counseling is designed to give pastors and church leaders additional training in providing pastoral care and Christian counseling to meet the spiritual needs of their congregation and community. People and students called to a hands-on ministry position will find the tools for effective, personal ministry leadership in the pastoral counseling area of study.
Liberty University’s John W. Rawlings School of Divinity is accredited by the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools (ATS). Your divinity degree is approved by ATS and has met rigorous accreditation standards, so you can feel confident that your degree is both academically excellent and well-respected among churches, ministries, and nonprofit organizations.
Why Choose Liberty’s Online Master of Arts in Religion in Pastoral Counseling?
As an accredited online Christian college, Liberty University’s online ministry degrees make pursuing a degree easier with the flexibility of a 100% online format while holding weight as a Masters Degree credential. Liberty University’s online seminary programs, such as the online Masters in Religion, will give you a fully-fledged, online college degree in ministry that will equip you for ministry in a variety of fields. Students in any track of Liberty University’s online Master of Arts in Religion will receive foundational instruction in the fundamentals of discipleship ministry, sermon preparation, and practical ministry skills. Learners who complete the area of study in Pastoral Counseling will have specialized training in the elements of psychology and spiritual growth that impact congregations and ministry success. The online Master of Arts in Religion degree in Pastoral Counseling provides an in-depth study of pastoral care and Christian counseling to allow students to minister directly to the personal and spiritual needs of individuals and families in their ministry team and congregation.
As an accredited online Christian college, Liberty University’s online ministry degrees make pursuing a degree easier with the flexibility of a 100% online format while holding weight as a master’s degree credential. Completing one of Liberty University’s online seminary programs such as the online master’s in religion will give you a fully-fledged, online college degree in ministry that will equip you for ministry in a variety of fields.
Students in any track of Liberty University’s online Master of Arts in Religion will receive foundational instruction in the fundamentals of discipleship ministry, sermon preparation, and practical ministry skills. Learners who complete the area of study in pastoral counseling will have specialized training in the elements of psychology and spiritual growth that impact congregations and ministry success. The online Master of Arts in Religion degree in pastoral counseling provides an in-depth study of pastoral care and Christian counseling to allow students to minister directly to the personal and spiritual needs of individuals and families in their ministry team and congregation.
What are the Benefits of Liberty’s Online Seminary Degrees?
- Unlike many online bible colleges or online seminaries, Liberty University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award associate, bachelor’s, master’s, specialist, and doctoral degrees.
- Liberty University online seminary students can complete Institutional Challenge Exams (ICE) to get college credit for personal studies and expertise in ministry, subject to transfer limitations.
- As a special exception to Liberty University’s online program multi-degree transfer policy, students who pursue the Master of Divinity (M.Div.) after graduating with the online Master of Arts in Religion will be permitted to transfer up to 60 credit hours of their MAR content to the M.Div. degree.
Liberty’s online seminary offers divinity degrees at a graduate tuition rate of just $395 per credit hour for part-time students.
- Online seminary block rate – students attending full time or higher (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 Religion are charged at the part-time rate.
What Will You Learn in the Online Master of Arts in Religion Degree in Pastoral Counseling?
Liberty University’s online Master of Arts in Religion contains extensive, well-rounded training in ministry, administration of Christian organizations, theology studies, and biblical studies. The core of the online master’s in religion will provide in-depth topic studies of the Old and New Testament, history of Christianity, systematic theology, and the research, writing, and sermon preparation process. The online Master of Arts in Religion’s pastoral counseling degree will equip students to provide pastoral care and biblical counseling to their congregation and ministry team with a foundational understanding of psychological and spiritual needs.
The Introduction to Pastoral Counseling course provides a foundation for psychology theory and Christian counseling techniques, while the Integration of Psychology and Theology course helps students learn how to base their guidance on science informed by biblical truth. Students will also learn skills specific to premarital and marital counseling as this is a very common pastoral care responsibility that will benefit from the formal study of Christian counseling techniques.
- PACO 500 – Pastoral Counseling
- PACO 506 – Integration of Psychology and Theology
- PACO 507 – Theology and Spirituality in Counseling
- PACO 603 – Premarital and Marital Counseling
- We are recognized by multiple institutions for our academic quality, affordability, and accessibility. Our commitment to excellence also helped us rank among Niche.com’s top 10 online schools in America. Earning your online Master of Arts in Religion degree 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 6 years. While many other online colleges have raised tuition, Liberty has been able to keep costs low as a nonprofit university.
- To continue our mission of providing affordable education, electronic textbooks are included for all divinity courses* at no cost to you. As a full-time student, this could save you an estimated $800-2,000 per year on textbooks!
- You can complete this online Master’s in Religion – Pastoral Counseling in 2 years.
- Liberty University’s online seminary, the John W. Rawlings School of Divinity, has experienced pastoral counselors and ministry professionals who teach practical ministry skills while imparting deep theological teaching.
- Learn from content developed by renowned biblical studies scholars in Liberty University’s John W. Rawlings School of Divinity, such as Dr. Elmer L. Towns and Dr. Gary R. Habermas.
- Develop practical ministry skills in pastoral care that will help you ensure that individuals and families in your ministry are connected and growing in the church.
- Be equipped to handle challenges in church growth, no matter the size of the ministry.
*Please note: Electronic textbooks are not provided for pastoral counseling (PACO) courses, which fall under the School of Behavioral Sciences.
- This program falls under the John W. Rawlings School of Divinity.
- Download and review the Degree Completion Plan for this program.
- View the online pastoral counseling Graduate Divinity 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:
- The discounted tuition rate of $275 per credit hour for graduate courses
- Discounted divinity block rate: $2,475 per semester – only $165/credit at 9-15 credit hours*
- Additional discount for veterans who serve in a civilian capacity as a First Responder (less than $625 per course)
*Credits taken below 9 and above 15 credit hours for the M.A.R. are charged at the part-time rate.
Potential Career Options with an MAR Degree in Pastoral Counseling
Graduates of the online seminary’s Master of Arts in Religion will be prepared to tackle challenges in active, full-time ministry with churches and parachurch organizations while being well situated to continue an online Christian counseling or Christian chaplaincy degree at the graduate or doctoral level.
Since most doctoral-level religion degrees require a Master of Divinity (M.Div.), students who want to pursue doctoral studies would be encouraged to pursue Liberty’s online M.Div. program and will receive the maximum possible transfer of their online master’s in religion credit. In the meantime, graduates of Liberty’s online ministry degrees may be qualified for college-level and K-12 religious studies teaching (non-licensure).
- Associate pastor
- Church education administrator
- Lay ministry leader
- Teaching pastor
- Religion adjunct teaching
- K-12 religion teaching
Admission Requirements for Online Graduate Divinity Programs
Applicants must have a regionally or nationally accredited bachelor’s degree with a 2.0 or above cumulative GPA for admission in good standing. A master’s degree or at least 12 graduate credits from an accredited institution may be assessed. 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**
- Complete the School of Divinity Questionnaire
- Submit Contact Information for a pastoral recommendation
*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.