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Master of Arts in Christian Counseling (MACC) Degree Program

Prepare for various careers in professional counseling through the Master of Arts in Christian Counseling, which offers two specific tracks:

  • Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) Track focuses on diagnosis and treatment of behavioral health issues.
  • Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) Track views problems through a systems approach with a focus on treating couples and families

M.A. in Christian Counseling graduates are qualified to sit for the national Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and/or Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) licensure examinations.

You can see the 2015 MACC Alumni Survey Findings for this degree here. (PDF)

Typical Student

M.A. in Christian Counseling students are a diverse group who display essential qualities of wisdom, maturity and skills necessary for excellence in the field of counseling. Most have an undergraduate background in psychology or sociology, a strong interest in behavioral science, or significant life experience in the field. Whether you’re seasoned in the field or moving into a second career, the M.A. in Christian Counseling degree will provide excellent preparation for Christian and/or secular employment opportunities.

Potential Counseling Careers

  • Agencies
  • Private practice
  • Schools
  • Hospitals
  • Churches
  • Group homes
  • Chemical dependency/substance abuse settings
  • Pregnancy centers
  • Behavioral health care organizations
  • Para-church ministry
  • Missions

Program Distinctives

  • Supervised clinical practicum and internship experience
  • Professional and integrative seminars designed to incorporate theological studies with counseling theories and practices
  • Rigorous courses offered in various formats (evenings, weekends, week intensives and online/hybrid) to accommodate your schedule
  • Convenient, economical and innovative adult education system
  • Renowned, highly qualified and experienced faculty
  • Enhanced library services with capability to access theological databases from your home
  • Access to library resources and classes at other top-tier institutions through the Carolina Theological Consortium

Program Details

Spotlight Alum

“My experience at Gordon-Conwell fueled my excitement for studying of the Bible and developed my ability to interpret and contextualize Scripture to the lives of those to whom I minister. I received so much more spiritually than I ever imagined from being a part of the community of Gordon-Conwell.”

Sharon Exum, MACC ‘10
Staff Counselor, Elizabeth Family Medicine | Integrative Pastoral Psychotherapy Training Program of Carolinas Healthcare System | Charlotte, N.C.

Apply to this program
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Completing the Degree
The MA in Christian Counseling degree can be completed in various time spans depending on the number of courses taken each year. The following are approximations based on September entrance, May graduation, and course availability.
  • Three years (33 months): averaging 2-3 courses per semester, 1-2 intensive sessions per year, along with 3 practica rotations;
  • Four years (45 months): averaging 1-2 courses per semester, 1-2 intensive sessions per year, along with 3 practica rotations.
A highly motivated student who maximizes registration opportunities may be able to complete the required courses for the MACC degree in 2-1/2 years (28 months) time span.
Licensure Requirements
Licensed Professional Counselors
  • The coursework of the MACC degree was originally designed according to the curriculum requirements outlined by the North Carolina Board of Licensed Professional Counselors (NCBLPC) and of the National Board for Certified Counselors, Inc. (NBCC).  Currently, however, students may choose from courses offered in the MACC curriculum that will meet curricular requirements for licensure in many states, including all the states contiguous to North Carolina. The coursework contributes to the preparation of a student to take the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE).
Marriage and Family Therapy Licensure
  • The MACC degree was originally designed according to the curriculum requirements outlined by the North Carolina Marriage and Family Therapy Licensure Board (NCMFTLB) and of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT). Currently, however, students may choose from courses offered in the MACC curriculum that will meet curricular requirements for licensure in many states, including all the states contiguous to North Carolina. The coursework contributes to the preparation of a student to take the National Examination in Marriage and Family Therapy.
Student's Responsibility to Obtain Licensure
  • The school's responsibility is providing an opportunity to earn a degree, not guaranteeing that licensure or certification requirements will be met through the counseling program. The student is responsible to contact the appropriate licensure or certification organizations and obtain the latest information on what is required for that particular licensure or certification.
  • Hours accumulated from practica experience, which meet the requirements for the MACC degree may or may not meet the requirements for a particular licensure or certification. (E.g., Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) meets degree requirements but may not meet state licensure requirements.)
Additional Requirements

Counseling Practica and Internships

The purpose of practica is to learn through supervised clinical experience about the conduct of counseling. The student must complete a minimum of four counseling courses including CO500: Introduction to Counseling, CO514: Helping Relationships, and CO710: Psychopathology, plus one more course. Additional requirements are outlined in the rotation handbook, available to matriculated students in the MACC-CHA page of Sakai.

The MACC degree requires a total of 750 clock hours of professional counseling experience, accrued during three 3 credit hour rotations. To complete the 250 hrs/rotation, students will spend a minimum average of 8 hrs per week to a maximum average of 20 or 30 (for the final rotation) hrs/week.

Students are responsible for locating and interviewing for placement at a counseling site and with a supervisor and having these approved by the assistant to the director of graduate programs in counseling. The Counseling Program maintains a database of sites at which students have completed rotations. Students need not limit their choices to these sites, however. Students should choose sites consistent with professional licensure requirements and personal vocational objectives (i.e., some licensing boards may require approval of a particular site). The student bears responsibility for this decision and for compliance with any requirements for licensure.

Further practica requirements for the Master of Arts in Christian Counseling degree may be defined by:

  1. The Learning Covenant that is established between the practicum site and/or supervisor and the student, which must receive final approval from the assistant to the director of graduate studies in counseling
  2. The national and/or state licensure requirements which the student chooses to pursue.

For additional information, see also the Rotation Handbook, which serves as the syllabus for these courses, available to students in the MACC-CHA page of Sakai.

Faculty Supervision

The purpose of faculty supervision is to discuss the student's practicum settings and experiences. The students participating create a forum for clinical group supervision that involves interaction with a faculty clinical professor concerning issues such as counseling theory, clinical intervention, and professional ethics. Any time students are enrolled in a rotation, they must participate in faculty supervision twice per month. Each session will last for 3 hours.

Faculty supervision is offered by each licensed member of the counseling program and is typically offered on Friday afternoons. Students at a distance may attend some of their faculty supervision via videoconferencing. Dates, times, and locations will be published at the beginning of each semester.

Counseling Retreat

The purpose of the retreat (RC500) is to establish relationships among peers seeking similar Christian ministry; to discuss the field of counseling with respect to calling, professional concerns, and the Christian life; and to spend time in spiritual retreat alone and together. The retreat consists of a weekend (Friday evening through Sunday morning) in January every other year. The retreat, which does have an associated fee, will be held at a conference center within 100 miles of the Charlotte area.

Post-Matriculation Evaluation
Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary’s Graduate Programs in Counseling are charged with the task of preparing individuals to become professional counselors and marriage and family therapists in a variety of settings and to assume positions of leadership in the field and in the church. In order to fulfill these responsibilities, faculty members evaluate students based on their academic and professional behaviors.

As per GCTS policy, student’s progress in the program may be interrupted for failure to comply with academic standards. In addition, MACC students’ progress may be interrupted if a student’s personal, interpersonal, spiritual or emotional status interferes with education or training related requirements for self or other. For example, in order to ensure proper training and client care, a counselor-in-training must abide by relevant ethical codes and demonstrate professional knowledge, technical and interpersonal skills, professional attitudes, and professional character. These factors are evaluated based on one’s academic performance and one’s ability to convey warmth, genuineness, respect, and empathy in interactions with clients, classmates, staff, and faculty. Students should evidence spiritual growth, and be able to demonstrate the ability to accept and integrate feedback, be aware of their impact on others, accept personal responsibility, be able to express feelings appropriately, and evidence professional judgment in decision making relative to issues and situations encountered in the program.

Consistent with other clinical academic programs, GCTS counseling program faculty members bear a dual responsibility to teach and supervise students and to protect the public and maintain the standards of the profession. The ethical and professional accomplishment of these responsibilities begins with the informed consent of students. All students matriculating in the counseling program must read, sign and submit the GCTS Counseling Program Informed Consent Agreement.

At least once during a student’s academic career at GCTS, a program faculty meeting is set aside for student review to assess the progress of students in the program. This review will take place either when the student completes 10 courses and 1 practicum or after the second practicum, whichever comes first. Student will be notified of the outcome of this review in a timely manner. Students who are not demonstrating satisfactory progress are notified to make an appointment with their advisor to receive feedback and to identify appropriate remediation procedures expected of the student.

This evaluation serves two main purposes:

  1. To provide students with information related to their progress that will enable them to take advantage of their strengths and to remediate weaknesses in their academic and professional development.
  2. To provide counseling program faculty with information about the progress of students that will facilitate making decisions that are in the best interest of students, the profession they are preparing to enter, and the public.

MACC Degree Goals

  • To understand the basic content and themes of the Old and New Testaments in their historical and cultural settings, as well as the historical and theological dimensions of the Christian faith
  • To demonstrate academic excellence in the ability to communicate effectively materials from the study of psychology and the biblical, historical and theological disciplines
  • To integrate psychological theory with biblical truth so that the knowledge and skills learned in studies and practice will be realized in professional application
  • To evidence a commitment to the authority of Scripture in personal and community relationships, as well as a personal commitment to spiritual formation
  • To foster love for God and his Word and therefore to cultivate the practices of spiritual maturity and Christ-like character, and to understand the Christian’s ethical responsibility in church and society
  • To gain experience in an understanding of cultural backgrounds toward effective expression of biblical truth, with the goal of ministering to Christians and to those who are not Christian believers
  • To demonstrate an awareness of national, racial, ethnic and cultural factors that impinge upon the teaching and modeling of biblical truth, and to develop the capacity for a critical evaluation of important cultural changes within the discipline of counseling