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.
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
- Private practice
- Group homes
- Chemical dependency/substance abuse settings
- Pregnancy centers
- Behavioral health care organizations
- Para-church ministry
- 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
- Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) Track, degree requirements
- Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) Track, degree requirements
- Completion time: Most students complete the MACC degree in 3-4 years.
“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.
|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.
Licensed Professional Counselors
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:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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