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Master of Arts in Counseling (MACO) Degree Program

Prepare for various careers in professional counseling through the Master of Arts in Counseling.

Hamilton Campus

Prepare for various careers in professional counseling through the Master of Arts in Counseling, which offers two specific tracks (students may pursue both concurrently):

Mental Health Counseling Track focuses on diagnosis and treatment of behavioral health issues.

Marriage and Family Counseling Track takes a systematic approach to counseling individuals within the context of family.

M.A. in Counseling graduates are qualified to sit for licensure examination(s) in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Typical Student

M.A. in 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, or significant life experience in the field. Whether you’re starting your first endeavor out of college or moving into a second career, the M.A. in Counseling degree will provide excellent preparation for Christian and/or secular employment opportunities.

Potential Counseling Careers

  • Agencies
  • Private practice
  • Schools
  • Hospitals
  • Churches
  • Group homes
  • Detox centers
  • Pregnancy centers

Program Distinctives

  • Supervised clinical practicum and internship experience
  • Professional and integrative seminars designed to incorporate theological studies with counseling theories and practices
  • Opportunities for participation in workshops, staff meetings, group supervision and other professional development activities
  • Courses structured in discipleship development (equipping one to become like Christ) and apprenticeship (equipping one to become a disciple-maker)

Program Details

Admissions Requirements:
General admissions requirements:

  • Completed online application
  • Official transcripts
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Church endorsement form
  • Application fee
  • Bachelor's Degree from an accredited institution
  • GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • A minimum of 20 credits in psychology or sociology (or equivalent life experience)
  • An interview conducted with GCTS Counseling faculty
  • TOEFL score of 90 or above (international students only) 
Degree requirements

Completion time: 3 years

Sample Courses

Apply to this program
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Welcome

Welcome to the Master’s in Counseling program at Hamilton, MA!

The Master’s in Counseling program (MACO) at Gordon-Conwell is geared to prepare you for eligibility as a mental health counselor or marriage and family therapist, and help you integrate your Christian faith throughout the program. For many students this is a terminal degree, nevertheless, some students have chosen to pursue doctoral training after completing the MACO degree. The integrated academic and clinical training is naturally embedded in a seminary because such a context will allow you to acquire the necessary biblical and theological foundations to effectively provide whole-person care, to both people whose values and practices are framed in the Christian faith and those whose faith and practices are different from your own.

The MACO program is a residential program that offers you a community of fellow students who do life together and grapple together about contemporary issues in the church and in culture. The Hamilton program also offers proximity to Boston’s cultural scene and GCTS’ CUME campus and all it has to offer.

We in the Hamilton Master’s in Counseling program are here to help you in your journey in every way we can.

Mission, Objectives and Goals

Masters in Counseling Mission Statement

Our mission is to equip effective, competent, ethical, and reflective counselors or marriage and family therapists who integrate counseling theory with Christian faith so that their knowledge and skills will be actualized in professional practice.

Program Objectives
Faculty & Staff will:

  • Promote and develop the students’ academic excellence, their integration of evidenced based research, their fair-mindedness toward differing views and evidence, and their critical thinking skills.
  • Educate and train students in theoretical conceptualization and enactment of evidence-based practice where available.
  • Develop student’s awareness of social, racial, multinational and ethnic diversity of persons,in all its definitions, and to develop the capacity for critical evaluation of current trends within the discipline of counseling.
  • Prepare students to become professional counselors who will practice in various settings and adhere to the professional standards of the ACA Code of Ethics (2014) or the AAMFT Code of Ethics (2015) or the AACC Code of Ethics (2014).
  • Encourage and guide students in the integration of their Christian faith with counseling theories, models and practices.
  • Support and mentor students and graduates across their professional development.

Program Degree Goals
Graduates will:

  • Adopt the roles, functions and identity of a competent member of the counseling profession (Professional Counselor Orientation) or the marriage and family therapy profession (Professional Marriage and Family Therapy Orientation).
  • Practice ethical decision-making in matters related to client welfare and interagency collaboration and consultation (Ethical Practice).
  • Provide competent, culturally relevant counseling and advocate to eliminate social injustices (Social and Cultural Diversity).
  • Implement developmentally relevant and strengths-based approaches in counseling (Human Growth and Development).
  • Equip clients for career decision-making and life planning across the lifespan (Career).
  • Provide evidence-based counseling, informed by theories and best-practice models (Counseling and Helping Relationships).
  • Provide evidence-based group counseling and group process, informed by theories and best-practice models (Group Counseling and Group Work).
  • Conduct assessment of clients’ cognitive, affective, behavioral and social functioning by means of reliable and valid measures and approaches (Assessment and Testing).
MACO Student Handbook
Counseling Faculty

Karen Mason, Ph.D., L.P.C., Director of Clinical Counseling Program
Associate Professor of Counseling and Psychology
kmason@gordonconwell.edu; 978-646-4042

Pablo Polischuk, Ph.D., George F. Bennett Professor of Pastoral Counseling and Psychology
Professor of Psychology & Counseling
Pablo@gordonconwell.edu; 978-646-4116

Kateryna Kuzubova, Ph.D., L.P.C., Assistant Professor of Counseling
kkuzubova@gordonconwell.edu; 978-646-4106

Shiri Messina, MA., Program Administrator of MACO Program
smessina@gordonconwell.edu; 978-646-4187

Zaynab Yusif, Administrative Assistant of the MACO Program
zyusif@gordonconwell.edu; 978-646-4105

Office Hours:
Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Annual MACO Report
2018 Descriptive/Graduate Data
Licensure Information

Mental Health Counseling Licensure 

  • The coursework of the MACO-MHC degree is designed to meet the curriculum requirements outlined by the Massachusetts Board of Allied Mental Health and Human Services - Mental Health Counseling and of the National Board for Certified Counselors, Inc. (NBCC). Additionally, students may choose from courses offered in the MACO curriculum that will meet curricular requirements for licensure in most states, including all the states contiguous to Massachusetts. Students are eligible to take the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Exam (NCMHCE).

Marriage and Family Therapy Licensure

  • The MACO-MFT degree is designed to meet the curriculum requirements outlined by the Massachusetts Board of Allied Mental Health and Human Services Marriage and Family Therapy and of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT). Additionally, students may choose from courses offered in the MACO curriculum that will meet curricular requirements for licensure in most states, including all the states contiguous to Massachusetts. 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

  • While the school makes every effort to ensure that the program meets licensure requirements in Massachusetts, licensure and certification requirements vary by state. The school's responsibility is providing an opportunity to earn a degree. 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/internship experience, which meet the requirements for the MACO degree may or may not meet the requirements for a particular state licensure or certification. (E.g., Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) meets degree requirements but may not meet state licensure requirements.)

Degree Program Goals:

  • Adopt the roles, functions and identity of a competent member of the counseling profession (Professional Counselor Orientation) or the marriage and family therapy profession (Professional Marriage and Family Therapy Orientation).
  • Practice ethical decision-making in matters related to client welfare and interagency collaboration and consultation (Ethical Practice).
  • Provide competent, culturally relevant counseling and advocate to eliminate social injustices (Social and Cultural Diversity).
  • Implement developmentally relevant and strengths-based approaches in counseling (Human Growth and Development).
  • Equip clients for career decision-making and life planning across the lifespan (Career).
  • Provide evidence-based counseling, informed by theories and best-practice models (Counseling and Helping Relationships).
  • Provide evidence-based group counseling and group process, informed by theories and best-practice models (Group Counseling and Group Work).
  • Conduct assessment of clients’ cognitive, affective, behavioral and social functioning by means of reliable and valid measures and approaches (Assessment and Testing).

Boston Campus

Integrate Christian theology and psychology as you prepare for various counseling careers in the multicultural, urban context. Our Master of Arts in Counseling (MACO) program offers a professional counseling degree within the framework of a broader seminary education. Students can choose from two tracks:

  • Mental Health Licensure Track will equip you for counseling as Christian ministry and for building strong individuals, children, youth and families. A major feature of this track is its commitment to supervised clinical practicum and internship experience. Mental Health Licensure Track graduates are qualified to sit for licensure examination(s) in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
     
  • Pastoral Care Non-Licensure Track is for those who do not intend to pursue licensure, but want to better address the mental health needs of their congregations in diverse urban communities. If you decide to continue on to the Licensure Track, the majority of your work in the Pastoral Care Track is transferrable.

Typical Student

M.A. in 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, or significant life experience in the field. Whether you’re starting your first endeavor out of college or moving into a second career, the M.A. in Counseling degree will provide excellent preparation for Christian and/or secular employment opportunities.

Potential Counseling Careers

  • Community agencies
  • Private practice
  • Schools
  • Hospitals
  • Churches
  • Group homes
  • Detox centers
  • Behavioral health care organizations

Program Distinctives

  • Academic programs contextualized to the needs of the city
  • Emphasis on deep spiritual formation, global engagement and practical training
  • Convenient class locations in downtown Boston, and in cities across New England
  • Unique multi-ethnic focus offers a strategic approach to servant-leadership in an urban context

Program Details

  • Completion time: 3 years (license track); 2 years (non-licensure track)*
Admissions Requirements
Applicants admitted to this program:
  • Must have a vocational goal requiring the specialized preparation available in the Master of Arts in Counseling (MACO) program.
  • Will have met the general admission requirements of the seminary.
  • Must have a completed bachelor’s or master’s degree from an?accredited college or university (note: an introductory course in statistics is required for CO 699 Research Methods and Design).
  • Life experience will be evaluated on an individual basis and considered as modification of the academic background requirements stated above.
  • Must have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0+.
  • After meeting general admissions requirements, students are expected to maintain an acceptable course grade average. Students will participate in on-going advising assessments of academic progress and personal readiness to participate in the program.
Degree Requirements

Apply to this program
Return to degree programs page

*Degree can be completed with 3 years of full-time study, but may span longer if pursued part-time.

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

 

Spotlight Alum

“Both inside and outside the classroom—through lectures, projects and discussion groups with fellow students and within my supervised counseling internships—I was challenged, invested in and had the opportunity to apply my learning practically. I consider my education from Gordon-Conwell to be an indispensible gift and tool as I continue my own purposeful journey.”

Jim Petipas, MAYM ‘92, MACO ‘09
Counselor and Life Coach, Xpedition Counseling | Chelmsford, MA