Master of Arts in Care and Counseling



39 credit hours

Program Length

as few as 18 months


Nationally Accredited by ATS

Prepare to Help People: Earn Your MA in Care and Counseling 

Columbia International University’s Master of Arts in Care and Counseling degree will equip you to provide guidance and counsel to others. Learn to help individuals gain a deeper understanding of themselves, others, life and the world through the lens of God’s perspective. 

The Care and Counseling program will train you in the skills and knowledge you need to provide short-term counseling in a variety of settings. The focus of CIU’s program is on providing wholistic care that attends to all dimensions of personhood. You will be equipped with the tools to address not only the emotional and relational aspects of individuals’ lives but also their spiritual needs, fostering growth and healing in all areas. 

As a student in the MA in Care and Counseling program, you will have the opportunity to develop proficiency in utilizing both theological insights and evidence-based counseling techniques. By integrating these approaches, you will gain a fuller understanding of the human experience and be better equipped to offer effective care. You will learn to apply theological principles to counseling sessions, drawing from your knowledge of God’s Word to guide individuals toward healing, transformation and personal growth. 

Throughout your studies, you will be mentored by experienced faculty members who are dedicated to your success. They will guide you in acquiring the necessary skills to provide compassionate and competent care and counseling. With their support, you will gain confidence in your ability to engage with individuals from various backgrounds and assist them in navigating life’s challenges. 

By pursuing the Master of Arts in Care and Counseling degree, you are committing yourself to a transformative educational journey that will prepare you to make a profound difference in the lives of others. You will be empowered to provide holistic care, integrate theological insights with evidence-based practices and address the emotional, relational and spiritual needs of those entrusted to your care. 


Why Choose Columbia Biblical Seminary

CIU offers a transformative educational experience that combines interactive online classes with students from diverse cultural backgrounds. By joining this program, you will have the opportunity to connect with fellow students from all over the world, creating a vibrant and engaging learning community and giving you a deeper knowledge of cultural contexts and how they impact the counseling experience. 

At the heart of CIU’s program is a faculty comprised of caring, scholarly and experienced practitioners who are deeply invested in your academic and spiritual growth. They bring real-world expertise to the subjects they teach, providing you with expert guidance and support throughout your educational journey. Our faculty members are committed to fostering an environment where you can not only develop your knowledge and skills but also experience personal and spiritual development. 

Columbia International University’s program is based on the integration of behavioral health science, biblical knowledge, spiritual formation and ministry skill development. This unique approach equips you with a comprehensive understanding of the human experience, allowing you to address the diverse needs of individuals from a holistic perspective. By combining evidence-based practices with a solid biblical foundation, you will be prepared to navigate the complexities of counseling and provide effective care to those in need. 

As part of the program, you will also have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience through a mentored field experience. This valuable component allows you to apply your counseling skills in a real-world setting under the supervision of experienced professionals. It provides an invaluable opportunity for you to grow and refine your counseling abilities, preparing you for the challenges and rewards of working directly with individuals in need of support and guidance. 

By enrolling in the Master’s in Care and Counseling program, you are embarking on a transformative journey that will not only enhance your knowledge and skills but also shape you as a compassionate and competent care provider. Our program fosters a supportive and nurturing environment where you can grow academically, spiritually and professionally. You will be equipped to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others, offering hope, healing and guidance through the integration of behavioral health science and biblical principles. 

Overall Benefits of the Degree

Care and Counseling students come from a variety of professions and walks of life, seeking to help others address emotional, behavioral, interpersonal and spiritual needs. The degree teaches the professional and practical knowledge and skills you will need to serve others in a variety of community and ministry roles.

  • Local Church Ministry: Serving as a member of a church staff offering pastoral care, as a short-term counselor or part of the family life team
  • Local Community Ministry: Serving in a community-based organization that offers short-term counseling and support groups
  • Cross-Cultural Ministry: Providing training and counseling services in a cross-cultural setting
  • Mission Care Ministry: Providing care and counseling support services to missionaries or a mission agency

Featured Faculty

Melina Rabon

Assistant Dean, Professor of Ministry Studies, Director of Internships

What Will I Study?

Bible/Worldview/Spiritual Formation (18)

  • CBS 5000 Succeeding in Seminary

    This course prepares you for your studies at Columbia Biblical Seminary. You will be introduced to five core values that reflect the institution's mission and ethos. Services and resources available to students will be addressed, as will expectations and guidelines for being successful in seminary. You must complete this course during your first term as a seminary student.

    0.00 credit hours
  • BIB 5410 Hermeneutics

    In this course, you will explore and defend hermeneutical principles and processes based on evangelical presuppositions of Scripture and authorial intended meaning. You will apply an exegetical method to interpret Old and New Testament passages from a variety of biblical genres and apply them to contemporary settings.

    3.00 credit hours
  • BIB 6310 Progress of Redemption

    You will engage in a study of God's redemptive plan as it progressively unfolds throughout the Bible. Special attention will be given to the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ as He brings to fulfillment the promises, prophecies, and types of the Old Testament.

    3.00 credit hours
  • ICS 6024 Understanding Cultures & Worldviews

    This course will enable you to understand the worldview assumptions that are foundational to a person's belief systems and behavior patterns. You will analyze the culture and worldview of an ethno-linguistic or socio-economic grouping of people from a biblical worldview perspective. You will also consider elements of biblical contextualization.

    3.00 credit hours
  • MIN 5300 Foundations of Spiritual Formation

    In this course, you will examine the foundational principles of spiritual formation for an effective life and ministry with emphasis on personal sanctification and growth with others in a mutually-edifying community.

    3.00 credit hours
  • THE 6310 Theology and Ethics 1

    In this course, you will examine the doctrines of Scripture, God, Christ, and Eschatology, as well as ethical principles related to these doctrines.

    3.00 credit hours
  • THE 6320 Theology and Ethics 2

    In this course, you will examine the doctrines of Anthropology, Soteriology, Pneumatology, and Ecclesiology, as well as ethical principles related to these doctrines.

    3.00 credit hours

Counseling Foundation (12)

  • INT 6110 Foundations of Internships

    This course is intended as a prerequisite for other INT courses. You will prepare for an internship by establishing a clear plan for learning and understanding the expectations, responsibilities, and activities associated with your internship experience. You must complete this course before you begin your internship. You do not need to secure an internship before enrolling in this course.

    0.00 credit hours
  • INT 6217 Focused Internship I

    In this course, you will enhane your proficiency in ministry and organizational knowledge, skills, and attitudes gained through your studies in a focused internship under the supervision of an on-site mentor and a faculty advisor. Each course involves at least 120 hours of direct ministry experience. (1.5)

    1.50 credit hours
  • INT 6218 Focused Internship II

    In this course, you will enhane your proficiency in ministry and organizational knowledge, skills, and attitudes gained through your studies in a focused internship under the supervision of an on-site mentor and a faculty advisor. Each course involves at least 120 hours of direct ministry experience. (1.5)

    1.50 credit hours
  • CNS 5300 Foundations of Growth and Development

    In this course, you will examine the development of individuals from conception through old age. Drawing from a biblical framework informed by major theories of human growth, you will learn to conceptualize human biological, cognitive, socio-emotional, and spiritual growth and development and will consider how your understanding can inform the care of others. Course assignments will challenge you to explore your own developmental journey. (3)

    3.00 credit hours
  • CNS 6408 Care and Counseling Techniques

    This course will introduce you to the foundational techniques and skills of [pastoral] care and counseling. You will learn how to counsel strategically within the client's process of spiritual, emotional, and relational growth utilizing a holistic therapeutic approach. Emphasis will be placed upon development of the counseling and care professional as well as the development of techniques and skills.

    3.00 credit hours

Choose one of the following Specializations (12)

Marriage and Family Care

  • CNS 6011 Sexuality Counseling

    This course addresses the biological, developmental, relational, emotional, behavioral, and spiritual issues involved in understanding human intimacy and sexuality. You will learn how to integrate basic diagnostic and evidence-based treatment skills with authentic Christian beliefs and practices.

    3.00 credit hours
  • CNS 6409 Group Care and Counseling

    In this course, you will learn short-term group care and counseling models and receive supervised practice of interventions to address a wide variety of mental, emotional, behavioral, and spiritual challenges commonly found in a church setting. Among the issues considered will be anger, anxiety, depression, spiritual doubt, grief, addictions, chronic pain and other medical conditions, parenting challenges, self-abuse, trauma, and others.

    3.00 credit hours
  • CNS 6740 Marriage and Family Counseling

    This course will train you to prepare couples for marriage, to assess and address basic marital problems, and to understand and respond to typical family issues. Using the Bible, assessments, and systems thinking, you will be taught how to use counseling skills in the arenas of prevention, treatment, and recovery of basic marriage and family issues.

    3.00 credit hours

Mission Care

  • CNS 6220 Cross-Cultural Counseling Applications

    This course is designed to increase your understanding of various ways to use clinical care and knowledge from the mental health professions in member care. You will consider ethics, professional relationships, influence of untreated pathology on the community, and various personal, interpersonal, and systemic dynamics. You will explore Biblical, spiritual, and psychological underpinnings, as well as types of clinical resources, referral procedure, and collaboration with clinical service providers.

    3.00 credit hours
  • CNS 6406 Missionary Care for Career Transitions

    In this course, you will explore pivotal moments in the various seasons of missionary service which ensure growth and longevity in a lifelong commitment to the missionary call. You will study the career span of a missionary and will define critical seasons and decisions. Special attention will be given to designing models for the missionary care provider which will enable you to minister to life-long needs and to enhance career health and satisfaction.

    3.00 credit hours
  • CNS 6571 Single and Family Issues in Missions

    This course will show you how to succeed in establishing a home life while serving cross-culturally. You will examine the skills and resources necessary to build a home life on the field which nurtures the individual, provides a place of relaxation, and enhances positive support systems.

    3.00 credit hours
For a comprehensive list of courses related to this program visit the Academic Catalog.

Admission Requirements

  • completed application
  • affirmation that you are a Christian and agree with CIU’s Statement of Faith
  • official transcript(s) for completed bachelor’s degree(s) * +
  • official transcript(s) for any graduate-level coursework +
  • essay (approximately 800 words)
  • church leader reference
  • * If you have not completed an undergraduate bachelor’s degree, you can still potentially apply for admission in accordance with CIU’s Non-Baccalaureate Policy.
  • + If you have attended a school outside of the United States, you must have your transcripts validated through World Education Services.

International applicants also need:

  • submitted test scores for one of the following standardized tests for the English language:
  • completed educational background form (provided after application submission)
  • financial certification of funds form (provided after application submission)

Accreditation and Accolades

ATS (The Association of Theological Schools)
ABHE (The Association for Biblical Higher Education)
SACSCOC (The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges)

Career Path Opportunities

  • Christian organizations working as a short-term counselor 
  • Mission organizations offering care and counseling to missionaries abroad  
  • Case manager in a government agency 
  • Short-term counselor in community nonprofit organizations 
  • Overseas consultant and trainer to the expatriate and missions community  
  • Pastoral care counselor on a church staff 
  • Family life director for a Christian organization or church  

Top FAQs

What career opportunities are available with an MA in Care and Counseling?

This degree prepares you to care holistically for individuals in a wide variety of settings.

Career opportunities for graduates with an MA in Care and Counseling include working as a counselor in a mission agency helping missionaries and other overseas personnel or working in a non-profit Christian organization doing short-term counseling. Graduates also serve in churches in a variety of roles such as family life directors or pastoral care directors.

Can I take this program residentially, online or both?

The MA in Care in Counseling is available in both a hybrid format and online. If you select a hybrid fashion you will take classes both online and in person.

If you opt to take the program online, classes are offered asynchronously, so you can complete your school work on your schedule. But almost every online class will offer you the opportunity to participate synchronously, so you can have real time discussions with your professor and classmates.

How long does it take?

Online courses follow an eight-week term format, with six terms per calendar year (Spring 1, Spring 2, Summer 1, Summer 2, Fall 1, Fall 2). Online students can complete this program in about two years (full time, taking two courses per online term) or in about four years (part time, taking one course per online term).

Hybrid students can complete this program in just 18 months.

How much does it cost?

Please check the Tuition and Fees page for the most up-to-date information. There are certain discounts and benefits given for military status and to employees and family members of our partner organizations. Our financial aid counselors will help you determine the best way to finance this important investment in your future career earnings. For more detailed information, check our Financial Aid page and select the option for online students here.


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