Master of Divinity in Care and Counseling



75 credit hours

Program Length

as few as 36 months


Nationally Accredited by ATS

Become Equipped to Meet Emotional and Spiritual Needs of Others 

The Master of Divinity in Care and Counseling provides you with a comprehensive range of biblical-theological knowledge and practical skills for ministry leadership along with specialized skills to address emotional, relational and spiritual needs using short-term counseling resources. It prepares you to serve in a counseling, family life or spiritual formation ministry in a church, para-church or cross-cultural ministry setting. 

The Master of Divinity degree provides students with a comprehensive range of biblical-theological knowledge and practical skills for ministry leadership in a variety of contexts. Through a personalized curriculum, this program prepares students for effective ministry in a local church, with a para-church organization or with a mission agency. 

The objectives of the Master of Divinity degree are to enable students to: 

  • Analyze and synthesize the basic content, context and themes of the Old and New Testaments, with an emphasis on God’s historical-redemptive mission, as revealed through Scripture’s metanarrative and exemplified in the Great Commission  
  • Practice sound exegesis and exposition of the biblical text in its original languages, with an emphasis on how passages speak to contemporary issues in individual and corporate contexts 
  • Engage contemporary global challenges to orthodox belief and practice based on support from key biblical passages that undergird foundational doctrines, applying insights from the history of global Christianity to 21st century issues, needs and challenges 
  • Analyze cultures and worldviews from a biblical perspective as the basis for effective, biblically-contextualized ministry that equips and encourages others to grow as disciples and disciple-makers in the church, mission field and/or marketplace 
  • Apply biblical principles, techniques and paradigms to the practice of leadership, pastoring, preaching, teaching and counseling 
  • Demonstrate proficiency in ministry and organizational knowledge, skills and attitudes gained through Master of Divinity studies in a focused internship under the supervision of an on-site mentor and a faculty advisor 

Why Choose Columbia Biblical Seminary

If you have a heart for caring for others and a desire to make a meaningful impact in people’s lives through counseling and ministry, then the Master of Divinity in Care and Counseling program at Columbia Biblical Seminary is designed for you. Our program offers a unique and immersive learning experience that will equip you with the knowledge, skills and personal growth necessary to serve effectively in the field of care and counseling. 

Throughout your studies, you will engage in highly engaged, hands-on classes that foster interaction and collaboration with students from diverse backgrounds and cultures. This dynamic learning environment provides valuable opportunities for you to learn from your peers, gain different perspectives and develop a global understanding of care and counseling practices. 

One of the key strengths of our program is our faculty. Our professors are not only experts in their fields, but they are also compassionate practitioners who bring real-world experience into the classroom. They are dedicated to providing you with the highest level of academic support, while also offering personal guidance and mentorship to nurture your spiritual growth and development. 

We understand the importance of integrating biblical knowledge, spiritual formation and ministry and counseling skills. Our curriculum is intentionally designed to provide a holistic education that equips you to provide care and counseling from a biblical perspective. You will study foundational principles of the Bible, gain a deep understanding of human behavior and psychology, and learn effective counseling techniques rooted in sound theology. 

To further enhance your learning experience, we have incorporated a mentored field experience into the curriculum. This hands-on component allows you to apply your knowledge and skills in real-world settings under the supervision of experienced mentors. It provides you with invaluable opportunities to engage in ministry and short-term counseling, gaining practical experience and receiving guidance and feedback to further refine your abilities. 

By completing the Master of Divinity in Care and Counseling program, you will be prepared to make a difference in the lives of individuals, families and communities. You will graduate with the confidence and competence to provide wholistic care, utilizing both theological and evidence-based counseling skills. You will be equipped to address the emotional, relational and spiritual needs of others, guiding them towards healing, growth and a deeper relationship with God. 

If you are passionate about caring for others and feel called to the ministry of care and counseling, our program provides the education, training and support you need to pursue this rewarding career path. Join us on this transformative journey as we empower you to make a lasting impact through compassionate care and counseling. 

Overall Benefits of the Degree

Are you passionate about helping others and making a positive impact on their lives? If so, the Care and Counseling program at Columbia International University is designed for individuals like you who are seeking to address emotional, behavioral, interpersonal and spiritual needs in diverse communities. As a student in this program, you will acquire the professional knowledge and practical skills necessary to serve others effectively in various community and ministry roles. 

Here are some of the areas where you can apply your expertise and make a difference: 

Local Church Ministry: By joining a church staff, a pastoral care and counseling team or a family life team, you will have the opportunity to provide care and counseling services within the context of a local church. You will work alongside experienced professionals to offer guidance, support and encouragement to individuals and families navigating through life’s challenges. 

Local Community Ministry: There are numerous community-based organizations that offer short-term counseling and support groups to individuals facing various difficulties. By serving in these organizations, you can directly impact the lives of community members by providing counseling services, facilitating support groups and offering practical guidance to help individuals overcome their challenges and experience healing. 

Cross-Cultural Ministry: If you have a heart for serving in diverse cultural settings, this program equips you to provide counseling and training services to expatriate or missions communities. You will gain the necessary cultural sensitivity and understanding to effectively communicate and support individuals from different cultural backgrounds, offering them the care and guidance they need in their unique circumstances. 

In addition to these specific ministry contexts, the skills and knowledge you acquire through the Care and Counseling program will also enable you to pursue other avenues of service. You may find opportunities in educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, rehabilitation centers or even start your own private counseling practice. 

Throughout your journey in this program, you will receive personalized instruction and guidance from experienced faculty members who are passionate about equipping you for effective ministry. They will support you in developing the professional and practical skills needed to provide compassionate care and counseling, and they will encourage your personal and spiritual growth along the way. 

Featured Faculty

Melina Rabon

Assistant Dean, Professor of Ministry Studies, Director of Internships

What Will I Study?

In addition to the Master of Divinity core, you will take courses such as:

  • 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 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
  • 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 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 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
  • 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 organization as a short-term counselor offering individual/group sessions 
  • Church as a pastoral care or counseling staff member or director of family life 
  • Mission organization offering care and counseling to missionaries 
  • Community nonprofit organization offering support services to those in need 
  • Overseas consultant and trainer to the expatriate and missions community 

Top FAQs

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

Serving in a Christian organization, such as a church or mission, conducting short-term care and counseling. Serving in a nonprofit to assist underprivileged populations or in community programs that provide support counseling services to those in recovery from grief, divorce or addictions.

Can I take this program residentially, online or both?

Our MDiv in Care and Counseling is fully available either online or hybrid. All of the courses in the concentration are only available online, all the other courses can be taken residentially or online.

As an online student, you will benefit from courses that foster your learning within the context of an intentional learning community. We recognize that not everyone can uproot themselves and move to seminary. For this reason, all our courses are asynchronous. This allows you to continue working and serving where you are located while taking courses. At the same time, you will be provided with opportunities to have regular live online meetings with your professors and classmates, if you so desire.

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 about three years.

When can I start this program?

Residential courses follow a 16-week semester format and have two starts every year. The spring semester begins in January and the fall semester begins in August, with a break for summer in between semesters.

Online courses follow an eight-week term format and have six starts each year. Every eight weeks is a new start, meaning there are two online terms offered each spring, summer and fall.

How much does it cost?

CIU’s Master of Divinity is economical and affordable. Visit our Tuition and Fees page for information.

Is Bible software provided to me as a student?

Yes, upon enrolling in your first course, you will receive a professional-level copy of Accordance Bible Software customized for your studies at Columbia Biblical Seminary. You may keep this this software upon graduation.


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