Academics ma counseling California Header Image

MA in Counseling (California)

MA in Counseling (California)

The Master of Arts in Counseling: Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling specialization is a professional graduate degree that equips counselors to offer concern and care for the whole person. It prepares you to excel in counseling in private practice, church, agency, or school settings. As with most counseling degrees, this program offers skill-based coursework and practicum experience. You will be required to complete a minimum of 30 hours of personal counseling as part of your preparation for counseling others.

Since this program is offered at a seminary, it provides foundational biblical and theological studies in order to assist students as they integrate a Christian worldview with their counseling preparation. This curriculum satisfies the requirements to apply with the Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) to register as an Associate Professional Clinical Counselor and later sit for the exam to become a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC). It also allows you to register as an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist in the State of California and later sit for the exam to become a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT).

Find median pay rates and employability outlook for counselors at the Bureau of Labor Statistics.



Reduce This!



Graduate in as few as two years and 8 months



10 credits are available as online courses


San Jose

Request InfoVisitApply

San Jose Counseling DepartmentSacramento Counseling Department


A Counseling Program of Distinction*

  • BBS Approved since 1992
  • Approved for California licensure as an LMFT and/or an LPCC
  • Integrates a biblical worldview with current counseling theory and technique
  • Instruction from a seasoned faculty who average over 16 years of practice and 10 years teaching
  • Enables you to apply what you're learning in the classroom almost immediately by completing a minimum of 280 hours of face-to-face experience counseling individuals, couples, families, or groups

*An optional 5-8 credit Addiction Studies Certificate allows for specialized training for those interested in working with people with substance abuse and chemical dependency issues. 

Counseling Program Curriculum


Course List

Biblical Studies: 4 credits
BL506 Old Testament Literature for Counselors 2
BL507 New Testament Literature for Counselors 2
Theological Studies: 4 credits
TH506 Theology I for Counselors 2
TH507 Theology II for Counselors 2
Counseling Studies: 63 credits
CN500 Professional Orientation 1
CN501 Clinical Foundations: The Helping Relationship 2
CN502 Psychotherapeutic Systems 3
CN503 Advanced Counseling: Theory and Techniques 3
CN504 Suicide Prevention and Crisis Intervention 1
CN505 Psychopathology 3
CN506 Legal and Ethical Issues in Counseling 3
CN507 Human Life Span Development 3
CN508 Integrative Issues in Counseling 1
CN509 Advanced Integration in Counseling 2
CN510-PDX Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling 3
CN511-CA in place of CN510 Family Systems Therapy 3
CN512-CA in place of CN510 Marriage and Couple Counseling 3
CN513 Multicultural Counseling: Theory and Techniques 3
CN514 Research & Program Evaluation 3
CN515 Testing and Assessment 3
CN517 Physiology and Psychopharmacology 3
CN518 Career Development: Theory and Techniques 3
CN519 Addiction Counseling 3
CN520 Group Counseling 3
CN521 Crisis and Trauma Counseling 3
CN522-CA Child and Adolescent Therapy 1
CN523-CA Human Sexuality 1
CN530 Clinical Counseling Practicum 2
CN531 Clinical Counseling Internship I 3
CN532 Clinical Counseling Internship II 3
CN533 Advanced Clinical Counseling Internship 1
CN5XX Counseling electives (Consult with department advisor) 2 (CA students are required to take CN522 and CN523 and do not take electives)
CN561 Comprehensive Clinical Integration Paper 0
  • Clinical Mental Health Counseling Specialization (Portland Campus) 60 hours counseling studies + 4 hours biblical studies + 4 hours theological studies. 
  • Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling Specialization (Sacramento and San Jose Locations) 63 hours counseling studies + 4 hours biblical studies + 4 hours theological studies.

Accessible Scheduling

You can complete the MA in Counseling degree in two years and eight months' time by enrolling in mid-week evening and weekend courses at our San Jose location. Alternatively, you can take up to 10 credits of online courses through the Western Global. This flexible schedule allows you to minimize travel time and maintain your family, church, and work commitments. 

Counseling Education That Keeps Debt Down

We encourage wise financial stewardship as you pay for school. It might surprise you to learn that a minority of our students utilize loans, with most choosing instead to pay out of pocket, with scholarships, or via a monthly payment plan. Look into your options for financial aid

Admission Requirements

  • A Bachelor's degree from an accredited undergraduate institution
  • A cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • A foundational knowledge of psychology
  • A completed application for admission and all admissions materials, including:

If an applicant does not meet one of these requirements, we invite them to contact an admissions counselor to explore alternative admission options to the MA in Counseling program.

Transformation Stories

Meet our students and alumni, and hear how gospel-centered education is transforming lives and ministries around the world.