The Master of Arts in Marital and Family Therapy/Master of Arts (Biblical and Theological Studies) Dual Degree Program

OFFERED ON THE SACRAMENTO AND SAN JOSE CAMPUSES

Program Objectives & Requirements

The Master of Arts in Marital and Family Therapy/Master of Arts (Biblical and Theological Studies) dual degree program provides scholarly discipline and training for thorough theological/psychological research and integration as well as an academic base suitable for biblical or theological doctoral studies.

The M.A. in Marital and Family Therapy program meets the educational requirements for licensure by the California Board of Behavioral Science. Both dual-track programs prepare individuals for membership in the American Association of Pastoral Counselors.

M.A. (Biblical and Theological Studies) Program Outcomes

In addition to the Seminary's general educational goals, the M.A. (Biblical and Theological Studies) program attempts to achieve specific outcomes:

  • Applies biblical truth to life and ministry based on a thorough understanding of the biblical canon
  • Employs mature theological thinking to evaluate competing ideas, develop a personally integrated and gospel-centered expression of biblical teachings, communicate theological truths clearly, and apply theological truths to life and ministry
  • Understands a broad range of biblical and theological issues, their historical background, and the significance that they have for the life and ministry of God's people
  • Exhibits a Christ-like character worthy of being emulated, and integrity that imparts credibility to his or her ministry
  • Demonstrates self-awareness and a commitment to an ongoing process of personal and spiritual formation that is clearly grounded in the gospel

M.A. in Marital and Family Therapy Program Outcomes

In addition to the Seminary’s general educational goals, the M.A. in Marital and Family Therapy program attempts to achieve specific outcomes. For each student, these outcomes are:

  • Equip counselors for clinical mental health counseling positions and for counseling ministry in church and parachurch settings.
  • Integrate biblical and theological foundations with the insights of counseling theory and the use of counseling interventions.
  • Promote growth in Christian maturity in students, demonstrated through effective interpersonal relationships.
  • Prepare individuals for state licensure and professional practice as Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists and/or Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors.

M.A.-MFT Program Description

The M.A.-MFT program leads to a professional degree designed to equip future counselors with the knowledge and skills needed to offer care for the individuals, couples, and families that seek their services. This program prepares students to excel in a wide variety of settings including private practice, agencies, hospitals, churches, parachurch organizations, and schools. As with most counseling programs, the M.A.-MFT program offers skill-based coursework and practical experience.

Compared to other programs, the M.A.-MFT program offers Christians an opportunity to enrich their faith by taking Bible and theology courses alongside counseling courses, elucidating the integration of theology and counseling. While the curriculum satisfies the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) requirements for Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFT), it also allows the flexibility to obtain licensure as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) in California and other states.

Three major areas of academic study are blended in the M.A.-MFT program: biblical, theological, and therapy/counseling studies. In addition, course work in character development facilitates spiritual and emotional healing and growth.

Program Vocational Purposes

The M.A.-MFT program intends to prepare Christian marriage and family therapists and/or professional clinical counselors with the knowledge, skills, and insights needed to practice therapy in non-profit organizations or mental health clinical settings, residential and outpatient treatment programs, hospitals, counseling centers, churches, or parachurch ministries.

The M.A.-MFT/M.A. (Biblical and Theological Studies) dual degree track provides scholarly discipline and training for thorough theological/psychological research and integration as well as an academic base suitable for biblical or theological doctoral studies.

The M.A.-MFT and Addiction Studies Certificate dual program track qualifies individuals to test for certification under the National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors and its affiliated state organizations (CAADAC).

The M.A.-MFT program meets the educational requirements for licensure by the California Board of Behavioral Science (BBS). All programs prepare individuals for membership in (1) the American Counseling Association, (2) the American Association of Marital and Family Therapists (and its California chapters), (3) the American Association of Christian Counselors, and (4) the American Association of Pastoral Counselors.

Program Structure

Courses are held at convenient times for working adults. The M.A.-MFT program is designed to be completed within three years. Courses have been strategically sequenced to maximize academic achievement, personal growth, and the integration of counseling and theology.

Admission Requirements

In addition to the general requirements for admission to the Seminary, applicants for the M.A. dual degree program are expected to present an accredited baccalaureate degree (or its equivalent) with a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher (on a 4.0 scale), including a breadth of liberal arts. A recommendation from the applicant’s pastor and three personal recommendations regarding the applicant’s Christian character and leadership potential are also required.

Entering M.A.-MFT students are expected to bring a foundational knowledge of psychology. Proficiency in this foundational knowledge will be confirmed through a readiness exam required of all admitted students who intend to pursue a counseling degree. If deficiencies are indicated, remedial work will be required during the first semester of study.

Applications must give evidence of a vital spiritual life, personal character, interpersonal relationships, goals, motivation, and potential for future counseling work. Additional evidence will include growing and nurturing relationships with people, commitment to a biblical/theological orientation to the therapeutic process, and vocational aspirations involving the care and nurture of others

Transfer Credit

Upon approval by the Registrar, transfer of up to 12 counseling credit hours is allowed from a state-approved graduate program in California. Transfer of up to 32 credit hours toward the M.A. (Biblical and Theological Studies) is allowed from graduate institutions accredited by the Association of Theological Schools. Students must have earned a grade of B or better for a course to be considered for transfer and coursework must have been completed no more than five years prior to matriculation to Western Seminary.

Alternatively, students may receive advanced standing of up to 32 credit hours of the M.A. (Biblical and Theological Studies) requirements if they are able to demonstrate current competency in required coursework based on prior study (based on parallel undergraduate work or transfer credit that is ineligible for consideration based on age). Transferability of credits earned at Western and transferred to another institution is at the discretion of the receiving institution. Consult the Registrar's Office for information on eligibility of transfer credit and advanced standing.

Residence Requirements

Of the 114 credit hours required for the M.A. in Marital and Family Therapy and M.A. (Biblical and Theological Studies) combined program, a minimum of 48 Counseling and 32 Biblical and Theological Studies credit hours must be completed through coursework at Western Seminary, with a minimum of 40 Counseling and 20 Biblical and Theological Studies credit hours taken in resident study at Western Seminary's Sacramento or San Jose Campus. The Master of Arts in Marital and Family Therapy and Master of Arts (Biblical and Theological Studies) dual program must be completed within six years from the time of matriculation. Permission to extend the six year statute of limitation must be granted through submission of an academic petition. Reinstatement to the program after withdrawal requires Admissions Committee action and may subject the student to additional requirements for the degree. All credits applied toward the degree requirements must be earned within ten years of the awarding of the degree.

Degree Requirements

The M.A.-MFT degree is conferred upon the attainment of pertinent personal and academic requirements. In addition to the general seminary requirements, degree candidates must (1) give evidence of a genuine Christian character, orthodox belief, and conduct consistent with a God-given call to a position of leadership; (2) complete all courses in the prescribed M.A. curriculum with a minimum grade point average of 3.0; (3) pass the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Exam (CPCE) in preparation for National Certification and California state licensure, and (4) complete 325 hours of clinical experience at an approved site with a qualified supervisor. (These 325 hours include a minimum of 225 hours of face-to-face experience counseling individuals, couples, families and/or groups; 45 hours of clinical supervision; 20 hours of personal therapy with a licensed MFT, LCSW, LPCC, or psychologist - the remaining hours may be client-centered advocacy, workshops, trainings, etc.). The BBS counts practicum hours toward teh 3,000 required for LMFT licensing exams.

In addition to the specific degree requirements noted above, students who intend to apply for the LPCC intern license must complete a minimum of 380 hours of direct, face-to-face client contact hours; 45 hours of clinical supervision; 20 hours of personal therapy with a licensed MFT, LCSW, LPCC, or psychologist; the remaining hours may be client-centered advocacy, workshops, trainings, etc. Although these hours are required during the program the BBS does not count practicum hours toward the 3,000 hours required for the LPCC licensing exams.

Professional Assessment of Candidates (PAC Review)

Western Seminary counseling faculty review each student every six months to insure progress is being made toward a professional identity as a mental health professional. If concerns are indicated, members of the PAC Review committee will meet with the individual student to discuss plans for strengthening their academic and professional candidacy. In rare situations, the committee may advise students to develop other vocational goals. This process is intended to encourage students and support them as they develop as counseling professionals. For a few, this process of monitoring student progress may help prevent unnecessary financial expense preparing for an unsatisfying career.

Course Requirements

Students may complete their studies in as few as ten semesters, with a minimum of 114 credits required as a minimum for graduation. The program is designed around a common core of 32 hours, 60 credit hours of counseling, and 22 credit hours in an elective track.

Master of Arts in Marital and Family Therapy/Master of Arts (Biblical and Theological Studies) Curriculum Plan

Spiritual Formation: 4 credits
SFS502 Practicing Prayer and Other Key Disciplines 2
SFS504 Growing into Ethical Maturity 2
Biblical Studies: 16 credits
Please note: Biblical studies, theological studies, hermeneutics and church history courses may be offered in 4-credit or 2-credit formats, depending on the campus location.
DBS506 -or- Learning to Interpret Scripture 4
DBS506X and Learning to Interpret Scripture, Part 1 2
DBS506Y Learning to Interpret Scripture, Part 2 2
BLS501 -or- Interpreting Genesis to Song of Solomon 4
BLS501X and Interpreting Old Testament I: Genesis to 2 Samuel 2
BLS501Y Interpreting the Old Testament II: 1 Kings to Song of Solomon 2
BLS502 -or- Interpreting the Prophets and Gospel 4
BLS502X and Interpreting Old Testament III: The Prophets 2
BLS502Y Interpreting the New Testament I: Gospels 2
BLS503 -or- Interpreting Acts to Revelation 4
BLS503X and Interpreting the New Testament II: Epistles 1 2
BLS503Y Interpreting the New Testament III: Epistles 2 2
Theological Studies: 16 credits
THS501 -or- Knowing the Triune God: Theology I 4
THS501X and Knowing the Triune God: Theology I, Part 1 2
THS501Y Knowing the Triune God: Theology I, Part 2 2
THS502 -or- Glorifying the God of Our Salvation: Theology II 4
THS502X and Glorifying the God of Our Salvation: Theology II, Part 1 2
THS502Y Glorifying the God of Our Salvation: Theology II, Part 2 2
THS503 Living as the Community of the Spirit: Theology III 2
THS508 Integrating Ministry and Theology 2
Counseling Studies: 60 credits
CNS501 Clinical Foundations: Basic Counseling Skills/Interventions 2
CNS502 Psychological Theory & Techniques 3
CNS503 Family Systems Therapy 3
CNS504 Psychotherapeutic Systems 2
CNS505 Psychopathology 3
CNS506 Legal and Ethical Issues 2
CNS507 Human Life Span Development 3
CNS508 Introduction to Integrative Issues 2
CNS509 Advanced Integration 2
CNS510 Spiritual Development and Assessment 2
CNS512 Group Counseling 3
CNS513 Social and Cultural Foundations 2
CNS516 Marriage Counseling 3
CNS517 Child and Adolescent Therapy 2
CNS518 Career and Lifestyle Development 1
CNS523 Human Sexuality 2
CNS524 Research in Counseling & Family Studies 2
CNS525 Tests and Measurements
CNS526 -or- Psychopharmacology (Sacramento students only) 2
CNS527 Physiology, Pharmacology, and Addiction (San Jose students only) 2
CNS529 Counseling Addictions 2
CNS530 Counseling Practicum I 2
CNS531 Counseling Practicum II 2
CNS532 Counseling Practicum III 2
CNS544 Counseling Violence and Abuse Issues 3
CNS553 Human Services 2
CNS559 Emergency Preparedness: Crisis Management 2

Specialization or Track: 22 credits (select one)

Exegetical Track
Biblical Language studies: 18 credits
NTS508 Introducing Foundation for Greek Exegesis 3
NTS509 Greek Reading and Syntax 3
NTS515 Principles of Exegesis 2
OTS508 Introducing Foundation for Hebrew Exegesis 3
OTS509 Hebrew Reading and Syntax 3
OTS515 Principles of Exegesis 2
NTS5XX -or- Greek Exegesis Elective 2
OTS5XX Hebrew Exegesis Elective 2
Please note: NTS/OTS515, NTS5XX, and OTS5XX have not yet been produced in an online format nor are they regularly scheduled on all campuses. Online Campus students may request to join these classes via web conference or may take the courses NTS510 Greek Exegesis and OTS510 Hebrew Exegesis as an alternative way to complete the language requirements.
Restricted electives: 4 credits
Students complete four credits of restricted electives from BLS, NTS, OTS, CHS, or THS prefixes chosen in consultation with their advisor.
Theological Track
Theological Studies: 4 credits
Students complete either CHS505, CHS505X and505Y, or CHS506 and a CHS elective.
CHS505 -or- Wisdom from Church History 4
CHS505X and Wisdom from Church History, Part 1 2
CHS505Y-or- Wisdom from Church History, Part 2 2
CHS506 and Insight and Inspiration from Church History 2
CHS5XX Church History elective 2
Restricted Electives: 18 credits
With advisor's consent, select courses from BLS, NTS, OTS, CHS, or THS prefixes. Students are encouraged to consider using part of these electives for study in the biblical languages. Students may request permission from the program director to write a thesis as part of their electives.

2016-2017 Academic Catalog