Behavioral Sciences

School of Behavioral Sciences

About the Program

Counseling to the Congregation

One of the region's only programs of its kind offered by a university, the Master of Arts in Counseling Ministry at California Baptist University (CBU) prepares individuals to provide an expanded and professional level of Christian counseling in a congregational setting. This unique program emphasizes a solid theological perspective and a sound understanding of the behavioral sciences approach to counseling in the context of church-based counseling. Equipped with this training, graduates are qualified to counsel church members on relational and interpersonal issues, as well as build effective counseling ministry programs within the congregation.  The MA in Counseling Ministry also offers a Professional Ministry concentration as well as a Research Thesis concentration.

The Church as a Holistic Community

A highly innovative program, the MA in Counseling Ministry at CBU is guided by a philosophy that views the congregation as a holistic community. Students who enroll in CBU’s MA in Counseling Ministry are trained to support and promote the health of their congregational communities, as invested members as well as knowledgeable counselors.

Course Requirements and Descriptions

Course Rotations

While developing students’ skills as counselors to their congregations, CBU’s MA in Counseling Ministry is one of the few programs that also formally prepares graduates to establish, direct, coordinate and strengthen counseling ministries that play an increasingly important role in today’s churches.

Professional Ministry Concentration (14 additional units)

Designed for credentialed clergy seeking to provide counseling within congregational communities, the Professional Ministry concentration combines the core courses of the MA in Counseling Ministry with additional Psychology courses.  This concentration expands to clergy who follow a more clinical approach within and beyond the local congregation and must, by means of that public expansion, interact with and collaborate with professional licensed therapists. 

Course Requirements and Descriptions

Suggested Course Rotations

Research Thesis Concentration (12 additional units)

Students choosing the Research Thesis concentration will complete the same core program but will focus on preparing to engage in direct research related to Professional and Ministry Counseling in the congregational context.  The thesis committee chair person will oversee the process of the Thesis from proposal to presentation.  Students selecting this concentration should see the Program Director for details.

Course Requirements and Descriptions

Suggested Course Rotations

Balancing the Spiritual with the Psychological

Graduates come away from the program with a solid foundation in clinical approaches to counseling, supplemented with extensive knowledge of relational counseling in a congregational community setting. The specialized curriculum draws from core marriage and family therapy courses offered in the MS Program and integrates them with corresponding courses in Christian Behavioral Sciences with a focus on church-based counseling.

Through the Christian Behavioral Sciences coursework students gain a strong understanding of relational issues from a theological as well as psychological perspective. In keeping with the university’s spiritual mission, CBU’s MA in Counseling Ministry prepares students to address the whole person — mind, body and soul.

Take the Next Step

To learn more about the MA in Counseling Ministry program you may contact the program director, Dr. Nathan Lewis at nlewis@calbaptist.edu. For information about admission requirements and the application process please contact Graduate Admissions at 951.343.4249 or graduateadmissions@calbaptist.edu. If you’re ready to advance your knowledge and skills in the service of others, start by applying online. We look forward to helping you reach your professional, personal and spiritual goals.