Master of Arts
Master of Arts in Pastoral Care and Counseling
The Master of Arts degree is a rigorous program for students who wish to enrich their ministry, but whose work does not require full pastoral training. It is also ideal for those who have already completed the M.Div. degree and desire further in-depth theological study. The Master of Arts program also provides excellent preparation for pursuing a Ph.D. program in a theological discipline or other related field in the humanities.
The M.A. concentration in Pastoral Care and Counseling can serve as an excellent path of study for those who support the life of the congregation, desire a career in pastoral counseling in a non-profit agency, or who envision chaplaincy – in fields such as health care, corrections, community or the military – as an expression of their call to ministry.
|Credits||Duration||Format||Campus||Time||Prior Degree||Application Deadline|
|48||2 Years (FT)
3-5 Years (PT)
|Residential & Hybrid (online)||NY & NJ||Day & Evening
|Bachelor’s||45 Days prior to term start|
Pastoral Care and Counseling – 27 credits
Bible, Theology & Ethics – 9 credits
Interdisciplinary Integrative – 3 credits
Thesis or Final Project & Electives – 9 credits
The mission of the Master of Arts in Pastoral Care and Counseling/Pastoral Theology is to prepare pastoral leaders for effective ministry broadly defined that is theologically informed, compassionately practiced, and holistically employed in the field of Pastoral Care and Counseling/Pastoral Theology. This program of study is intended for:
- persons who are ordained ministers in churches that do not require the M.Div. degree who wish to pursue theological study for the enrichment of their ministry;
- persons in non-church-related vocations (e.g., secondary school teacher, counselor, writer) for whom graduate study in the humanities may be particularly helpful or enriching;
- persons who, for reasons of professional specialization, wish to combine a professional degree (e.g., the Master of Library Science or the Master of Social Work) with a theological degree;
- persons who have already completed the M.Div. degree but desire further in-depth theological study in Pastoral Care and Counseling/Pastoral Theology;
- persons who, with or without a M.Div. degree, wish to prepare to enter a Ph.D. program in the theological discipline of Pastoral Care and Counseling/Pastoral Theology, or in some other related field within the humanities
Overall, the M.A. concentration in Pastoral Care and Counseling can serve as an excellent path of study for person who 1) work in a supportive role within the life of the congregation, 2) who desire a career in pastoral counseling in a non-profit community agency, or 3) who envision chaplaincy (health care, corrections, military, or community) as an expression of their call to ministry.
The application deadline for a term is two months before the first day of classes. Applications received after the deadline will be considered for admission in the following semester.
Each applicant must:
- Hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution with an academic record indicating scholarly ability and academic achievement, including an undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 or higher (4.0 scale).
- Official transcript(s) of all undergraduate and graduate work pursued to date are required*;
- Complete the application form with $50 non- refundable application fee
- Submit background check form and $25 processing fee
- Complete a statement of purpose following the instructions on the application.
- Two letters of recommendation.
- Provide Photo ID (state issued drivers license, state identification card, or Passport) to verify identity.
In addition to the admissions procedures mentioned, applicants who seek to enter the US to pursue a degree program at NBTS must:
- Submit transcripts of undergraduate degree programs*, letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose written in English;
- Demonstrate their proficiency in English (see English Proficiency Requirements);
- Apply to the US Government for an F-1 non-immigrant student entry visa.
*The Admissions Committee requires that all transcripts that originate from an institution outside the United States or Canada be sent to a professional transcript service for a course-by-course evaluation.
For any other questions involving international student admission please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
See information on transferring credits from other institutions here.
- A $50.00 non-refundable application fee and a $25.00 non-refundable background check fee;
- $25.00 non-refundable background check fee, and submit a completed background check release form; for more information click here
- Once admitted, pay a $250.00 admissions deposit at least 30 days prior to the beginning of the new term to indicate acceptance of admission. This deposit is applied to the student’s first term tuition. New students are required to complete their registration two weeks before the first day of classes for the term. Registration after that date will be subject to a $100.00 late fee.
The M.A. in Pastoral Care and Counseling degree requires the completion of forty-eight (48) course credits with a grade point average of 3.0 or higher. Within this total of 48 credits, there are specific course requirements for the concentration.
The student must be “in residence” for at least 24 credits of her or his coursework toward the M.A. degree. In other words, 21 credits plus the thesis/project requirement must be taken in NBTS courses. Students who have received the maximum of 24 credits of transfer credit may reasonably expect to be able to complete the degree in one year of full-time study. In the event that limitations in course offerings within that academic year make it difficult for the student to fulfill the residence requirement of 21 NBTS credits (see previous information) and still meet her or his concentration requirements, faculty in the field will arrange independent-study work with the student as necessary. In any case, it is not intended that the residence requirement be waived.
STUDENTS AT THE NEW YORK CAMPUS
Students are welcome to enroll for the Master of Arts program at the New York campus. Students, especially those who have been granted substantial advanced standing/transfer credit, may find it necessary to take one or more courses at the New Brunswick campus in order to fulfill their concentration requirements without falling below the residence requirement.
Learn more about the concentrations in the Master of Arts’ program here.
*Official transcript(s) of all undergraduate and graduate work pursued to date are required. Applicants completing undergraduate study are accepted on the basis of a partial transcript, but a transcript showing a baccalaureate degree must be provided prior to matriculation.
Below is a guide for the distribution of credits for the M.A. in Pastoral Care and Counseling
|Distribution of Credits|
|Introduction to Pastoral Care and Counseling||3|
|Clinical Pastoral Education (1 unit)||6|
|Pastoral Care Electives
(courses prefixed PC)
|Research Methods in Pastoral Care||3|
|Christian Ethics and Social Justice||3|
|Theological Studies & Biblical Studies
(courses prefixed BS, BH, BT, CA, CH,
NT, OT, TH)
|Thesis: PC598 & 599 M.A. Thesis OR||6|
|Project: PC592 M.A. Project||3|
3 credits for thesis
6 credits for project
Thesis or Final Project:
In the final year of study, the student shall elect either to complete a thesis for which six (6) academic credits will be awarded, or to enroll in a three (3) credit independent study course with a faculty member in the field, which will culminate in a research project in which the student studies some aspect of pastoral care, develops a project for providing pastoral care that grows out of the student’s study and research, and then provides critical reflection on the outcome of the project.
The student is encouraged to take three (3) credits of graduate-level courses at Rutgers University or St. John’s University in fields ancillary to pastoral care, especially when it is viewed that a certain course will add depth to the student’s understanding of the pastoral care and counseling issue.