Applicants for a master's degree in either pastoral counseling or spiritual and pastoral care must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. Candidates with a college degree and a GPA that is less than 3.000 may be admitted on a probationary status. Candidates are evaluated more in terms of their overall readiness to take advantage of the learning opportunities of the program and less in terms of specific course preparation.
This program combines a strong didactic core curriculum with an equally strong clinical practicum experience in order to prepare graduates for a career in professional clinical mental health counseling and for an opportunity to seek licensure or certification. The M.S. in Pastoral Counseling requires 66 credits; however, advanced standing for prior graduate-level theology coursework (within 5 years) or waivers for advanced degrees in a theology-based program (D.D., D.Min., M.Div., M.Th., M.T.S., or M.A. in Theology only) may reduce this requirement to 60 or 63 credits. Upon admission, each student's transcripts are reviewed to determine if advanced standing or waivers are possible. Advanced standing is dependent upon the nature of the prior coursework completed, and at a rate of three graduate credits for a three-credit course. Waivers are not available for courses other than PC 608 or PC 665 . All previous coursework considered for advanced standing or waivers must have been successfully completed with a B or better and a GPA of 3.000 or better and meet CACREP standards. The degree also requires completion of a paper which serves to integrate the student's didactic development, counseling experience, theological reflection, and personal growth.
With special permission and consistent with satisfactory academic progress, students may be able to select electives which can be used to specialize or diversify their areas of interest. Finally, the degree requires completion of a paper which serves to integrate the student's didactic development, counseling experience, theological reflection, and personal growth.
The American Association of Pastoral Counselors (AAPC) has certified the M.S. program as an approved training program.
The M.S. degree is accredited by CACREP (Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs) under the clinical mental health counseling standards.
As a result of successfully completing the program, students will be able to:
- demonstrate skillfulness in functioning as counselors in a variety of clinical settings through the ability to elicit essential client data resulting in accurate understanding of client issues, diagnosis, appropriate treatment planning, and the use of at least one theoretical approach to counseling;
- demonstrate the ability to integrate religious, spiritual, and faith issues in their clinical practices and coursework;
- demonstrate maturity and openness to supervision and learning by hearing and incorporating feedback in classes, clinical experiences, and interactions with faculty, students, and supervisors;
- exhibit cultural sensitivity to others in all aspects of the program;
- demonstrate ethical behavior in all areas of the program;
- demonstrate professional identity as counselors, specifically pastoral counselors, as exhibited by participation in professional organizations.
Degree requirements and course offerings are detailed in the following sections. For additional information on a specific degree, please contact the Pastoral Counseling Department.
Academic (42 credits)
PC 650 , PC 670 , PC 674 , PC 675 , PC 676 , PC 678 , PC 726 , and PC 808 must be completed prior to PC 661 . Students must obtain a B or better in PC 675 or may be required to participate in a Professional Assessment Review (PAR) before continuing in the program. Students must have a 3.000 or better prior to beginning PC 661 .
Clinical (12 credits)
Students are to obtain no less than 800 total hours of clinical experience, with no less than 280 being client contact hours. The clinical courses must be taken in sequence, and all clinical work must be completed in compliance with satisfactory academic progress.
Students using their workplace as a clinical placement site, or those who are at a placement site where there is no qualified doctoral supervisor, will be assigned an additional supervisor to avoid any dual relationship. To this end, students must also enroll in an individual supervision course (PC 805 /PC 806 , PC 905 /PC 906 ) for the entire clinical year. These courses involve supervision by a department faculty member.
Students who drop out of clinical then resume may need to wait an entire year before being able to take the next clinical course in sequence. Students who take a clinical leave of absence will be assigned an additional individual supervisor upon returning to the clinical track to ensure clinical support.
Students who are dismissed from a clinical placement site may be required to participate in a Professional Assessment Review (PAR) before resuming clinical internship. The PAR may result in further disciplinary action, including dismissal from the program. Students may also need to wait an entire year before being able to take the next clinical course in sequence.
Theology/Spirituality (6 credits)
These courses must be waived or completed prior to taking PC 700 . Consult the department website for the official course sequence to determine when these courses should be taken.
Integrative (6 credits)
PC 700 is taken during the penultimate semester before graduation, while PC 690 is taken the final semester before graduation.
The M.S. and M.S.-Ph.D. programs of study integrate the coursework required for Maryland state licensure as a professional counselor. While each state has unique licensure requirements, most states require academic coursework similar to that required in the M.S. and M.S.-Ph.D. programs. Some states do require that academic courses and clinical work be taken in a prescribed order; therefore, students are encouraged to become familiar with their anticipated state of residence's licensure and examination requirements.
A pastoral counseling faculty member is assigned to act as the liaison between the Maryland Board of Professional Counselors and the department. Students may request current licensing information from this person. Information about the licensing requirements of other states is available in the pastoral counseling department office. Further, the University is an approved site for the National Counselors Exam (NCE) administered by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC). The NCE is required for Maryland state licensure. However, other states and the District of Columbia may require different examinations and/or academic requirements. Loyola offers the NCE twice a year, prior to a student's graduation from the program of study.