The Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling (MABC) and Master of Arts in Biblical Studies (MABS) degree programs are uniquely structured to accommodate the busy schedules and life commitments of a mature graduate student. The program is designed to give students maximum flexibility in progressing through the degree while also strategically offering instruction in the format best suited for effective educational training--serving both distance and residential-local students.
We solve the typical challenges of mature graduate students through three primary methods: intensive-modular courses, online-correspondence courses, and/or evening courses. With these available formats, the entire degree may be earned without relocating to Southern California, although residential local students may experience additional mentoring because of their proximity to campus and additional ministry connections with the faculty. Through these accommodations, students from all corners of the world have successfully completed an MABC or MABS graduate program with us without giving up ministry positions/involvement or neglecting their biblical obligations.
Our academic calendar runs on three year-around terms: summer (early May - late August), fall (late August - mid-December), and spring (mid-January - early May). While we offer courses in each of these terms, traditional residential courses are scheduled only in the fall and spring terms, and intensive-modular courses are scheduled only in the summer term. Online-correspondence courses are offered each term, but with varying cycles of course offering. Our year-around course offerings allow students to easily manage their pace through the degree--speeding up with heavier registrations, or slowing down by limiting their registrations each term to 1 - 2 courses. Students are also permitted two terms of excused absence to allow for seasonal breaks.
We work with two types of students: the residential-local student who desires a purely residential path through the degree, and a distance student who either is hindered from relocating to Southern California for residential studies or needs the flexibility of education facilitated largely away from campus. Residential-local students, because of their proximity to campus, may pursue a mixture of both distance and residential course platforms.
The residential platform is designed to serve residents of the greater Los Angeles area or others who are able to move to the area. Residential students enjoy the fellowship and invigorating atmosphere of living in community with a vibrant student body and optimal access to faculty. Because they live locally, they may take advantage of traditional courses that meet weekly throughout a semester long schedule.
Fall and spring traditional courses are scheduled to meet once per week in an evening slot over a traditional 15-16 week period. These classes are held on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday evenings, with two scheduling slots per evening. This means that the class meeting for two classes are held Mondays - Thursdays: 5:30-7:20 or 7:30-9:20. A student taking 2 classes in a term (i.e., a part-time student) might only be on-campus one evening a week, and taking 4 classes (i.e., a full-time student)--two evenings a week.
We have found that our evening course scheduling aids students to secure best employment, or to continue to work in their present occupations and ministries while completing the degree program.
Because residential students have the greatest access to campus, they are also welcome to take courses in formats typically pursued by distance students (intensive-modular or online-correspondence courses) at their discretion.
We believe in residential (classroom and community based) instruction as the best medium for academic training and safeguard for educational quality, in which the student is face to face with his instructor and fellow students. For this reason, our distance approach to the program still involves a commitment to time on campus. Distance students are required to take a minimum of three trips to campus in order to engage the classroom lecture and activity of those courses for which a classroom component is deemed necessary. These trips are primarily for modular classroom lectures as part of our summer intensive courses.
A distance student will take on-campus courses in the summer term by also attending lectures during the summer intensive session (one or two weeks in July). Then, the distance student will pursue his non-campus courses during the fall and spring terms through online-correspondence, or travel-study courses.
Intensive-modular courses also operate with a 15-16 week schedule (known as our "Summer Intensive Program" or "SIP"). These courses are only offered in the summer term. The difference for these courses is that the lecture portion of the course--traditionally held once a week throughout the term--is condensed to a single intensive week. The student spends the first two months of the term (May - June) completing assigned reading and writing text analyses in preparation for the lecture week (final weeks in July). Then in the final month (August) of the term, the student will complete assigned research papers or term projects and a final exam. This means that assigned coursework surrounds the intensive lecture week--the pre-session assignments focusing on lecture preparation, and the post-session assignments focusing on lecture response.
Because the intensive-modular courses form both the foundation and anchor for the entire distance learning experience, we require distance students to start the program in a summer term (with exceptions made on a case-by-case basis).
The MABC and MABS programs are designed to be completed in 2 or 2 1/2 years respectively. Most students complete their studies in 2 - 4 years; all students must complete their studies within 6 years of enrollment.
The program length for distance students is largely dependent on the number of courses they take in the summer term. Because the MABC has 8 required summer intensive courses, and the MABS has 12 required summer intensive courses, the way a student divides up these courses over the summers--in which 4 courses can be accomplished in a given summer--is determinative for his program length. A full-time approach (i.e., taking 4 courses in a term) will have the MABC completing his degree in 2 years, and a MABS student in 2 1/2 years.
Distance students are always welcome to slow their pace--taking 2 courses instead of 4 courses for example. This flexibility of registration allows each student to personalize his pace through the degree to maintain important personal obligations outside of studies.
A full-time students is considered to be one who take 8 credits (typically 4 classes) in a term. A part-time student takes at least 4 credits (typically 2 classes) in a term. And a less-than-part-time student takes less that 4 credits (typically 1 class) in a term. Students are permitted to take two excused terms of absence and still obtain active student status. For purposes of financial aid, a student should plan to be at least a part-time student.
Corresponding to the three terms of the Graduate Studies academic calendar, there are three windows of course registration: March 1 to term start for the summer term, July 1 to term start for the fall term, and November 1 to term start for the spring term. Students are encouraged to seek advising from their academic advisor prior to each registration window. Registration is pursued through a simple add-to-cart online process.
In order to facilitate research from off campus locations, the college library provides remote access to many of The Master's College's online databases. This access allows the student to search the available databases from any computer off campus that has an Internet connection. Currently, The Master's College has over 20 databases available with remote access. Students are welcome to contact the library directly if they need help with their research needs.
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