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The M.A. in Biblical Counseling (MABC) is a 34-credit-hour graduate degree program, designed to allow students to pursue and receive in-depth training in biblical counseling.
The Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling (MABC) offers both an on-campus and online version of the program. The on-campus version is called our residential track and the online version is called our distance track.
Here are a few important details regarding these two program tracks:
Both tracks have the same curriculum and program length (2–6 years), but they may vary in cost (see tuition).
The track students sign up for in their application, residential or distance, is the track they are expected to follow throughout their time in the program. If students want or need to switch tracks in the middle of the program, they need to obtain written consent from the Graduate Biblical Counseling department before a change can officially be made.
Find out which program format best suits you…
The residential track is for students who live near our campus.
Students will take classes using a hybrid format, meaning that some of their classes will be taken in-person, while others will be taken online, depending on what format each class is offered in. In-person classes are two hours long each week and meet one night of the week, Monday through Thursday, at either 5:30pm or 7:30pm PST. Homework will be submitted online each week. Online classes are offered with pre-recorded lectures to watch and homework due online each week.
It is best for residential students to take classes each fall and spring semester to make the most of their time in the program.
Although residential students can start any semester (fall, spring, or summer), it is best to start in a fall semester, because key foundational classes are usually only offered in the fall, rather than the spring semester. If you are an international student planning to attend classes in-person on an F-1 student visa, you must start the program on a fall semester. You will not be able to start classes on a spring or summer semester.
The distance track is for students who live far away from our campus.
Distance students can take classes online year-round and do not need to come to campus at all. Online classes are offered each semester (fall, spring, or summer) with either pre-recorded lectures to watch or a live Zoom classroom to join each week. Live Zoom classrooms are called synchronous classes, and they are two hours long each week and meet one night of the week, Monday through Thursday, at either 5:30pm or 7:30pm PST. Homework is due online each week as well. Distance students are also welcome, but not required, to take advantage of in-person classes in the summer that last 1-2 weeks in July (see Summer Intensive Program for more information). In-person summer classes are entirely optional, but always encouraged due to the immeasurable value of learning and fellowship that can only take place in-person.
Distance students can take classes any semester (fall, spring, or summer). Any fall or spring semester distance students do not take a class, they will need to pay a $50 continuing education fee to maintain their active status in the program. Summer semesters are also open for distance students to take classes, but not mandatory (see Summer Intensive Program for more information).
Distance students can start any semester (fall, spring, or summer). Taking most, if not all, courses online affords students the freedom to start any semester they would like.
The Summer Intensive Program (SIP) is a special way students can take classes on-campus in a condensed format over the summer. The SIP program is particularly geared toward distance students, who cannot take classes in-person during a typical fall or spring semester, but would like to receive some measure of in-person instruction during the program. SIP is an optional, non-mandatory format for either residential or distance students when taking classes over the summer.
Unlike a traditional fall or spring semester where on-campus lectures for each class take place one night each week, the SIP format condenses on-campus class lectures into one week for each class, which take place either the 2nd or 3rd week of July, depending on which week the class is offered. Classes during that two-week time frame are offered in the morning or afternoon, Monday through Friday, each week. A student, therefore, can take up to four on-campus classes over the course of those two weeks. Due to the intensive nature of the lecture component, students must attend every lecture, and missing one lecture could result in students not passing the class and being be required to retake it. Assignments for each class will be due throughout the duration of the summer from May to August for a period of 16 weeks, like a traditional semester.
There is housing available for students coming in from out of town to stay and take class for one or both of those weeks in July. For more information about housing, click here.
If you are an international student planning to attend SIP classes in-person, you will need to be granted an F-1 student visa before you come on-campus. See STEPS 7-9 of the Admissions Process to apply for one.
The program can be completed in as quickly as 2 years, if circumstances allow for it, and must be completed in no more than 6 years. The length of time a student takes to complete it may depend on a number of factors…
We have found that students use on average 8 hours of work per class each week, including any time spent sitting in or watching class lectures. So if you decide to take a full-time load of 4 classes, you can expect to spend on average 32 hours of work for our program each week. Keep this in mind as you consider how our program will affect the other responsibilities you have in your life.
Our program is designed in such a way that the material builds on itself over time. While some classes can be taken in a different order, some cannot. Check our courses to see what prerequisites are needed for each course.
Not all classes are offered every semester. Check the Course Schedule each semester to see what is being offered and what is not.
There may be some classes that are only offered in-person on days or at times when you are otherwise preoccupied. Check the Course Schedule each semester to see what what days and times each in-person class is offered.
Due to factors like these and others, students usually finish the program in 3-4 years. For more information about the factors involved in completing the MABC, see our Policies page.
An MABC degree is awarded to students who successfully fulfill the requirements of 16 required courses and 1 elective course (17 classes in total, 34 units).
The student will take one additional elective course (2 credit hours), related to his or her specific research or counseling methodology interests. Elective class offerings vary from semester to semester. For a list of some of the elective classes we have offered, please consult our Courses page.
*Every student graduating from the MABC program will have completed all requirements for certification with the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC), by nature of those requirements seamlessly woven into the curriculum of required courses.
Since our M.A. in Biblical Counseling is a master level degree, thesis level research is required to graduate. However, students are not required to write a full thesis in the program. Instead, each student will be required to develop a 20-to-30-page thesis research outline as a capstone project. The outline, instead of a full-length thesis, is meant to provide students with a ready-to-go resource which they can then use as teaching material in a ministry context.
Once the thesis outline is created, students will give a defense of their research before a panel. Residential students will be required to give their defense before a panel of select instructors and advisers on the university’s campus the day before graduation. Distance students are welcome to give their defense at the university as well, but are not required to, if they cannot come to graduation in-person. If that is the case, distance students must in its place arrange for a panel of trusted pastors, elders, and/or leaders in their church to serve on a panel before which students will present their defense and receive feedback. The symposium is a way for to highlight student projects and allow others to benefit from the students’ efforts in research.
If allowed, students are also able to write a 120-page thesis composition based on the thesis research project. This additional course can either serve as a student’s one required elective or be an additional course added to the 34-unit program. Students must receive advisor approval prior to enrolling in the thesis composition course. Students may be advised to complete the thesis research course first and upon successful completion may then be approved to continue developing their work into a thesis composition. Most students in our program choose not to write a thesis.
Auditing a class means sitting in on a class for the purpose of benefitting from the lecture material without taking the class for credit. For those who are interested in auditing classes, please review which situation best applies to you…
Non-MABC students are welcome to audit classes in our program without any undergraduate or graduate level education or familiarity with biblical counseling. Non-MABC students are allowed to audit up to 3 classes in the program, after which they must apply to take classes for credit to continue benefitting from our program. The cost of each course for non-MABC students is $300/class.
Current MABC students are also welcome to audit classes while they are also taking classes for credit in the program. MABC students are allowed to audit up to 3 classes in the program, after which they must take the rest of their classes for credit to continue benefitting from our program. The cost of each course for MABC students is $300/class.
MABC alumni are welcome to audit classes at any time after they’ve completed the program. There is no limit to the number of classes an MABC alumnus can audit. The cost for each course for MABC alumni is $150/class.
If you are interested in auditing classes, you will need to apply and be admitted as an audit student before you can begin sitting in on any classes. See the follow directions for how to apply as an audit student..
Once you become an audit student, please keep in mind the following policies or abide by the following guidelines…
You are welcome to do any of the homework or coursework the course offers, but please know that any work you choose to complete will not count for any course credit. Any coursework completed may also not be able to be applied to a future course, should you take it for credit.
Please reserve as many questions as possible you have for the professor(s) until after class, so that our other students taking the class for credit can take advantage of the time that they paid for.
If you are auditing classes over the summer during our Summer Intensive Program, please know that you are welcome to take advantage of the meal and housing opportunity we offer the rest of our students. Please contact our Graduate Biblical Counseling office if you are interested in this option. When you do so, please let us know that you are an audit student looking for a spot.
The Graduate Studies in Biblical Counseling department reserves the right to remove you from any audited class if you, the audit student, are not following the guidelines stated above or stop holding to TMU’s doctrinal statement or Standards of Conduct.
Please contact us if you have any questions about the M.A. in Biblical Counseling program.