Master of Pastoral Counseling (M.P.C.)


The M.P.C. degree is designed for the practicing ministry professional working in the various fields of counseling.  Such fields would include school, parish, healthcare and counseling institutions. The curriculum for this degree program provides the opportunity for coursework to be taken by online learning through the GTF or to be transferred from approved educational institutions.  The coursework for this degree program culminates in the Master’s Project focusing on practical application in the student’s place of professional employment. There is a great need in the religious community for leadership and professional oversight. In the faith communities of today, there exists a unique opportunity for the professionally trained counselor to affect the life of the church and society.  Students will benefit from pursuing the Master of Pastoral Counseling who are seeking to elevate their status within the profession, rather than seeking to obtain licensure or certification.  Individuals must comply with the licensure and/or board certification requirements of the state in which they intend to be engaged in professional counseling.
This degree is a 30 credit program that may be completed in no less than eighteen months and no more than three years. 
  • 24 credits (8 courses)
  • 6 credits (Exit Project)
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Admission Requirements

  1. Baccalaureate degree or equivalent validated by a transcript.
  2. Five years of accumulated experience in a cognate field of ministry (lay, religious, ordained).
  3. Completion of the Application Procedure.
Program Requirements 
  1. Students are expected to thoroughly familiarize themselves with the Student Handbook of the year of their acceptance with particular focus on their particular degree program.  Students are bound by the academic and financial requirements of the Handbook in use at the time of their acceptance.  The current Student Handbook as well as past years’ Handbooks can be viewed here. 
  2. Completion of eight Units of Study: 4 required from the Graduate Theological Foundation and 4 taken from the GTF or other approved educational institutions.
  3. Completion of the non-credit course, Research Methodology. This course is a prerequisite to beginning the master’s project.
  4. Completion of the M.P.C. project and submission of one electronic or hard copy including the Project Consultant’s evaluation forms. 

All academic requirements must be met by March 1 of the intended year of graduation.

All financial requirements must be met by April 1 of the intended year of graduation.

Study Options

This program requires the completion of eight Units of Study. A Unit of Study is defined as 40 contact hours of instruction and is equivalent to a 3-credit graduate-level course, one Unit of Clinical Pastoral Education, or 4 Continuing Education Units.
Units of Study may be completed through the GTF, from other approved venues, or by using transfer credit.
The Study Options button on the GTF’s website under the heading Academics lists the course offerings of the GTF and provides information about the various methods of earning Units of Study for your degree.
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Research Methodology
Research Methodology is a required course for all students. The Research Methodology course requirement is explained here.  
Transfer Credit
Any student wishing to have previously completed academic work evaluated for possible transfer credit or wishing to complete coursework through a venue other than the Graduate Theological Foundation for use as transfer credit toward a degree, must contact the Office of the Registrar for approval. Students may use transfer credit to fulfill a maximum 50% of their Unit of Study requirements for this degree program.  Accepted transfer credit has the potential to decrease the total tuition paid by the student. Requests for acceptance of transfer credit are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. GTF transfer credit policy allows for a $600 tuition reduction per Unit of Study (3 graduate credits) fulfilled by transfer credit.

Selection of Faculty Consultant and Nomination Procedure 

Students select a GTF faculty member to serve as Project Consultant. This enables the student to receive helpful and pragmatic evaluative feedback from a member of the faculty in the developmental process of producing the Exit Project. The role of the faculty Project Consultant is responsive and suggestive rather than “supervisory” as is the case with academic thesis writing. The faculty person is encouraged to limit feedback to pragmatically helpful hints and suggestions and not to attempt any censorship of the project. The exercise of discretion with respect to time demands is very important for both the student and faculty member. The faculty Project Consultant must give final approval of the student’s work by submitting the Project Consultant’s Report Form.  
  • The student peruses the Faculty Details page and makes a selection.
  • The student completes the Faculty Project Consultant Nomination Form (Forms).
  • Academic Affairs provides the nominated faculty member with the Faculty Project Consultant Nomination Form.
  • The selected faculty member notifies Academic Affairs of acceptance of student nomination.
  • Academic Affairs informs the student and faculty member of relationship approval and contact information is provided. 
Master’s Project
The master’s project is a praxis-oriented work that addresses some topic, issue, or problem in the student’s field of study. Projects which address a practical problem or issue being confronted in the workplace or faith community are particularly encouraged. The master’s project can be expressed in a variety of forms, including a traditional thesis-style document, a workbook or training manual, a program curriculum, or it may include multimedia components. The master’s project in its final form must be 25,000-30,000 words in length, double-spaced, with 12-point Times New Roman (or comparable) font, and must have a table of contents as well as a bibliography of a minimum of 20 sources. It is also strongly recommended to have annotations for the 10-12 most important sources for the project.
When the project in its final form has been reviewed and approved by the student’s Project Consultant, it must be submitted to the GTF for final review. One copy of the master’s project must be submitted electronically to the Office of the Registrar, by March 1 of the intended year of graduation.
Professional Associations in Counseling and Pastoral Care
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