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What a Doctoral / PhD Christian Counseling Degree Program Looks Like

PhD / Doctoral programs require a prior Masters Degree from an accredited institution before acceptance. Some institutions require that the Masters degree be in Christian Counseling, or a closely related field

There are several different degree designations, including but not limited to:

  • PhD in Pastoral Counseling
  • PhD in Clinical Christian Counseling
  • PhD in Clinical Pastoral Counseling
  • Doctor of Christian Counseling
  • Doctor of Pastoral Counseling

If you research the curriculum for programs at different seminaries, you will find a wide range of courses available for the field of study.

The typical minimum credit hour requirement is 60. Some programs allow students credit for appropriate courses from other schools

Generally, they can be grouped into six main areas. Typical courses in each area might include (but not include all of) the following:

General Education Courses (Some programs do not require these for Doctoral students)

  • Communication
  • Critical Thinking
  • Theology
  • New testament surveys
  • Old testament surveys
  • Christian Life and Thought
  • Evangelism
  • Elements of Christian Life
  • Interpreting the Bible

Basic Christian Counseling Courses (Required)

  • General psychology/nature of man
  • Introduction to Christian Counseling
  • Systems and practices
  • Christian Counseling for
    • Marriage & Families
    • Children
    • Men/Women

Specialty Christian Counseling Courses (Students choose)

  • Addictions
  • Group Counseling
  • Crisis / Trauma Counseling
  • Counseling the Codependent
  • Sexual Disorders
  • Dealing with Fear
  • Dealing with Anger
  • Counseling for Trauma/Abuse
  • Grief Counseling
  • Counseling the Depressed
  • Eating Disorders

Integrative Practicum Requirements

  • Clinical Supervisor assigned
  • Preparing reports/papers

Thesis Requirements

  •  There is almost always a thesis requirement, which may include the incorporation of practicum assignments.


  • Some schools require that the student deliver a dissertation of their thesis before an approval board.