Skip to main content
In this Section

Counseling (MA)

The Master of Arts in Counseling is a 60-69-credit hour program offered through the School of Human Services at our Spring Arbor, Michigan campus and at several learning sites across the state. The counseling program provides comprehensive academic instruction and clinical experience for students who are interested in understanding and helping others in a counseling setting.

The curriculum focuses on key areas of the counseling profession such as ethics, counseling theory and techniques, multiculturalism, interpersonal skills and more. The program has two tracks: clinical mental health counseling and school counseling. The core curriculum includes a 100-hour practicum and a 600-hour internship for both tracks. The courses are taught from a Christian perspective.

The Master of Arts in Counseling program is designed to be completed by a cohort group that begins and ends coursework together. This group format is intended to facilitate learning and provide support for all members of the group.

The Master of Arts in Counseling Mission Statement

The mission of the Master of Arts in Counseling program is to prepare graduate-level, professional counselors who are committed to excellence in community service. The counseling program provides a liberal arts education based on a Christian perspective that promotes respect for the diversity of each person as uniquely created by God. A balanced development of the individual’s spiritual, mental, physical and social/emotional needs is encouraged based on the example of Jesus Christ, the Master Counselor.

Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Within the state of Michigan, a license is required to work in any facility as a professional counselor. Counseling in a K-12 school requires a school counseling license from the Michigan Department of Education.

Following completion of the Master of Arts in Counseling degree, students apply to the state of Michigan to become a Limited Licensed Professional Counselor (LLPC). During this provisional licensure time period, the LLPC works under the direct supervision of a fully licensed professional counselor (LPC) who has been trained in supervision to complete the required 3,000 post-degree hours.

Students may take the National Counseling Exam (NCE) through SAU in April (just prior to graduation) or October (after graduation). When the 3,000 supervised hours have been completed and the counseling exam has been passed, the LLPC may apply to the state of Michigan for the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC).

NOTE: Students who are considering counseling practice in states other than Michigan are encouraged to contact the State Education Department or Board of Counseling of that state and learn about the requirements for certification and/or licensure. This should be done before enrolling in the Spring Arbor University program.

School Counseling

Students in the school counseling track are required to complete the following school counselor specific courses in addition to the core 60 credit hours:

  • CNS 643 Introduction to Classroom Dynamics (3) (students without a teaching certificate only)
  • CNS 673 Development & Administration of School Counseling Programs (3)
  • CNS 683 Mental Health Within the Schools (3)

School Track students are required to complete their internship in a traditional K-12 school setting during normal school hours of the traditional school year. Because students will receive a K-12 license, they must complete 300 hours in the elementary setting and 300 hours in the secondary setting (or a 400/200 split). The secondary hours may include a maximum of 100 hours in an alternative high school setting.

Following completion of the Master of Arts in Counseling degree, students apply with the Michigan Department of Education for their school counseling license. Students must also pass the Michigan Teacher Test for Certification 051 School Counselor exam before they can become fully licensed as a school counselor.

School counseling track graduates are also eligible to apply to the state of Michigan to become a Limited Licensed Professional Counselor (LLPC) in Michigan. They must follow the same guidelines listed above for Clinical Mental Health track graduates including passing the NCE and completing 3,000 post-degree hours supervised by an LPC before they can apply to the state of Michigan for the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC).

Dual Track

In order to gain a broader range of experiences, students may elect to complete an internship in both a school and a clinical mental health setting. (Both internships must be 600 hours in length to meet CACREP accreditation standards.)  This will lengthen the student’s program by up to a year and will add an additional 6 credit hours to the total number of credit hours earned.

Locations and Start Dates

The master’s in counseling is offered at several extension sites across Michigan.

On-Site Programs

  • Spring 2020
  • 3/31/20


The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), has granted accreditation to the following programs in the Master of Arts in Counseling Department at Spring Arbor University: Clinical Mental Health Counseling, and School Counseling.

CACREP Program Outcomes

Additionally, all degrees offered by Spring Arbor University are accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, 230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500, Chicago, IL 60604

MAC Diversity Statement

The Master of Arts in Counseling Department at Spring Arbor University is strongly committed to diversity. We genuinely encourage applicants from members of historically underrepresented groups of all God’s people, and all who will assist us with achieving and maintaining our mission of a diverse and inclusive community.

Courses and Program Requirements

The 60-69-hour Master of Arts in Counseling degree requires that students develop specific professional skills by taking courses in:

  • Human Growth and Development
  • Social & Cultural Foundations
  • Helping Relationships
  • Group Work
  • Career & Lifestyle Development
  • Appraisal
  • Research & Program Evaluation
  • Professional Orientation & Ethics

To view the program requirements and layout, course descriptions, and to learn more about the Master of Arts in Counseling program at Spring Arbor University, please view the graduate catalog.

Admission Requirements

In addition to submitting the online application, applicants to the master’s in counseling program are required to:

  • Have obtained a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university.
  • Have maintained a cumulative 3.0 GPA for the bachelor’s degree.
  • Obtain an official transcript from all previous institutions attended. All official transcripts must be ordered and sent from the other institution directly to the site at which the student has applied.
  • Provide names of at least two professional or academic persons who will complete recommendation forms.
  • Participate in an interview with MAC Program faculty and/or staff.
  • Complete a personality inventory.
  • Complete an on-site writing assessment, demonstrating proficient computer and writing skills.
  • Complete a Misdemeanor and Felony Disclosure Form at the time of interview.
  • Submit a Statement of Purpose (1-2 pages) detailing the reasons for pursuing this counseling degree, relevant career goals, and the track to which the individual is applying – School Counseling applicants should include relevant experience with school-aged youth (e.g., Scouts, 4-H, youth group).

Application materials should be sent directly to the site to which the applicant intends to enroll.

All individuals applying to Spring Arbor University for the Master of Arts in Counseling must answer questions regarding past or pending misdemeanors or felonies that occurred as an adult or juvenile.

International Students

International students have additional application criteria that must be met. Learn more about application requirements for international students.

Application Deadline

If you are interested in applying to a counseling program beginning this fall, please use the contact form in the sidebar to provide us with your contact information and an admissions representative will get in touch with you. All applications completed before July 1 will be guaranteed review by the admissions committee; those received afterward will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Tuition and Fees

Fees for special materials may be required for some courses. Payment of tuition and fees is due three weeks before classes start. All fees are nonrefundable.

Please note some books in your program should be purchased new because they include CDs or access codes. Check with your student success coordinator or the MAC program for details.

2019-20 Rates

  • Tuition per credit: $605
  • Registration fee (per semester): $40
  • Technology fee (per semester): $53 (part-time)/$105 (full-time)

Tuition rates and fees are subject to change.

For more information, please contact an admissions rep at or call 1.800.968.0011.