Master of Arts in Pastoral Care & Counseling

The NYTS Master of Arts is Pastoral Care and Counseling (MAPCC) is a 48-credit graduate degree designed to prepare women and men to provide professional pastoral care and counseling and to address the pastoral care and counseling needs of congregations and other communities within a contemporary global urban context.  The degree is designed both for those who are considering and those who are already engaged in some form of pastoral care and counseling ministry.  The curriculum integrates theological learning with psychological training in order to enhance both skill and understanding.

The MAPCC is intended for people who seek to receive in-depth training in order to provide professional pastoral care and counseling to people dealing with the perplexities of life, puzzling or paralyzing circumstances, physical, spiritual or emotional crises, and issues around death and dying.  Students in the program will learn to sharpen their listening skills and integrate theological and biblical reflection with their religious heritage in ways that will enable them to respond more effectively both spiritually and contextually to pastoral situations in a variety of contexts.  Throughout the degree one will find a focus on healing and equipping a community of faith in order to make individuals, congregations, and the wider world a healthier and more wholesome place.

The degree includes foundational work in Bible, history and theology to enable students to develop a deeper understanding of their own historical and theological identity.  Courses in pastoral care seek to address issues of pastoral identity and formation; provide theoretical and practical understanding of the complexity of human development and behavior; and impart the basic skills necessary to address particular situations as well as provide informed professional referrals.  The MAPCC is an excellent degree for those who work in a supportive caring role within the life of the congregation, or who may be contemplating pastoral counseling or chaplaincy as an expression of their call to ministry to begin the journey toward full licensure.  It does not prepare students to engage in long-term or specialized counseling and psychotherapy, and is not licensure-qualifying under Rules and Regulations in New York State.

Students in the MAPCC are required to attend two overnight retreats each year along with those in other master’s degree programs (attendance at the retreats is incorporated into the requirements for Introduction to Theological Education).  They are also invited and encouraged to take part in other various activities organized and led by the Student Association throughout the course of the year.  MAPCC students must complete a year-long practicum in which they will be placed in a supervised field setting under a qualified supervisor that is appropriate for their degree program.  Students are normally not given a stipend from the site where their placement is located.

Classes in the MAPCC are held mostly in the evenings at The Riverside Church, 490 Riverside Drive in New York or online.  Students have access to the library system of Columbia University, which includes the Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary; and the libraries of the New York Public Library System.  All students will be trained in online learning in order to make use of Moodle, the NYTS online learning system.



Admission requirements

The MAPCC is open to women and men who:

  • possess a BA, BS, or equivalent undergraduate degree from an accredited four-year college (applicants holding degrees or diplomas from another country may be required to provide a translated copy and to provide further information to help the admissions committee determine equivalency)
  • demonstrate evidence of an ability to do graduate level study, primarily assessed through the written answers to the application essay questions and through recommendations
  • are able to articulate in a manner that is appropriate to their own experience and faith tradition an understanding of their call to serve in the specialized area of pastoral care and counseling
  • currently belong to a community of faith that recognizes or expects the applicant to exercise his or her calling to pastoral care and counseling; or be willing to work within such a community of faith, exercising her or his calling to pastoral care and counseling


Application, acceptance, and enrollment

NYTS has a rolling application process.  Applications are received at any time during the year and reviewed as soon as possible thereafter, usually within one month.  In order to be considered, the application must be complete, including a photo, the application fee, required essays, transcripts, data sheet, and recommendations.  Following the receipt of a completed application, an interview is scheduled with the Director of Pastoral Care and Counseling Programs or another member of the faculty.

Upon acceptance, a student may enroll for a limited number of classes beginning with the next scheduled semester or intensive period.  Normally students who are accepted into the MAPCC enroll in the first-year sequence of courses along with others in the MDiv and MARE programs that begins in the fall semester with Introduction to Theological Education.  Students who begin the MAPCC program in the winter, spring or summer enter as unclassified and can take elective courses until the fall semester when they matriculate and become part of the first year class.

Students from schools with which NYTS has cross-registration agreements (Union Seminary, General Theological Seminary, and Drew Theological School) may register for any course offered at the Masters level through their own institutions, paying tuition to their home institution and being enrolled as a regular NYTS student for that particular course.  Cross-registered students do not receive an NYTS student identification card and are not expected to attend NYTS student retreats or other such events.

For more information on the MAPCC contact:

Director of Pastoral Care and Counseling Programs
New York Theological Seminary
475 Riverside Drive #500
New York, NY 10115
(212) 870-1211



The curriculum

The MAPCC is a 48-credit degree designed to be completed in a minimum of two years.

Of the 48 credits, 28 are assigned for required courses and 20 are considered electives.  Eight of the 28 required credits are for coursework that is specific to the area of pastoral care and counseling (Introduction to Pastoral Care and Counseling; Practicum in Pastoral Care and Counseling with Capstone Project) while the remaining 20 credits are distributed across other disciplines as follows:  10 credits for Bible (First Testament, Exegesis, Second Testament); 4 credits for Introduction to Theology; 4 credits for Modern Church History; and 2 credits for Introduction to Theological Education, a year-long course that combines spiritual and academic formation in learning.  Students can expect all required courses to be offered each year.

Of the remaining 20 credits that are considered electives, 16 credits must be taken for electives that are specifically in the field of pastoral care and counseling (look for the second or third letter “C” in the course code that accompanies course titles) while 4 are considered free elective credits (free electives credits can be used for courses in pastoral care and counseling).  Elective courses are also offered in each of the summer months, and in January.  Students seeking to complete the MAPCC in two years should plan on taking courses in the summer of the first year, and in both January periods.

Among the electives that are planned in 2017-2020 are:

  • Professional Ethics
  • Pastoral Care in Multicultural Contexts
  • Biblical Models of Pastoral Care
  • Human Growth and Development
  • Theories of Personality
  • Family Systems Theory
  • Human Sexuality
  • Ministry in the Context of Death and Dying
  • Pastoral Counseling Theories and Skill Development
  • Assessment and Diagnoses
  • Conflict Management and Crisis Intervention
  • Congregations as Family Systems

Note:  All courses are not guaranteed to be offered in the period proscribed.


Master Of Arts in Pastoral Care and Counseling (MAPCC) Curriculum Design
  All Year Fall Winterim Spring Summer

Year A ☆Introduction to Theological Education
☆First Testament

☆Introduction to Pastoral Care & Counseling

☆Second Testament(4)

Psychology and Religion


June (3)

July (3)

August (3)

Year B ☆Practicum with Capstone Fall & Spring (2 & 2) ☆Introduction to Theology

Pastoral Diagnosis


☆Modern Church History

Personality Theories

indicates required course for MA degree for NYTS


Suggested schedule of classes for MAPCC Degree for completing the degree in 2 years

48 credits needed to graduate


20 Required Credits – General Theological Studies

Introduction to Theological Education (2 Credits)
First Testament (4 Credits)
Exegesis (2 Credits)
Second Testament (4 Credits)
Introduction to Theology (4 Credits)
Modern Church History (4 Credits)

16 Required credits – Pastoral Care and Counseling

Introduction to Pastoral Care and Counseling (4 Credits)
Psychology and Religion (4 Credits)
Pastoral Diagnosis (4 Credits)
Personality Theories (4 Credits)
16 Credits

4 Practicum with Capstone (2 credits each semester)(4 Credits)

8 additional elective credits in Pastoral Care and Counseling
Must be approved by advisor (8 Credits)

Total credits for MAPCC degree: 48 credits



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