M.S. Counseling

A master's in counseling from a Christian perspective.

Emphases in marriage and family therapy, play therapy, and adventure therapy.


M.S. Counseling program emphases


Marriage & family therapy

Through the integration of classroom instruction and clinical preparation, students are exceptionally equipped for counseling careers and ministry positions as Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (MFT).


Play therapy

An emphasis in play therapy teaches students to use a variety of play and creative arts techniques to better assist children to communicate or express their thoughts and feelings.


Adventure therapy

Students graduate ready to use experiential therapy to promote healing, encouraging clients to reflect upon experiences using goal-based activities that provide a window into their unique mental traits and challenges. 







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 M.S. in Counseling program at JBU through March 31, 2032.

Earn your M.S. in Counseling

Employment of mental health counselors is projected to grow 23% from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations. JBU's program prepares you to help meet that need.

Admissions Requirements

  • An undergraduate GPA of 2.75 or higher (4.0=A).
  • Individual interview with a Graduate Counseling faculty member.
  • Full admissions requirements

M.S. Requirements

What to expect in the M.S. Counseling program

The Master of Science degree program in Counseling provides academic, clinical, and dispositional training related to professional counseling. This program prepares students for professional counseling careers in a variety of diverse settings. 

Experienced faculty

Our faculty are licensed counseling professionals with active clinical caseloads so they understand the demands and changing nature of being a counselor.

Multiple program locations

In-person classes can be taken in Northwest Arkansas or in Little Rock. Classes last 14-15 weeks and are held in the evenings or weekends to coordinate with your busy schedule.

Internship placement support

Unlike many other programs, JBU employs field placement directors to help students find their practicum and internship sites. We have long-standing relationships with clinics and agencies in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Missouri. 

What sets JBU apart?


An integrative approach

JBU is the longest-standing counseling program in Arkansas and takes an integrative approach to counseling/psychology and faith/theology within a professional and ethical framework.


In-person training

Counseling is a deeply personal endeavor that requires in-person, face-to-face, emotionally-connected relating. The JBU counseling faculty mirror the counseling profession with in-person training for students to best evaluate and assist their interpersonal development and effectiveness across the entire degree program.  


Community Counseling Clinic

JBU operates two Community Counseling Clinics (Siloam Springs & Little Rock) that provide low-cost or no-cost counseling to those in need. The clinics are training sites that allow counseling students to practice their clinical skills under the supervision of licensed faculty members.


Placement rate

100% placement rate for students in their required practicum and internships utilizing 44 clinical sites across Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.


National exam pass rates

In 2023, ninety-seven JBU counseling graduates took the National Counseling Exam (NCE) as part of the licensure process in Arkansas and 87% of these graduates passed this exam.


Graduates and job placement

In 2023 there were 61 graduates from the counseling program, 97% of whom landed employment or were enrolled in further graduate studies within six months of graduation..

Next steps

Choosing a graduate program is a big deal, and our staff and faculty are committed to making this process easy for you.


Our admissions team is here to navigate the application process, so you have all the information to be confident in your decision.

Financial aid

You deserve a transparent, helpful financial aid experience. We'll work with you to ensure you're taking advantage of all of your financial aid opportunities.


Start classes

Most JBU graduate classes happen in 8-week blocks (counseling and education have some 16-week classes). Online and face-to-face class options provide flexibility for your busy schedule. See the courses offered here

Frequently asked questions

Is the M.S. in Counseling an online program?
While the counseling curriculum has a few online courses (roughly 20% of the curriculum), the field of counseling is best taught face-to-face where faculty can mirror counseling techniques for students. Classes are taught in the evenings and weekends at three campus locations — Siloam Springs, Rogers and Little Rock.

Can I work while enrolled in the M.S. in Counseling degree program?

Yes! Most counseling students work while matriculating through the program. However, during the practicum and internship phase of the program, students need to commit 20+ hours per week toward the completion of their clinical hours.

What is the typical counseling class size?
Most classes are capped at 24 students, but a number of clinical courses have lower caps due to the skill-based nature of the class.

What is a typical class like?

A typical counseling class meets for 2.5 hours on a weekday evening where roughly 12-20 students interact with the latest psychological research, evidence-based practices, diverse theological values/commitments, and cultural competencies under the direction/supervision of program faculty who are also licensed clinicians.

Courses meet for 14 or 15 weeks and are highly interactive and academically rigorous. Certain courses are focused specifically on counseling skill development in preparation for Practicum/Internship courses where students are providing actual counseling to real clients.

Does the M.S. in Counseling program have CACREP accreditation?
The counseling department is CACREP accredited. 

Why is an interview required for admission?

The interview is to assess your readiness for the counseling program.

What is covered in the admissions interview?

Questions include topics such as: 

  • Future goals
  • Why you are interested in counseling
  • How your previous work has prepared you for a helping profession
  • Previous academic studies
  • Strengths and weaknesses as a helper
  • Feedback on JBU’s faith-based mission
  • Cultural differences and relationships

Do I have to be a Christian or know the Bible well to enroll in the program?

No, you do not.