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Master of Divinity (Pastoral Care and Counseling)


The Master of Divinity with a concentration in Pastoral Care and Counseling prepares you to minister in areas such as biblical counseling, conflict resolution, crisis management and grief counseling, as well as how to develop care teams and lay counselors.

Through this program, you will be equipped to meet people’s needs through practical training in caring and counseling, undergirded by the Master of Divinity’s rigorous biblical and theological education. You’ll learn how to wisely and ethically care for people dealing with common pastoral needs, including spiritual wounds, emotional pain, family challenges and mental illnesses, and develop a sense of when to refer individuals to professional help.

  • Gain a Broad Seminary Education with A Focus on Pastoral Care and Counseling. At Talbot, you will receive a broad biblical and theological education from leading Talbot professors, many of whom also serve as pastors and elders in their local churches. This degree integrates biblical wisdom, psychological research and insights from faculty with experience in both clinical and pastoral counseling. Courses include training in marriage and family counseling, chaplaincy and understanding individuals dealing with guilt and shame.
  • Be Equipped to Minister With Care and Compassion. Part of your calling as a pastor is to care for the spiritual needs of the people in your church. This degree prepares you both to minister to them directly and to provide guidance to others who are serving alongside you. You will gain specialized knowledge and fundamental skills to serve and care for those who come through your ministry’s doors — including empathic listening skills, personal awareness and how to walk with others through significant spiritual and emotional needs.
  • Be Aware of Mental Health Issues and the Spectrum of Care Needed. In ministry, you will encounter people dealing with various issues — such as depression, anxiety, the grief of losing a loved one, or a couple grappling with infertility. This concentration will develop your understanding of various mental health issues, the role of medication and its effects, and how to serve as a triage for individuals seeking help. Be prepared to find the right resources and to know your limitations, or when it is appropriate to recommend professional help to those under your care.
  • Preach with Relevance and Sensitivity to People’s Aching Needs. The Master of Divinity trains and prepares you to effectively teach God’s Word to your congregation. A focus on pastoral care and counseling complements your role as a teacher as it heightens your awareness of people’s emotional and spiritual needs. Prepare to impact the lives of your listeners as you craft sermons that deeply resonate with issues in their everyday lives.
  • Ready Yourself through Practical Ministry Preparation. Talbot’s internship requirement for this concentration will progressively prepare you to step into your calling to ministry. First, you will learn about various ministries, then shadow and observe experienced practitioners and eventually practice facilitating care with reflective support from colleagues. Your preparation to serve as a specialist in pastoral care and counseling will be furthered by the training you will receive from courses in spiritual formation.

For more reasons to choose Talbot School of Theology for your education, see the Why Talbot? page.

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What will I study as a Master of Divinity (Pastoral Care and Counseling) student?

Each of Talbot School of Theology’s Master of Divinity programs include a core of biblical and theological foundation courses, the Spiritual Formation Core, a sequence of Hebrew and Greek, training in preaching and counseling, and an area of ministry specialization.

Some of your courses include:

Marital Counseling* (TTPT 628)

Explores the foundations of marriage and marital conflict from scriptural and psychological perspectives. Reviews approaches to counseling and explores change and growth procedures and skills. Notes: Required of M.Div. and M.A.C.M.L. (Pastoral Care and Counseling) students. Grade Mode: A.

Pastoral Care and Chaplaincy (TTPT 604)

Study of pastoral care to the physically and emotionally sick and suffering, crisis ministry, and ministry to the dying and bereaved. The special nature and demands of chaplaincy, including workplace, military and especially healthcare chaplaincy, will also be studied. Students will be required to establish a volunteer relationship with a healthcare agency (hospital or nursing home) in the community in order to complete a 36-hour clinical assignment for the class. Notes: Required of M.Div. and M.A.C.M.L. (Pastoral Care and Counseling) students. Grade Mode: A.

Addressing Common Pastoral Counseling Concerns (TTPT 716)

A study of some of the common concerns presented to pastors and pastoral care leaders. Issues such as ADD and related disorders, alcohol and substance abuse, anger, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, loss and grief, self-image and identity disorders, sexual addictions and pornography, and suicide will be studied. Specific interventions will be studied to augment the overall helping processes learned in other classes. The integration of theology and psychology will be prominent in this course as well. Notes: Required of M.Div. and M.A.C.M.L. (Pastoral Care and Counseling) students. Grade Mode: A.

Admissions & Deadlines

As a Christian institution, Biola seeks to admit applicants whose backgrounds clearly demonstrate scholarly aptitude, a commitment to the historic Christian faith, personal character and integrity, and a positive service-oriented motivation toward their field of study. Biola does not discriminate on the basis of the applicant's race, color, sex, socio-economic status, disability, or national or ethnic origin.

Education and GPA Requirements

  • You must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution by the time you plan to start coursework at Biola, with a minimum grade point average of 2.6 (on a 4.0 scale).
  • Note: If you do not meet the degree or GPA requirements above, you may still be considered for admission. Please contact the Office of Graduate Admissions office at If you are an international student, contact

English Proficiency Requirements

  • If English is not your first language, you are required to display your English proficiency before admittance into a Biola University graduate program. See “English Proficiency” in the application steps section below.

Application Deadlines

  • Fall Semester
    • General: July 1
    • International Students
      • On Campus: June 1
      • Online/Hybrid: July 1
  • Spring Semester
    • General: November 1
    • International Students: October 1

Visit Biola

Explore our sunny Southern California campus in person or virtually. Learn more about your program of interest and the admissions process by scheduling an appointment with an admissions counselor.

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Meet Your Admissions Counselor

If you have more questions about the program, admissions process or Biola in general, schedule a phone call or send an email to your admissions counselor.

Graduate Admissions Counselor

Photo of Chris So
Chris So

Text or Call: (562) 784-7064
Book a Phone or Virtual Appointment

International Graduate Admissions Counselor

The Office of International Admissions serves students who are not citizens or permanent residents of the United States.

Book a Phone or Virtual Appointment

Application Steps

  1. Complete and submit the online application

  2. Submit a non-refundable $65 application fee

  3. Submit supplemental application materials through your online application portal:

  4. Official Transcripts

    • Submit all official transcripts from previous academic institutions.
      • Request official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended.
      • If enrolled at the time the application is filed, be sure to request transcripts of work finished to date and final transcripts upon completion of your course of study.
      • Transcripts will be considered official only when a) mailed directly from the institution to Biola, b) sent electronically through an approved vendor or c) physically delivered in an untampered envelope sealed by the institution. Final approval for admission is contingent on receiving an official transcript.
        • Mail transcripts to:
          Biola University Office of Graduate Admissions
          13800 Biola Avenue, La Mirada, CA 90639
    • Note for International Students: All international transcripts need U.S. grade equivalencies noted (i.e. GPA on a 4.0 scale). If your transcripts do not show U.S. grade equivalencies, you must have them evaluated by a credential evaluation agency like SpanTran (Biola Discount), World Education Services (WES) or Foundation for International Services (FIS). Be sure to choose "course by course report" and have SpanTran/WES/FIS send them directly to Biola University via online portal or post (13800 Biola Ave, La Mirada, CA 90639) in order to be considered official.

    Two Reference Letters

    • Pastoral reference
    • Character reference (someone in a leadership role in your life)
    • Note: Additional instructions can be found in the online application.

    Two Essays

    • Christian testimony
    • Vocational testimony
    • Note: The essay prompts can be found in the online application.

    English Proficiency (required for non-native English speakers)

    • Evidence of English proficiency is required for all students to support student success. Proficiency must be shown through one of the methods described below:
      • Minimum test score on a qualifying standardized test
        • TOEFL: minimum score of 90 iBT
        • IELTS: minimum score of 7.0
        • Duolingo: minimum score of 125
      • A degree (bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral) issued by an institution where English is the medium of instruction.
        • Official written communication from the institution (Registrar, Controller of Examinations Office, or Undergraduate College)
        • Official degree statements or transcripts may be accepted given English is stated as the medium of instruction
        • Official catalog verification
        • Note: For universities from non-Anglophone countries, further language assessment may be required.
      • Completion of the English Language Scholars (ELS) with passing status on the ELS's final exit exam, which must be approved by the ELS Director in collaboration with the academic program committee. An updated TOEFL or IELTS score may be used at the end of a term to test directly into the graduate program for the following term.
      • Qualify for English Language Scholars (ELS), which allows students who do not meet the minimum TOEFL, IELTS or Duolingo scores to still enroll in their graduate degree program. Students would be taking academic English courses concurrently with the graduate degree program courses. 
        • Students eligible for ELS will be assessed by the ELS Director to determine the total number of academic English courses to take while enrolled in their graduate program courses. The following are the scores needed to qualify for ELS: TOEFL iBT 81 / IELTS 6.5 / Duolingo 110–124.
        • Note: Students must be admitted to the graduate program first to be considered for ELS.


    Additional Forms


    Things to Note

    • Track your application status at any time. You do not have to complete the application in one sitting. You can complete a portion and finish at a later time. Your information will be saved. When you apply, to guarantee confidentiality, you will be asked to create a user name and a password, and will receive a personalized identification number. Track your application status by logging in to the online application.
    • Official documents presented for admission or evaluation become part of the student’s academic file and normally cannot be returned or copied for distribution.
    • International students who will be studying on campus are required to apply for an F-1 student visa. For more information, visit

Tuition and Financial Aid

Biola is committed to help make your studies affordable — each school offers different scholarship, grant and loan opportunities to help finance your education.

Cost Per Credit (2024‑25) $704
Full-time Tuition Per Term (Estimated) Based on 9 credit courseload$6,336
Part-time Tuition Per Term (Estimated) Based on 3 credit courseload$2,112
Total Program Tuition (Estimated) Based on total program credits and 2024‑25 cost per credit$55,616



On Campus: You'll study in person at Biola University's campus in Southern California.

Hybrid (On Campus and Online): This program includes a blend of course formats, including online and in person at Biola University's Southern California campus.

Total Credits

Every program at Biola University features rigorous academics, biblically integrated curriculum and vocational preparation.

Cost per Credit

This is the cost per credit; total tuition costs for each term will differ for part-time and full-time students.

Standard Completion Time

This indicates the standard duration of this program. Completion time may vary depending on transferred coursework and preferred courseload.


Biola University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission. Additional accreditations may apply to specific programs.