Clinical Counseling, M.A.

Program Overview

You’re the one people turn to for advice. You hear what the heart speaks. It’s time to develop that gift.

Studies report that the need for trained counselors will increase by more than 40 percent in the next 10 years. Train now to become a private therapist, agency director, marriage expert, life coach, spiritual director, addiction recovery counselor, or family mediator — to help others, and yourself, experience lasting transformation.

PLNU’s Master of Arts in Clinical Counseling (MACC) program applies faith-based principles to 21st century cultures and needs. We integrate rigorous courses, personal mentoring, onsite supervised clinical training, and a culturally aware approach to today’s best practices and theories to equip you to serve diverse populations through a flexible career path. Most importantly, our program prepares you to take the LMFT or LPCC licensure exam through curricula designed with the tests in mind and free post-graduation workshops.


A headshot photo of Dr. Dan Jenkins from Point Loma Nazarene University

Dan Jenkins, Ph.D.

In 2015, Dr. Dan Jenkins, director of PLNU's M.A. in Clinical Counseling program, was invited to preach at a Thanksgiving Day service. Considering what to share, he felt prompted to write a letter of gratitude to his father, to read during the service. Read more


You will gain on-campus clinical experience from year one. Our state-of-the-art trainee practicum clinic offers live simulations with trained actors and videotaping, with supervised credit hours earned.

Guided, accessible internship placements are readily available through our established practicum sites throughout San Diego — tailor-made for your career goals.


You will receive relevant, multicultural training for a professionally diverse career through multiple clinic clients and PLNU’s comprehensive training in systems of psychology and classical, contemporary, and cutting-edge counseling methods.

Moreover, ongoing self-assessments measure your progress in skills development and self awareness and train you to understand your inner experiences — to help you identify your passions, strengths, and possible career specializations, and engage that wisdom with future clients.


At PLNU, you are mentored for success. Seasoned professors serve as academic and professional coaches in class, to help you fully grasp course content, and outside of class and after graduation, guiding you as you consider new career possibilities and growth strategies.

Most importantly, intentional, expert licensure exam preparation is an integral part of the coursework. Virtually every course prepares you to take the licensure exam — and free exam prep workshops after graduation will keep the material fresh in your mind.

PLNU’s experienced, working faculty-professionals integrate biblical principles, ethics, skills, and science, considering moral questions while linking hands-on training to cutting-edge research in holistic mind-body approaches.


Should you study to become an LMFT or LPCC therapist? Although many course requirements overlap for both degrees, the LPCC emphasizes the individual in therapeutic practices rather than relational or systems-oriented practices. With the MFT license, you can help families, marriages, and couples, while the PCC license broadens your practice to counsel individuals with issues involving relationships; personal growth, mental, and emotional issues; adjustment to disability; crisis intervention; and problems with stress.

When you graduate from our program, you will have met the requirements for either the LPCC or LMFT. You choose which license you would like to gain hours to complete.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I be part of the program as I work full time?

That depends on the flexibility of your work schedule. Some courses are offered during the day and some are offered in the evening. If you are willing to stretch out the two-year format to three or four years to accommodate your work schedule, it can be done.

Will I be able to gain practical counseling experience before graduation?

Absolutely. From your first year, you’ll participate in onsite, supervised counseling scenarios. In the second year, you will be working with actual clients in a practicum setting.

What is required to be admitted into the graduate program?

To be admitted into PLNU's MACC program, you must have a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution, as evidenced by an official transcript from an institution indicating the completion of an undergraduate degree. You must also have an undergraduate cumulative GPA of at least 3.0. If you don’t meet the minimum GPA requirement, please contact your enrollment counselor regarding the exceptions process.

What scholarship and financial aid opportunities are available to me?

You will have the option to apply for a number of scholarships through our Student Financial Services office. This program qualifies for state and federal financial aid options. Contact your enrollment counselor for more information.

Course List


Department Faculty

Start Application

Program Start Date:

Fall 2017 – August 28

Priority Application Date:

Fall 2017 – July 25

All applications submitted after this date will be reviewed based on availability of space.

Start Application

The Selection Process

The educational context at PLNU will challenge you to live a full life that integrates the pursuit of knowledge with beliefs, values, and actions. While honoring diverse perspectives and beliefs, Christian values and principles are woven into the educational experience. We understand your application is not only a reflection of you as a student; it reflects you as a person. At PLNU, we holistically evaluate your academic history, work and life experience, background, and circumstances to determine admission into a graduate program. Your undergraduate GPA is an important piece of your application, but if you do not meet the minimum GPA requirement of a 3.0, you may still be eligible for admission based on your application package as well as the exceptions policy for your particular program.* Therefore, we strongly encourage you to contact your enrollment counselor, who will advise you regarding your qualifications and provide specific information about the admission-under-exceptions process.

To be admitted into PLNU's MACC program, you must have a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution, as evidenced by an official transcript from an institution indicating the completion of an undergraduate degree.

If you have any questions about your qualifications or the program in general, we encourage you to contact your enrollment counselor.

*Exceptions Policy: If you have below a 3.0 GPA in your baccalaureate degree, you will need to speak with your enrollment counselor for more information on the exceptions materials needed for your particular program.

Program Prerequisites:

  • General Psychology
  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Human Development

Application Checklist

Note: The application is completed entirely online with the exception of transcripts, which can be submitted electronically or directly to PLNU, and test scores, which should be submitted electronically.

  1. Submit online application for admissions (including $50 non-refundable application fee, which is waived for PLNU alums, current or former military and their dependents, and PLNU employees).
  2. Submit official transcripts with proof of earned baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution.

    Official transcripts must be sent to:
    Point Loma Nazarene University
    Office of Graduate Admissions
    3900 Lomaland Dr.
    San Diego, CA 92106

    Official electronic transcripts must be emailed to:
  3. Submit personal essay. The essay should be 3-5 pages, in APA format, on how a master's degree in clinical counseling from PLNU will help fulfill your career goals. Please be sure to answer the following questions within your essay as well:
    • What experiences up to this point have helped clarify your desire to go into
      clinical counseling?

    • Which license do you plan to pursue, the marriage and family license or the professional clinical counselor license?

  4. Submit a resume/vita.
  5. Submit three professional references including name, title, phone, and email for each reference.
  6. Completion of the MMPI 2 personality assessment administered through the department.

  7. Interview with the Department of Graduate Psychology.

  8. Ensure undergraduate course prerequisites are met.

Applicants accepted into PLNU's MACC program will be subjected to a background check.

Start Application

Financial Aid and Student Support

We take seriously the role of providing you with financial, academic, and career support so you have the tools you need to be successful at PLNU and beyond. That’s why we offer a holistic support system that focuses on your unique experiences, particular needs, and personal and professional goals — resulting from our deep concern for you, our student.

With a focus on authentic relationships and personalized attention, our goal is to help transform you so you can follow your calling in your own career and life.

Financial Aid and Student Support

Career Opportunities

The MACC, leading to an MFT or LPCC license, prepares you to work in what CNNMoney calls “One of the best jobs in America” — as a private practice therapist, marriage counselor, spiritual life director or life coach, church counseling or community mental health director, or addiction recovery clinician — among many other growing careers.