Education, M.A., Counseling and Guidance

Program Overview

As an educator, you want to help students reach their potential — academically, socio-emotionally, spiritually, and vocationally. Perhaps you’ve wondered how you can make more of a difference.

In PLNU's diverse school counseling program, our expert faculty will equip you to transform your school or university one life at a time. Whether your focus is K-12, college, or career counseling, our program will prepare you to serve your students with excellence. You will be grounded in the theories and history of school-based and college counseling practices while also developing your own expertise — all under the guidance of knowledgeable mentors. We will empower you to develop students and young adults to achieve their fullest potential.

When you join PLNU’s Master of Arts in Education program with a concentration in counseling and guidance, you will challenge yourself to become a more effective counselor. Everyone you encounter here will share that goal with you, from your admissions counselor to your professors. Rest assured, PLNU’s School of Education will take a personal interest in you and care about your concerns, experience, beliefs, and goals.

Lasting Network of Support

PLNU’s education alumni network, Education Associates, keeps you connected long after graduation. Faculty members have a reputation for staying in touch and continuing to mentor students. Career counseling and additional professional development opportunities are always available to you.

Relevant Topics to Meet Real Needs

District partnerships ensure PLNU’s curriculum addresses current needs and topics facing counselors. In addition to offering accredited programs grounded in research, PLNU equips you to integrate your beliefs, values, and goals with your school counseling practice.

Customizable and Convenient

Choose a specialization in K-12 counseling with a PPS credential, or opt for college counseling and student development if you work with young adults in a university, community college, or nonprofit setting. You can also select from multiple locations, full- or part-time schedules, and face-to-face, online, and hybrid course options.


Deborah Erickson Headshot

Deborah Erickson

Dr. Deborah Erickson, dean of the School of Education, has been on faculty at PLNU since 2013, after serving 11 years in faculty and leadership positions at the Graduate School of Education at California Lutheran University. Learn more about Dean Erickson's background and the School of Education's program initiatives. Read more

Achieve greater impact with your career by earning your Master of Arts in Education. You will gain the skills and degree you need to advance or to simply be more effective where you are. You will do it in an environment where your goals and passion are shared and valued. At PLNU, we are here to partner with you and to give you the kind of holistic care you know every student deserves.

The counseling and guidance concentration of the M.A. in Education will prepare you for service to students in a changing world. You may choose your focus from:

  • Pupil Personnel Services (PPS) Credential — if you serve or want to serve as a school counselor in an elementary, middle, or high school setting.
  • College Counseling and Student Development — if you work or want to work in health and wellness, residential, or student life services at a community college, university, or nonprofit organization.

Accreditation – WASC, CTC, NCATE

When you and your classmates complete PLNU's M.A. in Education with a concentration in counseling and guidance, you will be prepared to:


  • Maintain competencies in knowledge, skills of the school counseling profession, and attitudes that demonstrate the ability to ethically implement, maintain, and advocate for a results-based counseling program.


  • Promote the comprehensive counseling program through modeling of servant leadership that focuses on positive outcomes for diverse school communities in the belief that all students can learn and succeed.


  • Engage in ongoing professional self-evaluation and personal self-reflection using the professional dispositions expected of educators. Assess student needs routinely and use technology to conduct, analyze, and evaluate research data and communicate results to all school stakeholders.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply?

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.

What is required to be admitted into the Master of Arts in Education program?

To be admitted into PLNU's Master of Arts in Education program, you must have a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution, as evidenced by an official transcript. You must also have an undergraduate cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. If you don’t meet the minimum GPA requirement, please contact your enrollment counselor regarding the exceptions process. You will also need to take a basic skills test, such as the CBEST, if you are interested in earning a credential as part of your M.A. All applicants will also need to submit a writing sample and complete an interview.

See the application checklist to learn more about what's required to apply and be admitted into the program.

What scholarship and financial aid opportunities are available to me?

You will have the option to apply for scholarships, grants, loans, and other special types of aid through Student Financial Services. Contact your enrollment counselor for more information.

What if I would like to earn a certificate or added authorization without completing a master’s degree?

This option is available.

I am not yet working in education. Is this the right program for me?

The M.A. in Education is geared toward seasoned education professionals or business professionals who instruct others as part of their work. For aspiring teachers like you, PLNU offers a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT). The MAT is most likely to meet your needs if you have just completed your undergraduate degree or are transitioning to education from another field, but please contact your enrollment counselor if you would like more personalized information.

Course List

Detailed course information is available on the course catalog: 

Education, M.A., Counseling and Guidance

Department Faculty

Application Information

Are you ready to take the next step and apply?

We're here to make the entire process a simple one. We'll walk you through the application process, answer your questions, and get you one step closer to earning your degree.

Application Deadlines:

  • Summer 2018 Quad II – May 28, 2018

  • Fall 2018 Quad I – July 16, 2018

  • Fall 2018 Quad II – September 10, 2018

  • Spring 2019 Quad I – November 5, 2018

  • Spring 2019 Quad II – January 28, 2019

Note: Not all programs offer entry for new students each quad. Check with your enrollment counselor for programs and start dates.

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 per 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 Master of Arts in Education program, you must have a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution, as evidenced by an official transcript.

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

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 an 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 a personal essay, 2-3 pages in length and double spaced, that addresses the following topics:
    • Describe your professional career goals for the next five years.
    • Describe the variety of experiences that helped you determine these goals.
    • Explain what motivates you to work in California’s diverse schools.
    • Explain why you are applying to PLNU, a private Christian university.
  4. Provide two professional recommendations. You will be asked to register your recommenders by providing their names, titles, and email addresses.
  5. For credential seekers only: Submit basic skills exam (CBEST or equivalent) scores. This can be demonstrated by taking the CBEST exam
    • OR Multiple Subject CSET plus writing skills examination
    • OR CSU Early Assessment Program or the CSU Placement Examination
    • OR providing proof of a valid California teaching credential

Start Application

*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.

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 Master of Arts in Education with a concentration in counseling and guidance is designed to help you advance your career in counseling.

The program is ideal for:

  • Elementary School Counselors
  • Middle or High School Counselors
  • College Counselors
  • Career Counselors