New Counseling and Divinity Program Options

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[dropcap3]S[/dropcap3]ince 1992, Cairn has been offering programs at the graduate level to students seeking professional preparation in a particular area. Over the years, we have seen the successes and challenges our graduates have faced in the workplace. As we continue to strive to meet the demands of providing a biblically sound education in a diverse and fluid culture, we have examined our programs and adapted them to better fit the needs of students. Two areas that have undergone curriculum changes for fall 2013 are the graduate programs in the Department of Counseling and the School of Divinity.

The goal of Cairn’s graduate counseling program has always been to train counselors to think about people’s problems in a manner that is grounded in a biblical view of persons, their problems, and the process of change. We also recognize that as a whole, counseling is a credentialed profession and that the pursuit of licensure for most persons who will practice counseling ministry is necessary. Equipping graduate students to be professional counselors means providing them with a thorough biblical-theological foundation for everything that they do, while providing them with counseling tools that will enable them to practice the counseling ministry in any context of their choosing.

Starting fall 2013, we are introducing three new required courses in the graduate counseling curriculum. First, in conjunction with the School of Divinity, a course has been designed to focus entirely on an understanding of the sufficiency of Scripture for counseling and the controversy that has defined Christian counseling since its inception – the translation of psychological theory and research into a usable framework for Christian counselors. The other two new courses focus entirely on a biblical exegetical and theological model of counseling. Appreciating the complex arguments about the integration of psychology and a biblical view of persons, as well as grounding counseling in a theology rich in explanation and application, is the preeminent concern of Christian counselor education. We believe that investing a substantial number of credit hours towards this goal will help our graduate students as they prepare for professional practice and ministry. We believe that the Scripture offers a thorough and comprehensive understanding of human suffering, the connection between human fallenness and psychological disorders, and the remedies that are found in the gospel of grace.

The depth and breadth of these programs in Cairn’s School of Divinity provide a true seminary education for students in a dynamic university environment that expands a graduate education outside the classroom.

In the School of Divinity, revisions in the programs have provided students preparing for ministry a variety of opportunities for seminary education. Cairn’s new Master of Arts in Religion program offers students the flexibility to choose ministry courses in areas that will best prepare them for their road ahead. This degree offers a foundation in Bible and theology to those students seeking various positions in lay ministry or vocational service. The Master of Divinity, offered since 2002, is the flagship program of the School of Divinity. It includes theology, history, and ministry courses and training in the biblical languages of Hebrew and Greek. The program is designed for those entering vocational ministry and integrates academic study with ministry experience under the guidance of ministry-oriented faculty and ministry mentors.

Finally, the new Master of Theology program offers students an advanced degree program designed to provide them with a deeper preparation for teaching and preaching ministries or further post-graduate studies. The program is built upon the foundation of the M.Div., offering 24 additional credit hours of study in small seminar and one-on-one settings with faculty. The depth and breadth of these programs in Cairn’s School of Divinity provide a true seminary education for students in a dynamic university environment that expands a graduate education outside the classroom.

These programs are complemented by new programs at the undergraduate level. The School of Liberal Arts and Sciences is offer­ing a B.A. in Psychology designed to provide students with a substantial foundation in research psychology, which can be paired with the M.S. in Counseling in a dual-level format. The School of Divinity continues the long-standing Youth Ministries program with a B.S. in Youth and Family Ministry. It can be paired with graduate degrees in Counseling or Organizational Leadership. All of these changes reflect Cairn’s commitment to our mission to train biblically minded, well-educated, and professionally competent servants of the Lord Jesus Christ in every walk of life.

[framed_box]Thanks to Dr. Jeff Black and Dr. Jonathan Master for their contributions to this article.
To learn more about Cairn’s new programs, visit