A Christian psychology degree trains students to provide mental counseling with an understanding of both current psychological research and principles from the Christian faith. Students can earn an undergraduate or a graduate degree in Christian psychology and they can go on to work as Christian counselors, case management workers, mental health counselors and non-profit community workers. The pathway to a degree in Christian psychology is very similar to the pathway to a degree in psychology.
Prepare in High School
There are no specific courses that you should take while in high school in order to be accepted into a Christian psychology program. However, students should enroll in rigorous coursework and perform well in order to become more competitive for admission into the top schools. Top scores on the SAT and ACT can also improve a student's application for admission. A high-school program should focus on taking the most advanced courses a student can handle, getting the highest GPA possible, and getting the best test scores possible.
Complete Required Coursework
The coursework required to complete a degree in Christian psychology will depend upon whether you are working toward a bachelor's degree or a master's degree. Some bachelor's degree programs can be completed in as little as two-and-a-half years, such as the one at Colorado Christian University. However, most other undergraduate programs take four years to complete. Master's degree programs typically take two years to complete, with credit hours ranging from 45 hours to 60 hours. Classes include those focusing on psychological training, including cognitive theory, mental disorders and clinical psychology, as well as courses that focus on Christian teachings and philosophy.
Complete a Thesis
Students who are interested in completing a master's degree in Christian psychology -- required for some positions, such as a licensed social worker -- will be required to write a master's thesis. This is an original piece of research that is typically in the format of a long journal article, a collection of articles, or a book chapter. The thesis is completed in the second year of the program.
Complete a Clinical Internship
Those interested in practicing clinical psychology do not have to become licensed. Positions are available in churches and community organizations providing outreach that do not require licensing. However, those who want to practice in a more traditional setting, such as working as a counselor or social worker, must be licensed. Requirements for licensing vary by state, but they all require some number of hours of hands-on, clinical experience. Students can fulfill this requirement by completing a clinical internship or externship at a community center, health care facility or private practice.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook: Psychologists
- Liberty Unviersity Online: Bachelor of Science in Psychology - Christian Counseling
- Colorado Christian University: Psychology Degree Program (B.S.)
- Orange County Christian Counseling Network
- Ohio Christian University: Psychology
- Baylor University: Social Work and Christian Counseling
Maria Magher has been working as a professional writer since 2001. She has worked as an ESL teacher, a freshman composition teacher and an education reporter, writing for regional newspapers and online publications. She has written about parenting for Pampers and other websites. She has a Master's degree in English and creative writing.