Sep 29, 2023  
2012-2013 Graduate Catalog 
2012-2013 Graduate Catalog Archived Catalog

Pastoral Counseling Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS)

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Master of Science and Graduate Certificate Programs in Pastoral Care and Counseling


The Department of Pastoral Care and Counseling offers a Master of Science degree program in Pastoral Counseling as well as graduate certificate programs in both Pastoral Counseling and Spiritual Direction. The Master of Science in Pastoral Counseling and graduate certificate programs in Pastoral Counseling and Spiritual Direction actively integrate psychology and spirituality in an ecumenical learning community that is both spiritually nurturing and intellectually challenging. The Neumann approach stresses a developmental understanding of individuals and groups, preparing students to meet the unique mental and spiritual demands of a complex pluralistic world, while responding in a spirit of contemplative love. People of all faiths and spiritual practices are welcome. Spiritual Direction certificate programs provide training in spiritual direction, spiritual direction supervision, and additional courses in spirituality.


The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), a specialized accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), has granted accreditation to Neumann University’s Master of Science in Pastoral Counseling degree program, under the standards in Community Counseling, 1001 N. Fairfax Street, Suite 510, Alexandria, VA 22314; Telephone: 703-535-5990; Fax: 703-739-6209; or, The Pastoral Counseling Program is also accredited by the American Association of Pastoral Counselors (AAPC), 9504A Lee Highway, Fairfax, VA 22031; Telephone: 703-385-6967; Fax: 703-352-7725; E-mail:; or The Pastoral Counseling Program is also approved to be a provider of CEUs by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC), 3 Terrace Way, Greensboro, NC 27403; Telephone: 336-547-0607, Fax: 336- 547-0017; or,

Admission Requirements

Applicants with a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited, degree-granting institution who have successfully completed all prerequisite courses are eligible for entrance to the Master of Science in Pastoral Care and Counseling or Spiritual Direction program, subject to the approval of the Program Coordinator. 

  • A completed Graduate Student Application, in print or online through
  • Official transcripts from each regionally accredited institution attended. 
  • Letter of Intent or essay not to exceed three pages describing your interest in the program and your goals upon completion.  The spiritual direction program requires an explanation of the individual’s spiritual journey.  PC does not.  
  • Three official letters of recommendation from persons with whom you are familiar and who can speak to your academic suitability for graduate studies, your personal maturity, and your potential for graduate work.  The spiritual direction program requires that one of them be from the individual’s spiritual director.

Once all admission materials have been received and processed through the Office of Admissions, the graduate Program Director will arrange for an interview, if appropriate, following a review of all candidate credentials.    

Limitation on Transfer Credit

Because of the ever-evolving and pre-paradigmatic nature of the foundation on which Pastoral Care and Counseling rests, the program has set a limit of seven years for the acceptance of transfer credit for which a minimum grade of “B” has been earned from any regionally accredited, degreegranting institution to Neumann University. This time limitation applies to all Core and required courses.  Exceptions to this policy can only be made with the written approval of both the Dean of the Division of Education and Human Services and the Coordinator of Pastoral and Theological Studies.

Non-Matriculated Students

A maximum of 9 credits earned over no more than three semesters may be taken as a non-matriculated student. To transfer non-matriculated credits to a degree or certificate program, a student must receive permission from the Coordinator of the Program.

Course Schedule

Pastoral Counseling and Spiritual Direction courses meet on weekdays in the late afternoon and during the evening, with some elective courses being offered on Saturday and Sunday.

Progression/Retention/Graduation Requirements

For the Master of Science in Pastoral Counseling, continued progress requires that the student maintain both a “B” average as outlined in student handbook and a satisfactory rating in all characteristics judged necessary for the profession. Students in practicum and internship courses must demonstrate competence in technical performance and professional attitude in the clinical setting. All degree requirements for the program must be completed in no less than two years and not more than five years. Students who wish an exemption to this time frame must submit a written request to the Coordinator of the program. Graduation from the program is contingent upon: (1) submitting a signed Application for Graduation form to the Registrar on or before the date specified in the Academic Calendar, (2) completion of the program with at least a cumulative 3.00 GPA, with no more than two grades of “C,” and (3) successful completion of a final Seminar Paper in which the student integrates the practice of pastoral counseling or spiritual direction, using both theological and psychological resources.

Professional Membership and Liability Insurance

Students in Pastoral Counseling or Spiritual Direction programs are required to carry student liability insurance throughout their clinical sequence (i.e., clinical case practicum and internship) and practica, respectively. Proof of insurance is kept on file in the department office. Information on purchasing insurance may be obtained from the program secretary.

Certificate of Advanced Study in Pastoral Counseling (CAS)

The Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS) is designed for students who are seeking professional enrichment or who wish to integrate pastoral identity into a previous master’s degree in the mental health field. The certificate is not a substitute for a master’s degree, nor is it intended to be the sole mechanism for entrance into the pastoral counseling profession. In consultation with a faculty advisor, the CAS student designs an individualized learning contract covering 18 graduate credits.

The student who successfully completes these 18 credits in fulfillment of the individualized learning contract is awarded the Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS). Upon completion of the CAS, students may elect to transfer their credits towards the Master’s Degree Program in Pastoral Counseling, upon the recommendation of the faculty.

Certificate of Advanced Study in Pastoral Counseling Program Learning Outcomes

At the completion of the CAS program in Pastoral Counseling, the student will:

  • Demonstrate a fundamental understanding of the relationship between spirituality and psychology, both in theory and clinical practice.
  • Demonstrate a beginning knowledge of the spectrum of psychological theories and clinical modalities.
  • Understand the differences among spiritual leadership, pastoral counseling, and spiritual direction.
  • Understand the various paths for further professional development in the pastoral counseling field and have sufficient information to pursue them, if so desired.

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