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Online Master of Arts in Counseling

Ouachita Baptist University’s online Master of Arts in counseling degree program prepares you for a meaningful career helping others overcome life’s challenges. Set to launch in Fall 2024, this low-residency program equips you to become a Licensed Professional Counselor skilled in assessing, diagnosing and compassionately treating those facing mental health and emotional issues.

Grounded in a biblical worldview that sees all people as made in God's image, Ouachita's master’s in counseling trains you to serve diverse clients with professionalism, cultural sensitivity and the highest ethical standards.

Learn from expert counseling professionals through a combination of four on-campus intensives, online coursework and supervised clinical experiences focused on responding to the growing need for mental health services nationwide.

Bridge coursework and clinical experience to improve the lives of individuals as a licensed professional counselor in settings such as:

Churches and Christian Counseling Centers

Community Mental Health Centers

Hospitals

Nonprofit Organizations

Prisons

Private Counseling Agencies

Rehabilitation Centers

School Districts

Explore our in-person intensives and online master’s in counseling highlighted courses:

Orientation to the Counseling Profession

Biblical Foundations for Counseling

Group Process and Counseling

Counseling Skills and Techniques

Relationship Dynamics and Family Systems

Crisis and Trauma Counseling

Professional Ethics and Legal Issues

Review Ouachita's graduate course catalog.

Ouachita’s counseling degree program does not require any particular undergraduate degree or area of concentration for acceptance.

Housed in Ouachita’s W.H. Sutton School of Social Sciences, the low-residency, 63-hour M.A. in counseling degree program combines four 4-day, in-person intensives; synchronous and asynchronous online classes; internship experiences; and practicum placements. Ouachita’s online master’s in counseling application opens in Spring 2024 for enrollment beginning in August 2024.

Learn more about Ouachita’s Graduate and Professional Studies.

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Total Credit Hours

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On-Campus Intensives

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Maximum Cohort Size

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Clinical Credit Hours

In their words

hear from a faculty member.

"It’s easy to look around the world right now, see all the anxious, angry people and feel like there’s nothing we can do. This program allows us to train students to walk beside people in their worst moments and help those who are truly hurting. Our goal is to train up a new generation of ethical, competent Christian counselors who can really make a difference."

Sandra Gilliland headshotSandra Gilliland, Ph.D., LMFT
Professor and Director, Mental Health Counseling Program

Program Details

Year One

Orientation to the Counseling Profession* Fall Term I 3 hours
Theories of Counseling Fall Term II 3 hours
Professional Ethics and Legal Issues* Fall Term 3 hours
Psychopathology and Psychopharmacology* Spring Term I 3 hours
Human Growth and Lifespan Development Spring Term II 3 hours
Counseling Skills and Techniques* Spring Term 3 hours
Biblical Foundations for Counseling** Summer Term 3 hours
Assessment Techniques in Counseling Summer Term 3 hours

Year Two

Case Conceptualization and Treatment Planning* Fall Term I 3 hours
Group Process and Counseling* Fall Term II 3 hours
Research and Program Evaluation* Fall Term 3 hours
Crisis and Trauma Counseling** Spring Term I 3 hours
Relationship Dynamics and Family Systems** Spring Term II 3 hours
Counseling Practicum*** Spring Term 3 hours
Social and Cultural Diversity** Summer Term I 2 hours
Program Elective: Special Topic** Summer Term II 2 hours
Internship I*** Summer Term 2 hours

Year Three

Addiction Therapies** Fall Term I 3 hours
Lifestyle and Career Fall Term II 3 hours
Counseling Capstone for CMHC** Fall Term 3 hours
Internship 2*** Fall Term 3 hours

*Requires in-person intensive and synchronous class meetings Thursdays from 6:30-8:30 p.m. CST
**Requires synchronous Zoom activity (class meets Thursdays from 6:30-8:30 p.m. CST)

***Requires weekly supervision meeting

Online Master’s in Counseling Admissions Requirements:

  • 3.0 minimum cumulative GPA on a 4.000 scale or 3.0 in last 60 credit hours of bachelor’s degree
  • Submit a statement of purpose intended to give the counseling faculty a sense of why you want to pursue a degree in counseling. Your statement of purpose should include:
    • a short description of what led you to the counseling profession.
    • an explanation of why you want to get your degree at Ouachita Baptist University in a program that integrates Christian faith into your counseling education.
    • information on how you plan to balance the degree requirements with any other personal or professional responsibilities in your life.
  • Three recommendations with evaluation forms indicating evidence of character and capability to successfully serve as an effective mental health professional
  • Admission interview with program faculty
  • National Criminal Background Check and Sex Offender Registry Check

In Ouachita’s counseling degree program, all admitted students are required to meet the following program requirements:

  • All admitted students must achieve a grade of B or better on all counseling coursework to satisfy Arkansas state requirements for licensure.
  • The counseling faculty at Ouachita evaluates student learning outcomes through a variety of assessment modalities to ensure all graduates obtain the necessary knowledge and skills needed to be ethical, competent, effective counselors. Information gathered informs program planning and improves program effectiveness. Students are assessed for knowledge, skills, disposition and application as indicated by the CMHC program goals.
  • Throughout the program, all admitted students engage in continuous evaluations. This evaluation process fulfills Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) standards and professional gatekeeping responsibilities, ensuring each student has the skills and emotional maturity for a professional counseling career. View state-specific licensing information and state licensing boards for CACREP.

Note: While every attempt is made to provide the most up-to-date information, licensing requirements are subject to change based on state boards’ decisions. Many states annotated as “Meets Requirements” also require that coursework be reviewed by the board. Therefore, students are encouraged to review state requirements periodically and contact the state board for assurance.

The master’s in counseling program at Ouachita Baptist University seeks to provide ethical, evidence-based counselor education that combines academic rigor with clinical experience. Grounded in a biblical worldview and believing all human beings are made in the image of God and consequently merit respect and compassionate care, Ouachita prepares students to serve diverse populations as they aid in God’s restorative mission of healing and reconciliation.

2024-2025 Counseling Degree Cost of Attendance

Tuition per graduate credit hour: $550
Estimated total tuition and fees for full 63-hour program: $35,910

Explore Graduate and Professional Studies program costs and financial assistance.

Graduates of Ouachita’s clinical mental health counseling program will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge central to scholarly inquiry and professional practice of clinical mental health counseling.
  • Apply relevant skills to assess, diagnose and treat individuals from a diverse clinical population in an ethical and effective manner.
  • Demonstrate professional counselor behaviors for personal growth, self-care and wellness.
  • Develop a professional counselor identity and practice consistent with personal beliefs and professional career goals.

If you’re interested in applying to a Ouachita graduate program but are not a U.S. citizen, contact your graduate admissions counselor, Angie Schleiff, at [email protected] before submitting an application. Due to visa requirements, admission requests from non-U.S. citizens are addressed on a case-by-case basis and take extra time. Please inquire early in the process.

Minimum English proficiency requirements for international students are:

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL):
  • At least a 79 on the internet-Based TOEFL (iBT)
  • At least a 550 on the paper-based TOEFL
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS):
  • At least a 6.5 on the IELTS exam

Learn about the international student experience and admissions requirements.

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No Background? No Problem

Whether you’re beginning your career or making a career change, Ouachita’s online master’s in counseling program can prepare you for a life of meaningful work. Students of all ages are eligible, and prior psychology experience isn’t required! Our low-residency format is ideal for working professionals or busy individuals who want to make an impact through counseling.

Professional counselor

High Standards, High Achievement

Ouachita’s master’s in counseling program is designed to achieve national standards for excellence set by CACREP. By meeting rigorous benchmarks for real-world practice, the M.A. in counseling prepares graduates to pass the National Counselor Exam for licensure in Arkansas and other CACREP-affiliated states. Students develop clinical skills through robust coursework and supervised experience while forming a professional network.

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Academic Rigor, Faith Integration

At Ouachita, classroom instruction is grounded in a biblical worldview that stimulates academic and spiritual growth essential for effective Christian counseling. Curriculum focuses on complex, real-world issues while anchoring students in ethical foundations for practice. With flexible modalities accelerating completion, the program's comprehensive training and supervised clinical experiences give you tools to excel in a demanding profession.

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Our Mission

makes the difference.

The demand for mental health services has drastically increased nationwide, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic. Ouachita’s M.A. in counseling degree program rises to meet this pressing need by equipping graduates for impactful service as licensed counseling professionals. Students acquire the knowledge and experiential training to guide individuals toward healing and addressing mental health issues through a biblical lens. Our graduates step into growing career opportunities, leveraging their counseling expertise to improve lives.

Meet our Counseling Faculty

 

Dr. Sandra Gilliland

Dr. Sandra Gilliland is professor of counseling, a Core Faculty member and director of the mental health counseling program at Ouachita, where she is passionate about shaping the next generation of therapists. Gilliland holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Northern Arizona University; she earned master’s degrees in theology and in marriage and family counseling and a doctorate in psychology and counseling, all from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

With a multifaceted career spanning education, therapy, research and leadership, Gilliland has demonstrated a holistic approach to making a positive impact on individuals and communities.

A licensed marriage and family therapist in Louisiana and Arkansas, her clinical experience includes private practice in Pineville, La., and Claremore, Okla., as well as working with Family and Children's Services in Tulsa, Okla. She has served as director of the Center for Opportunity, Research & Experiential Learning at Louisiana State University of Alexandria, where her initiatives include developing programs to engage students in experiential learning, such as the CORE Skills Badge Program and The Oak Leaf undergraduate research journal.

Gilliland is Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) trained and holds certifications in Prepare/Enrich and Within Our Reach marital enrichment curriculum. She is an active researcher with several publications to her name, addressing topics such as smartphone usage, mental health stigma and the role of emotions in Christian counseling. She has also presented at numerous conferences on subjects including working with interfaith couples and supporting students in crisis.

A past recipient of the McCann Teaching Enhancement Fund Award, Gilliland was awarded the Carolyn Cole Saunders Endowed Professorship at LSUA. She is a member of the Arkansas Counseling Association and the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy.

Karen Roudkovski

Dr. Karen Roudkovski is an assistant professor of counseling and a Core Faculty member at Ouachita. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in religion from Union University and a Master of Divinity with a specialization in psychology & counseling, a Master of Theology and a Ph.D. in counselor education and supervision from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

Roudkovski came to Ouachita from the counseling faculty at Mississippi College and has served as director of clinical training at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, where she was a contract professor. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Board Approved Supervisor in Louisiana and has earned EMDR and perinatal mental health certification.

Author of “Understanding Spiritual Abuse: What it Is and How to Respond,” ”Spiritual Abuse Assessment: A Tool for Survivors and Their Helpers” and ”Spiritual Abuse Recovery Workbook: Engaging Faith in Healing,” Roudkovski also co-authored a book on crisis counseling scheduled for publication in 2025. She is a member of the American Counseling Association and EMDR International Association and presented at the 2023 American Association of Christian Counselors World Conference. Roudkovski is the owner of Bridge Integrative Counseling, LLC.

Linda K. Littlefield

Dr. Linda K. Littlefield is an assistant professor of counseling and a Core Faculty member at Ouachita. She earned a Ph.D. in counselor education and supervision from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, where she has served as an adjunct instructor.

Littlefield is trained in EMDR and trauma focused cognitive-behavioral therapy. Her certifications include Gottman Method Couples Therapy and emotionally focused therapy. She is an active member of professional societies including the American Counseling Association, American Association of Marriage & Family Therapists and American Association of Christian Counselors. Recognized as the Researcher of the Year by the Southern Baptist Research Fellowship in 2020, she is a past recipient of the Jack & Juanita Cunningham Scholarship Fund for Holy Land Travel. She has presented at conferences on topics such as marriage enrichment, addiction resources and trauma survivor counseling.

As a Licensed Professional Counselor and marriage and family therapist in Alabama, Littlefield has provided counseling services at institutions including the Celebration Hope Center and the Leeke Magee Christian Counseling Center. She owns Hopeful Journey Christian Counseling, LLC, in Ozark, Ala.

Jennifer Duer Barnard

Jennifer Duer Barnard is coordinator for practicum and internship for Ouachita’s mental health counseling program. She earned a Master of Science in community mental health counseling and school counseling from John Brown University and is a Licensed Professional Counselor, an LPC Supervisor and a licensed school counselor/educator.

Barnard served in internships with Connection Company, Union Rescue Mission and the CARE Clinic. A member of Arkansas Christian Counselors & Therapists and the American Association of Christian Counselors, she addressed the National Transition of Care Coalition in 2023 on the "Effects of Bullying on Adolescent Anxiety and Depression." She is co-owner of All Things Renewed Counseling & Supervision, PLLC, in Benton, Ark.

Graduate professional studies

GRADUATE & PROFESSIONAL STUDIES

Ouachita Baptist University's Graduate and Professional Studies programs cater to individuals committed to lifelong learning or seeking career advancement. The programs employ innovative modalities in diverse fields, ensuring that students find success professionally and spiritually. Emphasizing a sense of community, Ouachita cultivates meaningful relationships among students and professors for a supportive and enriching educational experience.

 

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Speak with a graduate admissions counselor to get started with Ouachita Baptist University. Answer your calling to compassionately impact lives with a Master of Arts in counseling degree.

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