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Department of Sociology

Frequently Asked Questions



For whom is the program designed?


Graduate ProgramMessiah College’s master's in counseling program is designed for:

      • Those who have graduated from an accredited undergraduate institution;
      • Those who wish to become competent counselors who are capable of working within a variety of professional settings;
      • Those who wish to serve others in the counseling process, develop their leadership abilities in the counseling field, and seek to reconcile relationships within the counseling setting;
      • Those who are interested in exploring how faith is related to the counseling profession;
      • Those who wish to be trained by faculty members from a faith-based institution;
      • Those who wish to be academically prepared to sit for the exam to become a licensed professional counselor, a licensed marriage and family therapist, or a certified school counselor in Pennsylvania.


What are the admissions requirements?


Admissions requirements can be found on our Admission Information page or by clicking on the Apply Now button to the right.



Do I need to know which of the three tracks I plan to pursue to apply for the admittance to the counseling program?


You are allowed to take up to nine credits in the program without declaring a particular track. Students who need particular courses to prepare them for licensure will also be allowed to take the courses they need with permission from the director of the program.



When/how will I be notified of my acceptance into the program?


Once your file is complete, your application will be reviewed.  If an interview is warranted, you will be contacted for scheduling purposes. Once an admission decision has been made, you will be notified in writing.



What is the cost of the program?


Tuition charge for the master’s in counseling program is $555 per credit hour. Please visit our tuition and fees page for more details.



Is financial aid available for graduate students at Messiah?


Yes, in addition to the deferred billing for employer reimbursement option, there are two federal loan programs available through our Financial Aid Office.



Do I have to declare my intended timeline for completing the program when I apply? May I change my mind?


When you apply for acceptance into the master’s of counseling program, you will be asked to declare whether you intend to complete the program in two, three, or four years. Once you have declared your intention, you will be invited to join the appropriate cohort. If your circumstances change, you have the flexibility to change your mind about the length of time it will take you to complete the program and you will be able to change cohorts during the program.



What is the difference in pace between the two-, three-, and four-year program models?


The two-year model would be considered an accelerated model, requiring students to take four courses over 16 weeks throughout most of the program. The three-year model would follow the same time frame as the two-year model, except the internships are taken in year three. The four-year model is a relatively evenly paced, four-year distribution of the courses.



May I take longer than the four-year track to complete the program?

Students are recommended to consider the two, three, or four year model, but you may take up to six years to complete the program if that is the option that works best for you. (However students are expected to be continuously enrolled from the time they begin their program.)



May I transfer course credits into Messiah’s graduate program?

Yes, up to 20 percent of the total number of credits required for the degree may be accepted as transfer credits provided that:

  • The credits were taken at a regionally accredited college or university;
  • The credits were completed at the graduate level;
  • A minimum grade of a B was earned for each course;
  • The credits were taken within the last seven years; and
  • The credits are not among those that must be taken at Messiah College.

For the M.A. in counseling, however, the following courses must be completed at Messiah College and may not be counted as incoming transfer credits:

  • Professional Issues and Ethics for Counselors (COUN 501)
  • Counseling Techniques (COUN 540)
  • All practicum and internships



Who teaches Messiah’s graduate programs?


All of the courses, whether online or in the classroom, are taught by experienced Messiah College faculty from the School of Business, Education and Social Sciences, who are active counselors (clinical mental health, school, or marriage and family) and accomplished scholars. Messiah’s faculty encourage and mentor you to consider your own faith, the faith of others, and the relationship between counseling and issues connected to faith in their professions.


Visit our faculty profile page to learn more about our graduate professors.



What will the intensive one-week courses be like?


Classes will typically meet approximately eight hours per day with a mixture of lecture, discussion, group work, videos, and applied exercises. In addition, students will need to work alone and/or in groups in the evenings to prepare for class the next day. Students will also need to do reading and assignments before and after the one-week intensive class at Messiah.



Is housing available for students during the intensive one-week summer classes?


Yes, students may either apply to live on campus in Messiah’s residence halls during their summer residency or you may choose to stay off campus in local hotels.



Is there free parking on campus? Places to eat?


Graduate students may obtain a commuter student parking permit free of charge. In order to obtain the permit, students need to register their vehicles at the the Falcon Exchange/Vehicle Registration Office on the second floor of the Eisenhower Campus Center (#12 on the campus parking map), open between 8:00AM-4:00PM. Students should be sure to inform the Department of Safety staff that they are graduate students. Once the paperwork is complete, they will be issued a commuter parking permit and be able to park in the Starry Field Parking Lot, designated in yellow at the bottom right corner of the campus parking map. After 5:00PM, students with commuter permits may park in the lot around Murray Library (#26 on the campus parking map), but must remove their vehicles from this area by the time the library closes in the evening. Commuter parking permits are valid from July 1 - June 30.

Graduate students attending the one-week intensive summer course are permitted to park on campus without obtaining a parking sticker/hang tag. Students should not park in designated employee parking areas or in areas specifically marked for service vehicles. Students may park behind Boyer Hall, in the spaces running parallel to the railroad tracks, or in the Starry Field Parking Lot. These areas are designated in yellow on the summer campus
parking map. Graduate students attending the one-week intensive courses in January must obtain a parking permit as described above.


Students who are on campus for the day may pick up a day pass from the Dispatch Office located in the Eisenhower Campus Center (#12 on the campus parking map).


Any questions concerning Parking can be directed to Amy Lynne Davis at or 717-691-6005, ext. 7147.



Messiah’s campus offers students a variety of dining options ranging from a full dining room to more informal snack shop and café venues.



What are the online courses like?

Messiah's online courses are conducted as a personal, interactive learning community. Interaction among students and faculty is foundational to all courses taken at Messiah, and communication and facilitation of class assignments between you, the professor, and other students will take place through an online learning management system (LMS) called Sakai.


Specific procedures will vary depending on the individual course, and will be communicated to you and your classmates by the faculty member facilitating the online course. For example, some classes may require you to engage in synchronous (live) online communication for the course, but this would be outlined in advance in the course syllabus. The method of delivering tests and exams will vary from course to course, but many will be administered electronically through Sakai. Online courses will have the same letter grading scale as traditional classroom courses; and the specific grading criteria for each course will be outlined in the course syllabus.


Visit our demonstration of the Sakai online classroom.


How will Messiah’s master's in counseling program help me to prepare for my licensure or certification exams?


All of the appropriate courses and topics will be covered to prepare you academically for the appropriate licensure and/or certification in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Messiah’s counseling program will also suggest a list of resources that can be utilized to help you prepare for the appropriate exams.



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