Belhaven University Launches New Master's Degree in Counseling

March 20, 2024 (Jackson, Miss.) - Belhaven University is proud to announce the launch of its newest graduate program, the Master of Arts in Counseling. This comprehensive degree is designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills needed to become licensed professional counselors. Students can choose three distinct tracks: Clinical Mental Health, Marriage and Family, and a general track for those seeking a varied approach.

“One of the requests I have heard multiple times from students is that they want a master’s degree that will allow them to become a licensed counselor,” observed Dr. Justin Kelly, Belhaven University’s Chair of the Department of Psychology. “Our Master of Arts in Counseling will help our students and future psychology students achieve this goal of becoming a licensed professional counselor.”

The program stands out for its integrative perspective, blending insights from psychology with a Christian worldview. Kelly explained, "Our curriculum explores not only what psychology and counseling have to offer, but also what Scripture has to say about helping others. This unique approach ensures that students learn best practices in counseling within a framework of faith and compassion."

Recognizing the challenges many students face in balancing work and education, Belhaven University has structured the 60-credit hour program to be primarily online, allowing students to maintain their current jobs while pursuing their degree. Kelly noted, "We understand the importance of flexibility for our students and those seeking a career change. Our online format enables students to access coursework from anywhere, at any time."

In addition to online courses, the program features two one-week residencies on campus, fostering community and providing students with valuable face-to-face interactions with faculty and peers. "These residencies are instrumental in building connections and making the learning experience more personal," said Kelly. "Students have the opportunity to network, collaborate, and engage with professors in a supportive environment. 

To further enhance interaction and engagement, some courses are offered synchronously, with live meetings held once a week in the evening. This approach allows for direct interaction with professors and colleagues while still accommodating the busy schedules of working professionals.

Dr. Kelly emphasizes the significance of this graduate degree for both the psychology program and its students, stating, "Our Master of Arts in Counseling meets a crucial need in the field. It prepares students to become licensed counselors, addressing the growing demand for mental health professionals in Mississippi and beyond."