Specialized Study Options

Customize your degree program with a specialization related to addictions counseling, trauma counseling, multi-state licensure, interdisciplinary studies or a thesis track.

Addictions Counseling Specialization

The Addictions Counseling Specialization provides you the ability to seek the Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CAADC) credential from the Michigan Certification Board for Addiction Professionals (MCBAP). The combination of the courses prepares you for the academic and practical components needed to partially fulfill the requirements for certification.

  • COU-651: Clinical Diagnostic Assessment of Addictions
  • COU-652: Sociology of Addictions
  • COU-653: Addictions Counseling: Treatment and Intervention
  • One course in ethics (e.g., COU-502: Counseling Ethics and Issues).
  • One 300-hour internship that provides experience in counseling people with addictive and compulsive conditions (i.e., COU 784/785).

The addictions courses are administered in a 10-week online format. The training received will allow graduates greater marketability as it addresses a core struggle for many people (substance and non-substance addictions). The program also helps to prepare graduates for LPC Licensure in other states that may require an addictions course.

Upon completion of the three addictions courses and the ethics course, you will need to do the following in order to receive the full certification:

  • Fill out the Developmental Plan through the Michigan Certification Board before you begin your practicum.
  • Find a practicum site that allows you to gain experience in the 12 core functions of alcohol and drug abuse counseling. The Michigan Certification Board has a list of approved sites. You do not have to be signed up for an official practicum course at an institution to gain the practicum experience in this area.
  • Pass the IC&RC/AAODA examination.
  • Complete 2,000 hours of counseling experience working with AODA clients at a program licensed by the State of Michigan.
  • Apply for the certification.
  • Have already obtained your master's degree in counseling, social work, psychology or a related field.

For more detailed requirements and additional information on the certification process, see the Michigan Certification Board's website. The CAADC application and materials are helpful as well.

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Interdisciplinary Studies Specialization

Our interdisciplinary studies specialization is intended to offer you the most flexibility as you pursue your ministry goals. The three courses that make up this specialization include Marriage and Family Counseling and any other two courses that we offer at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. Remember that some classes have prerequisites that must be completed before taking the class.

This M.A. Counseling degree program track requires nine credit hours.

Multi-State Licensure Specialization

The requirements for licensure vary by state. Our multi-state licensure specialization prepares you to practice outside the state of Michigan. GRTS offers courses like Counseling Addictions and Human Growth and Development that are not required in the state of Michigan but are required by many other states. An admissions counselor can work with you to make an individualized program plan.

This M.A. Counseling degree program track requires nine credit hours and includes three of these courses:

  • COU-653: Addictions Counseling: Treatment and Intervention (3 credit hours)
  • COU-660: Abnormal Psychology (3 credit hours)
  • COU-662: Human Growth and Development (3 credit hours)
  • COU-670: Diagnostic and Clinical Assessment of Mental Disorders (3 credit hours)

Thesis Track Specialization

The thesis track specialization is for students who intend to pursue Ph.D. work. You will take two courses that focus on the research, reading and writing of a 60-80 page thesis for Ph.D. applications.

This M.A. Counseling degree program track requires nine credit hours and includes these courses:

  • COU-584: Thesis Readings: Counseling (3 credit hours)
  • COU-792: M.A. Thesis: Counseling (6 credit hours)

Trauma Specialization

The trauma specialization was created to provide you with the skills necessary to help those who have experienced or been affected by traumatic events and environments. Each required class addresses this highly specialized and rapidly growing field of study from a Christian worldview.

This M.A. Counseling degree program track requires nine credit hours and includes these courses:

  • COU-642: Sociology of Trauma (3 credit hours)
  • COU-643: Trauma Informed Advocacy and Crisis Intervention (3 credit hours)
  • COU-644: Trauma Counseling and Recovery (3 credit hours)