What makes the Master’s degrees in counseling with AGSC so distinct?

The programs at Alliance Graduate School of Counseling use the Psychospiritual counseling model, a biblically integrated clinical approach developed by Dr. Craig Ellison, founder of AGSC.

What is the difference between a Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling and a Master of Arts in Marriage & Family Therapy?

  1. Mental health counseling is the evaluation, assessment, and treatment of a disability, problem, or disorder by the use of verbal or behavioral methods. Mental health counselors are trained in counseling and psychotherapy to treat individuals with mental and emotional disorders and other behavioral challenges. Mental health counselors address mental health, human relationship, education and career concerns within developmental and treatment contexts. Mental health counselors demonstrate a concern for the short-term and long-term well being of individuals, couples, families, groups and organizations. The professional license of Mental Health Counselor in New York State (or Licensed Professional Counselor in other states) is associated with this degree program.
  2. Marriage and family therapy is the assessment and treatment of affective, cognitive or behavioral disorders that disrupt individuals and interpersonal family relationships. Marriage and family therapists are trained in individual psychotherapy and family systems theory to assess and treat mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders, and address an array of relationship issues within the context of marital/couple, family and various relational systems. Individuals are viewed as relational beings and are fully understood and cared for in the context of their past and current relationships.  The professional license of Marriage and Family Therapist is associated with this degree program.

How much does it cost to attend AGSC?

Tuition for the 2018-19 school year was $800 per credit.

What types of financial aid does AGSC offer?

There are many grants available to AGSC students. Institutional grants are available at both campuses. Once your application is complete, your admissions counselor will inform you of your eligibility for any financial aid available (institutional grants, scholarships, outside aid, etc.). Most grants and scholarships require that the student be full-time (minimum of 9 credits per semester).

Is AGSC accredited?

AGSC has Middle States regional accreditation. AGSC is

“In Process” of pursuing accreditation for their clinical MA in Mental Health Counseling degree (both NYC and online) with the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). For information on how to check Nyack College’s status directly on CACREP’s website, please click on this pdf.

The Marriage & Family Therapy Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE).

What kind of work do AGSC alumni do?

Our graduates are serving as pastoral counselors, Marriage & Family counselors, crisis counselors, health care center counselors, hospice counselors, multi-systems therapists, residential counselors, and private clinicians.

Do I need to complete an internship?

Yes, the MA in Mental Health Counseling requires 700 clinical hours (i.e. 100 Practicum hours and 600 Clinical Internship hours) and the MA in Marriage and Family Therapy requires 300 counseling hours and 100 clinical observation hours (i.e. observing MFT faculty conducting live therapy from behind a one-way mirror).

*AGSC has a working relationship with over 30 internship sites and seeks to match students with the best position to meet their professional and educational needs.

What if I didn’t major in psychology as an undergraduate student?

Admission to AGSC does not require a specific undergraduate major. In order for incoming students to be successful, prerequisites are required for each degree program:

  1. MA in Mental Health Counseling requires successful completion of General Psych, and Abnormal Psych.
  2. MA in Marriage and Family Therapy requires successful completion of Counseling Theories, Abnormal Psych, and Developmental Psych/Family Studies.

Alliance Graduate School of Counseling seeks to provide counseling education that is grounded in a theologically evangelical Christian view of epistemology, human nature and healing. While recognizing that there are different viewpoints within the Christian community, we believe that the Bible provides us with significant foundational perspectives on human personality, pathology and healing.

The Graduate School of Counseling takes an “open universe” view of epistemology and causation. This view suggests that the most accurate and comprehensive understanding of human functioning and healing is gained by consideration of natural, supernatural and interactive (natural x supernatural) influences.

Alliance Graduate School of Counseling views human nature at its best as a finely-tuned, multi-dimensional, integrated system. Human beings are fundamentally psychospiritual beings because they are created in God’s image. Optimal human functioning occurs when human beings live according to God’s design as given in the Bible.

Because of The Fall, human beings experience the pain of disorder, division, disintegration, dissension, and dysfunction. Human personality and relationships are often fragmented due to irrationality, chaos and distortions of sin. Sin, from a psychospiritual perspective, is living in contradiction to God’s design. Sin refers both to an underlying human condition of fallenness due to original sin, and to specific acts committed by an individual or by others against a person. The destructive and disintegrative impact of sin is experienced through individual, interpersonal and institutional choices and channels.

In addition to the impact of sin in its psychospiritual sense, human beings are affected by the limitations of their finitude. Choices that produce chaos and pain are often the result of limited or erroneous knowledge and understanding. Dysfunctional patterns of learning and conditioning may also produce significant difficulties.

Finally, in their attempts to cope with the pain of unmet psychospiritual needs, human beings often unwittingly make choices that worsen their pain and lead to further psychospiritual and relational deterioration.

Alliance Graduate School of Counseling sees psychospiritual healing as ultimately the work of God’s grace, wisdom and love communicated through the vehicle of a competent and sensitive counselor. The exact role of the therapist varies according to the particular needs and problems of the counselee, couple or family unit. Healing interventions are multi-modal and comprehensive. Because of our open universe view, analysis and interventions include consideration of the natural/psychological and supernatural/spiritual dimensions. Healing may also include bio- and social-psychological intervention due to the fundamental biological and relational nature of human beings.

Dr. A.B. Simpson one of the foremost figures in the American missionary movement, resigned a prestigious New York City pastorate to develop an interdenominational fellowship devoted to serving unreached people. Simpson’s view was shared by a wide group of men and women, including mainline church leaders, laborers, and theological scholars. This ever-growing alliance was bound together by a desire to inspire the church to fulfill its Great Commission of world evangelization.
An important step towards making their vision a reality was the founding of the Missionary Training Institute, the first Bible college in North America. This school was the forerunner of Nyack College of which the Alliance Graduate School of Counseling is a division. Thus, from its beginning in New York City in 1882, Nyack College, AGSC’s mother organization has been devoted to the concept of education as preparation for service.
The Alliance Graduate School of Counseling began as a concept in 1982 with Dr. Craig Ellison’s vision for a master’s level counseling program that had the ability to train future counselors to address the psychospiritual needs of hurting people in the church, on the mission field, in the city, and in the community.
In 1999 AGSC became a reality and the Alliance Theological Seminary welcomed the first class of 18 counseling students for the MA in Mental Health Counseling. In 2002 we expanded to open a Manhattan extension site. In 2008, AGSC launched the MA in Marriage and Family Therapy. Currently we have 250 students and are proud to call ourselves the fastest growing Christian counseling program on the East coast!
Alliance Graduate School of Counseling is an educational institution rooted in the historic Christian faith, serving The Christian and Missionary Alliance, the church, the community and the world. It seeks to produce counselors who are equipped to bring healing to broken lives. AGSC is committed to promoting excellence in knowledge both sacred and secular, moral maturity, and spiritual development in its students, and to preparing them for lives of ministry and professional service.