Program Details

Master of Science in Christian Counseling of Substance Use and Addictive Disorders

Offered By: College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Earn Your MS in Christian Substance Abuse Counseling

Faith and spirituality are integral components of substance abuse and addictive disorder recovery. Christian substance abuse counseling focuses on integrating biblical principles and truths with evidence-based treatment modalities. The intersection of faith and addiction recovery can help give patients a strong foundation to move forward with a substance-free life. If you feel called to deliver counseling services rooted in theological wisdom, you can apply for the Master of Science in Christian Counseling of Substance Use and Addictive Disorders program at Grand Canyon University.

Offered by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, this Christian substance abuse counseling MS degree is an intensive survey of psychological theory and counseling practices, presented within a biblical framework that expands upon the Christian worldview. Students explore the cultural, familial and sociological influences on people with addictions. There is an emphasis on character formation, stages of spiritual growth and personal spiritual health for the counselor.

A master’s degree is an eligibility requirement for pursuing counseling licensure in many states. This Master of Science in Christian substance abuse counseling program may prepare graduates to seek licensure in Arizona as an addiction counselor. The courses are designed to align with the national academic requirements established by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC).

Study Psychology and Addiction from a Christian Perspective

Immerse yourself within GCU’s welcoming and supportive learning environment as you expand your knowledge of Scripture and biblical truths. Benefit from the diverse perspectives of your peers and fully qualified instructors as you work through the curriculum online or on-campus. All students are encouraged to develop their communication skills and qualities of servant leadership, as well as to think analytically about matters of professional ethics.

Some of the courses included with this master’s degree include the following:

  • Biblical Foundations for Counselors: The Story of God
  • Spiritual Formation: Becoming a Healthy Practitioner
  • Integration of Scripture with Counseling Theory
  • Psychopharmacology and Addictions
  • Co-Occurring Disorders

Students learn to make genuine connections with their clients by integrating Christian wisdom and ethics into their practice. The MS in Christian Counseling of Substance Use and Addictive Disorders curriculum is designed to inspire students to deepen their own understanding of biblical truths while preparing to discuss addictive disorders and related issues from the Christian perspective. Other key topic areas include the following:

  • The stages, processes and effects of substance use disorders
  • Substance use disorders in family systems
  • Assessment and diagnostic tools, and appropriate treatment interventions
  • Behavioral, psychological, physiological and social effects of psychoactive substances

In addition, all students are required to complete the Pre-Practicum and the Practicum/Internship. These are two supervised fieldwork experiences designed to develop the student’s counseling skills within a real-world setting.

Prepare to Meet the Demand in Substance Abuse Counseling by Earning Your Master of Science in Christian Counseling for Substance Use and Addictive Disorders

Prepare to serve and lead others in God’s name as you work toward becoming a Christian substance abuse counselor. Professionals in this field often find it personally fulfilling to effect positive change in individuals, families and their communities. This master’s degree may prepare students to pursue counseling positions in any of the following settings:

  • Private practices
  • Hospitals and substance abuse clinics
  • Inpatient and outpatient recovery programs
  • Jails, prisons and juvenile detention centers
  • Social service agencies
  • Faith-based organizations

Counseling licensure requirements may vary from state to state. Students are expected to understand the licensing requirements for the state in which they wish to practice.

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Total Program Credits: 48
Online: 8 weeks [More Info]
Up to 12 credits or 1/3 of the total program requirements in transfer (whichever is less)

Online: $530 per credit [More Info]

Course List

The programs offered at Grand Canyon University may vary by content and course length. You are currently viewing the program version available in Arizona. For information about specific course content, credit length and VA approval in your state, please contact a counselor at 1-855-GCU-LOPE or click here to request more information.
48 credits
Total Degree Requirements:
48 credits

Program Core Courses

Course Description

This course is designed to prepare students for the graduate learning experience at Grand Canyon University. Students have opportunities to develop and strengthen the skills necessary to succeed as graduate students in the health sciences. Emphasis is placed on utilizing the tools for graduate success.

Course Description

This course provides a broad understanding of the stages, processes, and effects of substance use disorders, social and psychological dynamics of substance use disorders, and the professional's role in prevention, intervention, and aftercare, including recovery and relapse prevention. This course explores theories and models of treatment of substance use disorders, drug classification, and assessment. It also continues building foundational knowledge, utilization of professional resources, and exploration of standards to help students prepare for licensure/certification within the counseling industry.

Course Description

This course provides a broad understanding of counseling ethics, legal standards, and responsibilities, including professional identity, report writing, record keeping, and service reimbursement for professional and substance-use-disorder counselors. Also covered are the history of and current trends in counseling. Important goals of this course are to help students develop a strong personal and professional ethic, as well as an appreciation for the value of professional collaboration and identity.

Course Description

This course provides a comprehensive survey of the major counseling theories and principles. Coursework includes the following theories: psychoanalytic, Adlerian, existential psychotherapy, behavioral, cognitive behavioral, person-centered, reality therapy/choice theory, and rational emotive behavioral therapy (REBT).

Course Description

This course provides a broad understanding of group development, group dynamics, group counseling theories, and ethical standards with reference to professional and substance use disorders counseling. The course also addresses group process components, appropriate selection criteria, developmental stage theories, group members' roles and behaviors, and group leadership styles and approaches. The course includes didactic and experiential group learning. Required synchronous group experience: 12 hours.

Course Description

This course provides a broad understanding of issues and trends in a multicultural and diverse society. Studies in this area include the following: attitudes and behaviors based on such factors as age, race, religious preference, physical disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity and culture, family patterns, gender, socioeconomic status and intellectual ability; individual, family, group, and community strategies for working with diverse populations; theories of multicultural counseling and identity development; and multicultural competencies. Students examine a variety of cultural populations in multiple regions of the United States, exploring issues and trends that are associated with each population. Cultural considerations for immigrants, refugees, and undocumented immigrants are also addressed.

Course Description

This course is a narrative approach to the theology of God, humanity, and salvation. Students learn to apply the story of the Bible to the life and practice of the Christian counselor.

Course Description

This course provides an introduction to spiritual formation with attention to classical spiritual disciplines and stages of growth. This course includes an exploration into personal spiritual health and character development with implications for counseling practice. Prerequisite: CCN-601.

Course Description

This course introduces students to the basic principles of psychopharmacology and the effects of psychoactive substances. Students examine the behavioral, psychological, physiological and social effects of psychoactive substance use, and learn to recognize symptoms of intoxication, withdrawal, and toxicity. The class covers various screening options, limitations, legal implications, and the utilization of pharmacotherapy as part of substance addiction treatment.

Course Description

This course introduces students to co-occurring disorders. Students examine screening and assessment tools to reveal and evaluate the presence and severity of co-occurring disorders. This course also explores the treatment needs of persons with co-occurring disorders. Strategies for risk management associated with treating individuals with co-occurring disorders are presented.

Course Description

This course explores relational health in connection with topics including self-assessment, forgiveness, reconciliation with God and others, and the pursuit of spiritual health. Personal practice and implementation in professional counseling are emphasized. Prerequisite: CCN-650.

Course Description

This course examines the impact of substance use disorders in family systems. Various treatment interventions are discussed. The treatment roles and responsibilities of addicted individuals and their families are also examined.

Course Description

This course provides a conceptual framework for the use of assessment and diagnostic tools for the development of appropriate treatment interventions for a variety of behavioral health and substance use disorders. Included is an introduction to the use of the diagnostic tools, including the DSM, and the integration of diagnostic and assessment information, in the development of treatment plans.

Course Description

In this course, students explore the integration of the Christian worldview into counseling theory and practice. Emphasis is placed on the nature and purpose of human beings from a biblical perspective as well as ethical issues pertinent to the Christian counselor, while critically evaluating contemporary secular theories and practices. Prerequisite: CCN-655.

Course Description

This course provides an introduction to adolescent substance use disorders prevention and treatment techniques and interventions. Signs, symptoms, and patterns of adolescent substance use are examined. Students also explore adolescent screening methods and assessment tools.

Course Description

This is a supervised fieldwork experience under the supervision of a faculty member and an on-site clinical supervisor approved by the college or university. Documentation of a minimum requirement of 100 hours of counseling-related activities, which include 40 direct contact hours, is submitted to Typhon and monitored by the office of field experience. Students may not progress to PCN-662A without the required amount of hours submitted to Typhon and proper approval. State licensure requirements may mandate additional hours. Students must review and adhere to their state board's additional requirements. Practicum/field experience hours: 100. Prerequisites: Completion of all didactic coursework in the program; a GPA of 3.0 or better; and maintenance of student professional liability insurance in the amount of $1 million, $3 million.

Course Description

Students use this supervised practicum/internship experience to develop their counseling skills and to perform all the activities that a regularly employed professional counselor would be expected to perform in a supervised setting. The practicum/internship is performed under the supervision of a faculty member and an on-site clinical supervisor approved by the college or university. Documentation of 150 hours of counseling-related activities, which include 50 direct contact hours, is submitted directly to the college’s office of field experience for verification and tracking. Practicum hours: Addiction Counseling students, 150 total hours; Professional Counseling students, 600 total hours. State licensure requirements may mandate additional hours. Students must review and adhere to their state board's additional requirements. Practicum/field experience hours: 150. Prerequisites: PCN-622; a GPA of 3.0 or better; maintenance of student professional liability insurance in the amount of $1 million, $3 million; and college approval.

Program Locations


Pursue a next-generation education with an online degree from Grand Canyon University. Earn your degree with convenience and flexibility with online courses that let you study anytime, anywhere. GCU offers the most experienced leadership in delivering online degree programs. Full-time faculty members and fully trained adjunct instructors, equipped with strong academic backgrounds and practical experience in their fields, support you every step of the way. Designed with the career-oriented professional in mind, our online classes provide an intimate environment that stimulates engaging and challenging discussions. Choose from programs across our distinct colleges, in high-demand employment areas. Classes begin frequently.


Grand Canyon University’s evening programs cater to the demands of working professionals who prefer an in-person learning environment. Our night classes meet just once per week and offer the interaction and discussion of a typical college classroom. Night classes are designed for a specific number of students, providing a warm and nurturing environment that supports an engaging experience. In an evening cohort, you will progress through your degree program with the same career-minded classmates, providing an opportunity to network and forge relationships that go beyond the classroom. Classes begin frequently at various locations, including our main campus.

* Please note that this list may contain programs that are not presently offered as program availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability of the program.

Program Domains

* The Department of Education defines how an institution must calculate a program's On-Time Completion rate for federal disclosure purposes. The On-Time Completion rate is based on a program's published required number of months to complete all degree requirements as provided in the institution's catalog. Completion statistics are updated every January and are based on the cohort of students who started the program in the same year and then graduated within the published program length .

Online and Evening program disclosures (3.333 years)

* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Program subject to change.