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Wake Forest to establish joint Divinity/Counseling degree

February 9, 2007

To better prepare ministers who are often asked to respond to the mental and emotional as well as spiritual needs of church and community members, Wake Forest University has established a new dual degree program.

The Wake Forest Divinity School and the department of counseling will offer a Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Counseling dual degree program beginning in the fall of 2007.  The new four-year program was approved by the Wake Forest Board of Trustees Feb. 2.

The dual degree program will be the only such program in the country that pairs nationally accredited programs in both theology and counseling.  Students in the program will spend the first two years in the Divinity School and second two years in the counseling program to complete both degrees in four years.  Earning the degrees separately would take five years.

“It is an intensive degree,” said Samuel T. Gladding, professor and chair of the counseling department.  “People who complete it will have the best of both worlds.

In recent years, both the Divinity School and the counseling department have received increasing numbers of inquiries from those who are interested in obtaining both the divinity and counseling degrees, Gladding said.  So, he and Divinity School Dean Bill J. Leonard started exploring the idea of a joint program.

 “This new program is the result of almost two years of work between the Divinity School and counseling department,” Leonard said.  “From my perspective, this would not have happened without the energy and involvement of our colleagues in the counseling department, especially Sam Gladding and Pamela Karr (program manager for the counseling department). Likewise, Mark Jensen, our divinity colleague in pastoral counseling has brought superb insights to the development of the curriculum.

“The new degree represents one effort of the divinity and graduate schools to work together in cross-disciplinary endeavors.”

Graduates will meet the educational requirements of licensure as professional counselors in North Carolina and in most other states.

Up to three students will be accepted into the program each year.  For fall 2007, applications will only be accepted from students already enrolled in Wake Forest’s Divinity School.

Press Contacts:

Cheryl Walker
(336) 758-5237

Kevin Cox
(336) 758-5237

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