Doctorate in Counselling

The Doctorate in Counselling is among the first of faith-based programmes in Asia that offer a unique integration of spirituality, theology, psychology, and counselling. Students are pre-qualified senior Christian and community leaders who could demonstrate strong missional focus to bring healing and wholeness to individuals, families, and communities. With an emphasis in practice, the programme equips these leaders in churches, communities and the marketplace with theological and theoretical knowledge, and competencies and proficiencies in counselling.

The core modules of the Doctorate in Counselling meet the requirements of the Singapore Association for Counselling (SAC) and the International Registry of Counsellor Education Programmes (IRCEP).

Graduates from the programme will be competent to formulate a spirituality-led approach that is contextualised to counselling individuals and families. These are equipped:

  • to care for lives with love and compassion
  • to provide clinical counselling to enhance the mental and emotional health of individuals
  • to read issues and counsellees with multi-disciplinary lens in multi-cultural contexts
  • to design and conduct qualitative research to analyse complex problems
  • to synthesise findings and prescribe recommendations to address complex problems
  • to break new ground in the contextual integration of spirituality, theology, psychology and counselling
  • to formulate biblical-based strategies for effectual mental, emotional, and spiritual healing


Admission to the Doctorate in Counselling is based upon Christian faith, leadership experience, and  academic record. Applicants would have at least five years of relevant experience in ministry. Applicants would arrange to have their references submit two Forms of Reference directly to the Registrar. The two references can come from a senior pastor/church elder, Christian leader, employer and/or academic lecturer who have known the applicants for at least one year.

Applicants would minimally have a two-year master’s degree in theological studies from a recognised college, with a Grade Point Average (GPA) of minimally 3.0 out of 4, or its equivalent. If an applicant does not meet the minimum academic requirements, the applicant may be considered for probationary or special admission on the merits of the case.

Successful applicants are admitted provisionally to read four (four-credit) prequalifying modules over two quarters. Students will be admitted to the Doctorate in Counselling if they maintain a GPA of minimally 3.3 out of 4 in completing these four prequalifying modules.  Students who do not succeed in obtaining a GPA of  minimally 3.3 out of 4 may be awarded a Postgraduate Certificate in Counselling if these could maintain a GPA of minimally 2.7 out of 4.

These four prequalifying modules are:

  • LG5014 Greek Language
  • LG5044 Hebrew Language
  • PC6014 Foundations for Pastoral Counselling & Guidance
  • TH6214 Pentecostal-Charismatic Studies

Students seeking exemption may replace up to two modules from the following:

  • TH6264 Theology, Spirituality, and Counselling
  • IC6094 Introduction to the Study of Religion


The Doctorate in Counselling is a 110-credit programme over three years. Students will register for one (4-credit) taught module per quarter over ten quarters in the first two and a half years. In the third year, students will register for 10 credits of dissertation work each quarter over four quarters. Students are given a maximum candidature of seven years.


This subject aims to equip students with essential counselling skills and useful strategies, with the consideration of the Christian context. The developmental counselling approach which combines developmental and ecological approaches will be introduced. Students will learn to apply major developmental theories, such as Erikson’s Psychosocial Theory and Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Framework in their assessment and intervention in the counselling process. Through regular practice, students will be familiar with the essential counselling skills and apply them in the counselling and ministry contexts.


This subject covers principles and issues of professionalism and ethics in counselling to develop counsellors to become ethically responsible in professional practice. They will familiarise themselves with the Singapore Association for Counselling (SAC) Code of Ethics and expose to American Association of Christian Counsellors (AACC) Code of Ethics. They will also be given introductions or references to other professional ethical codes, such as those from the Singapore Psychological Society (SPS), Singapore Association of Social Workers (SASW), American Counseling Association (ACA), and the American Psychological Association (APA) Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct. Students will be introduced to ethical principles, professional guidelines, ethical decision-making models, and issues pertaining to specific client groups and context. They will also explore ethical issues specific to counselling in diverse spiritual and cultural contexts.


This subject helps students to understand the theoretical perspective of marriage and family and gives the theological perspectives on the various topics. It also provides concept of marriage and family life from the developmental perspective. Using Family Systems Theory and Family Life Cycle Theory, students will understand how family dynamics impact the growth and development of an individual. Topics studied include traits of a healthy marriage, communication, conflict resolution, gender roles within a marriage, phases and styles of parenting, roles and goals of parents and the importance of sex education for children and possible threats to the family. These topics will be underpinned by spiritual and theological understandings.


This subject introduces students to tools for assessments and advanced counselling skills. Students will get first-hand experiences of using a variety of assessment tools, such as Mental State Examination, Religious Status Interview, and suicide risk assessments to inform their assessment and formulation of cases. The module also covers several clinical interventions such as cognitive, behavioural, and emotion-focused approaches for treatment planning. Case studies, roleplays, and spiritual considerations for assessments and interventions are core features of this subject.


Students will be introduced to the theories and practices of group counselling. They will learn about group dynamics, group processes and the different types of group work in counselling. Students will learn skills to conduct group counselling and practice group facilitation skills. Theological discussions will be applied to question the process and practice of group counselling.


This subject provides students with the knowledge and skills in the conceptualisation and operationalisation of research. They will also acquire ‘hands-on’ skills in the use of different research methods so as to learn the principles of research design and apply them in the design of a research project during the course. Topics covered include conducting a literature review, formulating research questions, sampling, data collection and analysis. Critical appreciation of other research, ethical research practice and research considerations from theological and spiritual perspectives will also be discussed.


This subject enhances the students’ understanding of human development in relation to the biopsychosocial and spiritual factors which influence growth and changes over the lifespan. Students will be introduced to developmental themes across different life stages and understand its relevance for counselling practice and faith-based perspectives. They will also gain skills in using questioning and interviewing techniques to assess the developmental background of a person during counselling sessions.


This subject introduces students to the central theories that have shaped contemporary counselling and therapeutic practice. The history and unique contributions from four theoretical branches are surveyed: Freudian and post-Freudian psychodynamic theories; Jungian analytical psychological theory; behavioural and cognitive-behavioural theories; and humanistic and existential theories. Christian theological perspectives will be used to critically evaluate such psychological ideas. Overall, the course has a strong applied focus where students will learn to formulate cases from various theoretical positions.


This subject provides an overview on the assessment and treatment of psychological disorders commonly occurring in childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and old age. The course aims to equip students with the foundational knowledge of the aetiology, causes and treatments of various psychological disorders. It also seeks to give students an in-depth understanding of the psychological disorders from medical, developmental, and faith-based perspectives. The psychological disorders covered are based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – 5th Edition (DSM-5).


In this module, students will learn about common types of crisis and trauma that people may encounter, and the impact of crisis and trauma, in three levels: individual, interpersonal and community. Students will become familiar with the range of skills and strategies employed in crisis and trauma counselling such as risk assessment and planning, de-escalation of intense emotions and trauma-focused interventions. This module also provides students with theological and spiritual perspectives of crisis and trauma. The precautions for counsellors working in crisis and trauma cases will also be discussed.


The programme culminates in a dissertation which carries 40 credits. The word length is a minimum of 40,000 words (160-page length) and a maximum of 45,000 words (180-page length), excluding bibliography, double-spaced, Times New Roman, and font size 12. Students with weaker English will be responsible to have their writing professionally edited before submission.

The dissertation is written over four quarters as follow:

  • RS7210 DISSERTATION 1 – Dissertation Writing – Proposal
  • RS7310 DISSERTATION 2 – Dissertation Writing – Chapter 1 – Chapter 3
  • RS7410 DISSERTATION 3 – Dissertation Writing – Chapter 4 – Concluding Chapter
  • RS7510 DISSERTATION 4 – Dissertation Writing – Review and Finalisation


The programme offers an extensive 30 credits (300 hours) of counselling practicum  to serve as platform for students to integrate and apply their knowledge and skills in clinical settings. This comprises 16 credits (160 hours) in the first year, followed by 14 credits (140 hours) of specialised counselling in the second year.  The counselling practicum serves to increase students’ clinical competency and cultivate confidence in their clinical practice. It aims to develop students’ professional capacity as a counsellor, guided by the theoretical knowledge and professional ethics gained in their classroom learning. Students have extensive opportunity to apply counselling theories and techniques in a one-to-one counselling context during their attachment with an approved social service agency.


Students are required to fulfill counselling practicum requirements of 300 hours in total, spread over the first two years. The counselling practicum, including supervision, will be undertaken at either API Care and Counselling Centre or an approved social service agency.

The counselling practicum focuses on building students’ practical knowledge in performing intake interviews and conducting counselling sessions. Students would be able to apply and integrate counselling theories in assessment, case conceptualisation, and to formulate and implement appropriate interventions for the benefit of clients, with guidance from their clinical supervisors.

Personal Therapy

In addition, students are required to go through eight sessions of personal therapy in the first two years of the programme. The purpose of the therapy is to help students identify and address issues that may affect their practice as a counsellor and prepare them towards becoming a more effective counsellor.

Graduation Requirements

The Doctorate in Counselling is a 110-credit programme with 10 taught modules. Students who sustain a GPA of minimally 3.0 out of 4 for the first seven counselling  modules may apply to proceed to write the dissertation in year 3. Students who fail to sustain a GPA of 3.0 out of 4 may not proceed in their candidature. These would be awarded a Graduate Diploma in Counselling if they

  • successfully complete the seven counselling modules with a GPA of minimally 2.7 out of 4
  • fulfill all requirements of 160 hours of counselling practicum
  • fulfill all requirements of clinical supervision and group supervision
  • fulfill all requirements of personal therapy
  • demonstrate a godly character, integrity, and discipline in guided supervision
  • fulfill all requirements within the maximum candidature of four years

The Doctorate in Counselling will be awarded for an original contribution to the state of scholarship in an integration of theology and spirituality with psychology and counselling. The candidate needs to obtain minimally a pass in his/her dissertation.

In addition, the candidate needs to:

  • successfully complete ten taught modules with a GPA of minimally 3.0 out of 4
  • fulfill all requirements of 300 hours of counselling practicums
  • fulfill all requirements of clinical supervision and group supervision
  • fulfill all requirements of personal therapy
  • demonstrate a godly character, integrity and discipline in guided supervision
  • fulfill all requirements within the maximum candidature of seven years


Tuition fees for the 5000 level and 6000 level prequalifying modules are chargeable at $110/credit and $250/credit respectively. Tuition fees for the ten taught modules, practicums, and dissertation writing (110 credits) in the Doctorate in Counselling are chargeable at $250/credit.

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