OBU was ranked 10th nationally on a list of colleges and universities offering the best Christian counseling degrees. The ranking was part of a list of the "Top 20 Christian Colleges For A Counseling Degree 2015," compiled by BestCounselingDegrees.net. OBU was the only school in Oklahoma to make the top ten.
According to BestCounselingDegrees.net, to develop the ranking of "Top 20 Christian Colleges for a Counseling Degree," they began by using the Institute of Education Sciences' College Navigator to gather a list of schools that offered a counseling program (or a major with a counseling emphasis) as a bachelor's degree. From that list of 194 institutions, they cross-referenced with the Council for Higher Education Accreditation to keep only regionally accredited schools. These 160 schools were then ranked based on an intricate point system.
OBU's "psychology: pre-counseling" degree earned this place in the rankings. The OBU degree is special, in that it has been tailored specifically for students who know they want to pursue a career in counseling. The degree includes specialized courses in counseling theory and practice not typically found in most undergraduate psychology programs. Furthermore, the degree contains some flexibility of courses to accommodate students with a wide range of counseling interests.
Dr. Canaan Crane, associate professor of psychology and director of the marriage and family therapy graduate program, is pleased with the ranking. "We work diligently at OBU to equip our students to integrate faith and learning," he said. "Many of our graduates continue on into the field of counseling and work in a wide variety of mission fields."
"OBU has always been dedicated to equipping our students to know and understand the field of psychology, counseling and therapy," he said. "Our students are challenged to test and discern how views about humankind and human nature can be understood from a biblical, Christian perspective."
Crane also noted how OBU stands out from other schools. "A pre-counseling degree is somewhat unusual, as many schools only offer a psychology degree. This allows our students to focus on the content and skills that are specific to counseling/psychotherapy and thereby serves as an excellent preparation for continuing on into graduate school, either to professional programs or to seminary. Our students also have the benefit of learning from faculty who are teaching in our graduate program in marriage and family therapy and several who are also clinically active."
According to BestCounselingDegrees.net, there are advantages for counseling and psychology students to attend a Christian university like OBU. "Attending a Christian college can be particularly relevant for students interested in working in the counseling profession," the site says. "A faith-based program will support students in growing in their own religious and spiritual framework. Additionally, students will develop the skills to support clients in approaching life's challenges from a biblical perspective."