4+1 Program Paves the Way for Bachelor’s & Master’s in 5 Years Total

by LBC Marketing

March 22, 2021

A unique program at Lancaster Bible College | Capital Seminary & Graduate School provides a pathway for students to earn both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in just five years total.

The 4+1 program, available in four academic departments at LBC | Capital, has multiple benefits for students.

Bible & Theology

Students who choose to first earn a B.A. in Biblical Studies within the Bible & Theology Department could also pursue the Master of Arts in Ministry (M.A.M.) degree in a specified concentration or a Master of Arts in Biblical Studies (M.A.B.S.) in a specified concentration.

According to Dr. Douglas Finkbeiner, Professor of Bible & Theology, within the M.A.M. students could choose a concentration in Formational Children & Family Ministry, Leadership Studies, Pastoral Studies or Youth & Young Adult Ministry. Within the M.A.B.S., students have concentration options of Biblical Exposition, Christian Apologetics or a new Theology concentration, which begins in the fall of 2021 at the Lancaster campus (pending in Washington, D.C.).

Learn more about the courses and programs within the Bible & Theology Department.

Counseling & Social Work

Because a master’s degree is required in order to be a professional counselor, LBC | Capital’s 4+1 program in this academic arena offers many benefits to students.

“For the hardworking, self-aware student, 4+1 offers a chance to get the graduate level training they need while reducing the time and money spent in school by at least one year,” said Dr. Ryan M. Kuehner, Chair of the Counseling & Social Work Department and Director of the Master of Arts Programs in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Addiction Counseling and Marriage, Couple & Family Counseling.

Within counseling, LBC | Capital students can embark on 4+1 paths in the following areas:

Likewise, the newly launched Master of Social Work degree, in the pre-candidacy process and beginning with a cohort in fall 2021, enables LBC | Capital social work majors to earn their Bachelor of Social Work (B.S.W.) degree in four years, then add just one more year for the M.S.W. degree.

“The Advanced Standing full-time program will start in fall 2022, and we think that this will be a desirable plan for students,” said M.S.W. Program Director Dr. Kurt Miller.

Learn more about LBC | Capital’s new M.S.W. degree.


According to Dr. Julia Hershey, Associate Provost for Academics and Chair of the Education Department, the 4+1 option allows students to not only complete two levels of degrees, but they are also eligible for two Pennsylvania state certifications—all within five years.

Within the Education Department, the 4+1 program leads to a B.S.Ed. and M.Ed. Options are available in Early Childhood Education/English as a Second Language and Early Childhood Education/Special Education.

Ministry & Leadership

Aaron Brown, Director of the Master of Arts in Ministry program, said leaders within the Church & Ministry Leadership Department communicate to students four main benefits of the 4+1 program:

  1. It can save time. Taking an undergraduate program then a graduate program afterward will typically take six years, Brown said. He reiterated Kuehner’s sentiment by sharing that the 4+1 program allows a student to potentially save an entire year of studies.
  2. It can save money. By reducing the total number of courses taken, the student also saves money. Because graduate tuition is charged per credit (not as a block as in undergraduate), fewer credits means less tuition.
  3. It can help a student stand out. An advanced degree may give an applicant an advantage when applying for jobs. For example, in vocational ministry, an earned master’s degree is considered a higher level of qualification than a bachelor’s degree by itself.
  4. It provides choices to fit a student’s unique ministry goals. One of the unique advantages of the 4+1 programs as they are designed for seminary degrees (M.A.M. and M.A.B.S.) is that students have choices. For example, an LBC | Capital student could choose from the following undergraduate degrees: Children & Family Ministry, Intercultural Studies, Pastoral Ministry, Women in Ministry Leadership or Youth & Young Adult Ministry AND choose from either the M.A.M. or M.A.B.S. Within the M.A.M., they could additionally choose a concentration in Formational Children & Family Ministry, Leadership Studies, Pastoral Studies or Youth & Young Adult Ministry. Within the M.A.B.S., they could add on a concentration in Biblical Exposition, Christian Apologetics or the new Theology concentration.

“All told, that’s approximately 30 different combinations,” Brown said, also noting that 4+1 programs are not automatic. Students must apply and maintain a certain academic standard to both be accepted and to continue.

Learn more about all academic options within the Church & Ministry Leadership Department.

If the 4+1 program adds up for you, find out more today!

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