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Graduate Certificate in Spiritual Direction

Program Overview

Grounded in the tradition of Christian spirituality, the Graduate Certificate in Spiritual Direction prepares individuals to serve as Spiritual Directors. Graduates guide others to attend and respond to the presence of God in their lives, to develop faithful relationships with others, and to grow in authentic Christian maturity. The program does not identify with any one style of direction but draws on the best practices of various spiritual traditions within the Christian faith.

The 18 credit hour program combines 12 credit hours of graduate, academic theological coursework and six credit hours of supervised practicum experiences. Designed for those engaged in full–time work or ministry, classes may be taken on campus or online. In the supervised practicum, students engage in the practice of spiritual direction and are provided experienced supervision that stimulates growth in their own spirituality and in their ability to provide spiritual direction.

Inquire or Apply

Click here to apply.

Have questions about the program or want to learn more? E-mail the Director of Recruitment and Admissions at admissions@ai.edu or click here to schedule an appointment for a phone or Skype conversation.

  Fall Applications Spring Applications
Priority & International Deadline March 1 October 15
Final Deadline August 1 December 1

Program Details & Length

Students may complete the program in 18 months or two years, depending on their individual program start date. Students have up to three years to complete the program.

All courses from this program can be applied toward a Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies degree.

Who is the Program For?

This eccumenical program is open to anyone with a serious desire to become a spiritual director or enhance their skills. Applicants must show a call from others to the ministry, a commitment to discern this call, and a willingness to respond by developing the necessary skills.

Social workers, counselors, pastoral care workers, hospital chaplains, retreat directors, campus ministers, and others whose work is related to the field of spiritual direction may find the program beneficial. Individuals seeking professional development may apply for admittance to the supervised practicum without coursework.

Career Opportunities

Equipped with the intellectual knowledge and practical skills necessary, graduates of the Certificate in Spiritual Direction go on to serve as Spiritual Directors who accompany persons seeking guidance on their spiritual journey. The certificate is not a license to practice spiritual direction but is evidence of training in this area.

Program Content

Course Title Credit Hours
Bible Interpretation
This course may be transferred from another program if the applicant has a graduate theological degree from another accredited institute of higher learning
3
Spiritual Direction
3
History of Christian Spirituality
3

Foundations of Spirituality

3
Practicum I (on campus) 2
Practicum II 1
Practicum III 1
Practicum IV (on campus) 2

Supervised Practicum

The supervised practicum experience enables students to explore theoretical issues in spiritual direction, as well as acquire the practical skills for and experience of spiritual direction. During practicum, students work with their own directees for a nine–month practice of spiritual direction.

Practicums I and IV require students to attend a five–day intensive in St. Louis in June. Here, students learn with a group of peers while processing their strengths and growing edges with an experienced faculty member. Accomodations and lodging are available for the intensives.

Program Format

  • The Graduate Certificate in Spiritual Direction can be completed either residentially in St. Louis or online, either synchronously or asynchronously.
  • When completing the program synchronously online, students join classes as they are happening in real-time via a video conferencing service.  
  • When completing the program asynchronously online, students participate in online classes.
  • All students are required to attend a five day in-person intensive for Practicum I and Practicum IV.

Application Requirements & Admission Criteria

Below is a summary of application requirements and admission criteria. For detailed information on these requirements, click here.

Application Requirements

  • Online application
  • Official transcripts
  • Resume/CV
  • Personal assessment
  • Reflection paper
  • Miller Analogies Test (MAT) or Graduate Record Exam (GRE)
  • Interview
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • $50 application fee

Admission Criteria

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university
  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0
  • Previous and/or current experience in spiritual direction