Graduate Certificate in Spiritual Direction

Now Available On-Campus or Online!

Students interested in pursuing a Graduate Certificate in Spiritual direction may now choose between on-campus and online programs of study.

The Graduate Certificate in Spiritual Direction is designed for those actively seeking to serve as spiritual directors. The program builds upon their spiritual and practical gifts. Applicants need to demonstrate experience of a call from others for this ministry, a commitment to discerning this call, and a response to the call by developing proper skills needed for spiritual direction.

The program will better equip ministers in their ability to walk the spiritual journey with those seeking guidance. It is open to ministers serving in a variety of pastoral settings. The certificate is not a license for practicing spiritual direction, but is evidence of training in this area.

Certificate students will engage in supervised practice of spiritual direction that provides guidance and stimulates growth in their own spirituality and in the ability to provide spiritual direction. They will explore theoretical and practical issues in spiritual direction in the context of an integrative practicum.

What specific skills does the program teach?

Students learn to identify and interpret biblical themes of spirituality as models for Christian maturity; integrate an understanding of Christian life with a holistic vision of spirituality; foster a theological understanding of faith, grace and personal response to God’s spirit; ground the ministry in the community’s pastoral life; engage in supervised practice of spiritual direction to develop and refine their skills; and identify issues of spiritual direction in integrative seminars with peers.

Program Objectives

  • To explore the Christian spiritual tradition rooted in biblical wisdom
  • To gain a theological understanding of faith, grace and response to the Spirit
  • To explore theoretical and practical issues in spiritual direction in the context of a reflective peer group
  • To engage in a supervised practice of spiritual direction which provides guidance and stimulates growth in this ministry
  • To help develop a personal theology of spiritual direction
  • To help individuals in their discernment of call about becoming a spiritual director

Other Requirements and Information

  • Students are expected to complete the certificate program within three years (six semesters).
  • The majority of credits must be taken at Aquinas Institute.

Further Study

Graduate credits earned for the certificate may be applied to our Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies degree.

Designed for Your Busy Schedule

Full-time on campus students can complete the certificate in one academic year. Part-time students may finish the program over a period of two or three academic years.

Late afternoon and evening classes are offered on campus in addition to traditional daytime classes to accommodate students’ needs. Summer courses are available as well.

Online students can complete the program in two full years (including summer.) Coursework is posted weekly so that students may complete reading and writing assignments as their personal schedules allow.

Program Curriculum

The required on campus coursework is distributed as follows:

All Spiritual Direction Students

Course Title Credit Hours
Bible Interpretation- (Offered every fall semester)
This course may be transferred from another program if the applicant has a graduate theological degree from another accredited institute of higher learning
Spiritual Direction (offered every Fall)
History of Spirituality - (offered even-numbered semesters)

Foundations of Spirituality (offered odd-numbered spring semesters)

Practicum I (first summer - on campus) 2
Practicum II (fall semester) 1
Practicum III (spring semester) 1
Practicum IV (second summer - on campus) 2


Applying for Admission

The application includes two brief essays, letters of recommendation, transcripts, Miller Analogy Test, and a telephone phone interview with the director of the program. Please apply here.  Financial aid is available.

To discuss the program in light of your background and interests, contact us by phone at 314.256.8806 or 800.977.3869; Email:

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