Advanced Certificate in Spiritual Direction

Pursue Advanced Certification in the field of Spiritual Direction. Learn from seasoned practitioners about serving others in this historic Christian discipline. Students with prior seminary (18 or more seminary credits) may apply directly to the program or they may pursue the Certificate as part of the M.A. in Spiritual Formation.    

COURSES

Required Courses

PSF 612 | Spiritual Formation | 3 Credits

What is spiritual formation? What makes spiritual formation distinctly Christian in relation to other religious and ideological spiritualities in our world? What dynamics are involved in Christian spiritual formation? This course seeks to address such questions and to be both formational and informational as it does so.

Students will be guided in developing an appraisal framework that is truly holistic as well as conducive to and compatible with the Christian revelation. This appraisal framework, based on the Formative Spirituality of Adrian van Kaam, will provide students with specific perspectives by which to reflect upon human experiences in order to discern various dynamics of spiritual formation. Students will also be guided through a survey of classic Christian texts from a variety of Christian traditions throughout history in order to deepen their appreciation for the rich and varied ways, unique and communal, in which people have experienced knowing the Holy Trinity. This course will engage students in several classic spiritual practices throughout the course, including Scripture reading, reading Christian devotional texts, prayer, journaling, and retreat. Through these and other means, students will nurture their attentiveness to the presence and work of God in their everyday lives, thus complementing the seminary experience of learning “about” God with the experience of growing in their attentiveness to and their love for God.

PSF 615 | Exploring Personal and Spiritual Faith Development | 3 Credits

Faith will be explored from a life cycle, developmental perspective, from infancy through senior adulthood. Autobiographical, theological, and theoretical perspectives will be examined. Students will narrate/map their own faith journeys. Strategies for facilitating faith development in the church setting will be discussed.

PSF 621 | Introduction to Spiritual Direction | 3 Credits

Spiritual direction is one milieu in which we find another person of faith who will invite us to pay attention to our experiences and responses to God’s action in our daily lives. This course will provide a basic introduction to spiritual direction as well as an experiential understanding of what it is, what it is not, its benefits, and differences between it and pastoral counseling or clinical therapy. It will address the history and practice of spiritual direction as well as its place in 21st century spirituality.

PSF 654 | 20 Centuries of Christian Faithfulness: A Global Survey | 3 Credits

What do Christian solitaries in the Egyptian desert, mothers of rebellious teenagers, monks in a community in the mountains of France, missionaries to Japan, and charismatic worshipers in a megachurch all have in common? They all provide a glimpse of people seeking to follow Christ faithfully in their different geographic and cultural contexts. This course surveys the myriad ways in which Christians across the globe have found themselves redeemed and enlivened by the Spirit of God, and celebrates the diverse expressions of our shared Christian faith.

Students will engage art, music, film, stories, and various texts in order to explore both the diversity and commonalities of the ways people seek to live as faithful Christians and will reflect on the ways in which their cultural and historic situatedness influences their own expressions of faithfulness.

Choose One

PSF 623 | Social Justice and Spirituality | 3 Credits

This course is a study of the intersection of faith and social justice and the relationship between the first two great commandments. Students will study relevant spiritual writings that include application to social justice and peacemaking. Included are readings by Henri Nouwen, Dorothy Day, Gustavo Gutierrez, Teresa of Avila, and others. The disciplines including prayer, simplicity, confession, and worship will be studied in relation to the Christian call to mission and creating social justice. Students will explore practical ways to live out the call of Jesus to worship God and love their neighbor.

PSF 633 | World Religions and Human Spirituality | 3 Credits

This course explores the global character of the church and the practice of ministry in the multifaith and multicultural context of contemporary society. Attention is given to the wide diversity of religious traditions present in the potential ministry settings and considers how the church can serve with faithfulness and respect in a religiously pluralistic culture. Students will have the opportunity to develop their theological convictions in dialog with other religious traditions and gain skills in interfaith engagement as an expression of their Christian discipleship.

Field Experience

PSF 731 | Personal Spiritual Direction I | 0.5 Credits

This course is an experiential introduction to the classic Christian practice of one-on-one spiritual direction. Students will engage in spiritual direction, being guided by a certified spiritual director for at least ten 1- hour sessions throughout the semester. In addition, activities of preparation for and reflection on the sessions will be required.

Note: Lab/additional fee required (approx. $400)

PSF 732 | Personal Spiritual Direction II | 0.5 Credits

This course is expansion on PSF 731 as experiential engagement with the classic Christian discipline of one-on-one spiritual direction. Students will engage in spiritual direction, being guided by a certified spiritual director for at least 10 sessions throughout the semester. In addition, activities of preparation for and reflection on the experience will be required.

Note: Lab/additional fee required (approx. $400)

PSF 733 | Supervised Spiritual Direction I | 1 Credit

This course provides guidance and supervision for students who are beginning the practice of the ministry of spiritual direction. Students will be required to serve as a spiritual director for a minimum of 3 different people over a 4-month period (a minimum of 48 hours of providing one-on-one direction). Students will also be required to engage in a monthly supervision group as well as engage with a set of training videos throughout the semester.

Note: Lab/additional fee required (approx. $300)

PSF 734 | Supervised Spiritual Direction II | 1 Credit

A continuation of PSF 733, this course provides continued guidance, experience, and supervision of the practice of giving one-on-one spiritual direction. Students will be required to serve as a spiritual director for a minimum of 3 people over a 4-month period (a minimum of 48 hours of providing one-on-one direction). Students will also be required to engage in a monthly supervision group as well as with a set of training videos throughout the semester.

Note: Lab/additional fee required (approx. $300)

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the admissions requirements and how do I apply?

Admissions Requirements

In addition to the standard application, students applying to the Certificate in Spiritual Direction must complete the following four things before enrolling:

  • Complete at least 18 graduate credits in theological studies from an Association of Theological Schools (ATS) accredited seminary
  • Submit an essay describing personal experience providing spiritual guidance to others
  • Provide a reference letter from a person who has benefited from the applicant’s spiritual guidance
  • Complete an interview with a faculty member during the application process.

 

Step 1 | Complete Your Free Online Application

Step 2 | Request Letters of Recommendation

Two letters of recommendation are required. One recommendation should be from a pastor or priest and the other should be from any person who can speak to your capacity to provide spiritual guidance to others (no family members). Recommendations will be generated and emailed to your recommenders through the online application. You may also download a paper copy if you require it.  

Step 3 | Submit Transcripts

Request official transcripts from every college or university you where you have received a degree. In addition, please send transcripts from any institution where you earned 30 or more credits (with no degree) or any Master's or Doctoral program that you hope to use for graduate or post-graduate transfer credits. Have them sent to:

Northeastern Seminary
Admissions
2265 Westside Drive
Rochester, NY 14624-1997

Step 4 | Write Autobiographical Statement

If you have completed 18 or more seminary credits at a seminary other than Northeastern Seminary, complete this autobiographical statement. If you are a current student at Northeastern Seminary or a past graduate, complete this autobiographical statement. Please submit your autographical statement to admissions@nes.edu.

Step 5 | Interview

Email JP Anderson to set up an admissions interview with the Director of the Spiritual Direction Program.

What if I do not have prior seminary credits but still want to pursue a Spiritual Direction program?

Take seminary classes at Northeastern Seminary

You may apply to the M.A. in Spiritual Formation program (44 credits) and complete the Spiritual Direction Certificate as part of the M.A. program. You will need to complete an abbreviated application following your first or second semester.  

If I have taken Spiritual Formation as part of my seminary degree, can I transfer this class into the Certificate?

Prior coursework can be used in most cases

You could get credit for a prior seminary course if you have taken Spiritual Formation (PSF 612) at Northeastern Seminary or another course with at least 2/3 of the content of Spiritual Formation (PSF 612). If you received transfer credit for a Spiritual Formation class, they would only complete the remaining 15 credits to complete the Certification.