Graduate College | School of Humanities, Arts and Sciences

Theology: Spiritual Direction Certificate

The Theology: Spiritual Direction Certificate (SDC) program from St. Catherine University in St. Paul, MN prepares individuals to engage in the ministry and practice of Christian spiritual direction. You will discern a potential calling to this ministry as you engage in theological study and spiritual formation, and deepen your own spiritual development as you are trained to companion others on their journey.

St. Catherine has a long history of forming competent spiritual directors in and near the Twin Cities. Developed by lay pioneer spiritual directors in 1997, our program was the first SDC program between Chicago and Omaha to be coupled with graduate theological study.

Our Spiritual Direction program is contemplative, inclusive and holistic:

  • we foster the development of the contemplative attitude, which is characterized by openness and receptivity to God, Self, and Others
  • we emphasize spiritual direction as a ministry that provides safe, sacred spaces for people to tell their stories
  • we take into account a whole-person perspective, inclusive of mind, body, will, and spirit and recognize that God speaks to seekers precisely through their varied human capacities

The SDC can be completed as part of, or separate from, our Master of Arts in Theology degree.

Program Details

  • Format: Evening classes
  • Location: St. Paul campus
  • Credits: 28
  • Completion time: 3–4 years

what can I do with a graduate certificate in Spiritual Direction?

The number of people seeking spiritual direction among the laity and across Christian denominations has increased dramatically over the last thirty years. People from diverse paths of life are attracted to our program, including seekers who are exploring their faith and spirituality, pastors and ministers who are looking to deepen or renew their current ministries, as well as lay people who are seeking a mid-career change from other professions.

Our program prepares spiritual directors to practice in churches or congregations, in retreat center settings, in public settings such as wellness centers, and independently in your home or office. The SDC addresses the increasing demands for credentials and competency in the field. Graduates also find that the contemplative skills and theological knowledge gained through participation in the program are transferable to a wide variety of other helping professions.

Take a minute to review our list of graduates and the many ways that they apply their spiritual direction training.

how will I study?

The 28-credit SDC program can be completed in 3–4 years, including coursework and practicum hours. Classes meet on our St. Paul, MN campus on weekday evenings throughout the year.

Our students appreciate the academic depth and ecumenism that characterize our program. We emphasize thoughtful engagement with the insights of spiritual movements and figures from the Christian tradition; this distinguishes us from other graduate theology programs in the area.

The SDC’s academic component includes core theological course work in the history of Christian spirituality, scriptural studies, systematic theology and spirituality coursework in discernment, spiritual direction, and psycho/socio-spiritual development.

You will receive ongoing individual spiritual direction and participate in retreats and workshops as part of the spiritual formation requirements. Practicum and supervisory groups provide you with practical experience with the support of peers and professionals so that you are fully prepared to work in your area upon completing the program.

why St. Kate's?

Our Spiritual Direction Certificate is part of the only non-seminary affiliated Christian graduate theology program in the Twin Cities. This makes us rich in professional and ecumenical diversity.

At St. Catherine University, you will grow as a leader who engages with intention, acts with justice and serves with compassion. You will build personal relationships with faculty and fellow students, while you become immersed in active and collaborative methods of learning.

The Spiritual Direction Certificate is offered within the Graduate College through the School of Humanities, Arts and Sciences.

Tuition and Financial Aid

For the 2019–20 academic year, the tuition rate for the Spiritual Direction Certificate is $692 per credit. Tuition rates are subject to change annually on June 1. Additional costs for the program will include fees for student services and technology, books, etc.

Many graduate students are eligible for financial aid, usually in the form of student loans. Another potential source of funding is tuition benefits from current employers. The Theology Department also offers graduate assistantship funding to qualified students after they begin the program.

Scholarship Opportunities

St. Catherine offers scholarship support for new students entering the SDC program. Apply to start in F’19 or Sp’20 to be considered for up to $5,000 in scholarship funding:

  • Academic Achievement
  • Alumni
  • Diversity
  • Service and Leadership

Scholarship funding is limited – priority consideration is given to early applicants.

In addition, St. Catherine's SDC students employed by one of our corporate partners may be eligible to receive a special corporate partner scholarship, reducing tuition costs by 10%.

Tuition Remission Opportunity for Ministers

The Spiritual Direction Certificate program awards a ministry tuition remission discount of 50% to qualified ordained or lay ministers from the ecumenical Christian Church. To learn more about this opportunity, contact the program coordinator at 651-690-6072.

Federal Gainful Employment Disclosure Requirement for Certificates

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Certificate Requirements

Certificate Requirements

The Spiritual Direction Certificate includes courses and experiences to build your professional competencies

How to Apply

How to Apply

The Theology certificates have specific prerequisite and admission requirements.



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