Seminary Academics

Spiritual Direction Schedule and Requirements

A cohort of students completes the 15-credit program together in just over two years. Each spring, 15 to 20 students are selected from the pool of applicants for each cohort. A balance is maintained between credentialed clergy and active lay people, men and women, and various Christian traditions.

Student Intensive Schedule

Summer Intensive 1 Summer Intensive 2 Summer Intensive 3
Cohort Beginning in 2020 Completed Completed July 25-31, 2022
Cohort Beginning in 2021 Completed July 18-23, 2022
Cohort Beginning in 2022 July 25-31, 2022 TBA TBA
Cohort Beginning in 2023 TBA TBA  TBA


The daily schedule for each cohort week begins at 8:30 am and continues most evenings after a dinner break. At the conclusion of Intensive 3, a banquet celebrates the culmination of the program and the awarding of certificates. While it is the student’s responsibility to find housing and meals, the Seminary will assist you in securing arrangements. There are usually several hosted meals during the week.

Curriculum Requirements

Academic Catalog

Over the course of two-and-a-half years, students will invest approximately 110 hours of work in addition to the summer intensive courses. This will include interacting online with other members of your cohort, reading, and practice in spiritual direction.

Year 1—Spiritual Direction: Listening to the Movement of God

Year 2—Spiritual Direction: Listening to the Movement of God with Another

Year 3—The Ministry of Spiritual Direction: Listening the Movement of God in Church and Community

Course Descriptions

As the first of five courses in a program leading to a certificate in spiritual direction, this course will provide foundational information, experiences, and processes for the participant's development and discernment as a potential spiritual director. Beginning with a day-long retreat, the course will focus on listening to God, the self, the other, the Word, and the world. Each participant will receive some individual spiritual direction, engage in a peer listening group, and begin a process of self-discernment.

Practicum I is designed for program participants who desire to continue to discern their call and giftedness into the ministry of Spiritual Direction as begun in Course 1 of the program. Work will be done in the participant's home region with support from the course coordinator at the Center in Chicago. In addition to the core requirements of ten meetings with a spiritual director and the online journaling component, participants will have flexibility to study a topic of personal interest in Christian Spirituality. The course begins on the first day of the Seminary's fall semester and ends on the last day of the spring semester.

The middle year will focus on skill development as a spiritual director. In the classroom, program participants will give and receive direction from each other, developing skills through practice and evaluation by supervisors. Participants will be introduced to the practice of the Verbatim, which will be a requirement during Practicum II. The course will begin with a required retreat day.

Practicum II is designed to develop experience and wisdom in spiritual directing through receiving spiritual direction, giving spiritual direction to others, receiving supervision for spiritual directing, reading and dialoging with supportive literature, and studying specific relevant issues in spiritual direction.

The final course will focus on developing a spiritual direction perspective for ministry in the church and world by developing further the sensitivities and capacities for spiritual direction ministry. We will consider special issues in spiritual direction such as group spiritual direction, considerations of cultural, class and gender considerations, managing a ministry, and leading retreats. Participants will offer spiritual direction and meet in peer groups with facilitators for supervision and encouragement during the week. Devotional, contemplative and reflective activities, including a day retreat, are an intrinsic part of the intensive.