Graduate Certificate in Spiritual Direction (GCSD)

Our Graduate Certificate in Spiritual Direction (GCSD) provides you the opportunity to explore practices that shape your understanding of spiritual direction. Specifically, the certificate blends an interdisciplinary encounter with theological education with a significant experiential component.

Practice-based learning for spiritual direction

With a focus on practice-based learning, the GCSD offers a curriculum and supervised program to help you become a spiritual director or strengthen the spiritual direction aspects of your ministry. The 21-credit-hour certificate can be completed part time in two years, either fully online or with a combination of online, hybrid, blended and campus courses.

Enhance your theological education

If you’re seeking more training to enhance your practice of spiritual direction, the Graduate Certificate can be a stand-alone experience in theological education or serve as an entryway into further study.

Already have a seminary degree or you’re a professional in another field? The certificate may serve as a specialization or add to your work as an area of specific theological study.

Required courses for the Graduate Certificate in Spiritual Direction

Students completing the Graduate Certificate in Spiritual Direction will take the following courses:

  • Leadership Education in Anabaptist Perspective (LEAP) (2 credit hours)
  • Human Development and Christian Formation (HDCF) (3 credit hours)
  • Strange New World of the Bible 1 (SNWB1) (3 credit hours)
  • Christian Theology 2 (3 credit hours)
  • Ethics elective (3 credit hours)
  • History of Christian Spirituality, or Spiritual Practices courses (3 credit hours)
  • Spiritual Direction Practicum (4 credit hours/2 per semester) 
    • Prerequisites: LEAP, HDCF, at least one year of receiving monthly spiritual direction and references from a spiritual director and pastor.

Note: The certificate does not meet the gainful employment criteria set by the U.S. Department of Education. No transfer credits can be accepted into the Graduate Certificate program.

Ready to take the next step?

We’re excited to walk alongside you as you take each step on your journey. Together we can experience the transformative presence of God in the work of being leaders for God’s reconciling mission in the world.

Sample plan of study

Year One

Semester One

  • Leadership Education in Anabaptist Perspective (LEAP) 
  • HDCF or SNWB1

Semester Two

  • Christian Theology 2 or ethics elective
  • Spiritual Practices (if needed)

Intensive Term

  • History of Christian Spirituality (if needed)

Year Two

Semester One

  • Spiritual Direction Practicum
  • SNWB1 or HDCF
  • Sp. Practices (if needed)

Semester Two

  • Spiritual Direction Practicum
  • Ethics elective or Christian Theology 2
  • Spiritual Practices (if needed)

Intensive Term

  • History of Christian Spirituality (if needed)

Frequently asked questions

What can I do after completing the Graduate Certificate in Spiritual Direction?

Completing this certificate will prepare you to have your own practice as a spiritual director. Graduates of this curriculum and supervised training have become professional spiritual directors with their own practice, or have strengthened their work in:

  • Pastoral ministry or other areas of ministry
  • Chaplaincy
  • Counseling
  • Denominational leadership
  • Neighborhood development
  • Local and international mission
What is the difference between the GCSD and the Spiritual Direction Seminars offered by the AMBS Church Leadership Center (CLC)?

The AMBS CLC offers three noncredit levels of Spiritual Direction Seminars. The first level, Spiritual Direction: Foundations, is a two-semester sequence and is equivalent to the Spiritual Direction Practicum in the GCTS. While students enrolled through the CLC will be in the same classroom as students enrolled in the Spiritual Direction Practicum, CLC students will not receive graduate-level credit. 

Students who want to earn graduate credits should enroll in the GCSD. However, interested students who have already completed a graduate degree in theological studies (MDiv or other) may want to enroll through the CLC offering.

In addition, the other two levels of Spiritual Direction offered by the CLC (Mystery and Wisdom) are available as noncredit continuing education to any student who has successfully completed the Spiritual Direction Practicum for graduate credit or the Foundations level through the CLC.

What if I have a degree from AMBS that includes some of the required courses?

Generally, if those courses counted towards a completed degree at AMBS, you may want to consider only taking the Spiritual Direction Seminar for additional graduate credits, or for noncredit through the CLC. However, an academic advisor can help you discern what approach makes sense for you. 

If you did not complete a degree at AMBS, previously completed required courses can be applied to your completion of the GCSD.

Is it possible to get graduate credit for Spiritual Direction: Foundations previously completed through the CLC?

No. If you completed this course earlier through the CLC and now want to complete the GCSD, you will need to retake the practicum for graduate credit.

Why seminary?

Students and faculty share why and how they discerned attending their AMBS program

“I really enjoyed taking courses with diverse students who came from different regions of the world.”

Mariah Omer (Graduate Certificate in Theological Studies), Addis Ababa, Kolfe Keranio, Ethiopia

Meet the AMBS Admissions Team

From your first inquiry about seminary study to your transition from applicant to student, we’re here to help you.

Photo of Janeen Bertsche Johnson
Janeen Bertsche Johnson, MDiv
Admissions Associate
Teresa Thompson Sherrill
Teresa Thompson Sherrill, MDiv
Enrollment & Financial Aid Specialist
Paul Keim, PhD
Student Services Coordinator
Mary Ann Weber, MA
Director of Enrollment

Yes, you can afford seminary!

AMBS’s low base tuition rate

+ generous need-based financial aid
+ scholarships for full- or part-time student
+ church matching grants
= an affordable seminary degree

Looking for something else?

Try an upcoming graduate course

Want to explore seminary study? Take an upcoming graduate course! 

If you’re a non-admitted student, you can even get 50% off your first three credits at AMBS!*Exceptions apply

Try an online short course

Looking to expand your theological knowledge?

Take one of our six-week, discussion-based, online short courses.

(No papers. No grades.)

Request a visit from an AMBS instructor

Invite the faculty and staff of AMBS to come directly to you either in person or over video conference.