Master of Arts in Spiritual Direction – Catalog 2014-15

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The Master of Arts in Spiritual Direction degree (MASD) is a two-year professional degree designed to prepare students to provide biblically and historically based spiritual direction in a variety of settings. The degree will also enhance those currently in pastoral ministries by enabling them to understand the needs of their congregations in both individual and group settings. The biblical, theological, and spiritual foundations ground students in historical hermeneutical and doctrinal understanding. The degree core courses allow students to specialize in Christian spirituality and the art of spiritual direction. The person who completes the Master of Arts in Spiritual Direction degree will be able to:

  • Analyze the context of his or her spirituality through tools acquired in courses in systems thinking and spiritual formation;
  • Integrate the disciplines of hermeneutics, doctrine, and spirituality into the practice of spiritual direction through foundations acquired in courses in biblical, theological, and spiritual studies;
  • Exhibit expertise in the practice of spiritual direction through skills learned in core courses;
  • Apply tools, skills, and knowledge to spiritual direction techniques and practices through experience gained in practicum courses.

Spiritual Formation Processes – To enhance the formation of students in the MASD program, in addition to coursework, each student will receive personal spiritual direction. Spiritual direction sessions prior to the first practicum are built into the program, which contains coursework in Christian spirituality as its primary focus.

Fitness to Practice Evaluation for Spiritual Direction Students – Although the certification process for spiritual directors is not yet formalized in the same way as licensure for counselors, HGST views the certification process in a similar fashion. As a result, a “fitness to practice” evaluation process is employed for students who are pursuing the Spiritual Direction Certificate, whether as a “stand alone” certificate or as part of a degree program. To that end, all students will be evaluated during their enrollment in the spiritual direction certification process and remediated, if necessary. The Fitness to Practice Evaluation Form is an instrument that is used to evaluate comportment for students enrolled in one of the spiritual direction certification programs. This instrument is used to assess students enrolled in CS 501 Introduction to Christian Spirituality, CS 640 Systems Thinking in Ministry Contexts, and CS 780 Spiritual Direction Practicum I. The information that is gathered is aggregated by the Spiritual Direction Practicum Director who analyzes, stores, and reports the data to the Academic Office.

 Requirements for Graduation

  •  No more than two-thirds of the MASD degree may be granted on the basis of transfer credits. All transfer credits are subject to evaluation by the Academic Office as to applicability toward MASD degree credit. Transfer credit must be from Master of Arts, Master of Divinity, or equivalent level Master’s degree programs from schools accredited by a CHEA-approved accrediting agency. Transfer credits must carry a grade of B or higher. No coursework will be accepted toward the MASD degree that is older than ten years (ATS standard B.3.2.2.).
  • The Master of Arts in Spiritual Direction degree is awarded upon the recommendation of the faculty to persons who have completed a comprehensive and integrated program of study including the specific requirements listed in the degree plan below. Candidates for graduation must have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher with no grade of less than a C- in any required course. Course remediation and/or additional credits hours may be necessary in cases where a student‘s cumulative GPA falls below the requirement for graduation. The Master of Arts in Spiritual Direction degree must be completed within four calendar years from the date of first enrollment. Any exceptions must be approved by the Chief Academic Officer. Ordinarily, the last full year of work toward the Master of Arts in Spiritual Direction degree must be completed in residence at HGST.
Religious Heritage – 18 Credit Hours
Introduction to Old Testament (4 hrs) OT 501
Introduction to New Testament (4 hrs) NT 501
Introduction to Christian Theology (4 hrs) TH 501
Theological Foundations of Christian Spirituality (3 hrs) CS 650
History of Christian Spirituality (3 hrs) CS 664
Cultural Context – 6 Credit Hours  
Systems Thinking in Ministry Contexts (3 hrs) CS 640
Spiritual Formation in Congregations (3 hrs) CS 654
Spiritual Formation – 10 Credit Hours  
Introduction to Christian Spirituality (4 hrs) CS 501
Spiritual Disciplines and Practices (3 hrs) CS 510
Christian Devotional Classics (3 hrs) CS 665
Specialization – 12 Credit Hours             
Elective          (3 hrs) __ ____
Techniques and Principles of Spiritual Direction (3 hrs) CS 767
Spiritual Direction Practicum 1 (3 hrs)*Prerequisites for practicums in spiritual direction are CS 501, CS 510, CS 650, CS 664, and CS 767. CS 780
Spiritual Direction Practicum 1I (3 hrs) CS 781
Capstone – 2 Credit Hours  
Integrative Capstone in Spiritual Direction CS 799

Total Credit Hours: 48 *The Spiritual Direction Practicum Handbook requiring background checks, liability insurance, personal spiritual direction sessions, supervisor information, and more are available at


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