Spiritual Direction Certificate: FAQs

Who can apply to this program?

Anyone who exhibits the following may apply:

  1. Deep appreciation for the Catholic-Christian spiritual tradition;
  2. Desire to help others on the path of spiritual development, in their relationship with God;
  3. Ability to undertake a systematic course of education;
  4.  Availability to dedicate 6-9 hours weekly to the online courses, and 5 days (including travel) twice during the program for the residencies.
First Tier:
  1. Fill out an application, found under the Application menu link. This application includes a $25 application fee.
  2. A Letter of recommendation from the applicant’s pastor or minister
  3. After acceptance, students need to have a spiritual director by the end of SDC 100 in order to register for SDC 200

Second Tier:
After successful completion of the SDC 100 & 200 courses, in order to be considered as candidates for the certificate and continue the program students must provide the following:

  1.  Letter from the applicant’s own spiritual director . A history of receiving regular spiritual direction is required to continue in the program. 
  2. A letter of recommendation from a person (peer, friend, colleague) who has known the applicant for at least 3 of the last 5 years.

After the review of these requirements, the SDC Assistant will contact the applicant to schedule a virtual interview. Interviews generally take place during the term prior to the course start.

Yes! The program is open for qualified applicants regardless of residence. (That is one of the advantages of an online program.) But, it is important to keep in mind that essential to the certificate program are the two, on-site residencies. In these residencies, students come together with one another and with faculty to develop critical interaction skills. There are important opportunities to take advantage of the learning community.
The program does give helpful and concrete information about this ministry of spiritual direction which often serves to help a person see their fit for this ministry. An applicant should have an interest in this field and be willing to commit time and prayer to discerning their call to it during the time they are in the program. The two-tier structure of the program is beneficial for this, since it gives students a natural opportunity to discern their movement forward in the program.
The cost of the courses and residencies covers all learning materials. Book extracts and articles are included in the online classroom, though on occasion reprinting rights may necessitate students to buy a particular text. These books are easily found online at low cost, on average.  *Also, if a student finds a particular book helpful, he or she may elect to purchase their own printed copy. 
  1. Synchronous Instruction: students and faculty will engage in real-time using a variety
    of technology such as chat rooms, web-based conferencing, telephone and in-person residencies. The synchronous work has an asynchronous alternative, except for the residencies.
  2. Asynchronous Instruction: student-centered, student-managed facilitation of exchanging information and instructional materials outside of the constraints of “real-time” meetings between students and faculty.
Students should expect to spend, on average, between 6-9 hours a week to complete coursework. This includes watching videos, readings, writing discussion posts and completing assignments.
  1.  All courses are fully online, in eight-week modules, and asynchronous (i.e. students complete weekly coursework at a time of their own choosing).
  2. Each course requires on average about 6 – 9 hours of work per week.
  3. The skills-related courses (SDC 300 and SDC 500) involve some group work via video conferencing and include a required four-day residency.
  4. None of the SDC Program courses carry transferable credit to the degree programs of Divine Mercy University.