Graduate Certificates

Spiritual Direction (GCSD)

GCSD ImageSt. Stephen's College and Providence Renewal Centre (Edmonton) have collaborated to offer a Graduate Certificate in Spiritual Direction (GCSD). The GCSD course work provides a foundation in theological studies with an opportunity to explore interdisciplinary and creative topics as electives. The GCSD will be awarded by St. Stephen's College after students complete the Presence Program (or an equivalent program already recognized by St. Stephen's College) and the additional requirements of St. Stephen's College.

Who is the GCSD for?

This certificate is designed for those wishing to become Spiritual Directors, or for Spiritual Directors wishing to extend their studies beyond the Presence Program at Providence Renewal Centre. The GCSD requires a two-year, part-time formation program in spiritual direction (such as the Presence Program at Providence Renewal Centre, or an equivalent program already recognized by St. Stephen's College) that prepares people to be Spiritual Directors.

The GCSD may be taken either as a stand-alone certificate or to ladder into a Master's degree at St. Stephen's College (either the MTS, MPS, or the PMATD). The GCSD may also be used to fulfill co-requisites for students who apply to the Doctor of Ministry program with a Master's degree which is not in the area of theology. 

What Can Students Expect?

The GCSD aims to balance a practical foundation in spiritual direction with an opportunity to explore academic and creative topics through additional courses. We offer:

  • A curriculum that combines academic rigor with opportunities for personal reflection and integration.
  • Small class sizes.
  • Inclusive perspectives open to multi-faith and multi-cultural views.
  • Courses in various formats: Week-long intensives, semester, online and independent study courses.
  • Dynamic, experienced, and accessible faculty who are committed and supportive.
  • A diverse, engaged student community.

Length of Program

The GCSD is equivalent to six months of full-time study. Students must complete the program within four years.

  • Program Outline

    Required Courses (6 Credits)

    One Theology course (3 credits) chosen from:
    SSC511 Intro to Theology, SSC5540 Spirituality: From Contemplation to Action, or SSC589 Theological Reflection in Professional Practice, and PPSYC583 Professional Ethics for Psychotherapy and Spiritual Care (3 credits)

    Electives (6 credits)

    Two elective courses (3 credits each) chosen in consultation with the Department Chair. Electives can be taken in an area of specialization. Electives may be taken through a variety of modalities: intensive, online, or independent study. The required and elective courses must be taken at St. Stephen’s College; Transfer Credits are not accepted.

    Presence Program (0 Credits)

    Completion of either the Presence Program at Providence Renewal Centre or an equivalent two-year Spiritual Direction program that is recognized by St. Stephen’s College. Original certificate of completion must be presented at Registrar’s Office.

  • Admission Requirements

    1. Baccalaureate Degree from an institution of higher education approved by a Canadian provincial authority, or the demonstrated educational equivalent. Grade average minimum must be 72%/B/3.0 during the last 60 credits of course weight.
    2. Completion of or current enrollment in the Presence Program (Spiritual Direction) at Providence Renewal Centre or an equivalent program recognized by St. Stephen's College.
    3. General readiness to function in an integrative theological program in terms of personal qualities and academic competencies.
    4. Willingness to engage in a program that is broadly ecumenical and multi-faith; readiness to engage deeply in personal reflection; commitment to the practice of a spiritual life.

    Application Deadline:

    Applications can be submitted throughout the year, with an annual application deadline of April 1 for Canadian and Permanent Resident applicants and November 1 for international applicants (next business day if date falls on a weekend). Applicants who do not possess a Baccalaureate Degree and who are applying for an evaluation of academic equivalency must submit their completed application to the College by February 1 for Canadian and Permanent Resident applicants and September 1 for international applicants (equivalency fee $225). If equivalency is granted, applicants then pay the normal application fee.


    Upon admission, students are invited to register for and attend the St. Stephen’s College Orientation Day (normally in early June).

**Note: Graduate Certificates are conferred by St. Stephen's College, not by the University of Alberta. For more information, see our About Graduate Studies at SSC and Institutional Charter pages.