Spiritual Direction (GCSD)

GCSD Image

St. 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

Students taking a full course load can complete the credited requirements of the GCSD in one year (not including the 2-year, non-credited Spiritual Direction program). Students must complete all requirements within four years from the date on which they register in the program.

GCSD Program Requirements (12 Credits)
Required Courses (6 Credits) Credits
One Theology course chosen from: SSC511 Intro to Theology, SSC5540 Spirituality: From Contemplation to Action, or SSC589 Spiritual and Theological Reflection in Professional Practice: An Introduction 3
PPSYC583 Professional Ethics for Psychotherapy and Spiritual Care 3
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 must be St. Stephen’s College courses or University of Alberta [CATS/SPRIT] graduate-level courses. 6
Required Spiritual Direction 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. 0
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 enrolment 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.
  5. Language Requirements: All applicants must be proficient in English prior to admission. Proficiency is demonstrated by either (a) possession of a prior degree where the primary language of instruction was English, (b) demonstration of sufficient coursework completed in English, or (c) a satisfactory score on an approved English language examination (either TOEFL iBT, IELTS, CAEL, or PTE Academic). For full details, see the “English Language Proficiency” section of the St. Stephen’s College Academic Calendar.
Application Deadline:

Canadian/PR applicants: April 1 (for July intake) or Oct 1 (for January intake)
International applicants: Dec 1 (for July intake) or June 1 (for January intake)


Upon admission, students will be invited to register for and attend the St. Stephen's College Orientation Day.

**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.

**Note: Students in graduate certificate programs do not qualify for government student loans. For more information, see the SSC Academic Calendar.

**Note: International students who complete a graduate certificate program are not eligible to apply to work temporarily in Canada under the Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) Program.