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39 hours ~ 2 years, 9-12 hours per semester

Part-time options available

Spiritual directors respond to the ever-changing spiritual needs of today’s workplaces and individuals by providing spiritual care, deep listening, and discernment support. Southwest’s Master of Arts in Spiritual Direction is a program that forms students in the knowledge and practice of Christian spirituality and prepares them to provide spiritual formation experiences for both individuals and communities. The degree offers training in trauma-informed and culturally-responsive spiritual direction for private practice or with groups, organizations, and faith communities.

As the only Episcopal seminary that offers both a Master of Divinity degree  and Master of Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree, Southwest provides a unique educational environment in support of  this innovative degree in the ministry of spiritual direction. Informed by both the theology and mental-health counseling programs, the MSD curriculum equips students with a foundation in ethics, sacred scripture, communication, contemplative practices, and supervised field work in spiritual direction with individuals and communities.

Students can complete the 39-credit hour degree Master of Arts in Spiritual Direction degree on a full- or part-time basis. The degree is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools, and the majority of the curriculum is taught by core Seminary of the Southwest faculty and senior instructors who are experts in their curricular domains. The curricular revisions build on a degree program has already established itself as effective and meaningful training for this evolving profession.

MSD Program Goals

Students in the program will achieve objectives in three areas:

  • Being: Increase self-awareness and develop habits and dispositions that will further personal spiritual formation and vocational development as a spiritual companion and facilitator.
  • Knowing: Demonstrate knowledge of the Christian spiritual traditions, the biblical and ethical foundations of ministry, and relevant perspectives from the social sciences; and demonstrate an awareness of the influence of culture, religion, and social location on a person’s and community’s spiritual growth.
  • Doing: Achieve proficiency in the skills needed to serve as spiritual directors and community formation facilitators and display a commitment to spiritual practices capable of sustaining the vocation for which one is trained.

What is Spiritual Direction?

The need for well-trained Spiritual Directors is growing. Spiritual directors serve individuals of all faith backgrounds and spiritual traditions through one-on-one sessions, and they also serve groups, workplace organizations, and communities through spiritual consultation, discernment work, programming, and retreats. 

Spiritual directors exist in professional, church, and individual practice settings. They assist individuals in exploring questions such as:

  • “Why do I feel out of alignment? I feel like something important is missing for me.”
  • “Who am I, in the truest and deepest sense?”
  • “What is the meaning of life?”
  • “How can I nurture the connection I feel in nature or in peak experiences?”
  • “What do I have to offer the world?”
  • “What spiritual practices can help me cope with pain and loss?”

Spiritual directors also assist groups and communities  in exploring questions such as:

  • “Where is God present within our community?”
  • “How is God calling us to grow or serve as a community?”
  • “What might help us flourish? What might hinder our flourishing?”
  • “How can we best steward our resources?”


Discerning students are encouraged to use the links provided below to schedule a visit or to speak directly with one of Southwest’s enrollment managers.



Grayson Dail, Enrollment Manager
[email protected]

Admission Policy

Please click here to read Southwest’s admission policy in the 2023-24 Course Catalog.

Theological Degrees

Learn more about a Master of Divinity, a Diploma of Anglican Studies, or other programs that lead to ordination.

Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Learn about a CACREP accredited Master of Mental Health Counseling Degree.

Ways to Support

Learn about opportunities to support  Southwest through Annual Fund, Scholarships, and more.

Looking for Something?

Apply Now (MHC and MSF)

Apply Now (MDiv, MAR, and DAS)