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Master of Arts in Spiritual Formation and Direction (MASFD)

Through rigorous academics paired with profound spiritual formation, the Master of Arts in Spiritual Formation and Direction is designed to provide you with advanced training in the spiritual and devotional practices that lead to both personal and communal growth. You will be oriented to various forms of spirituality, learn how to manage the complexity of people’s lives, and be equipped to lead.
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Jill Nowlen
I believe that a ministry set out to create the space needed for dialogue among these cultural distinctions is part of my calling. Garrett-Evangelical, in particular, offers a cross-cultural, Christian teaching community as a place to equip me with the tools necessary to be fruitful in ordained ministry as a deacon in these areas. - Jill Nowlen

Earn a MA and Certificate in Spiritual Direction

With the Master of Arts in Spiritual Formation and Direction, you have the unique opportunity to earn both an MA and a certificate in spiritual direction. In order to receive the certificate in spiritual direction, you must take all five courses in the Spiritual Direction concentration and the direction modules are not offered with other electives. The skills learned in the modules may be used in a direction setting, but they may also inform and enhance your approach to leadership, preaching, teaching, and pastoral counseling.  Courses and modules include:

The History and Theology of Christian Spirituality
Focuses on the history of Christian spirituality, examining the theological assumptions that have shaped that history.

Direction Module One: History, Theology, and Models of Spiritual Direction

Spirituality, Diversity, and the Global Landscape
Examines the multi-cultural, ethnic, and religious dynamics that shape spiritual practice and the context in which spiritual formation is taught and nurtured.

Direction Module Two: The spiritual journey, developmental issues, and the use of evaluative tools, including the Myers-Briggs Inventory and the Enneagram

Spiritual Practice
Focuses on the varieties of Christian spiritual practice, experience with that practice, and the process of Christian formation.

Direction Module Three: Spiritual Direction, Therapy, and Pastoral Counseling

Spiritual Formation and the Leader
Focuses on the essentially spiritual nature of the leadership task, a theology of spiritual authority, and the application of spiritual practice and understanding to the leadership challenge.

Direction Module Four: Applied Skills, including “holy listening” and other techniques

Practicum in Spiritual Formation
Focuses on the evolving challenges facing leaders engaged in spiritual formation, relying upon student projects as laboratories for defining and dealing with those challenges.

Direction Module Five: Practicum, including verbatims, in-class exercises, the integration of knowledge, and assessment of the student’s direction skills

Renowned Faculty Dedicated to the Practice of Ministry and Spiritual Formation

Our diverse faculty bring a wealth of expertise and experience not only Garrett-Evangelical, but to the church and our global community. They are members and leaders in local, national, and global organizations, denominations, and societies. Outside of the classroom, you’ll find many of them preaching from the pulpit, conducting choirs, teaching Sunday School, organizing for the common good, and more. 

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Affording Your Education

One Student. One Scholarship.

At Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, every master’s degree student receives a scholarship. Scholarships are available for full-time and part-time students and are designed with an eye toward your passion and our mission. Scholarships range from 25% of tuition up to 100% of tuition with stipends and each year we award over $2.5 million in scholarship aid. To learn more about all of our scholarship opportunities, please visit

The priority application deadline for scholarship consideration is February 1st of each year. There is no separate scholarship application. 

Degree Requirements

The Master of Arts in Spiritual Formation and Direction is a 55-credit hour program and is most often completed in two years for students enrolled full time.

Admissions Lunch and Learn

Grab your lunch and join us for our Admissions "Lunch & Learn" sessions! These hour-long virtual chats will give you the opportunity to learn more about being at student at Garrett and ask questions.

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Rev. Dr. Frederick Schmidt, Senior Scholar in Spiritual Formation
Rev. Dr. Frederick Schmidt

The need to connect with God spiritually is as old as the human race itself, but if Christian leaders hope to address the spiritual longing of people in the 21st century, they will need to speak directly to that longing. In order to do that, leaders will need to understand the Christian spiritual tradition. They will need to connect the “spiritual” and “religious” dots for those people—explaining why what we do on Sundays is as inherently spiritual as it is religious. They will also need to help their congregations grasp the unique shape of Christian spirituality and cultivate specific spiritual practices that will aid them in their own journeys. 

Interview with Dr. Schmidt about the MASFD Degree


Online Learning

While we honor the traditional methods of instruction and rich heritage of academia, we also embrace non-traditional methods such as online learning and hybrid classes. The maximum number of courses which may be taken in an online format is 1/2 of the degree. Students receiving advanced standing or transfer can take no more than 1/2 of remaining credits toward the degree in an online format. Students seeking ordination should check with the appropriate church authorities to see if there are more specific guidelines that must be met.

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UMC Spiritual Formation Certification

Garrett-Evangelical works in partnership with The United Methodist Church to provide the necessary courses for certification in spiritual formation. This is different from the certificate in spiritual direction awarded by the seminary. MASFD students who would like to be certified by The United Methodist Church can concurrently complete the certification course requirements with their degree.


Dual Degree Options

Contact our Admissions Office at for more information on how to do a dual degree at Garrett-Evangelical.

Master of Divinity and Master of Arts

Students can round out their Master of Arts degree with the Master of Divinity degree. The MDiv/MA allows students to become specialists in the area of their MA degree while broadening their theological, spiritual, and leadership foundations through the Master of Divinity. You can learn more about the MDiv degree at

Admission Requirements

  • Graduation from an accredited college or university
  • An undergraduate grade point average of at least 2.5 on a 4.0 scale
  • Proficiency in the English language

Admission Process

Detailed information for the application requirements and process can be found here.

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. The Admissions Committee reserves the right to determine, in its sole judgment, whether an applicant is a suitable candidate for a specific degree program or for the vocation that the program represents. International student applications are due by March 1st.

The application deadline for Fall 2021 Early Action Scholarship consideration is December 15, 2020. There is no separate scholarship application.

The priority application deadline for general scholarship consideration is February 1st of each year. There is no separate scholarship application.