Master of Arts in Spiritual Direction

Master of Arts in Spiritual Direction

Gain the skills and knowledge to accompany people of all faiths on their spiritual journeys.

Graduate in 24 months.

Photography for Merrimack College.

Graduate Admission Virtual Information Session

Wednesday, July 17, 2024 
from 5:30 pm 
to 6:30 pm

Learn about Merrimack's graduate programs, full- and half-tuition graduate fellowship opportunities, scholarships and financial aid, how to apply, and more!

Master’s Degree in Spiritual Direction: Why Merrimack College?

Practical and relevant.

In Merrimack College’s spiritual direction master’s program, you’ll learn to guide people of all faiths on journeys of spiritual exploration. The program equips you with specific techniques to help people discover meaning in their lives, embrace codes of ethical behavior and exert a positive influence on their communities and environment.

Ecumenical and interfaith.

Unlike many spiritual direction training programs, our master’s degree takes an inclusive approach that applies to all faiths. Along with Catholic theology (which aligns with Merrimack’s institutional mission), the curriculum draws upon Jewish, Protestant, Muslim and Eastern spiritual traditions. Our spiritual direction program caters equally to ordained clergy and laypersons.

Collaborative and community-oriented.

Like all academic programs on Merrimack’s close-knit campus, our master’s degree in spiritual direction fosters strong relationships among classmates and faculty. You’ll belong to a welcoming community of fellow spiritual seekers who support, encourage and constructively challenge each other.


Spiritual direction can only be learned through direct, hands-on practice. Merrimack provides you with two semesters (totaling more than 100 hours) of supervised training in spiritual direction, with ongoing feedback and reflection from faculty and fellow students.

High-caliber Faculty.

Our spiritual direction master’s degree program is led by distinguished instructors who combine academic renown with years of practice as spiritual directors. You’ll learn from experts such as Father Raymond Dlugos, OSA, a psychologist and theologian; Dr. Maria Teresa Davila, a leading Catholic Hispanic theologian; Renee Snow, MD, a psychiatrist and spiritual director; and Dr. Joseph Kelley, a leading scholar in the thought of Saint Augustine, as well as a psychologist and spiritual director.

Program Format

  • Choose from online (synchronous), on-campus or a combination.

Start Terms

  • Fall
  • Spring


Master of Arts in Spiritual Direction Career Opportunities

Merrimack College’s spiritual direction master’s degree aligns with modern attitudes about spirituality, religion and tolerance. The desire for a greater spiritual dimension in daily life is increasing around the world, both within and outside of organized religious faiths. Spiritual directors are uniquely qualified to meet this demand, helping individuals understand their own spirituality and bring a sense of purpose to their lives.

Many ordained clergy offer spiritual direction as one part of their official capacities. However, a growing number of practitioners are laypeople who have devoted themselves to serious study and contemplation. Some offer spiritual direction as part of a broader practice in counseling, teaching or community leadership.

Spiritual directors can work independently or offer their services through organizations such as:

  • Religious congregations
  • Nursing homes
  • Universities and schools
  • Community centers
  • Military support associations
  • Spiritual retreats
  • Arts communities

Spiritual Direction Master’s Degree Curriculum

Merrimack’s Master of Arts in Spiritual Direction integrates coursework from a variety of disciplines and religious traditions. You’ll examine spiritual texts, practices and forms of spiritual expression through history and across cultures. Our spiritual direction program explores the relationships among religion, philosophy and concepts such as social justice and universal human rights. As part of its Catholic and Augustinian educational mission, Merrimack pays special attention to religious diversity and tolerance, encouraging respect for the integrity of all traditions and faiths.

During the spiritual direction master’s program, you’ll gain extensive experience and build proficiency as a listener, counselor, teacher and mentor. You’ll practice these roles through a pair of two-semester courses, held concurrently:

  • Seminars in the spiritual life that foster individual and group reflection on the experience of acting as a spiritual director.
  • A year-long spiritual direction practicum, in which you’ll provide spiritual direction for one or two individuals under close faculty supervision.

Grad Chat Podcast

In this episode, we have two special guests – Katherine Gundersen who is an alum of the Spiritual Direction program, and Laura O’Connor who is an alum of the Spirituality program. During the episode the pair dives into the inspiring journey of going back to school, assuring everyone that age is just a number and fear is unnecessary in Merrimack’s warm and supportive community. The discussion unfolds the significance of exploring diverse religions and perspectives, emphasizing the unique insights shared by our guests. Throughout the conversation, they emphasize the hybrid model’s benefits! You can choose from online (synchronous), on-campus or a combination. If you’re curious about Merrimack’s Spirituality master’s programs, this episode is a must-listen!

Want to Learn More about the Master of Arts in Spirituality?

Contact the Merrimack College Office of Graduate Admission at

Schedule an Informational Call with the Program Director


Merrimack’s generous scholarships can help you afford the spiritual direction graduate degree.
Learn More

How to Apply

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