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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.
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.
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.
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. Yehezkel Landau, an internationally recognized interfaith leader, Dr. Mary Kantor, a feminist theologian and spiritual director; 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.
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:
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: