Learn more about the Master of Arts in Spiritual Direction curriculum at Merrimack College.

Courses You’ll Take


Required Core Courses (4 four-credit courses)

An introduction to the spiritual dimension of human experience as described and practiced in various religious traditions, sacred texts and ascetic practices, and contemplation, with attention to the language and concepts that have emerged from these texts, traditions and practices over the centuries, and their relevance for contemporary spiritual experience and the search for meaning.

An introduction to the foundations of Christian Spirituality as found in contemplative prayer, the Bible, Christian worship and moral teaching; attention will be given to major spiritual movements in Christian history, including Augustinian and other religious orders, Protestant and Orthodox movements and contemporary intentional Christian lay communities; the relationship between contemplation, spirituality, morality, and social justice.

An integration of interiority, the search for meaning, and the seven themes of Catholic Social Teaching; the themes of basic human dignity, human rights, the common good, and social justice will also be explored in other spiritual traditions, with special attention to their roots in the Hebrew Prophets.

Our society needs a new kind of religious leadership and spirituality, grounded in a particular tradition and at the same time able to interact effectively with other faith communities. This course is designed to educate participants about the beliefs and practices of the three Abrahamic traditions, and of the Eastern religious traditions, with particular focus on how various traditions integrate the experience of transcendence with daily life. Special attention is given to the practice of prayer, meditation, and contemplation, using the method of comparative theology which respects the integrity of each tradition.

Seminar in the Spiritual Life (RTS5600)

Seminar I addresses basic theories and practices foundational for the spiritual life through reading, intensive journaling, shared conversation, and a final integrative paper or project. The seminar provides an opportunity for students to integrate both on a theoretical and on a personal level the psychological, theological and pastoral dimensions of the spiritual life.

Prerequisite(s): At least one of the following courses RTS 5010, RTS 5020, RTS 5030, or RTS 5040 taken before or contemporaneous with this seminar.

Seminar II provides an opportunity for students to explore further psychological, theological and pastoral dimensions of the spiritual life, especially issues of doubt, gender, intimacy, life cycles, various schools of spiritual traditions, empathic listening or related topics.

Prerequisite(s): At least one of the following courses: RTS 5010, RTS 5020, RTS 5030, or RTS 5040 taken before or contemporaneous with this seminar.

Practicum in Spiritual Direction (RTS5650)

An eight-credit, two-semester practicum during which students provide spiritual direction for one or two persons under supervision. Students also meet bi-weekly for seminar discussion based on readings and group reflection based on the experience of being a spiritual director. Students meet regularly for individual supervisory meetings with professor/supervision based on their journals and verbatims. Meets bi-weekly from September to May, with 2 Saturday retreats (November and April).

Prerequisites: Any one of the four Core Courses: RTS 5010, 5020, 5030, or 5040 taken before or contemporaneous with this seminar; and, RTS5600 Seminar in the Spiritual Life.

Required for the M.A. in Spiritual Direction (an option for the M.A. in Spirituality)

Credit Summary:

  • 16 core-course credits
  • 8 credits in Seminar 
  • 8 credits in Practicum
  • 32 total credits

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