The Center for Advanced Interfaith Spiritual Direction
The Graduate Theological Foundation
The GTF Center for Advanced Interfaith Spiritual Direction has been created to offer graduate level studies for ministry professionals who wish to deepen their knowledge and widen their experience in offering spiritual direction, particularly in interfaith settings. Here at GTF, we recognize that many people no longer identify with one particular faith tradition, and many consider themselves to be spiritual but not affiliated with a set religion. Yet in many cases, there is still a desire to find spiritual direction. The courses and experiences of this center are offered to equip ministry professionals in this new and transforming arena of spiritualty in today’s world.
The Center for Advanced Interfaith Spiritual Direction offers a Doctor of Ministry degree in Interfaith Spiritual Direction. Details of the requirements for this degree program are below.
Doctor of Ministry in Interfaith Spiritual Direction
The Doctor of Ministry Degree in Interfaith Spiritual Direction (D.Min) is a professional degree program. Professional degrees are oriented toward praxis in the relevant field of study with an emphasis placed upon topical issues, problem-solving agendas, and mechanisms for implementation strategies. The exit project may be presented through the use of various media such as workbooks and manuals, videos, CD-ROMs, websites, and DVDs. The exit project is written under faculty consultation and endorsed by the faculty consultant.
The Doctor of Ministry in Interfaith Spiritual Direction degree is a 36-credit program that may be completed in no less than eighteen months and no more than three years.
12 residential credits (2 Residential week-long intensives, one immersion course at the beginning of the program and one practicum course near the conclusion)
18 online course credits (6 courses)
6 credits (Exit Project)
• Baccalaureate degree or equivalent validated by a transcript.
• Masters degree in a related field or equivalent validated by a transcript
• Five years of accumulated experience in a cognate field of ministry (lay, religious, ordained).
• Completion of the Application Procedure.
• Students are expected to thoroughly familiarize themselves with the Student Handbook of the year of their acceptance with particular focus on their particular degree program. Students are bound by the academic and financial requirements of the Handbook in use at the time of their acceptance. The current Student Handbook as well as past years’ Handbooks can be viewed here.
• Attendance and participation in the Residential Immersion Intensive week. This residential course will be held at the GTF center in Sarasota, Florida. Classes will be taught by various GTF faculty that represent diverse spiritual and religious perspectives. Prior to attendance, each student will have read any pre-assigned text(s) required by the faculty moderator. Following the week-long course, students will have 60 days to turn in a 12–15-page paper to fulfil the requirements of the course.
• Completion of Six Units of Study: 4 required courses in the core curriculum of the Advanced Interfaith Spiritual Direction from the Graduate Theological Foundation and 2 electives taken from the GTF or other approved educational institutions. The Core curriculum consists of the following:
SPI 521 Introduction to Interfaith Spiritual Direction (Lundy)
SPI 508 The Language of Oneness: A Mindful Resource for Interfaith Dialogue and Spiritual Direction (Stultz)
SPI 522 Spiritual Direction in a Multifaith Context (Billy)
SPI 523 Theologies of Spiritual Direction (Addison)
• Any student wishing to have previously completed academic work evaluated for possible transfer credit or wishing to complete coursework through a venue other than the Graduate Theological Foundation for use as transfer credit toward the two elective courses (not applicable for the required core curriculum) must contact the Office of the Registrar for approval. Accepted transfer credit has the potential to decrease the total tuition paid by the student. Requests for acceptance of transfer credit are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. GTF transfer credit policy allows for a $600 tuition reduction per Unit of Study (3 graduate credits) fulfilled by transfer credit.
• Attendance and participation in the Residential Practicum week. This residential course will be held at the GTF center in Sarasota, Florida. This course is Praxis-Oriented and will ask the student to apply the learnings of the program to his/her own work in the field of spiritual direction. Prior to attendance, each student will have read any pre-assigned text(s) required by the faculty moderator. In addition, the student will prepare and bring a verbatim narrative of five (5) specific examples in spiritual direction settings in which the student has been involved. Each student will have the opportunity to present his/her five (5) verbatim narratives during the 5-day Practicum, with collaborative input made by the other participants and the faculty moderator on the practical applications of interfaith spiritual direction as it applies to the student’s particular narrative. For each of the presented examples, opportunities will be given for comparing and contrasting the situation with the principles and application of prior coursework. Following the week-long course, students will have 60 days to turn in a 12-15 page paper to fulfil the requirements of the course.
• Completion of the non-credit course, Research Methodology. This course is a prerequisite to beginning the project.
• Completion of the Doctor of Ministry project and submission of one electronic or hard copy including the Project Consultant’s evaluation forms.
All academic requirements must be met by March 1 of the intended year of graduation.
All financial requirements must be met by April 1 of the intended year of graduation.
Selection of Faculty Consultant and Nomination Procedure
Students select a GTF faculty member to serve as Project Consultant. This enables the student to receive helpful and pragmatic evaluative feedback from a member of the faculty in the developmental process of producing the Exit Project. The role of the faculty Project Consultant is responsive and suggestive rather than “supervisory” as is the case with academic thesis writing. The faculty person is encouraged to limit feedback to pragmatically helpful hints and suggestions and not to attempt any censorship of the project. The exercise of discretion with respect to time demands is very important for both the student and faculty member. The faculty Project Consultant must give final approval of the student’s work by submitting the Project Consultant’s Report Form.
Doctor of Ministry Project
The Doctoral Project is a translation into practice of the insights, values and creative concerns developed during the course of the units of interactive learning and the intervening periods of reading, reflection, and application. The project should directly relate the implications of the evolving relationships within the actual professional activity of the student.
The Doctoral Project is a demonstration of praxis. Its structure, focus and content, therefore, allows for a wide range of differing forms appropriate to the actual area of the practice of ministry addressed. The form may range, for example, from an original retreat to a research manuscript or instructional video with an attached written introduction. A note about the length of the project is impractical when speaking of video and audio cassettes, workbooks and manuals, as well as other hands-on praxis-based projects. For manuscript-style doctoral projects, the length should be 35,000-40,000 words, double-spaced, footnoted, and with significant bibliographical references of at least 35 sources. It is also a recommendation for the bibliography to include an annotated listing of the 10-12 sources that were key to the development of the project.
In keeping with the nature of the entire Doctoral Program as an open interaction with fellow professionals, the project is a demonstration of practice, an exploration of applied reflections, or creative work rather than a test submitted to prove competency. One copy of the Doctoral Project, in its final form, must be submitted to the GTF by March 1 prior to graduation.