The Certificate in Prayer and Spiritual Direction from the University of Mary will form you by bringing you deeper into your own communion with Jesus Christ and equipping you to receive fruitfully from the life of grace. It also provides the foundation for a life of leading others deeper into their relationship with the Triune God.

Today, the Church and world are in deep need of people of spiritual depth enjoying communion with the Holy Trinity and attuned to the leading of the Holy Spirit. This certificate program will form you to become such a person. You will deepen your own life of prayer as a disciple of Christ – clergy, religious, or lay leader – and begin to gain the knowledge, virtues, and skills necessary to bring others into an ever more faithful and fruitful experience of prayer and devotion. You will explore the historic monastic tradition of prayer and spiritual direction and apply it to the present day. This certificate can be combined with the graduate certificates in Marriage and Family and Sacred Scripture to complete the requirements of the MA in Applied Catholic Theology.

The content of this certificate provides a firm foundation for the spiritual life and assists students to receive spiritual direction fruitfully. Many graduates of this certificate of the MA will want to proceed to full certification as a Spiritual Director, offered in partnership with the Sioux Spiritual Center. The full certification then qualifies you to offer spiritual direction to others!

Take the First Step
Get in touch with any questions or submit the simple application for admission.
We will assist you every step of the way toward acceptance so you can enroll and begin your classes!

At a Glance

The projected employment growth of substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors.

Program Length

1 semester/9 credits


  • Online with on-campus institute

Tuition per Credit


Is This the Degree For Me?

Who It’s For

  • Those who wish to deepen their lives of prayer
  • Directors of Religious Education (DREs)
  • Diocesan and Parish Personnel
  • Clergy
  • Volunteers involved in faith formation
  • Counselors and those seeking the beginnings of a training in spiritual direction

Career Paths

  • Spiritual Director (with additional certification)
  • Theology and Religion Instructor
  • Church Leader
  • Counselor (with additional education and licensing)
  • Director of Religious Education
  • Faith Community Leader
  • Church Leader
  • Missionary Work

What You’ll Learn

  • Come to a lived experience of the principles and dynamics of Christian prayer.
  • Become familiar with the spiritual and mystical tradition of Catholic Christianity.
  • Explore how the pathways of spiritual illumination opened up by this tradition in its various expressions bring freedom and peace to the human heart.
  • Understand the effects of personal and communal sin on one’s relationship with God.
  • Learn prayerful means of experiencing healing through encounters with Divine Love.

Program Details

Course Requirements

Please visit our catalog for a list of all courses and credits.

Your first step is to get in touch with any questions or submit the simple application for admission. We will assist you every step of the way toward acceptance so you can enroll and begin your classes!

  • Online with on-campus institute

If you are serving or have served our country, we sincerely thank you. Our military services office is here to work closely with active duty, retired, reserve, and eligible family members qualified for military benefits. Learn how we can help you with the application process and review the benefits you have earned.

Being with God: What Happens in Prayer

Consider the fundamental principles for the understanding and practice of truly relational Christian prayer. Students will aim to awaken the heart in faith to a deeper lived relationship with God in Jesus Christ. In this course, emphasis is given to the identity of the Christian as a beloved son or daughter of God as foundational for a life of effective apostolic mission.

Sanctity and Sanity: The Christian Spiritual Tradition

Explore the historical development, sweeping influence, and fruit of the Church’s spiritual and mystical tradition through the ages. Specific consideration in this course is given to the treasures of Benedictine monasticism, Carmelite spirituality, and Ignatian Discernment of Spirits. This tradition is then brought to bear upon some key obstacles to interiority presented by modern life.

Transformation and Renewal: Healing the Mind

Examine impediments to communion with God arising both from fallen human nature and from the fragmentation of contemporary life and culture. In the context of the practice of the presence of God, this course treats themes of grace, acedia, shame, resilience, and the importance of a sanctified imagination for growing into a true vision of others, the self, the world, and God.

  • Tuition: $570/credit
  • Technology fee: $43 per credit

For a full list of fees, visit our Tuition and Fees page.

The University of Mary is committed to putting your educational goals within reach. Learn what scholarships you qualify for.

The following will be needed when you have applied for admission so we can get you accepted into the certificate program:

  • Official transcripts
    • Attended the University of Mary before? Then we’ll get your Mary transcript for you!
    • At most other schools, you can request transcripts by going to the National Student Clearinghouse or by contacting the registrar’s office. 
    • Have your transcripts sent to:
      Office of Admissions
      University of Mary
      7500 University Drive
      Bismarck, ND 58504
    • Or request to send electronic transcripts to

Get Started Today

Apply Online