Certificate Programs in Theology

The department of theology and ministry is pleased to offer a variety of specialized certificate programs. Some of the certificates are designed especially for clergy, religious and lay ministers, who seek a deeper grounding in a particular area of ministry: liturgy, spirituality, spiritual direction or faith companioning, while others are designed to offer the challenge of serious theological reflection or as professional or personal enrichment.  The certificates may be pursued either on a graduate or undergraduate level.  Some certificate programs may be completed in conjunction with a degree program.

Certificate of Theological Studies (CTS)

The Certificate of Theological Studies (CTS) is designed for students who have not yet completed a college degree.  The program follows the same course schedules as the Master of Theological Studies program, however, the courses are completed for undergraduate credit.  The schedule indicates graduate and undergraduate course numbers for each course.  Appropriate modifications are made for assignments and expectations.  Students earning the CTS may also elect to apply their credits toward earning the Bachelor of Arts in Theology degree.

The Continuing Education Certificate of Theological Studies is awarded to students who complete the entire thirty hour curriculum of the theological studies degree program on an audit basis rather than for credit.  All courses must be formally audited, and students must submit (to the chair of theology) a letter from the instructor of each course certifying regular attendance.

The Curriculum

  • Six-credit hours of Biblical theology
  • Six-credit hours of historical theology
  • Six-credit hours of moral theology
  • Three-credit hours of pastoral theology
  • Three-credit hours of systematic theology
  • Six-credit hours in theology, spirituality, or ministry electives

Certificate of Spiritual Direction / Faith Companioning (CSD)

This certificate is designed especially for clergy, religious and lay persons with theological preparation, who seek a deeper grounding in this ministry. Course work includes four semesters plus courses completed during the Summer Institute of Christian Spirituality. The CSD may be completed in conjunction with the Master of Pastoral Studies program for students who would like to earn a degree. This program is presently available at the Mobile and Atlanta sites only.  Admission is normally open every other year.

Because of the nature of spiritual direction, effective preparation for this ministry requires both extensive professional training and distinctive personal qualities. The Certificate of Spiritual Direction (CSD), therefore, is built on selective admission requirements. Yearly evaluations of each candidate's aptitude are conducted by the faculty in dialogue with the candidate.

The Certificate of Faith Companioning is designed for those who wish to share faith and prayer with others along the journey of spiritual growth, but do not have the vocation of being a spiritual director.

Prerequisites

  • Completion of 30 credit hours in Biblical, moral and spiritual theology (or approved equivalents)
  • Completion of at least one individually directed Ignatian retreat (5-8 days)
  • Experience of at least one year of ongoing spiritual direction

The Curriculum

  • Prayer & Discernment I & II - (2 credit hours)
  • The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius I & II - (2 credit hours)
  • Spiritual Direction Seminar - (3 credit hours)
  • Spirituality & Psychology Seminar - (3 credit hours)
  • Spiritual Direction Practicum I & II - (4 credit hours)
  • Four-credit hours in spirituality, ministry, or theology electives

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is the program ecumenical?

    Yes, very much so. While rooted in the Catholic tradition of theology and of church, spirituality is also the area of theology in which the common ground of Christian faith is most clearly discovered.

  • Is the approach exclusively Ignatian or Jesuit?

    The program consciously builds its foundation on the Ignatian dynamics and tradition, but not in an exclusive way. Ignatian spirituality in itself is inherently open-ended. It is also the tradition most accessible to us at a Jesuit college and thus provides a very effective frame and foundation for our exploration of spiritual direction. While no effort is made to offer a complete survey of all the many different traditions and forms of spiritual direction, both the variety of spirituality courses and the seminar style of the advanced courses will provide ample scope for many other ancient and contemporary expressions of spiritual direction.

  • Can this program be done through the extension sites?

    While some of the courses will be offered at the extension sites, from time to time, the more specialized courses will be offered only in Mobile and Atlanta. But they will be offered in a once-weekly format, to facilitate those who may be commuting from a certain distance. Because many participants will be in active ministry, the class meetings will be scheduled during the week (e.g., Monday afternoons or evenings) rather than on weekends.

  • How long will it take to complete the certificate?

    A minimum of two academic years, including two summers.

  • Is financial assistance available?

    The major form of assistance is the significantly reduced tuition offered for all students in the theology programs, comparable to 50% or more reduction of the standard tuition for these programs nationwide. In some cases, the diocese, parish, school or employer will offer further assistance. For those qualified for the Portier Grant (Catholics with financial need, active in ministry in the Archdiocese of Mobile), there are a limited number of tuition grants of up to 25%, for a matching amount of assistance from the parish or school or other archdiocesan institution.