The Diploma in Spiritual Formation Studies (DSFS) offers pastors and layperson's concentrated,
seminary-level studies of Christian spiritual formation for the benefit of their ministries
and their own spiritual lives. Coursework includes the study of texts and contexts, as well
as the experiential exploration of Christianity's spiritually formative practices.
The DSFS rests upon the following convictions: It recognizes Scripture as its theological and
spiritual foundation. In particular, it recognizes the call to servant friendship voiced in
John 15:15, and it acknowledges the proclamation of the ancient christological hymn preserved
in Paul's letter to the Philippians which claims that God is present among us and desires to
be in relationship with humankind. It is grounded in a covenental theology based on God's initiative
as expressed most deeply by Christ's indwelling. It embodies its Protestant heritage through
an emphasis on Scripture, prayer, sacramental and other ritual expressions and its focus on
the congregation as the locus of spiritual formation. It honors the call of the Church to be
reformed and always reforming and works for the transformation of unjust structures and, ultimately,
of the world.
Admission to the DSFS program normally requires a bachelor's degree (or equivalent) and is open
to those who have completed undergraduate work appropriate for admission to seminary studies.
Exceptions to the latter will be made when persons can demonstrate sufficient academic work,
church leadership experience and/or life experience as judged by the Director. The Admissions
Committee of the Diploma in the Art of Spiritual Direction (DASD) program evaluates applicants
to the DSFS program.
Applicants need to submit completed applications (application sheet and narrative) with a $40.00
non-refundable application fee prior to May 1 for admission to the fall semester or prior to
September 1 for admission to the spring semester of any year. Applicants must also submit references
and transcripts by these deadlines for full consideration. Following the admissions meeting,
applicants will be notified by mail of their status regarding admission to the DSFS program.
Students are admitted in any semester. Concurrent or subsequent admission to SFTS degree programs
is neither guaranteed nor implied by admission to the DSFS program.
The DSFS program consists of 24 semester credit hours at the graduate level (equal to eight 3-credit
hour courses or one full-time academic year). With the advisement and approval of the Director
of the DSFS program, students take courses from the regular course offerings of SFTS and the
GTU according to the students' interests so that each student pursues the study of texts and
contexts and the experiential exploration of Christianity's spiritually formative practices
for the benefit of their ministries and their own spiritual lives. Such courses of study are
designed with the following in mind:
- that spiritual formation takes place primarily within the context of the Christian community
and within particular faith traditions
- that Christian spiritual formation is biblically based and draws upon the heritage of 2000
years of the lived experience of the faith
- that spiritual formation is about the transformation of one's life in the direction of the
God revealed in Jesus Christ and empowered by the Holy Spirit
- that spiritual formation leads to the service of God's transforming mission in the world
Throughout the Graduate Theological Union, dozens of courses are available for use in
here to see current offerings.
Class Schedule for Fall
M.Div. students may enroll in the DSFS program under the following conditions:
and GTU fall classes usually begin the day after Labor Day and Spring classes begin the first
week in February.
Tuition and Housing Information
$1,325 per three-credit class, which equals $5,300 per 12 credits and $10,600 per 24 credits.
There is also a student activity fee of $100, and a graduation fee of $50. SFTS may have available housing for this program. Contact the SFTS Conference Services Department at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Relationship to SFTS Degrees
The Diploma in Spiritual Formation Studies may be completed in conjunction with the M.Div. and MATS as approved by appropriate bodies. 12 units of the DSFS courses must be taken at SFTS or a GTU member school.
- They must apply and be admitted to the DSFS program as a separate and internally coherent
- Such doubly admitted students may count up to three 3-credit hours of DSFS courses toward
the M.Div. degree, so long as these courses are taken during the period of M.Div. study. The
tuition for these three courses will be covered at the M.Div. tuition rate. DSFS students will
not be eligible for assistance from the regular SFTS financial aid program, except those courses
that would count as part of the M.Div. degree.