Certificate in Ministry Studies

The Diploma in Spiritual Formation Studies (DSFS) offers pastors and laity concentrated, seminary-level studies of Christian spiritual formation for the benefit of their ministries and their own spiritual lives.
The DSFS program:

  • Recognizes Scripture as its theological and spiritual foundation.
  • Heeds the biblically based call to servant friendship.
  • Is grounded in a covenantal theology based upon God’s initiative, expressed most deeply by Christ’s indwelling.
  • Embodies its Protestant heritage by focusing on the congregation as the locus of spiritual guidance.
  • 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. The program director may grant an exception, however, if you can demonstrate sufficient academic work, church leadership, and/or life experience.


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 advice and approval of the program director, you take SFTS and GTU courses based on your interests. Your course of study reflects that:

  • Spiritual formation takes place primarily within the context of the Christian community and within particular faith traditions.
  • Christian spiritual formation is Biblically based and draws upon the heritage of 2000 years of the lived experience of the faith.
  • 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.
  • Spiritual formation leads to the service of God’s transforming mission in the world.

DSFS and other coursework
The DSFS may be completed in conjunction with the M.Div. and MATS, as approved. Twelve units of the DSFS courses must be taken at SFTS or a GTU member school. M.Div. students may enroll in the DSFS program under the following conditions:

  • You must apply and be admitted to the DSFS program as a separate and internally coherent program.
  • 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 are not eligible for assistance from the regular SFTS financial aid program, except for those courses that would count as part of the M.Div. degree.

For further information, please contact Dr. Wendy Farley, at 415.451.2867 | wfarley@sfts.edu.