Are you drawn to spiritual formation? Or do you have a spiritually curious lay leader in your congregation who is serving your church well and is ready to take the next step to deeper faith and spirituality through learning?

Come learn more about Drew’s Certificate in Spiritual Formation!  It is one of our newest non-degree programs designed to offer theological education directly to local church members.

What does this program offer?

Artwork by Kelly Anne Cutter

Professional certification recognizes that an individual has been called and is making a commitment to serve with excellence in an area of specialized ministry. The Certificate in Spiritual Formation provides biblical, theological, and historical introductory studies and skill development in Christian spiritual formation in a setting of support and accountability.  Who may enroll?

Professional certification is available to lay persons, ordained deacons and elders, local pastors and diaconal ministers. Students enrolled in MA/ MDiv degree programs may take the certification classes as electives. United Methodist students will be certified by their annual conferences working with the General Board of Higher Education. Non-Methodist students will receive a Certificate in Spiritual Formation Studies directly from Drew.

What courses will I take?

There are 5 required courses for United Methodist students. Students from other faith groups can substitute an approved elective for the Methodist History course. Degree and already-ordained students must take the Spiritual Disciplines, Spiritual Direction/Companionship, Practicum in Spiritual Direction/Companionship and may select two electives if prior work in Biblical studies and church history can be verified by transcripts.

Core Courses

  1. Sacred Conversations: Teaching the Bible (BBST 520), Spring Semester 2013
    What does one need to know/to do to better study the sacred text so that the mind is engaged and the soul is freed? What does it mean to teach Bible study in a way that both the exterior and the interior life might be nurtured and fed? What are the ways of study that cultivate mature faith and generate communal insight and transformation? Through discussion and hands-on skill development, we will explore approaches and practices for teaching the Bible as a spiritual practice.
  2. United Methodist Studies (LGON 540), Fall Semester 2012
    A study of the origins, organization, outreach, religious life and key ideas, events and figures in the development of United Methodism. It aims to enable the student 1) to understand and evaluate United Methodism in the light of its antecedent organizations and the broader context of those traditions historically related to the Methodist movement; and 2) to engage in responsible participation in the life and leadership of the United Methodist Church , to communicate effectively the United Methodist tradition, and to participate perceptively in the ecumenical dialogue.
  3. Spiritual Disciplines for Personal, Parish and Ecological Renewal (PSTH 637), Summer Term 2012
    An orientation to the history and practice of Christian prayer forms and spiritual disciplines as they may be useful for personal, parish and ecological renewal.  To offer an exploration of the relationship of prayer to other spiritual disciplines such as corporate worship, prophetic witness, processes of discernment and ecological care. 
  4. Spiritual Direction/Companionship, (PSTH 684), Fall Semester 2012
    This course is an introduction to the discipline and art of spiritual direction/companionship as a significant ministry of the Christian church. Class participants will be exposed to the purposes and historical roots of direction; its various theological foundations, and essential practices, including the role and limits of the spiritual director. This course is designed for students seeking an introductory understanding of spiritual direction/companionship and those testing or affirming a vocational call to spiritual formation ministries.
  5. Practicum in Spiritual Direction/Companionship (PSTH 684 & 584), (Supervised field experience), PSTH 584 – Fall Semester 2012, and PSTH 685Spring Semester 2013
    Prerequisite PSTH 684  Supervised spiritual direction practicum requiring regular personal engagement in spiritual direction, offering individual and or/group spiritual direction to others and participation in an on-going supervision group with written reflection papers and peer assessment. (2 semesters required for Certification in Spiritual Formation students.)

Elective Courses (partial list)

  • Spirituality of Joy
  • Ministry and Imagination
  • Altaring Spaces
  • Sabbath as Spiritual Practice
  • Spiritual Reading
  • Celtic Christianity
  • Taize summer Pilgrimage
  • Mindfulness
  • American Mystics

How will I do this as a working person?

Certification courses are offered in several formats. Some will be offered on-line for independent study. Some will be offered in intensives on-campus or at a retreat center with pre-reading and post-class assignments and projects. Some will be in traditional semester-based class format. The practicum course will require work in a local church or ministry setting with regular on-line and in-person supervisory sessions. Courses will be offered in a rotation to allow for completion of the certification in a two-year period.

How do I apply?

All non-degree students must apply for certification studies at Drew. Fill out an Online Non-Degree Application here. (A bachelor’s of arts degree from an accredited college or university is required.) United Methodist students must additionally complete an “Enrollment for the Professional Certification Studies in Ministry Careers” found online at working with the certification registrar of your local Annual Conference Board of Ordained Ministry.

Drew Computer Network Login Information

Upon admission, you will receive a Drew email address and login information. If you wish to be contacted at a different email address, you must notify both the Registrar’s Office at (973) 408-3025, and the Associate Academic Dean at (973)408-3647.

If you change your email address, mailing address, and/or phone number while you are in the program, notify both the Registrar’s office and the Certificate in Spiritual Formation Program Coordinator.

Your login information allows you to access CampusWeb, your online homebase for grades, billing, and other information. You can visit CampusWeb at

What are the costs?

The tuition rate for 2012-2013 is $772/credit. United Methodists, lay and ordained, are eligible to apply for the “United Methodist Studies Scholarship for Part-Time Students” through the General Board of Higher Education. All students are encouraged to explore local church and denominational subsidies for lay and continuing education.

Financial Aid is not available for certification studies through Drew.

For more information:
Contact Nancy VanderVeen, Director of Lifelong Learning, at