MA in Christian Spirituality

36 Credits | Online or On Campus

The MA in Christian Spirituality provides preparation for work in general Christian ministry, in Spiritual Direction, or in preparation for an academic career in teaching. The program can also assist those who wish to complement their personal spiritual journey with an academic foundation in scripture, theology, and spirituality. Graduates of the program will have a competent understanding of methods of studying Christian spirituality along with its biblical, scriptural and theological foundations.

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Degree Concentrations

There are three concentrations available in the on campus MA Christian Sprituality program:

Spiritual Direction Concentration

  • Coursework prepares you for work in retreat/campus ministry/and spiritual direction settings.
  • Allows students to use electives to prepare for certification as a Spiritual Director.
  • Access to Fordham's excellent retreat and campus ministry programming.
  • May be completed on campus or as a hybrid program- Some direction courses will require a residence on campus, as well as a year long field work practicum in the NYC area(one Saturday per month - plus online meetings).

Research Concentration

  • Prepares students for Doctoral programs and careers in higher education teaching Christian Spirituality.
  • Renowned faculty and all the resources of Fordham's other schools, centers and institutes.
  • May be completed entirely on-line, entirely on-campus or through a mix of both.

Generalist Concentration

  • This concentration allows for a broad program of study on Christian Spirituality for those who do not wish to focus on research or spiritual direction.

For all concentrations*

  • May be completed entirely on-line, entirely on-campus or through a mix of both.
  • Intensive summer courses available.
  • Programs in Christian Spirituality are also available at the Certificate and Doctor of Ministry levels.
  • Scholarships and grants are available.

*The Spiritual Direction Concentration cannot be completed entirely online as it requires two semesters in an on-campus spiritual direction practicum. 


Research Concentration

Courses of Study and Descriptions

Required Courses:

  • SPGR 6834 | Methods in Christian Spirituality - Topics include: What is Christian Spirituality? What sorts of topics are studied under this rubric? What research tools are available? What role is there for scripture, theology, history, and hermeneutics? Course readings and discussion include examination of published texts in this field of study.
  • SPGR 6702 | History of Christian Spirituality 1 - This course will explore a number of the significant figures and themes that characterized the development of Christian Spirituality from its beginnings until the Reformation. Readings will be drawn from classical spiritual texts and relevant secondary literature.
  • SPGR 6703 | History of Christian Spirituality 2 - This course will explore a number of the significant figures and themes that characterized the development of Christian Spirituality from the Reformation to the present. This course is for Doctor of Ministry students only and will require doctoral level participation and additional research/writing elements.
  • SPGR 6830 | Discernment in Christian Tradition - This course offers a two-fold introduction to the Christian tradition of the discernment of spirits. During the first part of the semester, we pursue a historical review of the various articulations of spiritual discernment within the Christian traditions, from New Testament foundations through today. In the second part of the semester, we concentrate upon the theory and practice of Christian Discernment and decision-making grounded in the writing of St. Ignatius of Loyola.
  • RLGR 6010 | Old Testament - An in-depth examination of the first five books of the Bible. Historical origins of these texts in ancient Israel and the continuing significance for their central theological themes of promise, law, creation, election, redemption, and liberation. Introduction to the exegetical methods of modern biblical study.
  • RLGR 6011 | New Testament - This course will engage questions about the development of the Christian canon while reading parts of the New Testament in the context of first century Judaism.

One course in Theological Anthropology or Christology:

  • RLGR 6030 | Christology or,
  • RLGR 6031 | Theology of the Human Person - An inquiry into the meaning and possibilities of becoming fully human from a contemporary theological perspective complemented by a multidisciplinary perspective. This course grounds theories of conversion, asceticism and ministry in an adequate understanding of the human, with special attention to gender issues and social justice implications.

One course in Sacramental Spirituality or Ecclesiology:

  • SPGR 67200 | Sacramental Spirituality, or RLGR 6032 | Church and Society

Two Spirituality electives, from this list

  • SPGHR 7870, SPGR 7872, SPGR 7888, SPGR 7760, SPGR 8788, PCGR 6380, PCGR 6410, PMGR 6617 and REGR 6170

Two free electives, from this list

  • REGR 5999-7999 or SPGR 5999-7999 or PCGR 5999-7999 or RLGR 5999-7999 or PMGR 5999-7999

Other Requirements:

  • Completion of an MA Thesis - Requires students to complete a Master's Thesis, which would take the same form as the current research-oriented, MA-RE 60-page "Major Paper."
  • Demonstrated Ability in a second language - Requires students to demonstrate competency in a second language in preparation for the research of the Thesis. The Master's Thesis must employ a language which is relevant to the subject being researched, and a language which is a second language for the student. Language competency is normally demonstrated by the successful completion of a language examination.

Spiritual Direction Concentration

Courses of Study and Descriptions

Required Courses:

  • SPGR 6834 | Methods in Christian Spirituality - Topics include: What is Christian Spirituality? What sorts of topics are studied under this rubric? What research tools are available? What role is there for scripture, theology, history, and hermeneutics? Course readings and discussion include examination of published texts in this field of study.
  • SPGR 6702 | History of Christian Spirituality 1 - This course will explore a number of the significant figures and themes that characterized the development of Christian Spirituality from its beginnings until the Reformation. Readings will be drawn from classical spiritual texts and relevant secondary literature.
  • SPGR 6703 | History of Christian Spirituality 2 - This course will explore a number of the significant figures and themes that characterized the development of Christian Spirituality from the Reformation to the present. This course is for Doctor of Ministry students only and will require doctoral level participation and additional research/writing elements.
  • SPGR 6830 | Discernment in Christian Tradition - This course offers a two-fold introduction to the Christian tradition of the discernment of spirits. During the first part of the semester, we pursue a historical review of the various articulations of spiritual discernment within the Christian traditions, from New Testament foundations through today. In the second part of the semester, we concentrate upon the theory and practice of Christian Discernment and decision-making grounded in the writing of St. Ignatius of Loyola.
  • RLGR 6010 | Old Testament- An in-depth examination of the first five books of the Bible. Historical origins of these texts in ancient Israel and the continuing significance for their central theological themes of promise, law, creation, election, redemption, and liberation. Introduction to the exegetical methods of modern biblical study.
  • RLGR 6011 | New Testament- This course will engage questions about the development of the Christian canon while reading parts of the New Testament in the context of first century Judaism.

One course in Theological Anthropology, or Christology:

  • RLGR 6030 | Christology, or
  • RLGR 6031 | Theology of the Human Person - An inquiry into the meaning and possibilities of becoming fully human from a contemporary theological perspective complemented by a multidisciplinary perspective. This course grounds theories of conversion, asceticism and ministry in an adequate understanding of the human, with special attention to gender issues and social justice implications.

Spiritual Direction concentration requirements:

  • SPGR 6881 | Theology of Spiritual Direction
  • REGR 8061 | Pastoral Counseling Skills- Integrates humanistic counseling theory with intragroup practice. Focus on the listening skills of attending, accurate empathy, clarifying and focusing. Use of audio and video. No audit (three hours). Residency required.
  • SPGR 7740 | Spiritual Direction Practicum 1- The Spiritual Direction Practicum offers participants the opportunity to learn about (1) the dynamics of prayer as a personal relationship with God, (2) the spiritual direction relationship, (3) elements of Ignatian spirituality, and (4) the role of supervision. A grade of pass and an instructor's evaluation confirming skill development are required to move to Spiritual Direction Practicum 2.
  • SPGR 7741 | Spiritual Direction Practicum 2- Integrates participants' spiritual and theological resources with sound counseling practice in one-to-one work with clients. Identifies and develops individual resources and self-understanding for discerning a call to this ministry, or refining skills for those already thus engaged. Case studies, role plays, verbatim, individual and group supervision. By invitation.

Completion of a COMPREHENSIVE EXAM 


Generalist Concentration

Courses of Study and Descriptions

Required Courses:

  • SPGR 6834 | Methods in Christian Spirituality- Topics include: What is Christian Spirituality? What sorts of topics are studied under this rubric? What research tools are available? What role is there for scripture, theology, history, and hermeneutics? Course readings and discussion include examination of published texts in this field of study.
  • SPGR 6702 | History of Christian Spirituality 1- This course will explore a number of the significant figures and themes that characterized the development of Christian Spirituality from its beginnings until the Reformation. Readings will be drawn from classical spiritual texts and relevant secondary literature.
  • SPGR 6703 | History of Christian Spirituality 2- This course will explore a number of the significant figures and themes that characterized the development of Christian Spirituality from the Reformation to the present. This course is for Doctor of Ministry students only and will require doctoral level participation and additional research/writing elements.
  • SPGR 6830 | Discernment in Christian Tradition- This course offers a two-fold introduction to the Christian tradition of the discernment of spirits. During the first part of the semester, we pursue a historical review of the various articulations of spiritual discernment within the Christian traditions, from New Testament foundations through today. In the second part of the semester, we concentrate upon the theory and practice of Christian Discernment and decision-making grounded in the writing of St. Ignatius of Loyola.
  • RLGR 6010 | Old Testament- An in-depth examination of the first five books of the Bible. Historical origins of these texts in ancient Israel and the continuing significance for their central theological themes of promise, law, creation, election, redemption, and liberation. Introduction to the exegetical methods of modern biblical study.
  • RLGR 6011 | New Testament- This course will engage questions about the development of the Christian canon while reading parts of the New Testament in the context of first century Judaism.

One course in Theological Anthropology, or Christology:

  • RLGR 6030 | Christology, or
  • RLGR 6031 | Theology of the Human Person - An inquiry into the meaning and possibilities of becoming fully human from a contemporary theological perspective complemented by a multidisciplinary perspective. This course grounds theories of conversion, asceticism and ministry in an adequate understanding of the human, with special attention to gender issues and social justice implications.

One course in Sacramental Spirituality or Ecclesiology:

  • SPGR 6720 | Sacramental Spirituality - An exploration of present-day theological reflection, contemporary spirituality, and pastoral practice for ministry of the sacraments of initiation (RCIA) and the healing sacraments (reconciliation and anointing). The study and discussion will be biblical and ecumenical, interdisciplinary and multicultural.
  • RLGR 6032 | Church and Society

Two Spirituality electives, from this list:

  • SPGHR 7870, SPGR 7872, SPGR 7888, SPGR 7760, SPGR 8788, PCGR 6380, PCGR 6410, PMGR 6617 and REGR 6170

Two free electives, from this list

  • REGR 5999-7999 or SPGR 5999-7999 or PCGR 5999-7999 or RLGR 5999-7999 or PMGR 5999-7999

Completion of a COMPREHENSIVE EXAM