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Spiritual Direction and Directed Retreats (Graduate Certificate)

Creighton University’s Graduate Certificate in Spiritual Direction and Directed Retreats (SDDR) offers a transformative experience of reflection, prayer, worship, community and study that cultivates a deep knowledge and personal appropriation of Christian Spirituality in the Ignatian tradition.

Grounded in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the SDDR Certificate forms students to be certified spiritual directors using the contemplative-evocative method. The certificate includes a nine-month, directed practicum experience with supervised spiritual direction and retreat formation. You will cultivate an apostolic spirituality and personal renewal that will help you respond creatively and faithfully to the many urgent issues facing church and world in the twenty-first century.

Creighton offers guaranteed tuition discounts for this mission-centered program. The program addresses one of the four universal apostolic preferences of the Society of Jesus, namely to "show the way to God through the Spiritual Exercises and Discernment."

Apply what you learn to your life and to ministering to other

This program will give you opportunities to gain a deeper understanding of Christian Spirituality and integrate this learning with your own experience. You will be encouraged to internalize what you learn and apply it to your own life through careful methods of Ignatian discernment. Upon graduation, you will join a highly diverse alumni community of nearly 1,000 students in over forty states and fifteen countries.

Dedicate some time to self-reflection and prayer

The Graduate Certificate in Spiritual Direction and Directed Retreats is typically completed over the course of three summers. Students pursue in-person courses during the annual four-week summer term and learn in community with Cristian Spirituality Program (CSP) students from around the world. Online courses are also offered during the fall and spring semesters. To be admitted to the SDDR Certificate, you must have a history of regular spiritual direction and be at least 30 years of age.

Creighton Christian Spirituality Program ​Eight-Day Retreat

Creighton's Christian Spirituality Program conducts an eight-day silent directed retreat to contemplate, relax and enjoy God's work. The retreat is hosted at Creighton University's Retreat Center located near Griswold, Iowa. The directors of the retreat are CSP graduate students trained in the evocative-contemplative approach of spiritual direction and supervised by experiences spiritual directors. The retreats are open to the public. 

2024 Eight-Day Retreat Date:

May 17–26, 2024  |  May 28–June 6, 2024

For questions about the retreat or other non-admissions related questions, contact

New 2024 Summer Schedule: A single, four-week term with three-credit classes will run from June 10 through July 5. Creighton will also offer an optional one-week term with one-credit classes from July 8-13.

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Creighton University awards SDDR students 50% tuition discount. Apply and automatically receive.
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The Creighton University Retreat Center supports and fosters an active prayer life. Deepen your connection with God.


Program Details

Program Goals and Curriculum

The Graduate Certificate in Spiritual Direction and Directed Retreats is ideal for anyone over the age of 30 who wishes to become a professional Spiritual or Retreat Director. Students can apply what they learn to ministry and life.

To earn this certificate, you must complete 21 credits:

  • Introduction to Counseling for Spiritual Directors
  • The Theology of The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius
  • Discernment of Spirits: Theory and Practice
  • Pre-Practicum in Spiritual Direction and Directed Retreats
  • Practicum in Spiritual Direction and Practicum in Directed Retreats [ same name, moved]
  • Post-Practicum in Spiritual Direction and Directed Retreats
  • One elective course in prayer


Creighton University's Theology Department faculty has a number of scholars and teachers who are nationally and internationally recognized for their excellence in teaching and research. The Graduate Certificate in Spiritual Direction and Directed Retreats draws on this body of faculty to develop spiritual leaders in the Jesuit tradition.

Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission to the Graduate Certificate in Spiritual Direction and Directed Retreats program, applicants must:

  • Complete an application
  • Possess a bachelor’s degree, regardless of field, with 3.0 GPA or higher
  • Possess suitable academic, pastoral, and/or ministerial background that prepares you for a certificate program in Spirituality
  • Provide official transcripts from all degree-granting institutions. Read more about sending transcripts here
  • Submit a personal statement of interest in the graduate certificate 
  • Possess two years of regular spiritual direction, and currently be receiving regular spiritual direction (Ignatian tradition preferred)
  • Submit three letters of recommendation from persons who can speak to your life of faith and prayer including one recommendation from your current spiritual director
  • Be at least 30 years of age
  • Complete an eight-day silent, directed retreat, preferably through the CSP retreats in May-June offered at the Creighton University Retreat Center.
    • An 8-day silent retreat is required before beginning the second summer of Certificate study. It is recommended, but not required, that candidates complete an 8-day silent, directed retreat prior to entering the program.

A personal interview may be requested in addition to the above requirements. The interview may be conducted in-person or virtually.

International students are welcomed into this program and F-1 visas will be supported upon admission for the on-campus summer requirements.

International applicants must:

Tuition & Financial Aid

Creighton University awards all Spiritual Direction and Directed Retreats students 50% tuition discount from the standard graduate school tuition. This discount is reflected on the financial aid page. Tuition rates change in the fall of each year. Visit our financial aid page for more details. Students must apply and be accepted for scholarship assistance by January 15.

To be considered for scholarship assistance for the upcoming academic year, new students must apply and be accepted to the program by January 15. Students must reapply for scholarship support each year. 

Summer Housing and Meals
Housing is available for students attending on-campus residencies in the summer. This housing consists of a shared suite that includes two private bedrooms, a shared bathroom, a small common living space with some furniture, a microwave and a small refrigerator.

Financial Aid
To help make your graduate studies at Creighton University more affordable, we encourage you to file the FAFSA to apply for financial assistance. We also encourage you to apply for available graduate student scholarships and fellowships.

Still have questions? Email or call a friendly financial specialist at 402.280.2731 for any additional questions you may have.

Dates and Deadlines

The table below details the enrollment deadlines and starting dates of courses for the current academic year. If you have any questions about dates, deadlines, or application materials, please contact an admissions advisor for personalized assistance.





April 15

Additional Certificate & Master's Degree Options


Master of Arts in Christian Spirituality (33 credits)

  • The credits you earn in the Graduate Certificate in Spiritual Direction and Directed Retreats program serve as the foundation for the Master of Arts in Christian Spirituality program.
  • Further enrich your understanding of Scripture, the Ignatian tradition, and the Christian faith through our Christian Spirituality master’s program.

Still Have Questions?

Reach out to an Admissions Advisor
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