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Master of Arts (Spiritual Formation)

Talbot School of Theology


The Master of Arts with a concentration in Spiritual Formation offers you the opportunity to both study spiritual growth academically and to experience personal spiritual growth. Offered through Talbot’s Institute for Spiritual Formation (ISF), the program is designed to equip you for the ministry of discipleship and spiritual formation in the local church and for further academic training in spiritual formation.

In this program — offered on campus and in a hybrid format with up to 40 percent of the coursework available online — you will learn to appreciate and grow deeply in the reality that true Christian spirituality is grounded in true wisdom: knowledge of God and knowledge of self. The program is designed to stimulate both mind and heart through in-depth experiential and theoretical coursework, personal reflection and prayer, a community of belonging and connection, and training in spiritual mentorship.

This degree program is distinct from ISF’s other programs as its focus is on the academic study of spiritual formation, requires a thesis and does not include training, supervision and service components in spiritual direction and mentoring.

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Why Choose Spiritual Formation at Talbot?

  • Study and Experience Spiritual Formation from a Leading Program. Talbot’s Institute for Spiritual Formation is a trusted leader among Christian seminaries in the area of spiritual formation and soul care. Your academic study explores the theoretical and practical side of formation, both of which are necessary in understanding the content and process of faith and its application and for your personal formation.
  • Learn from Leading Faculty and Practitioners in Theology and Spiritual Formation. ISF faculty are leading scholars in the field of spiritual formation. Leaders in academia and also dedicated to training pastors and leaders in understanding how spiritual transformation works in their lives and in the life of the church. ISF publishes The Journal of Spiritual Formation and Soul Care, a leading peer-reviewed publication that serves as a forum for academic conversations on the theory and practice of Christian formation and soul care.
  • Retreat from the Traditional Classroom Experience. This program takes you beyond theoretical study and provides opportunities to experience personal and spiritual growth — from group retreats to the picturesque mountains of Southern California, to opportunities to examine your spiritual journey with a trained therapist and assignments that encourage you to unplug from all distractions to uninterrupted times of prayer and spiritual disciplines.
  • Be Equipped to Serve the Body of Christ. Whether you pursue further academic study or professional or lay ministry in the church, you will be equipped to serve the body of Christ in caring for others in the loving power of the Holy Spirit. You will learn how to serve others effectively as you grow in self-knowledge, gain a deeper understanding of how spiritual growth happens and attentively listen to the Spirit through prayer.

For more reasons to choose Talbot School of Theology for your education, see the Why Talbot? page.

What Will I Study?

The M.A. with a concentration in Spiritual Formation includes both in-depth theoretical and integrative coursework, employing such disciplines as theology, philosophy, psychology and education as well as experiential-relational soul work in classes and co-curricular requirements to aid in understanding the spiritual life mentoring. Because the program is experiential and theoretical in nature with respect to spiritual growth and the dynamic processes involved, it draws upon an interdisciplinary faculty from both Talbot and Rosemead School of Psychology.

In addition to coursework, you’ll also participate in several co-curricular activities required of all ISF students.

View Courses

2–4 years
Standard Duration
This indicates the standard duration of this program. Completion time may vary depending on transferred coursework and preferred courseload.
Total Program Credits
Every program at Biola University features rigorous academics, biblically integrated curriculum and vocational preparation.
Biola University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission. Additional accreditations may apply to specific programs.