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Master of Divinity (Spiritual Formation)

Talbot School of Theology


The Master of Divinity with a concentration in Spiritual Formation — offered on campus and in a hybrid program with up to half of the coursework available online — is an innovative Master of Divinity degree program that prepares you for pastoral leadership with a specialty in spiritual direction and soul care.

Offered through Talbot’s Institute for Spiritual Formation (ISF), the program addresses the growing need for pastors to help their churches understand the process of spiritual growth and to experience spiritual transformation in their lives. This M.Div. program combines traditional seminary training with a full curriculum in spiritual formation and soul care, which includes supervised training in spiritual direction and other co-curricular requirements such as therapy, personal retreats and the Intensive Journey Inward Retreat, a three-week extended retreat in solitude or partial isolation with supervision from a spiritual guide.

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Why Study Spiritual Formation at Talbot?

  • Prepare for Servant Leadership. The Master of Divinity with a concentration in Spiritual Formation unites the core of Talbot’s seminary program and the Institute for Spiritual Formation’s specialized training in spiritual direction and soul care. This program offers all the biblical knowledge and training in practical ministry you need, as well as a full curriculum in spiritual formation. Through your experiences in and out of the classroom, you will be well-equipped to step into your role as a spiritual leader for your congregation.
  • Preach and Teach with Spiritual Formation in View. You will be trained and equipped to integrate spiritual formation into your ministry of preaching and teaching, in addition to other church ministries. As a Master of Divinity student in ISF, you also have the privilege of taking a course on Prayer and Formation in Expository Preaching to complement your preaching class. You will be enabled to take what you have learned and personally experienced and translate it into practical ministry for your church.
  • Learn to Counsel and Care for Others. The role of a pastor involves counseling and care for congregants. You will receive a specialized training from ISF, which is designed along the lines of an apprentice training model to facilitate personal growth and readiness to provide others spiritual direction. Your training takes place both in and outside the classroom, from the history of soul care to a practicum that gives opportunity to practice empathic listening and relational skills to help develop and nurture a deep community.
  • Gain Experience Under the Care of Expert Practitioners. Take what you’ve learned and translate it into practical ministry with the help of expert faculty and professional spiritual directors. This program provides you with the opportunity to receive and offer spiritual guidance through Talbot’s Center for Spiritual Renewal, a training center for ISF students where spiritual direction is available to Biola students, the community and beyond. Master of Divinity students have the option of completing two semesters of the soul care practicum or two semester of a field internship.

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

What Will I Study?

Each of Talbot School of Theology’s Master of Divinity programs include a core of biblical and theological foundation courses, a sequence of Hebrew and Greek, training in preaching and counseling, and an area of ministry specialization.

The 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.

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Paul Chang

I appreciated the community the most during my time at Biola. I felt that everyone knew my story and invested in me with their words of encouragement and presence. Through all of my failures and victories, the ISF community held me up in times of struggle and also celebrated with me in times of joy.

Spiritual Formation, M.Div. ‘22
3–5 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.