Course Detail

Ignatian Spirituality and the Art of Spiritual Direction

Applications for both courses are open from 1 March 2024. Please click here for more details about how to apply.

The course runs from 11 am to 4 pm, one day a week over three years, three terms each year.

Year 1 (Tuesdays)

This year can be taken independently as a foundational course in Ignatian Spirituality and spiritual direction. The following topics are covered:

  • Ignatian Spirituality in Context
  • Communication Skills
  • Foundational Issues in Spirituality
  • Introduction to Ignatius, his spirituality and the Spiritual Exercises
  • Exploring our own spirituality
  • Skills and resources for ministry
  • The practice of Spiritual Direction

To get more of an idea of what the Course entails, you can download an Outline of First Year Modules and Expectations.

Year 2 (Wednesdays)

This year develops a deeper knowledge & understanding of the subject through:

  • A detailed study of the text of the Spiritual Exercises;
  • Practice of spiritual direction, through working in small and large groups

In some circumstances, we can admit applicants with equivalent experience directly to the second year of the course where they have knowledge of the first year content. In these cases we ask prospective students to fill out the Direct Entry form.

Year 3 (Thursdays)

Participants are helped to develop their skills in the competence needed to be able to give the Spiritual Exercises, their Adaptations, and on-going spiritual direction.

Study is mainly experiential. It focuses on the participant’s work as a director in group work, through case studies, personal and peer appraisal, seminars and supervision.

Course Dates

Autumn term (2024)

Year 1: 1 Oct – 10 Dec
Year 2: 2 Oct – 11 Dec
Year 3: 3 Oct – 12 Dec

Half term: 29-31 Oct

Spring Term (2025)

Year 1: 7 Jan – 25 Mar
Year 2: 8 Jan – 26 Mar
Year 3: 9 Jan – 27 Mar

Half Term: 11-13 and 18-20 Feb

Summer Term 2025

Year 1: 29 Apr – 1 July
Year 2: 30 Apr – 2 July
Year 3: 1 May – 3 July

Half Term: 27-29 May & 3-5 June



Participants are accepted following an initial informal interview; these are usually held in July and September. Occasionally, people with relevant background and experience may be admitted straight onto the Second Year.

To get more of an idea of what constitutes ‘relevant background and experience’, please see the Outline of First Year Modules and the ISC Year 2 Direct Entry form.

Assignments and Reviews

There are regular assignments and reviews during the course. Entry to subsequent years is through completion of the previous year’s requirements and an end-of-year review. Movement from one year to the next is not automatic; this will be assessed and discussed with you by a member of staff.


Participants are expected to:

  • Meet regularly with an Ignatian-trained spiritual director
  • Be committed to attending all sessions. No more than six sessions may be missed in a year. If more than three sessions are missed in a term you will be expected to repeat the whole term. There will be an administrative fee for repeating a term
  • Work with your own experience in this ministry within the group
  • Complete assignments and recommended reading 
  • Make an Ignatian-based, individually guided retreat (normally 6-8 days duration residential or online) by the start of the Second Year
  • Make the full Spiritual Exercises, either as a 30-day retreat or as a Retreat in Daily Life and this must be underway by the beginning of Year 2

The taking of the Exercises in three stages over an extended period of time is not recommended but may be acceptable in exceptional circumstances after consultation with the relevant year leader and one of the course directors.

The course is committed to helping students consider their options for this requirement and can assist with finding a director for a Retreat in Daily Life if necessary.


Please note: correspondence between a course participant and their tutors may, at the tutors’ discretion, be placed on the participant’s file for future reference.


A Certificate of Completion is presented at the end of the Third Year for those who have completed all the course requirements. 

A Letter of Completion is available if requested at the end of the First Year.

Hear From Our Students

I’ve particularly appreciated the creative balance of contemplation/meditation/ experience, practice and learning. I have learnt so much and had my eyes opened to so much. It has been an intellectually, emotionally, spiritually challenging, exciting, affirming and life changing year! 

Pauline M

The practice of spiritual direction was a wonderful experience. This allowed me to learn about my own style of direction as well as learning from others by observation. All done in a loving and caring way. 

Cyd C