Loyola University Chicago

Institute of Pastoral Studies

Spiritual Direction, Specialization in Ignatian Spirituality

Requirements of the Ignatian Exercises Program (IEP)

Ignatian Exercises Program (IEP)

The Ignatian Exercises Program (IEP) at the Institute of Pastoral Studies (IPS) is offered as part of the Master of Arts in Spirituality/Spiritual Direction (MASp) at Loyola University Chicago (LUC). It is offered as a specialization within the 36-credit hour Master of Arts/Spiritual Direction Concentration, or as a specialization within the 18-credit hour Graduate Certificate Program in Spiritual Direction.

As a 36 credit hour MA degree, the Ignatian Exercises Program (IEP) follows the established curriculum of the current MASp Spiritual Direction Concentration of 12 credit hours of Core Courses plus 24 hours of course work in spiritual direction, ethics, and elective courses.  In place of general IPS electives, however, participants in the IEP will take specialized Ignatian electives, including two courses in Ignatian Spirituality (IPS 572 & 573) and a two-course year-long Ignatian Exercises Practicum in directing the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Loyola (IPS 574 & 575).

As an 18 credit hour Graduate Certificate in Spiritual Direction, the IEP includes 6 courses: two courses in spiritual direction praxis (IPS 428 & 429), two courses in Ignatian spirituality (IPS 572 & 573), and the two-course year-long Ignatian Exercises Practicum (IPS 574 & 575).

  • Ignatian Exercises Brochure  (click and scroll down to read both pages)

    In addition to Core Curriculum requirements (see below), the following requirements for the Ignatian Exercises Program are applicable in both the 36 credit hour MASp: Spiritual Direction Concentration and the 18 credit hour Graduate Certificate in Spiritual Direction versions of the IEP:
  • in addition to the standard application to the Institute of Pastoral Studies (IPS), completion of 26-Question IEP Application, an additional Recommender’s Letter to the IEP, and an Interview with the IEP Director


  • two 3-hr. courses in Ignatian Spirituality (IEP 572 & 573 / 6 credit hours)

  • a year-long, two-semester supervised Ignatian Exercises Practicum directing the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola in the 19th Annotation format (IEP 574 & 575 / 6 credit hours)

  • the experience of the full 30-day Ignatian Spiritual Exercises retreat in either the 30-day month-long format or the 30-week 19th Annotation format (i.e., “The Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life”) prior to the Practicum year.  This requirement will be waived for those that have made the complete Spiritual Exercises in the 30-day or 30-week format within 5 years of commencing the IEP.

Curriculum for the Ignatian Exercises Program at IPS

MASp: Spiritual Direction Concentration/Ignatian Exercises Program (IEP)—36 hrs.

The Spiritual Direction Concentration/IEP specialization is a 36 credit hour Masters degree composed of a 4-course, 12-hour Core, plus 24 hours of required and elective courses, including 6 credit hours in Ignatian spirituality and a 6 credit hour, two-semester Ignatian Practicum.

Core Courses: four 3-hour courses (12 hours)   ▲  =  both on campus and online availability

  • Foundations of Christian Spirituality (IPS 545 / Fall only, and Summers in Rome)  ▲
  • Biblical Foundations (IPS 416 – Christian Origins / Spring only and Summers in Rome; or IPS 417 – Literature of Ancient Israel / Fall only)  ▲▲
  • Theological Foundations (IPS 531 – Christian Doctrine / Spring only) ▲
  • Psychological Foundations (IPS 555 – Human Person and Psychological Development / Fall only)  ▲ (online in Summers with even years)

Spiritual Direction Concentration/Ignatian Exercises Program (IEP) specialization:  seven 3-hr. required courses * (added to four Core Courses)  / 3 hrs. of electives / plus four semesters of non-credit Personal Spiritual Direction with a spiritual director that is familiar with the Spiritual Exercises

  • Introduction to Spirituality Praxis  (IPS 428 – Fall only) *
  • Advanced Spiritual Accompaniment Praxis  (IPS 429 – Spring only / 428 prerequisite) *
  • Ethics of Pastoral Counseling and Spiritual Direction (IPS 512 / Spring only) * 
  • Ignatian Spirituality I: Hearts on Fire (IPS 572 / Fall only)* 
  • Ignatian Spirituality II: Discernment, Ignatian Prayer, and Social Justice (IPS 573 / Spring only)*
  • Ignatian Spiritual Direction Practicum I  (IPS 574 - Fall only / 428 & 429, and 572 & 573 prerequisites)
  • Ignatian Spiritual Direction Practicum II  (IPS 575 – Spring only / 428, 429, 572, 573, and 574 prerequisites) *
  • 3 hrs. of Electives
  • Personal Spiritual Direction (a non-credit requirement of 4 semesters of personal spiritual direction).  Note: the 30-day or 30-week version of the complete Spiritual Exercises will count for 2 semesters of Personal Spiritual Direction.  An official Confirmation Form must be signed and submitted to the IPS Office for your file for each of the 4 semesters.  For the Confirmation Form go to:   

Course Rotation schedule may be subject to change.

Graduate Certificate in Spiritual Direction/Ignatian Exercises Program (IEP)

IPS offers a 6-course, 18-hour Graduate Certificate Program in Spiritual Direction in the tradition of Ignatian spirituality and the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556), the founder of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits). This certificate program is suited to applicants who desire training in spiritual direction as an addition to their current ministerial or career skill set. Moreover, the IEP is designed to provide knowledge in Ignatian spirituality, generally, as well as specific practical skills for directing the complete Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius. Applicants must have a Masters or other advanced degree in theology or ministerial studies, psychology, counseling, psychiatric social work, or health care. Note: for applicants with advanced degrees in psychology, counseling, psychiatric social work or health care the psychology requirement typically is waived. Such applicants are required to take one course each in Bible and Theology, unless these courses already have been completed on the graduate level.

Click here for more information about the Ignatian Exercises Program/Certificate.