Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology

The Great Spiritual Books Certificate Online Program focuses on great spiritual literature from various Christian traditions (Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant). It introduces the literary foundations of Christian spirituality and Christian themes in great literature. By engaging students from a wide array of professional and life experience, religious and lay, it seeks to explore and clarify specific ways in which Christian literature can help people build friendships, stir up their zeal for spiritual adventure, invigorate their professional lives and ministries, and heal their relationships. 

The Program offers a graduate online 21 Credit (7 Course) Certificate Program, running 16 months. 

The first course introduces the themes of the spiritual journey in Christian literature.  The next two courses explore these themes in the Old and New Testaments.  The fourth course introduces the foundational rules and spiritual exercises of Christian spirituality. The fifth course explores love and ways of nurturing Christian forms of eros, courtship, marriage, friendship, family affection and charity. The sixth course focuses on great Christian leaders, artists, musicians, film-directors, politicians and other professionals and their grounding in Christian spirituality. The seventh Capstone course compares the counsels of Christian spirituality and popular self-help literature to clarify the spiritually-therapeutic and professionally-effective value of the Certificate.

The Great Spiritual Books Certificate program curriculum prepares students to apply the gems of Christian spirituality to various forms of ministry, consecrated religious, family and professional life.

Admission Requirements
Applicants are required to submit the following for admission consideration and placement in the Online Graduate Certificate in Great Spiritual Books Program:

  1. Official transcript(s) showing successful completion of a baccalaureate degree and any other post graduate degrees from an accredited college or university.
  2. The completed GSB application for non-matriculation along with a $50 nonrefundable check made payable to Seton Hall University.
  3. Two letters of recommendation (required) from professional sources which may include  your pastor, ecclesiastical superior, professor, ministry associate, supervisor, or manager.
  4. An originally written 500-word essay that briefly explains your purpose for studying for a certificate in Great Spiritual Books and the objectives you hope to achieve.
  5. An interview with the Associate Dean of the School of Theology which may be conducted via telephone for those who live outside the immediate area.

It is receipt of your completed online application that allows the University to reserve space in our next learning team and until we can obtain all required documents for review by our GSB Admissions Committee. Completed online applications are generally processed for admissions consideration within two to three weeks.

To apply for admission, click on the link at the top of the page or call 1-888-SETON-WW (1-888-738-6699) for more information.

Documents should be sent to:

Great Spiritual Books Admissions Committee
Seton Hall University
Presidents Hall Room 328
400 South Orange Avenue
South Orange, New Jersey 07079

For assistance with your application, e-mail Dr. James Howard, Ph.D., or call (973) 275-2559.

Tuition is $$875.00 U.S. per credit hour for the online Certificate in Great Spiritual Books program.

Ordained clergy and students who work for the Church are eligible for a 50% tuition discount.

Students accepted into this program may elect to enroll for a single scheduled course within an assigned learning team or pursue to the entire program course requirements as a learning team participant, taking courses in the same sequence as the team.

The tuition does not include the admissions application fee, your personal travel expenses, books, computer equipment, software, and Internet access.

Upon acceptance of your application, you will be required to make a nonrefundable $100 deposit which will be applied to your full tuition.

As a "non-matriculating" academic program, the certificate program does not qualify for federal student loans.

Tuition Reimbursement
Applicants may qualify for full or partial tuition employer reimbursement. Check with your employer for more information. Tuition reimbursement is typically processed at the end of a semester.  If you are offered reimbursement, you will still be responsible for initial payments on your tuition. We recommend that you use loans to pay on time.


Required Courses
PTHO 6135VU Spiritual Journey in Christian Fiction introduces the themes of the spiritual journey in folklore, myth and Christian fiction.

BIBL 6529VU/PTHO 6396VU  Spirituality of the Old Testament examines the spiritual journeys of biblical figures such as Abraham, Jacob and Moses and explores how they model Old Testament Spirituality.

BIBL 6501VU  Synoptic Gospels or
BIBL 6506VU Introduction to Johannine and Pauline Literature (taught in alternate years) introduces the student to an appreciation of various historical, literary and theological aspects of the Gospels and Paul’s Letters, and the ways that they invite the reader to become a disciple of Christ and participate in his Paschal Mystery.

PTHO 6264VU/HSTD 6264VU  Rules for a Holy Life: Introduction to Christian Spirituality explores rules foundational to Eastern and Western spiritualities, the traditions they represent, and how they can be used to guide spiritual discernment and decision-making in religious, personal, family and professional life.

PTHO 6134VU/CETH 6134VU Four Loves and Family Life explores the spiritual nature of love in its manifold forms so as to  inflame and sustain the student's aptitude for courtship, family affection, friendship and charity.

STHO 6232VU/PTHO 6232VU Great Spiritual Biographies explores the biographies and works of great Christian leaders, artists, musicians, film directors, politicians and other professionals and their Christian grounding.

PTHO 6233VU Capstone: Great Spiritual Books and Modern Self-Help Literature summarizes the spiritually therapeutic lessons of previous coursework by comparing the counsels of great spiritual books studies in the Certificate (scriptures, mystical writings, theological reflections, religious novels, encyclicals) with those of popular self-help literature.

These course credits may also be applied toward a Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry and most toward a Master of Arts in Theology.

Residency Requirement
Students accepted into the Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology/SetonWorldWide Online Graduate Certificate Program in Great Spiritual Books are required to attend an orientation weekend residency held at the University’s main campus in South Orange, New Jersey.

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