Institute for Spiritual Formation


Before You Apply...

Talbot School of Theology has a history of strong evangelical Christian commitment and holds firmly to the inerrancy of the Bible. We require that an accepted applicant be an evangelical believer in agreement with our doctrinal statement. Applicants to the Spiritual Formation graduate program must submit the full Talbot Application in addition to three supplemental ISF essays and an additional full page written letter of reference. See below for more details.


Special Entrance Requirements/Application Considerations

Participation in the graduate programs in spiritual formation presumes a certain degree of ministry or life experience and personal maturity. This is particularly true of the M.A. in Spiritual Formation and Soul Care, which is not only an academic degree, but involves applied ministry where life experience and relational skills involved in spiritual direction are crucial. It is also our aim to keep the faculty-student ratio lower than in typical seminary programs. Thus, application consideration will be based on weighing the following factors:

  • Ministry and life experience
  • Personal preparedness for a growth journey
  • Perception of calling and giftedness for ministry in spiritual formation and soul care


Application Deadlines

All items must be received by the Office of Graduate Admissions no later than the following dates for consideration:

  • Fall: April 1
  • Spring: October 15

Note: Students are encouraged to apply for the fall term given the intensive and sequential nature of the program, courses, and practica experiences. Spring applicants will be considered but limited to taking Bible and Theology courses for the first term.


Processing of Applicants

Your application will be carefully studied. If considered potentially acceptable, we will schedule a time for an interview in person or possibly by phone. Your application will then be reviewed and ranked by our application committee. You will be notified of acceptance, waiting-list status, or non-acceptance no later than May 30 for fall, or Nov. 30 for spring.



There are three essays required for an application to the Institute for Spiritual Formation, in addition to those required in the Talbot application. These essays should be submitted electronically by uploading them through your account at  as supplemental items.

  • General Essay - at least 1000 words addressing (a) your understanding of spiritual formation and soul care and (b) why you wish to pursue graduate studies. Include in your essay potential ministerial goals, personal interests, etc.
  • Personal Essay - briefly express how you envision this program practically affecting your personal life while you attend (time commitments, family, job and financial needs, etc.).
  • Personal Biography - at least 1000 words, particularly focusing on the significant spiritual developments in your life and how they have shaped you, and where you are now in your spiritual development.



  • Submit three reference forms as specified in the Talbot application. Electronic reference forms can be distributed to each recommendor through your account at by clicking on Submit Supplemental Items. 
  • One of the above references must submit an additional full-page letter of reference discussing why you would be a good fit for the Institute for Spiritual Formation program. References using the online reference form should attach their written letter of reference electronically to the online form for submission.


Change of Program Request

Current Talbot Students

It is not necessary to fill out the Talbot application form, but all Institute supplemental application materials listed must be completed. Please complete the ISF Change of Program Application  and attach the three ISF essays. In addition, a full-page reference letter should be sent via email to

For materials and further information, contact the Graduate Admissions Office: 1-888-985-9858 or


Biola University
13800 Biola Ave. La Mirada, CA 90639