Diploma in Spirituality (Carmelite Studies)

  • Level 7 Special Purpose award accredited by St Patrick’s Pontifical University, Maynooth
  • Designed for students who wish to explore and deepen their knowledge of the Carmelite tradition
  • An opportunity for students to study the Spirituality associated with the Carmelite charism (and is not designed to provide training for spiritual direction)
  • Delivered fully online, on a part-time or full-time basis
  • Completed through a combination of six mandatory and six individually selected modules



Course Overview

The Diploma in Spirituality (Carmelite Studies), which is in keeping with the Roman Catholic ethos of the Carmelite tradition, offers students the opportunity to study the rich heritage of the Carmelite tradition at a formal academic level and to achieve a proficient level of competence in Carmelite History, Spirituality and Saints.

The range of topics studied provides a basis for candidates to engage knowledgeably in the ongoing dialogue between the Carmelite tradition and the contemporary world. Graduates of this course will be able to describe, present and engage with the principal elements of the Carmelite tradition.

The course also supports the development of important skills in academic research and practical writing at undergraduate level. Academic guidance is provided through individual assessment feedback, and instruction on the writing of academic essays.



To be awarded the Diploma in Spirituality (Carmelite Studies)  students study 12 modules (six mandatory modules plus six additional modules). Modules are drawn from two categories:

  • The history and traditions of Carmel
  • Carmel Saints and Blesseds, and their approach to prayer and Christian living

Mandatory modules:

H02: The Origins of the Carmelite Family S01: St Teresa of Avila
H03: Figures of Inspiration: Mary and Elijah S04: St Thérèse of Lisieux
H05: Carmelite Reform and Renewal in the 16th Century S05: St Titus Brandsma


Additional modules:

Students choose three modules from the History and Tradition section and three modules from the Saints and Blesseds section:

History and Tradition
H01: Carmel: Development of the Tradition H08: The Compiegne Martyrs: Died by Guillotine July 17th 1794
H04: The Carmelite Charism: Exploring the Biblical Roots H09: The History of Carmelite Devotion
H06: The Historical Founders of the Carmelites H10: Church History: Early to Medieval Period
H07: The History of Female Contemplative Life & Recent Developments H11: Church History: Protestant Reformation to Modern Period


Spirituality: Saints and Blesseds
S02: St John of the Cross: Carmelite, Mystic, Poet S10: St Thérèse of the Child Jesus as Revealed in Her Letters
S03: St Mary Magdalene de Pazzi S11: St Teresa of Avila, Doctor of Prayer
S06: St Elizabeth of the Trinity S12: St Elizabeth of the Trinity, Transformation and the Mystical Tradition
S07: St Edith Stein S13: The Impact of God: A reading guide to St John of the Cross
S08: St’s Louis and Zélie Martin S14: St Elizabeth of the Trinity Reader of St John of the Cross
S09: St Albert of Jerusalem S15: The Mystical Poetry of Jessica Powers (Sr Miriam of the Holy Spirit)



Each module is assessed through a mix of continuous assessment (ten questions after every four units) and a final essay (2,000-2,500 words). 

  • Each questionnaire is awarded 10% of the total marks (4 x 10 = 40%).
  • The essay is awarded 60% of the total mark.

(A module consists of 16 units. The content of one unit is equivalent to approximately that delivered in a 45-minute lecture. Students will need to dedicate twice this amount of time to private reading beyond the material provided in the module).



The course is delivered in the form of a phased release of reading material, facilitating a reflective approach to study and learning. The content is accessed online and support is available through the administration team in CIBI.

We have two thirteen week semesters each academic year and you can start the course in either semester:

  • Semester 1: September – December
  • Semester 2: January – April

Semester weeks graphic Sep 2023



The twelve modules of the course must be completed within ten years of registration.

A part-time student could complete the programme in 6 to 12 semesters (three to six years) depending on the number of modules they take per semester.

A full-time student could complete the programme in 4-5 semesters (2 to 2 ½ years).



On successful completion of the programme the graduate should be able to:

  • Exhibit a knowledge and understanding of the more significant topics, figures and sources relating to studies in the Carmelite tradition of spirituality
  • Identify, gather and analyse the historical material relating to the more significant elements of the Carmelite tradition of spirituality
  • Display the capacity to identify the more significant elements in the Carmelite tradition of spirituality and to knowledgably communicate those elements
  • Present a coherent and well-structured written presentation of the more significant elements of the Carmelite tradition of spirituality


Admission Criteria

The course is open to all adult students, both lay and religious, and to those of all faiths and none.

Former students of the Diploma in Carmelite Studies (accredited by the former Milltown Institute) may request exemptions from the equivalent modules in this course.



The Diploma in Spirituality (Carmelite Studies) is accredited by St Patrick’s Pontifical University, Maynooth, Ireland.



  • Initial one-off registration fee of €50 (non-refundable)
  • Module fee €120.00 per module

CIBI has a small bursary fund to support students who may financially struggle to access or stay in our accredited programmes. Details can be found here.




COURSE REGULATIONS 25th January 2019

Diploma in Spirituality (Carmelite Studies).

Accredited by St Patrick’s Pontifical University, Maynooth Ireland.

The Diploma in Spirituality (Carmelite Studies) is informed by the normative disciplines of Roman Catholic Theology and provides appropriate foundations for studies in Carmelite Studies.
This programme allows students who have already completed the Diploma in Carmelite Studies (accredited by the Milltown Institute) to continue their academic engagement in the field of Carmelite Studies. Additionally, it is designed to allow those who might not have a Diploma level qualification to acquire such a qualification, or those who have completed the Certificate in Spirituality (Carmelite Studies) to continue their studies.

The course makes the heritage of the Carmelite family available at Diploma level across the English-speaking world using a part-time, internet-based mode of engagement/delivery.

This course enables the Carmelite Family (which includes Friars, Nuns, Sisters and Lay Carmelites of various kinds) across the world to deepen their engagement with, and academic understanding of, the Carmelite charism and its associated history and tradition. 

Students explore, discover and study the essential elements of a theological approach to the Christian life, and to the living of the Carmelite charism in particular. It will familiarise students with the basic outlines of the history of Carmel, its Saints and Blesseds, its tradition and its approach to prayer and Christian living.

Having studied the material presented, having engaged with it and having presented their understanding for critical scrutiny and feedback, those who have successfully completed this course will be able to describe, present and, to some extent, critically engage with the principal elements of the Carmelite tradition.

Although students will not need to attend a particular campus and will normally continue with their previous commitments, the course will enable them to engage academically with the material in a manner that maintains the standards of practice typical of third level institutions.
Students will be required to engage seriously, with the history, tradition and spirituality of Carmel. Their studies will provide the background that will enable them to engage critically in the ongoing dialogue between the Carmelite tradition and the contemporary world and to participate in the formation or training of others interested in the field of Carmelite Studies.

Admission Criteria.

Applicants will normally have completed second-level education (equivalent to National University of Ireland Matriculation) but applicants 23 years of age or over on January 1st of the year of intended entry who do not fulfil the normal matriculation requirements may apply for matriculation on the basis of mature years.

Course Structure.

This course is delivered in the form of a phased delivery of reading material made available through the CIBI website ( All communication between the CIBI office and students is normally electronic and copies of all such communication are maintained in the CIBI office.

The Diploma in Spirituality (Carmelite Studies) is a part-time, undergraduate course.

To complete the Diploma course, students must normally complete assessment of the required number of taught modules, which are divided into two categories: (1) History and the Tradition and (2) Saints and Themes. The twelve modules of the course must be completed within ten years of registration unless special dispensation has been given, and students who do not complete the course within the time allowed will only be allowed to complete the course when the Academic Board has been satisfied that there were good reasons why the course was not completed in the time allowed.

The academic year for CIBI courses is measured in two semesters, each being a twelve-week period, the first running from September until December, and the second from January until April. Modules will be available during the semester periods only.

Each module takes twelve weeks to complete (a semester) and it is possible to take more than one module per semester. Each module is made up of sixteen units and each unit is the equivalent of a 45-minutes lecture. Students will need to dedicate about twice this amount of time to private reading beyond the materials provided.

The four questionnaires, and the individual feedback that students receive for each questionnaire, are regarded as being the equivalent of a further eight units.

The modules are all self-contained learning experiences that can theoretically be followed in any order. The part-time nature of the course means that, within the overall constraints (10 years for the course as a whole), students proceed at their own pace taking on each semester only as many modules as their circumstances permit. Normally, students will be expected to complete one or two modules each semester.


Each taught module is assessed by four, ten-question questionnaires and a final written assessment on an assigned topic of between 2,000 and 2,500 words. Both the answers to the questionnaires and the final written assessment are submitted by email and all correspondence is conducted via the Institute’s office in Dublin. In each module, each of the four questionnaires is awarded 10% of the overall marks, the other 60% being awarded for the final essay.

Each module is awarded 5 credits. The Diploma in Spirituality (Carmelite Studies) is a sixty (60) credit course, 5 credits being awarded for each of its twelve modules.

Exemptions may be granted for up to 25% of the taught modules if the candidate can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the CIBI Director of Studies that equivalent modules have been successfully completed elsewhere. Each exempted module will be awarded 5 credits.