The Associate of Arts program provides a high quality, entry-level associate’s degree in liberal arts with an emphasis on the Catholic intellectual tradition.

Upon completion of this degree, students may apply their credits toward a bachelor’s degree at CDU or at one of our partner institutions, including the American Public University System (APUS), Shepherd University, Belmont Abbey College, Mount St. Mary’s University, and the University of St. Thomas in Houston.

Program Requirements

Program Time Limit: 4 years

Application Process:

  • Submit program application, $25 application fee, and two letters of recommendation from church, employer, teacher, or counselor.
  • Evidence of one of the following:
    -Official high school transcript* submitted from the school where the diploma was earned
    -GED Certificate issued from the state where it was earned
    -Official Homeschool Transcript* or Certificate as required by the state of issue along with graduation date (For homeschooled students from states that do not issue official state transcripts, CDU requires either a GED exam, SAT or ACT scores along with transcript)
    -Official College Transcript* that indicates HS graduation date or official college transcript along with a copy of high school diploma indicating the graduation date.
    -Foreign transcripts* that have been validated as a HS diploma equivalent
    *Those who submit official transcripts with credits earned in the last 5 years must have at least a 2.0 GPA from the most recent issuing accredited institution. If the GPA is below a 2.0 or the transcript is more than five years old, the student must successfully complete a course at CDU with a minimum grade of 2.0 before being accepted into the program and applying for federal financial aid. CDU reserves the right to deny admission to students with more than three transcripts from different institutions.

Transfer Credit:  Up to 30 General Education credits earned with a minimum grade of 2.0 from an institution(s) accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education may be transferred provided that these credits meet the requirements of the program.

A maximum combination of up to 15 credits from CLEP, Advanced Placement, DANTES and/or International Baccalaureate may be accepted. These credits count against the maximum total number of allowable transfer credits. For more information, see the Credit by Exam Policy.

Program Cost:*

    • Tuition: $915 x 11 courses = $10,065
    • Technology fee: $120/course x 11 courses = $1320
    • Proctor fee: $25/course x 11 courses = $275
    • Books: $100/course (est) x 11 courses = $1100
    • Total: $12,760, *This total does not include the 9 required General Education courses that may be fulfilled with transfer credit

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Program Goals

By the end of the CDU AA in Liberal Arts program, a student:

  • Exhibits an understanding of the central teachings in the Catechism of the Catholic Church in relation to the common good of human society, the dignity and transcendence of the human person, and principles of moral living.
  • Demonstrates a fundamental knowledge of the Old and New Testament Scriptures in light of Catholic teachings.
  • Exhibits a capacity to explain and apply the relationship between faith and reason through courses in both theology and philosophy.
  • Demonstrates an understanding, comprehension, and integration of the content of the general education and core courses within the context of the teachings of the Catholic Church.
  • Gives evidence through written work and online class discussion that students possess the fundamental reading, writing, and critical reflection skills required for lower baccalaureate academic work in liberal arts, particularly at CDU.
  • Exhibits an understanding of key concepts in Church history and their effect on human culture and civilization.

Course Lists

For descriptions of both required and elective courses, please consult the online course catalog.

Course Number Course Title Credits
CHIST 314 Church History I: Early Christians to the Middle Ages 3
CHIST 324 Church History II: Renaissance to Modern Church 3
ENG 105 Introduction to Composition for Theology 3
HUM 251 Ancient Civilization* 3
HUM 252 Christian Civilization* 3
HUM 253 A Global Civilization* 3
PHIL 235 Elements of the Philosophy of the Human Person 3
SCRPT 303 Survey of the Old Testament 3
SCRPT 306 Survey of the New Testament with the CCC 3
THEO 101 Catechism of the Catholic Church, Part I 3
THEO 102 Catechism of the Catholic Church, Part II 3
THEO 103 The Moral Life: Living the Virtues 3

*Students must complete their choice of two of the following  courses: HUM 251, HUM 252, and HUM 253. These replace the Western Civilization courses.

Transfer of Theology Credits: Maximum of six undergraduate theology credits can be transferred in. Transfer credit must have been earned no more than five years prior to transfer and grade must be at least a 3.0 and submitted via an official transcript to be evaluated for transfer. Acceptance of transfer credit is at the discretion of the academic dean who determines if transfer credits align with the CDU AA curriculum.

In addition to the 33 credits in the Catholic Studies Core, students are required to earn 27 credits in the following areas:

General Education Requirements
English Composition II/Literature 3 credits
Natural Sciences 3 credits
Mathematics/IT 3 credits
Foreign languages 3 credits
Social sciences 6 credits
History 3 credits
Humanities 3 credits
Electives 3 credits


The general education credits must be at the 100 level or higher and one must have received a grade of C or higher from an accredited institution. Experiential credit cannot be used in place of academic credit.

General Education requirements may also be fulfilled via the College Board’s Advanced Placement (AP) program and College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) and the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) Subject standardized Testing (DSST).

CDU offers the following courses to help students meet general education requirements:

For a description of each of these courses, please consult the online course catalog.

Course Number Course Title Credits
BIO 150 Nutrition 3
ECON 105 Elements of Economics 3
GREEK 101 Biblical Greek I* 3
GREEK 201 Biblical Greek II* 3
GREEK 301 Advanced Biblical Greek* 1
LATIN 101 Latin I (revised)* 3
LATIN 201 Latin II* 3
MATH 105 General Mathematics for Liberal Studies 3
PHIL 235 Elements of the Philosophy of the Human Person 3

*These language classes cannot be used for both foreign language general education requirements and AA program electives.


In a 2018 survey of CDU graduate students, 100% reported that they had achieved their learning goals.

CDU Offers:

  • Flexibility to study where and when you choose
  • Authentic Catholic teaching
  • Affordability
  • A global Catholic community
  • Knowledgeable and accessible faculty
  • Engaging online courses with discussion forums
  • Mobile app for study on the go
  • Online library staffed by a theological librarian
  • 24/7 technical support

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The AA program is nationally accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), which is recognized as a national accrediting agency by the U.S. Department of Education and is a recognized member of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. The university is certified as a degree-granting institution by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission.