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 in theology at CDU or at one of our partner institutions, including Belmont Abbey College and Mount St. Mary’s University.

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.
  • Send official transcript(s) from high school, GED, or undergraduate institutions attended.

Applicants must have one of the following: GPA of at least 2.0 from the most recent school attended, acceptable SAT/ACT score, or completion of three credits at CDU with a minimum grade of 2.0.

Transfer Credit: CDU will accept up to 30 General Education credits earned with a minimum grade of 2.0 from other accredited colleges and universities provided that these credits meet the requirements of the program. 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.

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Program Goals

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

  • 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.
  • Exhibits an understanding of the dignity and transcendence of the human person, principles of moral living, Church history, and the central teachings in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
  • 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.
  • Gives evidence, through written work and online class discussion, that the student possesses the fundamental reading, writing, and critical reflection skills required for academic work in liberal arts, particularly at CDU.
  • Exhibits an understanding of key elements of the family as a foundation for culture, social structures, and broader civilization.
  • Demonstrates an ability to bring the teachings of the Church into wider culture to promote the common good and build a society that recognizes the dignity of the human person.

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 417 Advanced Biblical Greek Lab* 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 2016 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.