Over the past 20 years, more than 31 million students have enrolled in college and left without receiving a degree or certificate, according to the National Student Clearinghouse. To provide greater opportunity to those seeking to complete a Bachelor’s degree at a faithful Catholic college, Catholic Distance University has reduced the number of credits required to enter its fully online BA in Theology degree completion program from 48 to just 18. To allow students more time to earn their credits, the time limit for completing the program has been extended from 4 to 6 years.
High Retention and Completion Rates
CDU’s BA in Theology degree completion program is known for its high retention rate, which for the 2019–2020 terms is 86.8%. CDU’s retention rates are far above the norm for online universities, many of which struggle to retain students. According to U.S. News and World Report, the average retention rate among first-time, full-time students at online colleges is 55 percent and the average retention rate among first-time, part-time students is just 39 percent. By choosing CDU, students have a very high expectation of successfully completing the BA program.
“[Coming to CDU] was a great decision,” says Adam Beerling, who earned a BA degree in Theology and then went on to complete an MA degree in Theology at CDU. “I had all of these college credits and no degree, and the BA in Theology was the answer I was searching for. And for the first time in my life, my education was now something I could be passionate about.”
Program Prepares Students for Wide Range of Careers
The BA in Theology degree completion curriculum helps to develop critical thinking skills that employers value highly. Humanistic skills, such as emotional intelligence, ethics, and communication, are also developed through the program. Such skills are applicable to a wide range of careers and are highly regarded in today’s workplace.
According to a 2019 report by The College Board, Individuals with bachelor’s degrees will earn $400,000 more in their lifetimes than those with just a high school diploma. College-educated workers are more likely to work for employers that offer health insurance, retirement plans, and other benefits as well.
Greater Access to Higher Education for Working Adults
CDU is committed to providing greater access to higher education through its affordable, flexible fully online programs that were designed around the needs of working adults. The university, which was founded in 1983, is featured in the Cardinal Newman Society College Guide, which was designed to help Catholic families learn about faithful Catholic colleges and navigate the college search process.
With a student population that tends to be older than the traditional college student population, many CDU students have work, family, and volunteer responsibilities that make attending a campus-based program with fixed class times inconvenient or impossible. CDU’s Bachelor’s degree completion program allows them the flexibility to earn credits at a faster or slower pace according to their needs through classes that are asynchronous.
CDU Is Transfer-Credit Friendly and Offers Flexibility
CDU will accept up to 81 transfer credits toward the BA degree, and previous theology credits are not required. Students may have earned their credits at college or through the Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, DANTES, or CLEP programs. Up to 30 such credits can be applied to the BA degree completion program.
Students who wish to enter the degree completion program but have fewer than 18 credits can enroll in undergraduate courses at CDU prior to program acceptance to earn the required credits. The university also offers an AA degree program in Liberal Arts with a Concentration in Catholic Studies, and credits earned in that program can be applied to the BA degree program.
Five academic terms are offered throughout the year, and most classes are just 8 weeks long, making it possible to earn the BA degree in four years from a faithful Catholic university that is committed to transmitting the true teachings of the Catholic Church.
Online Campus Fosters Community and Student Success
CDU’s robust Catholic community is fostered through a vibrant Student Life Center that is the online equivalent of a campus-based student union. In the SLC, students have access to a faculty advisor, a student life director who is a graduate of the MA in Theology degree program, and a student life coordinator who is a graduate of the AA degree program. Students engage in conversation with other students and the staff in the café and in a theological conversation area and pray together and enjoy fellowship in the chapel. In the SLC, they can also ask questions of a faculty advisor and access resources that promote student success.