CDU is authorized to award the Catechetical Diploma, a valuable teaching credential in the Church. CDU was the first Catechetical Institute in the United States to award the Catechetical Diploma and teach the Faith to adults using distance education exclusively.

Responding to the commission Christ gave to his followers to make disciples of all nations, each person is called to share the Gospel message of God’s love. Through systematic study of the profession of Faith, liturgy, Sacred Scripture, moral teachings, and spirituality, students achieve this ecclesiastical teaching certificate and equip themselves to teach the Faith with authority and confidence. Courses in the diploma program award undergraduate credit.

Program Requirements

  • 36 Credits (33 Core Credits plus 3 Elective Credits)
  • Catechetical Project (Essay, Research Paper, or Lesson Plan)
  • Students are required to meet participation requirements in Theological Conversations, a Co-Curricular activity of CDU Student Life. Requirement includes a minimum of three specified posts in the Theological Conversations discussion forum. Specifications are available in the rubric linked to the discussion. This requirement can be met throughout the time a student is completing the program, but must be completed prior to graduation.
  • Comprehensive Exam
  • Minimum 2.0 GPA

Program Time Limit: 5 years

Application Process:

  • Submit program application, $25 application fee, and letter of recommendation.
  • Send official transcript from high school, GED, or most recent undergraduate institution attended.


  • Tuition: $915 x 12 courses = $10,980
  • Technology fee: $120/course x 12 courses = $1,440
  • Proctor fee: $25/course x 12 courses = $300
  • Books: $100/course (estimate) x 12 courses = $1,200
  • Total: $13,920

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Program Goals

Students who complete this program should be able to:

  • Synthesize the essential and fundamental content of Catholic Doctrine as described in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
  • Explain the Profession of Faith with increased understanding.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of Sacred Scripture by describing the essential theological concepts of Church teaching and worship derived from the Scriptures, and demonstrate how Jesus Christ is the center of Salvation History.
  • Describe the nature of the Church and the vocation of the laity in furthering the mission of Jesus Christ.
  • Identify with greater precision the foundations of Catholic morality and its applications in his or her life.
  • Describe the preparation, celebration, and effects of the Sacraments, and incorporate sacramental theology within the work of catechesis.
  • Integrate catechetical principles and methods for faithful catechesis particularly in directing religious education or evangelization programs.
  • Understand the proper relationship of Christian prayer, Sacred Scripture, and doctrinal truths to influence a Catholic approach to daily life.

Course Lists

For descriptions of both required and elective courses, please consult the online course catalog. All courses listed below are 8 weeks long unless otherwise noted.


Course Number Course Title Credits
RELED 433 The Art of Catechesis: Dynamic Renewal 12 weeks 3
SCRPT 103 Survey of the Old Testament 3
SCRPT 106 Survey of the New Testament 3
SCRPT 230 Introduction to Scripture and Salvation History 3
SPIR 301 Applied Catholic Spirituality 3
THEO 204 Foundations of Catholicism 3
THEO 213 God, Man, and the Universe 3
THEO 232 Jesus Christ: God, Man, and Savior 3
THEO 253 Sacraments: Masterworks of God 3
THEO 268 Principles of Moral Theology 3
THEO 343 Vatican II: The Church and Her Liturgy 3


In a 2019 survey of CDU graduate students, 100% reported that they had achieved their learning goals.

CDU Offers:

  • Authentic Catholic teaching
  • Flexibility to study where and when you choose
  • The lowest undergraduate tuition of any U.S.-based online university offering Catholic theology
  • 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 Catechetical Diploma 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.