Tuesday, May 24, 2016

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Quick Facts

Students: 111 
Location: Online
Founded: 1983
Majors: 2
Med. SAT: n/a
% Catholic: 100%
Med. H.S. GPA: n/a
How Much? $915 per course
Most up-to-date information from the University


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Phone: 888-254-4238 ext. 700  Address: 120 East Colonial Hwy., Hamilton, VA 20158
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President's Letter
Dear Parents and Prospective Students:

On behalf of the worldwide Catholic Distance University family, I am delighted to welcome you. CDU has been a part of the web since 1995. Our latest website will guide you effortlessly to the many new and exciting ways to encounter the living word of God through CDU’s online education that faithfully transmits the teachings of Christ and the Church. Our inspiring programs bring a Catholic education directly to you, the learner, in the comfort of your own home or while you are traveling or working — a goal we have fulfilled since 1983. CDU is truly a learner-centered Catholic institution that makes life-long learning not only a goal, but a reality for thousands of adults in all parts of the world who today are earning accredited degrees, certificates, and diplomas, as well as taking courses and seminars while managing busy careers and family obligations.

You will find the rich patrimony of the Catholic Church — Sacred Scripture, official Church documents, the wisdom of the saints and Doctors of the Church, at your finger tips. Our outstanding faculty and friendly staff will guide you every step of the way. CDU’s rich and expansive curriculum of courses, seminars, programs, and certificates are designed to meet every educational interest and level. Our courses are annotated to the Catechism of the Catholic Church and feature many of the recent papal documents and the documents of the Second Vatican Council.

CDU has been a pioneer in teaching theology online. We offered the first accredited Master of Arts Degree in Theology with no residency requirement. CDU specializes in fostering a collaborative learning environment through our unique online campus and vibrant global learning community. At CDU you will meet students from other states, other countries, and other continents, pursuing the same educational and spiritual aspirations as you. You will experience firsthand the universality of the Church through our global learning community.

With many years of experience in helping online students succeed, we provide a seminar in Academic Skills. You will graduate with a highly respected degree or diploma in Theology or simply gain knowledge that will enhance your spiritual life and your loving service to others.

Daily in the online campus our students pray for one another in our online chapel, catch up with each other in the online café, and share their family milestones through the online photo gallery. Our online campus, easy-to-navigate learning platform, and carefully chosen faculty encourage an engaging, dialogic approach to learning that is modeled on the conversational pedagogy of Jesus Christ in the Gospels. From our three-week online interactive seminars to our term-length graduate courses, we emphasize the importance of faculty-guided dialogue and interaction as the best way for adults to learn.

The goal of our website is to draw you in to the rich life of CDU and invite you to become a part of our learning community. The knowledge you gain at CDU will transform your life and enable you to share the “Good News” of Jesus Christ and his Church with joy and conviction. We look forward to meeting you online very soon!

Marianne Evans Mount, Ph.D.



Catholic Distance University offers an associate's degree in the Liberal Arts with a concentration in Catholic studies and an undergraduate degree completion program exclusively through online study.

The first president and chairman of the board was the late Bishop Thomas Welsh, then of the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia, who later served as Bishop of the Diocese of Allentown, Pennsylvania.

Originally begun as the Catholic Home Study Institute, the name was changed in 1996 to Catholic Distance University (CDU) to reflect its status as a degree-granting institution. Dr. Marianne Evans Mount, the president, has been with the University in several capacities since its inception.

Although CDU’s headquarters is located in Charles Town, West Virginia, its student body is widely scattered. Every state as well as more than 60 foreign countries have been represented over the past 30 years.

Students are able to pursue certificate and degree programs at the noncredit, undergraduate and graduate level and a Vatican-approved Catechetical Diploma at the undergraduate level. But what most interests us, is Graduationthat students interested in receiving a bachelor’s degree in theology can take their final 38 credits at a high-quality, time-flexible institution after completing their general coursework elsewhere. This offers flexibility and cost savings to students who take advantage of a liberal arts core curriculum at another college—preferably one of the solid Catholic institutions in The Newman Guide—then complete a theology degree from home. Also, CDU recently introduced a new associate's degree program in the Liberal Arts with a concentration in Catholic studies designed to provide a way for students to earn the AA degree first and then move into the bachelor completion program, all at CDU.

The B.A. completion program began in 2004. The first degree was awarded in 2006 and, as of mid-2015, CDU has awarded 84 undergraduate degrees and the graduate program enrollment was 115.

Students are mostly older adults returning to college, but not exclusively. The vast majority, not surprisingly, are Catholics, but there are a few non-Catholics as well. Students come to CDU as a way to increase their knowledge of the Catholic faith, as well as to bring this knowledge to their families and into their professional lives. Some students hope for positions in Catholic schools or other religious education programs.

CDU is governed by a 18-member board of trustees, four of whom are either bishops or priests. The chairman of the board is Bishop Paul Loverde of the Diocese of Arlington. Other board members include Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Archdiocese for Military Services and retired Auxiliary Bishop John Dougherty of the Diocese of Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Dr. Mount, who helped establish CDU, served as the executive vice president for 12 years before she was named president in 2008. She earned a graduate degree in religious education from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas and a doctorate in adult learning and distance education from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

The academic dean, Dr. Peter Brown, is a scripture and theology scholar and author.

In addition to being faithful and flexible, especially for students who have work or family responsibilities, Catholic Distance University is a bargain. The undergraduate tuition for 2015-2016 is $915 per course.


The bachelor of arts completion program in theology accepts students either provisionally or fully, depending on previous credits earned. Students need 80 credits from an accredited college to be fully admitted to the program. Forty credits, all in theology, must be taken at CDU; ten of these credits can be electives.

All courses are taught in conformity with Church teachings. According to Dr. Mount, “All theology professors are reviewed and approved by a board-level Academic Committee. The mandatum may be obtained in a home diocese or from where a faculty member is working.”

CDU has always been a distance institution. From 1983 until 2000, it used a paper correspondence format. Increasingly, it has gone online and describes itself as “an online learning community that is global.” In 2015, CDU moved its online learning to the popular multimedia Canvas platform.

One component of the program includes two half-credit courses “Undergraduate Writing Skills” and “Undergraduate Research Skills,“ designed to help students develop tools needed for successful online college work such as study skills and time management.

The Associate of Arts in the Liberal Arts program, with a concentration in Catholic studies, emphasizes study of the Catholic intellectual tradition. Upon completion of this degree, students have the option of transferring to another Catholic college or earning a bachelor’s degree in theology at CDU. In addition to maintaining an online library that is staffed by a librarian, CDU also has arranged for students to have library privileges with Woodstock Theological Center Library, a 190,000-volume library housed on the Georgetown University campus in Washington, D.C.

One special academic outreach is to prisoners. Since its beginning, CDU has provided very low-cost correspondence courses to incarcerated Catholics whose names have been put forward by their chaplains.

Spiritual Life

Deacon James Pearce manages CDU’s Online Chapel, where he is available to students and where students can post prayer intentions. He also posts Homily Thoughts on CDU’s Blog each week.

The Bottom Line

The delivery of education is rapidly changing, and online instruction is a growing and viable alternative to traditional education. Catholic Distance University has been at the forefront of providing quality, faithful Catholic teaching to students seeking flexibility.

The undergraduate completion program, which offers a degree in theology, can be an attractive and low-cost option to students who have completed or are contemplating completing basic, non-major courses elsewhere. Whether for work, location, family or other reasons, more students are likely to view Catholic Distance University as a unique opportunity to receive an education which will enhance an understanding of their Catholic Faith.
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