CHARLES TOWN, WV —  A partnership between Catholic Distance University (CDU) and Our Sunday Visitor (OSV) has resulted in both the new CDU-OSV MA and the CDU-OSV Certificate Program in Theology for Directors of Religious Education (DREs) and Catholic school teachers. The announcement was made jointly by CDU and OSV.

The partnership is the latest development in a 25-year long collaboration between the pioneering online university and the country’s premier Catholic publisher of formational and informational materials.

“Both the MA and the Certificate are outstanding additions to the CDU curriculum,” said Marianne Evans Mount, PhD, president of the university. “The MA in Theology is designed for adults balancing family, work and Church responsibilities and the certificate provides an overview of basic Catholic theology, Scripture and Catholic social teaching — so vital for teachers and catechists today.”

Jerome B. Kearns, executive director of Our Sunday Visitor Institute, which funded the initiative, said,  “We anticipate that this degree and certificate will be of great assistance to Catholic dioceses, parishes and schools by providing solid educational and faith formation material that is easily accessible virtually anywhere in the country. OSV is honored to partner with CDU on these very important and inspiring programs.”

CDU-OSV MA in Theology

The MA option requires 36 credits, culminating with a program portfolio and reflection paper.  Created together with OSV, the program features a new course — Principles of Catholic Education — that will use OSV religious education materials for practical applications.  It also includes new courses on Social Teachings, Catholic Spirituality and Ecumenism, in addition to core theology courses.  No thesis is required and students are given five years to complete the program.

CDU-OSV Graduate Certificate

The 18 credit Graduate Certificate in Theology provides an overview of basic Catholic theology, Scripture and Catholic social teaching.  It was designed to support the ministry of teachers and catechists who teach in schools and parish religious education programs. It also is a pathway for those who are preparing to study Theology at the graduate level.  Students are allowed three years to complete and all credits are transferable to CDU’s MA degree program.

Dr. Mount added that the new programs are ideal for those who seek to teach, promote and defend the Catholic faith, noting that,  “Our goal is to fully equip DREs and teachers for their important ministry of faith formation in parishes and school.”

Fresh content is delivered on the widely used and accepted Canvas platform, which integrates all dimensions of online leaning.  Multimedia presentations, video and lectures benefit every type of learner. Faculty-guided weekly discussions provide an opportunity to interact with professors and other students.

Greg Erlandson, publisher of Our Sunday Visitor, which includes the popular Alive in Christ/Vivos en Cristo basal curriculum, said the addition of an online master’s and graduate certificate program is a real contribution by CDU to catechesis in this country.  Mr. Erlandson added, “OSV believes students enrolled in these programs will have the necessary coursework to provide sound religious formation for Catholic youth and adults.  In addition, these courses will help the educators, catechists and others in the program to grow in their own discipleship formation, strengthening their relationship with Christ and deepening their commitment to the Church.”

Mr. Erlandson noted that, “Our Sunday Visitor Institute is grateful for the wonderful work CDU is doing for the Church and for the university’s pioneering leadership in Catholic online education.”

About CDU

A pioneer in distance learning, CDU is the only Catholic University that operates totally online.  It was founded in 1983 as the first catechetical institute in the United States to award the Catechetical Diploma and teach the Catholic faith to adults using distance education. In its early days, CDU operated as a correspondence school.  Twenty years ago It became part of the web. Today CDU students are located in all 50 states and 68 countries.  Using distance education, CDU offers accredited degrees in Theology and the Liberal Arts, including graduate degrees and certificates.  The university also provides continuing education courses and certificates online and continues its active outreach to the incarcerated Church through correspondence courses.  Bishop Paul S. Loverde is chairman of CDU’s Board of Trustees and Marianne Evans Mount, PhD serves as president. For more information, visit

About OSV Institute

Our Sunday Visitor Institute was established to carry on the vision of Archbishop John F. Noll who founded Our Sunday Visitor for one purpose — to help form and inform Catholics and to help them see the world through the eyes of faith. The Institute seeks, supports and encourages innovative Church-related programs and activities which are in accord with the mission established by Archbishop Noll.  Jerome B. Kearns serves as executive director, Our Sunday Visitor Institute. For more information, visit