Hamilton, Virginia, United States of America – May 22, 2014 – Catholic Distance University announced that it has added a Graduate Certificate in Church History to its online offerings. The certificate consists of 18 credits, 9 required and 9 elective, and provides a broad exposure to the sweep of church history. All credits from the certificate are transferrable to CDU’s Theology MA program should a student decide later that he or she would like to pursue a full degree. As with all of CDU’s programs, there is no residency requirement for the new certificate.

“In my experience, many Catholics know very little about the history of the Church,” said author and CDU professor Russell Shaw. He continued, “That’s a shame, because Church history has much to teach us – both by way of inspiration and by pointing out pitfalls we need to avoid. In that context, CDU’s graduate certificate is a great idea that can accomplish much good.”

Matthew Bunson is a prolific author and CDU professor who has taught courses on topics ranging from the Crusades to the Inquisition to American Church History. Asked why anyone should pursue a certificate when they could simply read history books, Bunson pointed out that CDU’s certificate “will offer rich and detailed academic expertise in a way that independent study could never duplicate, and the Certificate is a useful and meaningful addition to any c.v. More important, it will equip the graduate with heightened training in all of the diverse areas of Church History at a time when the lessons of the past need to be applied with prudence and clarity to the challenging cultural situations of the modern day.”

Describing the new program, CDU Graduate Dean Robert Royal said, “CDU has tremendous expertise in Church History, and we want to make that available to as many people as possible. My hope for this certificate is that it will offer those who desire to learn about the oldest institution in the world, or maybe more personally, desire to know their own spiritual patrimony, an avenue to do so via an academic program that results in a formal credential. Graduate certificates are perfect for those who are prepared to study theology at the graduate level, but want the flexibility to focus their studies on a particular area of interest.” Anyone with a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution may enroll in CDU’s graduate theology certificate programs.

Now in its 30th year, Catholic Distance University (CDU) is a private, non-profit online university headquartered in Hamilton, VA. Founded by the Arlington Diocese’s first bishop, Bishop Thomas Welsh, CDU specializes in distance education and is the only Catholic online university in the United States, providing education in the faith to people of all walks of life in 68 countries. Today, CDU offers accredited degrees in Theology and the Liberal Arts, including graduate degrees and certificates. CDU also provides continuing education courses and certificates and continues its active outreach to the incarcerated Church through correspondence courses. Upcoming three-week seminars include Introduction to Scripture with Dr. Peter Brown; the History of Vatican II with Dr. Matthew Bunson; and The Catholic School with Prof. Harry Plummer. Bishop Paul S. Loverde is Chairman of CDU’s Board of Trustees, and Marianne Evans Mount, PhD, is CDU’s President.