Program Overview

  • Provides the education that parishes, priests, deacons, and lay leaders need to put CST into practice in ministries of charity that have the power to transform lives and engage parishioners in doing God’s work through corporal and spiritual works of mercy.

Program Goals

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the sources of CST
  • Identify and explain the principles of CST as developed in key magisterial documents
  • Integrate the principles of CST in discussion and analysis of contemporary social issues
  • Apply knowledge of CST to identify and respond to the ministerial needs of specific constituencies

Program Requirements

  • 9 Credits

Program Time Limit: 3 years

Application Process

  • Complete the free online application for admission.
  • Have an official transcript from the accredited institution where you completed your undergraduate degree sent to
  • Have someone who is familiar with your academic or professional work submit a letter of recommendation to
  • Submit a brief statement of purpose (250 words or less) to on why you are pursuing online graduate study in theology.

Credits earned are transferable to the MA degree programs as students may decide later to pursue a full degree.

Program Costs

Tuition and Fee details can be found here.

For more information on aid visit our Financial Aid Office.

Course Preview

Fill out the form to begin the application process if you plan to earn an undergraduate or graduate degree or certificate.

Graduate Application

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Course Lists

Students will earn a total of nine credits from the following selection of courses:

Course Number Course Title Credits
CST 500 Foundations of Catholic Social Thought 3
CST 510 Social Doctrine of the Church, 1891-1965 3
CST 520 Catholic Social Teaching: John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis 3
CST 550 Rome Summer Institute (Under development) 3
CST 560 Practicum (Under development) 3


A series of 1-credit, 4-week “pop-up” courses will offer an integrated approach to timely social and political issues such as the death penalty, immigration, human trafficking, gender identity, incarceration, the death penalty, the environment, marriage and family, business, and the common good. Credits from these courses can be applied toward the certificate.


In a 2022 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

Get started today!

The certificate program is offered through the Graduate School of Theology, which is accredited by the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools. The CDU Graduate School of Theology aims to provide a transformative learning experience in the digital space and to develop leaders for the new evangelization in the 21st century.