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Catechetical Studies for the New Evangelization.

Founded in 1969 by Msgr. Eugene Kevane as the Notre Dame Apostolic Catechetical Institute, today the Notre Dame Graduate School of Christendom College continues its mission to restore all things in Christ by working for the renewal of the Catholic mind. Several options are available for those who seek to understand and pass along the Faith.

Master of Arts in Theological Studies


The Christendom Graduate School offers the Master of Arts in Theological Studies degree.  To earn the MA, a student must successfully complete forty-two (42) credits, including core required courses and special required courses for his or her concentration. 

For those interested in catechetical formation, the concentration in Evangelization and Catechesis is recommended.  

Courses for the MA program may be taken on campus or online, or through a combination of both formats.

After completing degree requirements, students must travel to campus to pass a Comprehensive Exam, including both written and oral portions.

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  • PHIL 602: Philosophy of God and Man
  • PHIL 603: Philosophical Errors
  • SCRI 606: Old Testament
  • SCRI 607: New Testament
  • THEO 601: God the Father
  • THEO 602: Christology
  • THEO 603: Holy Spirit and Ecclesiology
  • THEO 604: Moral Theology


  • EDUC 602: The Catechetical Tradition
  • EDUC 604: Methods of Catechesis & Evangelization
  • THEO 605: Liturgy & Sacraments
  • THEO 606: Apologetics

Two 3-credit elective courses may be completed for the remaining 6 credits, or, students may submit a thesis.

A full list of course requirements, including those for other areas of concentration, may be found in the Required Courses for the MA Guide.

Delivery Methods

Each semester, a number of courses that have already been recorded will be open in the school’s online learning management system, Populi. 

While certain assignments will have deadlines, students generally have the duration of the semester to get through the course content, which is organized into weekly modules.  Faculty members monitor the classes to grade work and to answer questions.

Each Fall and Spring semester, there are in-person classes hosted at the Graduate School’s campus.  Classes are held on weeknights from either 5:00 – 7:00 pm ET, or, 7:30 – 9:30 pm ET. Each of the courses is also live-streamed, which allows students who do not live locally to attend, ask questions, and interact with their classmates. While live participation is preferred, recordings of the classes are processed and made available for those who were not able to be in attendance at the time of the lecture.

During the Summer semester, in-person classes are condensed into six week intensive courses. These courses are held at Christendom College’s campus in Front Royal, Virginia. They are typically not live-streamed or recorded. Students can reside on Christendom’s beautiful campus during these six week courses.

The Graduate School observes a cycle for when courses will be made available.  It is recommended that the student coordinate with the Graduate School to plot out a tentative schedule for the completion of their degree. 

Length of Courses

The Christendom Graduate School offers optimal flexibility for students, many of whom have families, full-times jobs, and other responsibilities.  Therefore, students can take as many or as few classes as needed in any given semester, and there is no strict deadline for how quickly one must earn his or her degree.

Those who take on a full-time academic load for the whole duration of their study should be able to complete the degree in approximately five semesters. A full-time status is considered 9 or more credits in the Fall and Spring, and 6 or more credits during the Summer.


The cost of tuition for the academic year of 2023-2024 is $478 per credit. Students are also charged a $100 registration fee each semester, plus a $100 technology fee for each online class.  Please consult our Financial Information page for full details.

Application Information

Deadline to Apply
Christendom Graduate School has rolling admissions, allowing students to start classes in the Fall, Spring, or Summer semesters. Applications are accepted year-round, but it is recommended that you submit your application at least one month before the first day of the semester in which you intend to start classes.

Required Items
To apply for the MA in Theological Studies or the Apostolic Catechetical Diploma, applicants will need to submit:

  • A completed MA application form, which can be found on our website.
  • Application fee of $65.
  • Official copies of transcripts from undergraduate and any post-graduate studies.*
  • Two letters of recommendation: preferably one from a pastor or spiritual director who knows you, and another from a former professor attesting to your qualifications and ability to pursue graduate studies, or from a supervisor with whom you have worked.

*Depending on the institution, transcript request portals may already have Christendom College as a preset option for delivery.  Please note that selecting this option usually results in transcripts being sent to our undergraduate admissions office, which may delay your transcript being received by the graduate school’s admissions committee. Please ensure that transcripts are sent either by mail to 4407 Sano Street, Alexandria, VA 22312, or, electronically to the following email address: 

Apostolic Catechetical Diploma


The Christendom Graduate School is authorized by the Holy See to grant the Advanced and Basic Apostolic Catechetical Diplomas (AACD/BACD). The diploma is awarded in recognition of the catechist’s competence in the field of catechesis and his or her personal commitment to teach Catholic doctrine in communion with the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. 

Both the Advanced and Basic Diplomas require students to successfully complete forty-two (42) credits.  The course requirements are the same as those required for the MA with a concentration in Evangelization and Catechesis, so the two are often earned concurrently.  Comprehensive Exams are not required for the completion of the Diploma.  The Basic Diploma is available for those who have not previously completed a bachelor’s degree.

Please expand the description of the MA above for more information on costs, delivery methods, and application details.  These are the same for the diplomas as they are for the MA in Theological Studies.

Master Catechist Certification


Catechists from the Diocese of Arlington can earn Master Catechist Certification by taking an advanced two-year sequence of courses from the Christendom Graduate School. The Diocese of Arlington officially recognizes those who successfully complete these courses as Master Catechists. Please note that this is a diocesan certification, not a civil degree

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  • First Spring Semester: MCC 501/ The Profession of Faith
  • First Summer Semester (online): MCC 505: The Bible
  • First Fall Semester: MCC 502/The Celebration of the Christian Mystery
  • Second Spring Semester: MCC 503/ Life in Christ
  • Second Summer Semester (online):  Elective MCC 506/ Fathers of the Church OR Elective MCC 507/Apologetics (students may also choose to take both of these electives, but the diocese will only financially subsidize one)
  • Second Fall Semester: MCC 504/Christian Prayer

Finally, those students who are DREs in the Diocese of Arlington must also take an online course on Policies, Norms, and Best Practices. This course, while required for DREs, is also open to all other Master Catechist students.

Course Delivery Method

  • Each course will consist of 8 sessions, each lasting 2 ½ hours (20 hours total). Classes meet at 9:00 am on scheduled Saturdays.
  • You may participate in the class lectures through any combination of the following modes: (i) attending class personally at the Graduate School, (ii) joining class through live-streaming, or (iii) watching the recordings at your own pace.
  • In each of the Fall and Spring semesters, students are required to attend an in-person Teaching Day at our campus in Front Royal, VA. On this day, students will be required to make presentations and also to watch and engage with the presentations put on by other groups.


In order to make this certification an affordable option for catechists, the Diocese of Arlington generously calls on its parishes to subsidize the cost of the Master Catechist courses. Thus, the student is only responsible for paying $100 for each course. This means that the student’s total cost for the entire two-year certification process is only $600. If this cost presents a true financial burden, students may reach out to the Office of Faith Formation or to their individual parish to request additional assistance.

Opportunity for Advancing Studies

Students may take these courses for graduate academic credit (which will require additional work). Any credits earned from Master Catechist courses can be applied towards the pursuit of a Master of Arts degree in Theological Studies. An explanation of how the Master Catechist courses correspond to the MA curriculum can be found here.

Application Information

The next Master Catechist cohort will start in January 2025. Students interested in applying for Master Catechist Certification should complete the application form and send it to the Special Consultant for Catechetics, Colette Lienhard at the Office of Faith Formation (703-785-2319) or email:

Certificate in Evangelization and Catechesis

For those students who are not interested in a master’s degree, but who still desire an organized course of studies, the Graduate School offers a 15-credit certificate in Evangelization and Catechesis. Even students without a bachelor’s degree can earn a certificate, although graduate credit for the courses can only be granted to those who have submitted proof of a bachelor’s degree.

Credit earned in the certificate course may be applied to the MA at a later time should the student decide to advance his or her studies.

Delivery Method and Cost

All courses required for the certificate are graduate-level classes which overlap with the courses taken by students pursuing the MA. Thus, tuition and fees are charged at the same rate as the MA courses, and all of the same delivery methods are available. Please expand the description of the MA above to see current tuition rates and to read more about the options for online and in-person course delivery.


Application Information

To apply for a certificate, prospective students should fill out this application form. All applicants who plan to take courses for graduate credit must also submit an official undergraduate transcript. If you wish to pursue a certificate without taking the courses for credit, please consult with our Admissions Officer, Mary Castano, by emailing her at

Required Courses

EDUC 602: The Catechetical Tradition
EDUC 604: Methods of Catechesis and Evangelization
THEO 605: Liturgy and Sacraments
THEO 606: Apologetics
SCRI 606: Old Testament*
* Another scripture course may be substituted by special permission.

Casual Studies

If you don’t want to pursue a degree or certificate, you can still sign up for any course we offer.

Casual, non-degree-seeking students may either audit or take courses for graduate credit. Auditing a class is less expensive, and auditors receive the same lesson content as those seeking credit. However, because auditors do not complete any graded work, no credit will be applied to their transcripts, and they will not receive a final grade. Casual students who earn graduate credits can later apply those credits toward a degree or certificate.

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