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Admission Guidelines and Requirements

Thank you for your interest in applying to CTU. Academic programs at CTU are open to all qualified students who wish to prepare for ministry or desire to study theology for personal or professional growth.

We want your application to CTU to be as seamless and streamlined as possible. Therefore, please review the information below carefully. Applying to CTU involves: (1) reading through the general admissions information below and application requirements, (2) filling out and submitting the online application, and (3) having support materials sent to CTU (transcripts, reference letters, and personal statement). Shortcuts to student classifications (e.g., certificate-seeking students) and respective requirements can be accessed in the navigation panel to the left.

FAQ: How to apply to CTU [PDF download] 

Begin Online Application for Admission

*The online application for admission is for continuing education, certificate, and masters-level programs. Doctor of Ministry applicants should request an application here.

General Admission Guidelines

  • CTU operates on a rolling admissions basis and enrolls students four times a year: fall semester (September), J-term (January), spring semester (February), and during the Summer Institute (June). Students are encouraged to apply early so that there is adequate time for admissions processing, academic advising, financial aid counseling, etc.
  • Applicants for degree programs who have not completed their application by three weeks before the beginning of a term may be admitted to study in that term as a continuing education student. Continuing education students may take up to four courses for credit that can be later applied to a degree program. To transfer into a degree program, continuing education students must apply for change of status and complete the remaining portions of the application process by the fifth week of the term.
  • CTU admits part-time (1-3 credit hours), half-time (4-7 credit hours), and full-time (8+ credit hours) students.
  • As a graduate school of theology and ministry, CTU requires a bachelor’s degree for admission. Students may be admitted to CTU without a bachelor’s degree if they can demonstrate bachelor's equivalency. Those without a bachelor’s equivalent can petition CTU for special student status (please be advised that accreditation limits the number of special students we can admit).
  • Upon admission, students must provide proof of medical health insurance and be in compliance with immunization requirements of the State of Illinois.
  • CTU reserves the right to require a formal evaluation of applicants and a personal interview with admissions officials.
  • Applicants from participating men's religious communities are not required to submit three reference letters, but must provide one letter from their community affirming support for the applicant to pursue a program of study and coverage of all costs related to their education. If the community withdraws its sponsorship or if a student leaves the community, the student is required to present all reference letters, one of which must come from an official representative of the former community.
  • The application fee may be sent via check or money order by mail to the Director of Admissions.  For payment via credit card, please contact the Business Office at (773) 371-5407.
  • All other mailed materials (e.g., transcripts and reference letters) can be sent to:
 Director of Admissions
Catholic Theological Union
5401 South Cornell Avenue
Chicago, IL 60615
 

 

  • CTU prepares people for service in church and society. The good of the Church is the chief criterion for decisions concerning whether or not to accept, advance, and graduate any student in programs preparing people for professional ministry. Thus, CTU reserves the right to accept or reject any applicant, advance or dismiss any student, and recommend or refuse any student for graduation. All such decisions made by CTU are final.

Application Requirements

Continuing Education Applicants - For Audit
Application RequirementsPersonal Statement Questions
(1 page in total length)

Provide an essay (brief autobiography) in which you describe:

  1. Your faith journey.
  2. Why you wish to take continuing education classes at CTU.
  3. Any additional information you would like to share regarding your application.

     

 

Continuing Education Applicants - For Credit
Application RequirementsPersonal Statement Questions
(2-3 pages in total length)
  • Application for Admission
  • $50 Application Fee
  • Personal Statement
  • Transcript(s) which confer a bachelor's-level degree (or submission of BA equivalency documentation)
  • English proficiency
  • One (1) Reference Letter
    (reference letter instructions - PDF)

Provide an essay (brief autobiography) in which you describe:

  1. Your faith journey.
  2. Your understanding of and participation in:
    a) Pastoral ministry
    b) Church or faith community
    c) People of God
  3. Why you wish to take continuing education classes at CTU.
  4. Whether or not you foresee yourself pursuing a certificate and/or degree program at CTU in the future, and why.
  5. Any additional information you would like to share regarding your application.

     

 

Certificate Applicants
Application RequirementsPersonal Statement Questions
(4-5 pages in total length)
  • Application for Admission
  • $50 Application Fee
  • Personal Statement
  • Transcript(s) which confer a bachelor's-level degree (or submission of BA equivalency documentation)
  • Transcripts from all college and/or universities attended where academic credit was earned
  • English proficiency
  • Two (2) Reference Letters
    (reference letter instructions - PDF)

Provide an essay (brief autobiography) in which you describe:

Your preparation for theological and ministerial study:

  1. Your faith journey, including relationships and personal experiences that have influenced your beliefs.
  2. The ways you nourish yourself spiritually, psychologically, physically, etc. and attend to your overall well-being.

Your understanding of theologians and pastoral ministers:

  1. Your understanding of and participation in:
    a) Pastoral ministry
    b) Church or faith community
    c) People of God
  2. What you believe are the most important characteristics, attributes, or qualities of those wishing to provide religious or faith-based leadership.

Your hopes for education at Catholic Theological Union:

  1. Why you wish to pursue a certificate at CTU.
  2. How you see yourself using this education to be of service to others.
  3. Any additional information you would like to share regarding your application.

 

Master's Degree Applicants
Application RequirementsPersonal Statement Questions
(5-6 pages in total length)
  • Application for Admission
  • $50 Application Fee
  • Personal Statement
  • Transcript(s) which confer a bachelor's-level degree (or submission of BA equivalency documentation)
  • Transcripts from all college and/or universities attended where academic credit was earned
  • English proficiency
  • Three (3) Reference Letters (MA in Theology applicants must have at least one academic reference).
    (reference letter instructions - PDF)

Provide an essay (brief autobiography) in which you describe:

Your preparation for theological and ministerial study:

  1. Your faith journey, including relationships and personal experiences that have influenced your beliefs.
  2. The ways you nourish yourself spiritually, psychologically, physically, etc., and attend to your overall well-being.

Your understanding of theologians and pastoral ministers:

  1. Your understanding of and participation in:
    a) Pastoral ministry
    b) Church or faith community
    c) People of God
  2. What you believe are the most important characteristics, attributes, or qualities of those wishing to provide religious or faith-based leadership.

Your identity as a developing theologian/pastoral minister:

  1. A contemporary issue/s you see as being most important in today's ministerial and/or theological landscape and how you hope to contribute to dialogue around this topic/s.
  2. Your orientation toward and response to people with ideas, beliefs, traditions, and/or practices different from your own.

Your hopes for education at Catholic Theological Union:

  1. Why you wish to pursue a degree at CTU.
  2. How you see yourself using this education to be of service to others.
  3. Any additional information you would like to share regarding your application.