The Catholic University of America

Catholic Education Leadership and Policy Studies (CELPS) - Graduate


The graduate program in Catholic Educational Leadership and Policy Studies offered through the Department of Education at The Catholic University of America is designed to respond to the nationwide need to prepare future Catholic educational leaders.  The program focuses on the academic, professional and spiritual development to prepare for service in leadership positions as diocesan superintendents, vicars for education, central office personnel and principals.  The program, which offers the Master of Arts, the Advanced Graduate Certificate, or the Doctor of Philosophy, includes coursework and related activities that integrate the academic, professional and ecclesiastical perspectives that CUA can uniquely provide.  The Catholic Educational Leadership program does not lead to state licensure.

Summer Program

Designed to meet the academic needs of full-time professional educators, courses are offered during a five-week summer session for three consecutive summers, with supplementary field assignments during the school year.  Opportunities also are available for students to study full-time during the academic year.



The Catholic Educational Leadership and Policy Studies program affirms the Church's ministry of education by:

  • Promoting the knowledge necessary for creating a Catholic educational community, rooted in sound academic performance and integrated with a lived faith.

  • Providing the requisite leadership formation opportunities for engaging in the ministry challenges of "teaching as Jesus"

  • Assisting in developing the vision that enhances Catholic education as a vehicle for sanctification within the Catholic Church and the nation.

Admission Requirements

  • Submit an application indicating an interest in being admitted to either the doctoral program or the advanced graduate certificate program in Catholic Education Leadership.  Applicants may apply for admission online at:

  • Candidates seeking admission to the doctoral program or the advanced graduate certificate in Catholic Education Leadership (CELPS) should possess a master's degree from an accredited institution in educational leadership or a related field, and submit for review and evaluation GRE or MAT scores, and official transcripts of all previous academic work.

  • Submit three strongly supportive letters of recommendation, at least one of which should be from a person familiar with the applicant's academic production and ability to do doctoral work; others may be from an immediate supervisor or others familiar with the applicant's professional work.

  • Submit a statement of goals that demonstrates motivation, is well written, and fits with Department's programs.  This detailed statement will indicate specifically why the applicant is seeking the degree and what areas of research they would like to explore in more depth.  This statement should also include any information from the applicant's background that will help the admissions committee evaluate the applicant's potential for advanced graduate study.

  • In addition, an interview may be required with the program director or designee.

  • For candidate with at least ten years of documented administrative experience as a diocesan official (e.g. superintendent, associate superintendent, school principal) or comparable administrative role, GRE and MAT scores may be waived and, upon review and approval by the Program's Coordinator, up to 24 graduate credits from an accredited institution may be transferred regardless of the date the credits were earned.

Degree Requirements

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Catholic School Leadership (only through ADW cohorts) - 30 credits including:

  • Departmental Core (9 credits)

  • Catholic Education Core (6 credits)

  • Educational Leadership and Policy Studies (15 credits)

  • Research project

  • Comprehensive examinations

Advanced Graduate certificate in Catholic Diocesan Leadership:

  • M.A. plus 19 credits (25 credits if M.A. is not in Catholic Educational Administration or Educational Leadership and Policy Studies)

Doctor of Philosophy in Catholic Education Leadership (Catholic Educational Leadership M.A. plus 40 credits, including):

  • Catholic Core (12 credits)

  • Leadership and Policy Studies (16 credits)

  • Research Core (12 credits)

  • Doctoral comprehensive examinations

  • Dissertation


Research Core

EDUC 633 Introductory Statistics for Behavioral Science

EDUC 637 Curriculum and Program Evaluation

EDUC 733 Experimental Design

EDUC 790 Qualitative Methods in Educational Research and Evaluation

Catholic Core

EDUC 704 History, Mission, and Practice of Catholic Education

EDUC 707 Contemporary Issues in Catholic Educational Policy and Practice

EDUC 715 Building Faith Community

EDUC 860 Research on Catholic Schools

Leadership and Policy Studies

EDUC 712 Fiscal Issues & Policy in Education

EDUC 713B Administration of Diocesan School Systems

EDUC 720 Emerging Leadership Theory

EDUC 751 Educational Administration Lyceum (1 credit)

EDUC 795 Administrative Internship

EDUC 828 Seminar: Administration and Organization Behavior

Catholic Educator Discount

Catholic educators receive an additional tuition discount at CUA.
  • Who is eligible to receive the Catholic Educator Discount?
    • Any administrator (school or diocesan), teacher, guidance counselor, special educator or librarian who is currently employed in a Catholic preschool, elementary school or secondary school.
  • What programs can the Catholic Educator Discount be used for?
    • The discount may be used by doctoral, or master's students in any school of the university except the Columbus School of Law.
  • What is the tuition with the Catholic Educator Discount?
    • The 2016-2017 Catholic School Educator Tuition is $855 per credit hour.
  • How do I qualify for the Catholic School Educator Discount?
    • The Office of the Vice Provost and the Dean of Graduate Studies must receive a letter signed by the applicant's supervisor documenting full-time employment as a Catholic educator for the school year of enrollment. Visit the Graduate Studies website for more information at:


Merylann "Mimi" J. Schuttloffel, Ph.D.
Program Director
Phone: 202-319-5805
Fax: 202-319-5815