Welcome to the admissions process. We are here to support you in your vocation to lead a school which forms and educates the next generation of Catholics. If you have any questions or need assistance in the admissions process, please contact:

Recruitment and Admissions Coordinator at

Admissions Prerequisites

Applicants must meet the following prerequisites:

  1. A minimum of a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution in the United States or the international equivalent of a bachelor's degree as verified by World Education Services.
  2. At least three years of teaching and/or administrative experience in a primary or secondary school. Catholic school experience is preferred, but not required.
  3. Currently employed full-time in a school as a principal or a teacher who aspires to move into a leadership position. 
  4. A commitment to teach in or lead a Catholic school for three years upon completion of the Certificate in Catholic School Leadership.

Requests for any exception(s) should be addressed to the Director of the Institute for Catholic School Leadership at The Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity.

Application Requirements

All applicants must submit the following seven items:

  • Completed online application
  • Current resume
  • Personal essay (1,000 words or less) responding to the following questions:
    1. What is your philosophy of education?
    2. What is the rationale for your application and what do you hope to gain from your participation in the Catholic School Leadership certificate program?
  • Official transcripts sent directly from all post-secondary institutions attended.
  • Three letters of recommendation including:
    1. An academic reference, such as from a former professor or in some cases a colleague who can speak to your academic preparedness to do graduate-level course work.
    2. A letter from your pastor commenting on your suitability for a ministerial role in Catholic education and attesting to your readiness for formation.
    3. A letter from your principal or your immediate supervisor (note: if the pastor in the previous letter is your supervisor, this third letter can be from a colleague).
  • A non-refundable $40 application fee

All required application materials should be sent directly to:

University of St. Thomas Graduate Admissions
1000 LaSalle Ave
TMH 201, Box 5
Minneapolis, MN 55403-2005


Applications will not be reviewed until all items have been submitted. Application materials will be retained by the University of St. Thomas.

The Admissions Committee conducts a comprehensive review of each application file, considering the candidate's academic background, the personal statement, and letters of recommendation to understand the strengths, skills, and unique potential of each prospective student.

Admissions Timeline

Applications are now being accepted for the Certificate in Catholic School Leadership 2020 cohort. 

How to Apply

All admissions materials are processed through the Office of Graduate Admissions at the University of St. Thomas. To link to the university's online application portal, click here and select The Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity button.


Tuition for the 2020 cohort = $3,000.

Tuition for the Certificate in Catholic School Leadership includes academic coursework, room and board (including meals), and costs related to scheduled events in the Certificate program. 

  • Out-of-pocket expenses for students include those activities the student opts to participate in outside of the scheduled events in the certificate program.
  • Graduate certificate students are not eligible to receive Title IV funding, and thus students cannot obtain federally insured student loans for this program.


2020 Summer Residency Calendar

  • April 25: Student orientation at The Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity 
  • June 13: Arrival on campus
  • June 13-14: Opening retreat
  • June 15-27: Session I
  • June 28-July 5: Break for the week of July 4th
  • July 6-17: Session II

See the summer residency calendar here.
See the daily summer residency schedule here.

2019/2020 Academic Year Calendar (2019 cohort)

Fall Semester 2019

  • September 4: Fall Semester classes begins
  • December 13: Classes end
  • December 20: Final exam period ends

Spring Semester 2020

  • February 3: Spring Semester classes begin
  • March 23-29: Mid-term break
  • May 15: Classes end
  • May 22: Final exam period ends

Click here for the full University of St. Thomas 2019-2020 academic calendar.


What is the advantage of the Catholic School Leadership program over other administration programs?
The Catholic School Leadership certificate program is designed to prepare you for the specialized ministry of Catholic school leadership. The program integrates a rigorous academic program with the four dimensions of formation (spiritual, intellectual, human and pastoral). Furthermore, the Catholic School Leadership certificate program addresses the unique and characteristic needs and concerns of administration within a Catholic context.

I already have an administration degree, what can I gain from this program?
In most cases an administration program focuses on the requirements for government (public) schools. This program will prepare you with the unique skills needed within the Catholic school context including the areas of law, finance and marketing. In addition, this program will prepare you intentionally for your role as a spiritual leader of a Catholic school.

Why is it recommended that I live in residence at the seminary during the summer sessions?
The daily and weekly schedule of the four-week residential session includes numerous activities to advance an integrated formation process. The building of community is likewise a key ingredient. Time spent in classes, formational activities, private and communal prayer, and social interaction provides opportunities to build relationships with fellow students in the cohort. This community of Catholic school leaders will continue to support you as you move into your leadership practice. Although we remain flexible to accommodate the individual needs of our students, living in residence at the seminary is highly recommended to ensure the optimal formation benefit of this immersion experience.

As a Catholic school teacher, how does the Catholic School Leadership program prepare me for a leadership position in my school?
Principals and other school leaders face a myriad of challenges and situations that require specialized preparation. The Catholic School Leadership certificate program is designed to equip leaders with the skills they need to nurture a vibrant Catholic culture, cultivate spiritual and academic excellence in faculty and students, and apply executive management skills to grow and improve their schools.

As a practicing Catholic, have I not already received sufficient preparation for my role as a Catholic school leader?
While it is expected for a Catholic school leader to be a practicing Catholic, the specialized ministry of Catholic school leadership requires an advanced and distinctive formation for the role of spiritual leader. This program will provide that specialized formation. Participants in the Catholic School Leadership certificate program benefit from the seminary’s expertise in preparing people for leadership positions in the Church and the world through professional and graduate-level educational programs.

What is my financial obligation with this program?
Due to the generosity of benefactors of The Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity, we are able to offer the certificate program at a substantial discount.  For participants starting in the summer of 2020 the total cost of the certificate program is $3000, which will be billed in four installments of $750 (Summer 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, and Summer 2021).

Will I get a principal license with this certificate program?
No. Preparation for State Licensure may be pursued through the Educational Specialist degree program, in the School of Education at the University of St. Thomas.

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