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

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 Catholic School Leadership Graduate Certificate Program at The Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity.

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).

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.

Applications are now being accepted for the June, 2022 cohort. Because we limit the number of cohort participants to 20 people, we encourage those interested in applying to do so prior to December 1, 2021. A waiting list will be started once the 20 available spots are filled.

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.

Program cost

$6,500 for 19 credit graduate-level certificate plus meals
$7,000 for 19 credit graduate-level certificate, meals, and lodging.

Due to the generosity of our partners, scholarships are available. Please contact Recruitment and Student Services Coordinator Rosalinda Romportl for information.

Join us on the beautiful campus of the University of St. Thomas and the Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity. While in residence, enjoy St. Mary’s chapel for daily Mass, prayer, and adoration, the beautiful grounds of the university, library study rooms and resources, exercise facilities, scenic walks along the river, and more. Off-campus, the Twin Cities are home to important sites including the St. Paul Cathedral, Minneapolis’ St. Mary’s basilica, historic landmarks, art museums, fine dining, shopping, and lake adventures. We look forward to welcoming you! 

Tuition prices include all meals for the two-week on-campus experience. 

2022 Summer Calendar

The summer, 2022 in-person cohort begins June 18 and concludes July 1. Reading assignments will be posted in May, 2022. Some reading will be required prior to the start of the summer program. After July 1, all summer, asynchronous online coursework will be due July 21.

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 two-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.  

Applicants for the Summer 2022 Cohort will benefit from the total graduate-level leadership certificate cost of $6,500. Those accepted to the program can apply for scholarships. Contact recruitment and student services coordinator Rosalinda Romportl for more information.

Please Note: Tuition costs are for the entire 14-month program, which is payable in four equal installments.

Will I get a principal license with this certificate program?

Completion of the Catholic School Leadership graduate-level certificate meets the requirements of the Archdiocesan Plan of Professional Development for heads of schools. In addition, these graduate-level credits can be applied toward graduate degrees at the St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity and toward principal licensure through the School of Education at the University of St. Thomas and other university Schools of Education.

Per Minnesota state law, non-public school leaders are not required to maintain state principal licensure. Although leaders of Catholic schools may choose to pursue state principal licensure, the goal of the Catholic School Leadership certificate program is to prepare leaders for the unique needs and mission of Catholic schools.

Connect with us:

Scroll to Top