Jul 14, 2024  
2023-2024 SGPP Catalog and Student Handbook 
2023-2024 SGPP Catalog and Student Handbook [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Catholic School Leadership Certificate

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Program Description

The Graduate Certificate in Catholic School Leadership is an innovative, cohort-based program designed for full-time educators who aspire to serve as future leaders in Catholic education as teachers or administrators. With formative courses and ongoing mentorship, students gain a foundation from which to imagine how the commitments of the Catholic faith are lived in the context of Catholic education. Learners consider the most crucial issues facing educators today from a Catholic perspective to better engage their students, colleagues, families, and community. The cohort model provides a supportive learning environment for learners to build knowledge and confidence in personal faith formation, examining personal and collective experiences, and becoming effective stewards and leaders of the Catholic faith.

Over the course of the program, learners develop a long-term project that integrates theory and practice.  Beginning from their own experience, students will explore a contemporary issue facing Catholic education through disciplinary research and the skills and dispositions acquired throughout the program to create an implementation plan that is aligned with Catholic mission and values. This project will culminate in a final presentation to cohort members, faculty, and community members.

A distinctive aspect of this program is that learners are paired with an experienced Catholic school leader who serves as a mentor. The mentor assists the learner in their exploration of theory, theology, and practice through application and experience. This early opportunity for networking, along with the knowledge, skills, application, strategies, and best practices acquired in academic courses, equip learners to become leaders in Catholic education. This mentorship program– paired with a required spiritual retreat at the start of the program (non-graded, no credit)– makes this graduate certificate a unique experience for personal, professional, and spiritual growth.

This certificate is appropriate for both current and aspiring teachers, leaders, and administrators as a credential on top of previous graduate work or a means to explore pathways for future graduate education or credentials.

Program Outcomes

Graduates of the Graduate Certificate in Catholic School Leadership are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Articulate a clear identity as a Catholic educator and spiritual leader that is grounded in a Catholic theology and the history of American Catholic education.
  2. Holistically apply Catholic faith, culture, and life to curriculum, pedagogy, assessments, and operations.
  3. Critically assess school structures, systems, and culture ensuring they align with Catholic mission and values.
  4. Demonstrate professional, ethical, and intentional leadership practices.
  5. Establish best practices for responsible stewardship, communication, and accountability. 

Program Structure and Delivery

The Catholic School Leadership Graduate Certificate is delivered as remote and blended.

Certificate Requirements

Master’s Degree Completion

For those students seeking to use this certificate toward a full master’s degree, see the following option and speak to Program Director on credit allowances:

M.A. in Education  



The faculty members for this program have earned doctorate or master’s degrees. Faculty are selected for their combination of educational and professional experience and expertise.

Admission Requirements

Applicants may apply for admission to master’s degree programs at any time during the year. Applicants must have completed an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution and maintained an overall grade point average of 2.75 on a 4.00 scale. Applicants must demonstrate the language proficiency necessary for successful graduate coursework. Applicants may complete an interview with a program administrator as part of the admission process.

Application Process

Applicants must submit the following:

  1. Completed application form with the nonrefundable application fee (fee not required for alumni or students seeking readmission or veterans and active military personnel), and
  2. An official transcript(s) issued to Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota from the institution posting the applicant’s completed bachelor degree and other relevant transcripts documenting program prerequisites and potential transfer credits. (An official transcript is one that is sent to the university by the credit-granting institution. Transcripts from countries other than the U.S. must be evaluated on a course by course basis by a university accepted evaluation service, such as World Education Services, Educational Credential Evaluators, Educational Perspectives, or One Earth International Credential Evaluators and be deemed equivalent to accredited U.S. university standards).  Evaluations from an approved member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES.org) will also be accepted.
  3. A reflective essay which includes the following:
    1. brief description of the applicant’s background, training, and experience; and
    2. statement indicating the career goals of the applicant and their reasons for seeking admission to the program; and
    3. description of the areas the applicant considers to be their strengths and areas in which the applicant wishes to develop greater strengths and abilities; and
    4. personal information the applicant wishes to share.
  4. Letter(s) of recommendation that verify professional and/or volunteer experience and academic ability; and
  5. A current résumé listing educational background and work experience.
  6. Applicants with international transcripts may require an English language proficiency exam (TOEFL, IELTS, PTE or MELAB accepted.)

Please Note: Application materials should be sent to the attention of the Office of Admission on the Twin Cities Campus.

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
Office of Admission
2500 Park Ave S
Minneapolis, MN  55404

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