Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies

A young Joseph Ratzinger wrote that “[f]or the ancient world and the Middle Ages, being itself is true, in other words apprehensible, because God, pure intellect, made it, and he made it by thinking it.” He goes on to conclude that we can see “from this traditional view that human thinking is re-thinking of being itself, re-thinking of the thought which is being itself.” For Ratzinger, the loss of this sense that the human mind’s activity is to “re-think” what is given, what is received, must be contrasted with a distinctively modern sense that can only know by making its objects, indeed, by making its world. This he tells us constitutes the real divide between the ancient and medieval view and the “specifically modern attitude of mind.” For all its accomplishments, the modern mind suffers from its loss of a receptive or contemplative sense of what it is to know things in themselves and reality as a whole.

A central purpose of Catholic education should be to restore a habitus of mind that perceives what is—as given, as gift, as creaturely, and therefore also as symbolic of its source. And yet, before this can happen, our modern assumptions about learning and knowing must be brought to the surface and exposed. This requires time and reflection within a community of students and scholars. Over the years, many students have felt the need for further formation beyond a master’s degree, both to deepen these community ties and to develop a reflective habitus and creaturely form of knowing.

The Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies (CAGS) offers such a community and opportunity for reflection. The CAGS is intended for highly motivated, talented students who desire advanced, post-master’s studies at the Institute but for whom pursuit of a Ph.D. degree is not a desirable or feasible option. Such students are prepared to take advantage of our advanced, doctoral-level seminars alongside our doctoral students without the need to show proficiency in ancient and foreign languages, pass programmatic qualification examinations, or write a doctoral dissertation.

The CAGS offers students an opportunity to receive advanced academic formation with a certification emphasizing either the theology of marriage, family, and the person or biotechnology and ethics. The CAGS would enable them to pursue their careers and personal goals at a higher, more accomplished level.

Academics.Non Degree Study.Certificate of Advanced Studies

Application FormThe application form may be completed online or by PDF. Links to both options are available on the Apply page.
Application FeeThe application fee is $75 and is non-refundable.
References  At least three letters of recommendation from faculty members of academic institutions formerly attended. Please ask the professors to compare your achievement with that of other students at your level and to evaluate your readiness for graduate studies.

These letters must be sent directly to the John Paul II Institute by the recommender through our online portal, by mail, or by email to [email protected].

You will need to complete a waiver for each reference letter. If you are completing the application online, the waiver form is included in the online form. If not, a copy of the waiver form must accompany the mailed or emailed letter.
EssayIn a 1500-word essay, explain your intellectual interests and their relation to the mission of the Institute relative to the current cultural situation. You may wish to refer to the brochure, “The Nature and Purpose of the Institute.”

Your essays should be formatted in double-spaced, 12-point font, and may be uploaded as part of the online application or emailed to [email protected].
Transcripts and Graduation DocumentationOfficial transcripts of all post-secondary education (sent by the institution)
Identification1. Electronic photo (headshot). May be uploaded as part of the online application or sent to [email protected].
2. A copy of your birth certificate and driver’s license/state ID, or a copy of your passport

CAGS candidates take 33 credits of coursework, selected with the guidance of the Ph.D. Program Advisor, from among the doctoral-level seminars. In addition, some courses from the M.T.S. program, either for audit or for credit, may be required for CAGS candidates who did not receive an M.T.S. from the Institute.

CAGS candidates will develop a paper from one of their classes into a thesis of approximately 50 pages under the guidance of a faculty member serving as director. The candidate must defend the thesis before a panel composed of the director and two additional faculty members. Upon successful completion of the thesis requirement, the student will be awarded 3 credits in addition to his or her coursework credits.