Student Achievement/ HEOA Compliance

Student Achievement/HEOA Compliance Website

The John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, pursuant to its responsibilities as an institutional member of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) and the requirements of the Higher Education Act (1965), as amended, and the Higher Education Opportunity Act (PL 110-315; 2008), is making certain information available to the public.  This legislation requires that all postsecondary institutions participating in the federal financial aid programs disclose the specific information contained herein and elsewhere to prospective students, parents, employees and the general public.  This data is presented for 2013-2014; it will be presented as limited aggregated data in the future.  Should additional information be desired about the Institute or its programs, please contact the Office of the Associate Dean for Programs and Administration at the Institute, McGivney Hall, The Catholic University of America, Washington DC 20064, call (202) 526-3799, or fax (202) 269-6090.

Academic Information and Accreditations
Academic information concerning the educational and degree programs of the Institute can be found at This site includes a broad range of information about the Institute and its programs.  Similar information is published on a biannual basis in the Academic Catalog, Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family at The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. As a Pontifical institution of higher education, the Institute is authorized by the Holy See through the Congregation for Catholic Education to offer the Master of Theological Studies (M.T.S.), the Licentiate in Sacred Theology (S.T.L.), the Doctorate of Sacred Theology (S.T.D.), and the Doctor of Philosophy in Theology, specializing in the study of Person, Marriage and Family (Ph.D.). The institution is licensed by the Education Licensure Commission of the District of Columbia.  The John Paul II Institute is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104. (267-284-5000) The Middle States Commission on Higher Education is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U. S. Secretary of Education and Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

Program Completion Information
Information required by the above legislation is contained in the Institute’s previously referenced official website or in the Academic Catalog. Among the information not otherwise published is the information dealing with degree completion (graduation rates).  This information reflects the percentage of students enrolling in a particular year that graduate within the normally expected enrollment period required for the completion of the program, as indicated by the awarding of the graduate degree.  Because the Institute is a graduate level institution, completion rates do not always follow normal expectations for program completion time frames.  The enrollment duration for individual students may vary in relation to the specific research requirements, attendance patterns, and course schedules.   The information below represents the awarding of graduate degrees for 2017-2018 by degree level as a percentage of those students who normally would have completed their degrees within the Institute’s anticipated time frame.

Degrees Awarded:  3
Degree Cohorts Represented: 2006-07, 2010-11, 2012-13
• 2006; Percent of Cohort Completing Degrees to Date: 75%
• 2010; Percent of Cohort Completing Degrees to Date: 25%
• 2012; Percent of Cohort Completing Degrees to Date: 25%

Degrees Awarded:  1
Degree Cohorts Represented: 2014-15
• 2014; Percent of Cohort Completing Degrees to Date: 33%

Degrees Awarded:  2
Degree Cohorts Represented: 2015-16, 2016-17
• 2015; Percent of Cohort Completing Degrees to Date: 100%
• 2016; Percent of Cohort Completing Degrees to Date: 25%

Degrees Awarded:  13
Degree Cohorts Represented: 2015-16, 2016-17
• 2015; Percent of Cohort Completing Degrees to Date: 77%
• 2016; Percent of Cohort Completing Degrees to Date: 100%

Retention Information
Retention information consists of data that indicates the percentage of students enrolled in collegiate programs that return term to term or year to year, depending on the type and purpose of the data collected.  The information presented below is for the academic year 2013-2014 and reflects the percentage of the students who initially enrolled in the degree programs in the fall of 2012-2013 who returned and re-enrolled for the fall of 2013-2014. It should be noted that the Institute is a small graduate-level institution with an annual total enrollment of approximately 100 students.  In some years, there may actually be very few students admitted to specific upper level programs.

  Starting Fall 2016-2017  Returning Fall 2017-2018 Percent Returned
Ph.D.  3 3 100%
S.T.D.  n/a n/a  n/a
S.T.L. 4 3 75%
M.T.S. 18 15 83%

Program Outcomes Achieved

All of the graduate degrees offered by the Institute are awarded following the completion of the educational programs and the satisfaction of the requirements for the degrees, often referred to “program or learning outcomes.”  The programmatic requirements and learning outcomes for the various programs offered by the Institute are summarized below.

All students enrolled in the Ph.D. program must satisfy qualitative and quantitative admissions requirements.  Subsequent to enrollment, students’ progress through a series of assessment and continuous qualifying steps or events that take place at various stages of the program.  At each stage, the students must satisfy the requirements or standards for progression utilizing assessment processes following the classical American doctoral programmatic model.  In addition to completing 48 semester hours of full-time study over a three-year period, students must:

  1. Demonstrate Language Proficiency (Latin, N.T. Greek, and two modern);
  2. Complete the participatory requirements of the Symposium (ongoing seminars);
  3. Pass the two Foundational Works Examinations (review of the literature);
  4. Pass the Oral and Written Qualifying Examinations;
  5. Prepare, receive approval for, and Defend the Dissertation Prospectus;                                             
  6. Produce an acceptable Dissertation; and
  7. Defend of the Dissertation (oral presentation/examination).

The degree is expected to be completed within five to seven years. 

Because each student’s program is specific in its focus (outside of the coursework and the common exploration of relevant literature), further programmatic component specifics are not addressed in this summary. The academic and research elements of the program are devoted to the study of the philosophical, theological, anthropological, and scientific dimensions of the human person within the contexts of historical and contemporary Western Culture and the theological and doctrinal traditions of Roman Catholicism.  Focusing on the works of John Paul II, contemporary issues relating to the human person, marriage, and family are examined critically as elements of a continuous theological formation.  All recipients of the Ph.D. degree have mastered at a satisfactory level the above noted program components, completed all programmatic processes, and demonstrated competency in the specific course and programmatic outcomes.  They have also been provided with an opportunity to teach systematic and moral theology, and have received positive assessments as a matter of individual and collective faculty professional judgment.  The Ph.D. is a very rigorous program of academic study.  In its 2014 Report, “National Collegiate Retention and Persistence to Degree Rates,” the ACT reports that the mean persistence rates for the Ph.D. are 62.4 percent for private institutions as opposed to 49.7 percent for public institutions.

The Doctorate in Sacred Theology reflects many of the same components of the Ph.D.  However, because it is an ecclesiastical degree, emanating from the European tradition, it differs in the amount and character of the course work, as it is assumed that the S.T.D. students have already completed the series of more comprehensive and rigorous theologically-based baccalaureate and previous graduate-level scholarship.  Serving as a “post-S.T.L.” degree, the programmatic requirements are prescribed by the Catholic Church.  The degree is intended to prepare graduates for teaching and clerical positions in Catholic seminaries and higher education institutions.  The degree is issued under the authority of the Holy See.  

The programmatic outcomes require

  1. Demonstrate proficiency in four languages:  Scholastic Latin and Biblical Greek, and two modern languages: (French, Spanish, Italian, or German).
  2. Participate and satisfactorily complete four doctoral seminars;
  3. Prepare and gain approval of the Dissertation Proposal;
  4. Prepare and present the Dissertation;
  5. Defend of the Dissertation;
  6. Complete a satisfactory enrollment in a two semester residency; and
  7. Complete the degree within a five year time frame.

The completion of this graduate program is governed by the criteria and standards prescribed for the program by the Congregation for Catholic Education.  All recipients of the S.T.L. Degree have satisfied the program requirements.

In a fashion similar to the S.T.D., the S.T.L. (Licentiate in Sacred Theology) is the second in line of ecclesiastical degrees often sought by Catholic priests and those aspiring to teaching positions in Catholic seminaries, colleges, and schools.  The S.T.L. is constructed to follow the comprehensive and rigorous S.T.B., and is intended to further develop the intellectual and research skills, as well as the theological, philosophical, and doctrinal academic knowledge bases previously acquired.  American students admitted with a Master of Arts degree will be expected to complete additional study in addition to the S.T.L. curriculum.  Two years of full-time study and residency are usually required.  All courses in the program follow the institutionally approved format for syllabi; contain faculty developed and programmatically approved course objectives and assessment strategies; all of which are related to the degree’s program plan and learning outcomes.

The programmatic elements of the program consist of the following:

  1. Complete 48 semester credit-hours of study in (16 courses in Philosophy, Catholic Theology, Anthropology, and Biblical Studies);
  2. Participate and satisfy the requirements of a series of comprehensive and advanced second-year seminars;
  3. Demonstrate reading proficiency in Latin and one modern language;
  4. Prepare and present a Lectio Coram (magisterial lecture designed to demonstrate theological and instructional competence);
  5. Develop and produce a Thesis;
  6. Defend of the Thesis (oral presentation/examination); and
  7. Complete the degree with a five-year time frame. 

Since admission to the S.T.L. program requires an S.T.B. or equivalent, many of the students in the S.T.L. program are either Catholic priests or religious men and women.  This program is authorized and governed by the Congregation for Catholic Education, and is issued under the authority of the Holy See.  All recipients of the degree have satisfied the requirements of the program as determined by the criteria established by the Church.  

The Master of Theological Studies is an American modeled two-year program of study designed to prepare students for potential admission into Ph.D. programs of additional theological study.  Originally set up as a single curriculum, the program today has two program tracks: Biotechnology and Ethics, and Marriage and Family.  Both programs are patterned after the two-year traditional American master’s degree; however, unlike the other Institute programs, it is possible to participate in this program on a part-time basis.  Both tracks require the completion of 16 courses (48 semester credit-hours), and each is built around a core of ten focused courses.

In the Marriage and Family Track, the core courses center around such illustrative courses as Theological Anthropology; Philosophical Foundations; Psychological Issues relating to Sexual Difference, Marriage, and Family; Gender and Sexual Difference;  Theological Basis for Marriage and Family; Law, Family and Person; and Catechesis of Human Love.  The Theology of Pope John Paul II is clearly a focus of this program.

In the Biotechnology and Ethics Track, courses focus on such topics as Moral Theology; Sexual Ethics and Person; End of Life Issues; Science, Theology and Ethics; Bioscience and Bioethics Issues; Genetics and Embryological Issues; etc. This program is designed to address the numerous medical and ethical issues surrounding contemporary end of life and biotechnical scientific developments within the context of the Catholic tradition.

In addition to the specific track and the shared courses comprising the curriculum, students are required to

  1. Participate in and demonstrate satisfaction of the oral and written communication and interactional outcomes for the Book Forum, an ongoing participatory series of lecture/discussions on great literature, works of art, essays, etc.
  2. Evidence mastery of the core material and concepts of the program by completing the faculty prepared and graded six-hour comprehensive examination administered in three two hour blocks.  This exam forms a major component of the annual program assessment review process.

The primary goals of the program tracks are built around the following:

1. Demonstrate proficiency in the foundational theological knowledge bases that form the core of the program.
2. Integrate into a cohesive and demonstrable knowledge-base the five core concepts of the curriculum:
a. Man and woman as embodied and differentiated communion of persons created  by God destined for a state of life;
b. Man’s constitutive relationship with God via the paradigmatic relations established through marriage;
c. The nature and dignity of the human person within the “culture of life;”
d. Understanding of the contributions of the great thinkers within and outside the tradition of the Church; and
e. Development of an “adequate anthropology” in light of the ontological assumptions regarding the human person in Western history and modernity.
3. Demonstrate a synthetic acquisition and understanding of the above to produce a cohesive, profound and clear understanding of the Theology of John Paul II.

Using a variety of formative and summative, direct and indirect assessment strategies, including those that link the comprehensive examination to the major elements of the Institute’s Mission, and the application of specific sets of rubrics, the faculty has determined that students who have completed the program and received the degree have demonstrated acceptable levels of proficiency in the achievement of the program’s goals and their component outcomes. 

Employment Placement
The educational programs of the John Paul II Institute are not intended to prepare graduates for any specific career or employment objective.  Most of the degrees are offered in the context of the European ecclesiastical tradition and are not intended to lead to licensure or any occupational credential; such as is the case, for example, in medicine, law and nursing.  These degree programs are intended to be intellectual in their orientation and educational in nature.  The degrees offered are truly “academic” in that they are dedicated to scholarship and research.  With a focus on edifying, clarifying, and illuminating the truth relating to marriage, family, person, God, the world and love within the context of the Catholic tradition and Western philosophical and theological heritage, the programs prepare students to adequately deal with current issues reflected in the contemporary social fabric.  

At the same time, the Institute understands that all of our graduates must address the reality of "making a living" and caring for their families and loved ones.  As a matter of anecdotal evidence, Institute personnel are aware of the wide range of occupations in which the graduates are successfully engaged.  To bring greater clarity to our understanding of graduate employability, the Institute will research the matter of the graduate employment.  Our design is predicated on allowing graduates the summer following their commencement to locate employment.  Thus, by the end of the spring semester, the Institute will have concluded this study and will publish its findings concerning the graduates of 2015 at this location on the institution’s website.

Description of Facilities and Accommodations Available for the Disabled
McGivney Hall is fully accessible to disabled persons. There is a ramp on the west side of McGivney Hall that leads to the elevator. All rooms in the building are wheel chair accessible. Help can be provided by going to the disability support services page on the CUA website:


MTS Cohort Graduation Rate, 2014-16
Cohort Ethnicity Men Women Total
2014 Hispanic n/a 100%  
  White 100% 100%  
  Black/African-American n/a n/a  
  Asian n/a 100%  
  Total 100% 100% 100%
2015 Hispanic 0% n/a  
  White 100% 100%  
  Black/African-American 100% n/a  
  Asian 100% 100%  
  Total 100% 100% 100%
2016 Hispanic 100% 100%  
  White 100% 100%  
  Black/African-American n/a n/a  
  Asian n/a 100%  
  Total 100% 100% 100%