Catholic Distance University (CDU) is a private Roman Catholic university based in Charles Town, West Virginia, in the United States. It exclusively offers online undergraduate and graduate degrees. CDU’s programs aim to meet the goals set out in the Ex Corde Ecclesiae issued by Pope John Paul II regarding Catholic colleges and universities.CDU was the first Catholic institution to offer an MA in Theology with no residence requirement. Several Catholic dioceses partner with CDU to help train their catechists. The school stays closely connected with the local Catholic bishop, Most Rev. Paul S. Loverde, who is chair of the Board of Trustees.
Catholic Distance University was established in 1983 in the Arlington diocese by Bishop Thomas Jerome Welsh. In 2015, the university relocated its headquarters to Charles Town, West Virginia, as part of its strategic vision. The opening of the new location included a blessing by The Most Reverend Michael Bransfield, bishop of the university’s new home diocese of the Wheeling–Charleston. CDU offers an accredited bachelor’s degree completion program in theology, a master’s degree in theology, and a variety of catechetical certificates. There are no residency requirements for earning a degree at CDU. In 2005, CDU launched its online campus. According to Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, in the academic year 2007-2008, CDU was the top Lay Ecclesial Ministry Program by number of enrollments.