Online certificate program in Thomistic Ethics & Spirituality

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The Sacra Doctrina Project's online certificate program in Thomistic Ethics & Spirituality is offered in conjunction with St. John Vianney College Seminary and Graduate School (Archdiocese of Miami, FL). 

The present semester ends August 30th, 2021. You can pre-enroll for the Fall semester at this link.
Program Description

The online certificate program covers a number of topics (see below), all of which culminate in a theological understanding of the teaching of the Angelic Doctor on ethics, morality, and the spiritual life. The program will be of interest to directors of religious education, catechists, continuing education for clergy, undergraduates who want to supplement their education, or those simply interested in examining the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas and its relation to the pursuit of holiness and the gift of beatitude. 

Program Options and Certificates

Students may participate in the program on three separate levels. The program is divided up into six course groups, each covering a particular topic. In turn, each course group is divided into three individual classes (see course offerings below). Students may take a single class, an entire course group (three-classes), or the entire certificate program. 

Students who complete a single class will be awarded a class certificate. Students who complete a course group will be awarded a subject certificate. Students who complete the entire program will receive a program certificate. All certificates will be jointly awarded by The Sacra Doctrina Project and St. John Vianney College Seminary and Graduate School.

Course Offerings 

Preliminary notes:

  • Each course group is divided into three classes.

  • You may sign up for any class after it has begun as long as you will have time to watch

      the ten lectures, take the quizzes and write a 3-5 page paper by the end of the class.

Click on the course title for more information


  1. Moral Philosophy                                                                                                  (Ryan J. Brady, PhD)

  2. Moral Theology                                                                                                                  (Taylor Patrick O'Neill, PhD)                

  3. Particular Moral Issues                                                            (Ryan J. Brady, PhD & Taylor Patrick O'Neill, PhD)       


  1. Generation of the Word                                                                                          (John O'Neill, PhD)

  2. Incarnation                                                                                                            (John O'Neill, PhD)

  3. Redemption                                                                                                           (John O'Neill, PhD)


 1. Foundations of Sacramental Theology                                                (Daniel Lendman, PhD and Ryan J. Brady, PhD)

 2. Baptism, Confirmation, Penance, and Anointing of the Sick                                                   (Ryan J. Brady, PhD)

 3. The Eucharist and the Liturgy                                                                                              (Fr. Nick Winker, M.Div.)



  1. Mysticism in the Church Fathers                                                                                (Ryan J. Brady, PhD)

  2. The Mendicant Mystics: St. Catherine of Siena, St. John of the Cross, and St. Teresa of Avila (T.P. O'Neill, PhD) 

  3. Charity and the Three Stages of the Spiritual Life                                                  (Taylor Patrick O'Neill, PhD)



(One of the two elective course groups; see "Program Requirements" for more) 

Note: Presently, only the first class in this course group is available

 1. Holy Orders  (available now)                                                                                    (Fr. Dylan Schrader, PhD)

 2. Marriage (begins in September)                                                                                                    (Fr. Nick Winker, M.Div.)

 3. Religious Life (TBA)                                                                                                      (Ryan J. Brady, PhD)



(One of the two elective course groups; see "Program Requirements" for more) 

  1. Providence                                                                                                                            (Taylor Patrick O'Neill, PhD)

  2. Grace and Predestination                                                                                 (Taylor Patrick O'Neill, PhD)

  3. Sin and the Problem of Evil                                                                               (Taylor Patrick O'Neill, PhD)

Program Requirements

Those students taking a single class or a single course group are free to take whichever they like. Those students completing the full program must complete five of the six offered course groups, with the following requirements.

  • Thomistic Ethics (suggested at the beginning of the program)

  • Christology and Sanctification

  • Sacraments and Liturgy

  • Mystical Theology (suggested at the end of the program)

Students must also complete one of the following two courses as an elective:

  • Providence, Grace, and Evil 

  • Theology of the States of the Christian Life (not available in its entirety until the Fall 2021 semester)

Description of Class Method & Grading Policy

Each class consists of 10 modules. Each module consists of:

  • 1 reading assignment

  • 1 recorded video lecture (30 - 60 minutes)

  • 1 online quiz 

Grading is pass/fail. The students will be graded on:

  • 10 Quizzes

  • 1 final paper (3 - 5 page response to a provided prompt; instructors will give students three or more prompt options to choose from at the beginning of the course).

The classes are offered asynchronously, meaning that the students can complete the reading, lectures, and quizzes at their own pace. Each class and course group will run for 15 weeks (commensurate with a single semester). All material for the class or course group must be completed by the end of that 15 week schedule. Students taking a course group must complete the first class in the group before moving on to the second and the second before moving on to the third. This means that students taking a course group, if moving at a steady pace, will have 5 weeks for each class and 2 modules to complete each week.


All classes are $100. A course group is, therefore, $300. Five course groups are required for the program certificate, but certificates for each class or course group will also be awarded upon completion of the class or course group to students who request them. 


To register, please fill-out the online registration form.

For any questions, please email us at

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