Enrich your life of faith

Continuing Education and Formation Programs

Continuing Education is offered at Catholic Theological Union to enhance understanding of the Catholic faith, to further professional development or to prepare for transition to a new ministry. Catholic Theological Union’s Continuing Education program offers a flexible course of study that can be handcrafted to meet your personal needs. Without program requirements, Continuing Education students may choose to audit any number of courses for continuing education units or to take them for credit. Upon admission, you may even choose to design an individualized sabbatical with the advisement of the Program Director. This year might include participation in formation opportunities throughout the year, study in the Holy Land, courses and workshops in the Summer Institute and participation in the Hesburgh Sabbatical Program


Faith-based formation for leadership

Catholic Theological Union also has the capacity to develop tailored formation programs for your group, parish or organization. For example, in April 2013, Catholic Theological Union welcomed the first cohort of executives from the Franciscan Sisters of Chicago Service Corporation (FSCSC) to a formation program for leadership team. Learn more about Faith-based formation for leadership.  

Crafted for ministers in the Church, the Hesburgh Sabbatical Program is a curriculum-centered, community-based, holistic sabbatical that fosters both personal and professional renewal and provides continuing formation. Men and women from around the world come to beautiful Chicago for four months – fall or spring semester – to rest, to study, to enjoy, and to share their experiences and learn from others who are in ministry today.

With more than 2,500 alumni, the Hesburgh Sabbatical Program has provided renewal for clergy, religious, and lay ministers for more than 30 years


The Eucharist is celebrated daily at CTU, as well as nearby religious community houses, and participants are invited to take advantage of the many spiritual traditions in the Archdiocese of Chicago. Enhance your experience by engaging in the opportunities available for spiritual direction and theological reflection.

Sabbatical participants can also audit one course at CTU for free and also receive Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for their participation in the program. Participants who would like to extend their stay are able to take advantage of CTU’s professional ministerial degree programs – the Master of Arts in Biblical Ministry, Hispanic Theology and Ministry, Intercultural Ministry, Justice Ministry, or Liturgy – or continue their studies through CTU’s distance learning opportunities.


Learning modules, presented by members of CTU’s exceptional faculty, as well as visiting experts, provide rich avenues for exploration. Regular presenters include Don Senior, CP, Barbara Reid, OP, Robert Schreiter, CPPS, Tony Gittins, CSSp, Lock Sofield, ST, Kathy Galleher, PhD, Laurie Brink, OP, and Maria Cimperman, RSCJ.


All modules are presented from a pastoral perspective to help participants reflect upon their past ministry experience, while preparing for their next ministry. CTU also offers many scholarly and pastoral programs through the Bernardin Center for Theology and Ministry and the Center for the Study of Consecrated Life. Additionally, CTU is the home of the Institute of Religious Formation, the Institute for Sexuality Studies, Religious Formation Conference, and the National Religious Vocation Conference. Events sponsored by these programs are available to Hesburgh participants.


Chicago boasts many exceptional universities, museums, art galleries, theaters, concert halls, sporting venues, and restaurants. World-renowned architecture is part of Chicago’s great legacy, and the city offers 500 parks, 52,000 acres of forest preserves, and 27 continuous miles of beautiful parks and beaches along Lake Michigan. The Hyde Park neighborhood, a culturally, religiously, and racially diverse section of Chicago in a tranquil lakefront setting, is home to five post-graduate schools of theology and the University of Chicago, which offers additional opportunities for enrichment. The neighborhood is an ideal place for a sabbatical that is both a respite and a time of exploration.

Costs and Application

The tuition for the 2018-2019 academic year is $10,600.00 per semester. The tuition for the 2019-2020 academic year will be $10,760.00 per semester, which includes all learning modules as well as room and board (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and any required classroom or program supplies. If you require an F-1 US student visa, please note that there are costs associated with this process, including a $200 SEVIS fee paid directly to the US government.

About Room and Board

The program is housed in the CTU Residence Hall and Center located at 5401 S. Cornell Avenue. This building was the former Aragon Hotel and has now been restored to its classic original architecture with updated modern amenities.

  • Each program participant is provided a spacious private room that is fully furnished. Each room has a private bath, a large closet, a telephone, and individually controlled air-conditioning and heat.
  • Bed linens and towels are supplied by the Hesburgh Sabbatical Program and laundered and returned weekly by CTU’s housekeeping staff.

Sabbatical participants generally take lunch and supper in the CTU cafeteria on the first floor of the Residence Hall, while breakfast is served continental-style in the Hesburgh Kitchen and Lounge. 



To apply to the Hesburgh Sabbatical Program, click here for the application form, and here for the application questionnaire form.

We look forward to you joining us for the Hesburgh Sabbatical Program soon!

*costs subject to change without notice

Dedicated to preparing men and women for the ministry of formation since 1971, the Institute of Religious Formation offers a comprehensive, spiritual, collaborative, intellectual, and experiential approach to learning, life, and ministry—all focused within the context of formation. The IRF has continually grown and adapted to the needs of the ever-changing world. It is a residential, nine-month program in which participants live in community and share their experiences with fellow ministers from throughout the world, allowing them to experience the global church in a real way.


By living, worshiping, and studying together, participants are able to model and live what is ideal in communities of formation. Through this process, participants develop the needed skills and tools for formation ministry. More than 1700 women and men have studied at the IRF program since its inception.


IRF uses several methods to prepare you for success in your formation ministry, including talks from knowledgeable professionals and ministers, dialogue, experiential intercultural living, self-reflection practices and formal research on current formation issues. Learning outcomes are:

Theological Renewal

Update your current thinking on issues related to Scripture, theology and spirituality.

Skill Development

  • Sharpen your interpersonal skills for formation including listening, interviewing, confronting; explore group dynamics.
  • Gain new insight into the role of formator as a spiritual guide; broaden skill and practice.
  • Hone your understanding of diverse expressions of religious life and the dynamics of intercultural community living and ministry.

Human Development and Growth

  • Broaden your knowledge of the psychological issues potentially encountered in formation and learn how to respond.
  • Expand your personal awareness and comfort level regarding healthy human sexual integration for yourself and those you’ll support in formation.
  • Better understand your role as a formation director in relation to the formation community, community members, superiors, spiritual directors, vocation director and others.


  • Renew your personal spirituality and gain a deeper understanding of your congregation’s charism along with a contemporary understanding of the vows and models for theological reflection.
  • Explore contemporary issues in religious life today, locally and globally.


Make a contribution to your congregation/province formation program by evaluating and/or suggesting new components through research on a specific project.

Costs and Application

Who Can Apply
Applications are processed in the order they are received. If you are a non-US citizen or do not hold a “Green Card,” please plan to submit your application as early as possible because of the time required to secure immigration documents and visas. We recommend those who require a student visa to apply by June 15. Residency begins in late August and continues through mid-May with a three-week Christmas vacation from mid-December to early January. IRF participants are required to reside on campus due to the community nature of the program.


When to Apply
Applications are processed in the order they are received. If you are a non-US citizen, please plan to submit your application as early as possible because of the time required to secure documents and visas. Residency begins in late August and continues through mid-May with a three-week Christmas vacation from mid-December to early January. IRF participants are required to reside on campus due to the community nature of the program.


Costs (2019-2020):

  • Tuition, room, board and workshop fees total $22,790.00.
  • This includes tuition and all program costs plus room & board which includes: a private room, private bath and full meal plan of three meals daily.


Other Costs:

  • While attending the Institute of Religious Formation, all participants must have health insurance. If a participant does not have health insurance through his or her institute/diocese, she or he may purchase it through the health plan of Catholic Theological Union/University of Chicago.
  • Additional personal expenses such as books, spiritual direction, and English language classes.
  • All fees are subject to change.
  • We are unable to provide scholarships to the Institute of Religious Formation program.


How to Apply
Request application by emailing lsiers@ctu.edu, or download an application by clicking here.

Once you have the application, complete all information and submit with the $55.00 non-refund­able application fee. Upon receipt of your application, additional information will be forwarded to you about how to submit your letter of recommendation, along with a request for other supporting documents.


Program Overview

In addition to their coursework, all CTU students participate in spiritual formation that helps them integrate their theological coursework into their daily lives. This formation takes place in a communal fashion, and the formation cohorts are organized in the following way:


  • Students belonging to religious communities participate in the spiritual formation programs of their respective religious communities;
  • Students enrolled as Bernardin Scholars engage in formation with their cohort, led by Bernardin Center director Steve Millies;
  • Students enrolled as Romero Scholars will receive formation in their cohort, led by Romero Program  director Marco Lopez;
  • Students enrolled as Tolton Scholars engage in formation with their cohort, led by Tolton Program director Kim Lymore; and
  • All other students engage in formation through the Emmaus Program, led by Emmaus Program director Maryellen Knuth.

Join the internationally renowned faculty of Catholic Theological Union for an experience in the Holy Lands of the Bible unlike any other.


Stand on the shores of the Sea of Galilee and watch the early morning fishing boats. Climb the Mount of Olives and stand before the panorama that is the Old City of Jerusalem. Walk the streets of Ephesus and imagine Paul preaching there. Stand on the Areopagus in Athens, overshadowed by the Parthenon, and ponder the origins of early Christianity.


For more than 30 years, CTU Bible faculty have led Biblical Study and Travel Programs. This year’s program will be guided by Sr. Laurie Brink, O.P., Associate Professor of New Testament Studies. The program has two parts: a pre-trip online seminar and a three-week travel seminar.

Encountering the Bible Lands, Part A

Prior to the travel seminar, an online course introduces participants to the history, geography, and archaeology of the ancient Biblical world. Students learn that acquaintance with nonliterary sources has important implications for our understanding of the Biblical text. This course may be taken for graduate- level credit at no additional cost. Course runs from February 21-April 11, 2018.

Encountering the Bible Lands, Part B

Embark on a three-week travel seminar visiting significant archaeological and historical sites in Israel/Palestine, Greece, and Turkey. Daily tours provide participants with an opportunity to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, Paul, and the early Christians. On-site lectures integrate the archaeology and history with the biblical text. This travel seminar may be taken for graduate-level credit at no additional cost. The trip will run from April 29 to May 19, 2018. Download an application here.

Download the flyer here for more information about the itinerary and details about the trip.

For more information about our other Biblical Travel offerings, either Journey to the Holy Land with Rev. Donald Senior, CP or Holy Land Retreat with Laurie Brink, O.P. and Dan Horan, OFM., go to our Travel page.

Deepen your faith this summer

Summer Institute participants have the opportunity to study with CTU’s renowned faculty on campus in Chicago or online. With accreditation from the Association of Theological Schools (ATS), CTU offers the highest quality theological preparation and formation for people of varying needs and interests. Courses may be audited, taken for Continuing Education Units (CEUs), or taken for credit after a short admissions process. Blended (online and on campus) classes are also available.


Click to find out more about Summer Institute 2018 and to register for courses.

Click here to view the 2018 Summer Institute Book List.

If you have any questions, please contact:


Marian Diaz, D.Min.

Director Phone: 773.371.5436
Email: mdiaz@ctu.edu


Summer registration fee . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$50


Audit fee per course . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$350


Graduate academic fee per credit-hour . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $890


Room and Board per week (Sunday through Saturday) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$500


Room only per night . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$60


Parking per week . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $25

A Collaborative for Theological Education, Formation, and Community, cosponsored by Catholic Theological Union (CTU) and the Religious Formation Conference (RFC) will be offered as a pilot program beginning with the Fall semester, 2018. Roman Catholic Sisters and Brothers who are currently in formation and have completed their canonical novitiate year are invited to participate. Participants will enroll in a graduate theology program at CTU, share community in a designated space in the residence hall, and participate in ongoing formation together as an intercongregational, intercultural, and intergenerational cohort.