For Prospective Students

Admission Requirements

To be considered for admission to a Murray-delivered academic program at the University of St. Thomas, candidates must meet certain employment requirements. First, they must be currently employed in a Catholic school or parish of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and must have completed at least two years of full-time work in a Catholic school/parish. Second, because the Murray Institute is not a scholarship program for individuals seeking to advance their own professional training but rather a collaborative institute that seeks to enhance and sustain Catholic education in the Archdiocese by advancing the professional training and faith formation of its teachers and religious educators, applicants must commit to working in a school or parish of the Archdiocese for the duration of their studies and for at least three years beyond completion of the graduate certificate or degree program.

Also, because Murray Institute programs are delivered in the cohort model, students who are admitted to a cohort are expected to take all of the program’s prescribed courses with their cohort.

To apply for a Murray-funded program, candidates are expected to:

  1. Hold a B.A. or B.S. degree from an accredited academic institution; if applying for the Educational Specialist degree program, you must hold a Master of Arts degree in a field of education or educational leadership ;
  2. Have a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) for the undergraduate degree or have successfully completed a graduate-level program. Students may be accepted by special permission and granted "conditional admission," if grade point averages are lower than this standard;
  3. Take the Miller Analogy Test (MAT), if your undergraduate GPA is less than 3.0;
  4. Attend an information session as advertised;
  5. Complete the application process by submitting application forms and paying an application fee;
  6. Submit an official transcript of all academic work, both undergraduate and graduate, if applicable;
  7. Submit three letters of recommendation attesting to the applicant's ability to enter this program. One of these three letters must come from a supervisor and the second from a colleague. The third letter can be from a person of your choice;
  8. Participate in the admission interview and provide a writing sample.
  9. After the admission interview, candidates’ files are reviewed by the Murray Institute Faculty Committee and by the admissions directors of the University program from which the candidates’ certificate or degree will be granted. Candidates will be informed by mail of their acceptance into the program.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a cohort?
A cohort is a group of students—typically 20-30 in number—who study together for the duration of the certificate or degree program. The Murray Institute offers all of its academic programs in a cohort model. Prospective students should know that the curriculum for a cohort is determined beforehand; individuals are not permitted to “take a break” from the cohort for a semester or choose alternative courses outside of the cohort. The advantages of the cohort model: it enables the Murray Institute to deliver programs in a cost-effective manner; students develop a learning community that extends beyond the length of their program of studies; they acquire life-long friends; they can rely on the support and assistance of their colleagues as they implement new knowledge and skills in their respective schools.

How long are the Murray Institute’s Master of Arts programs?
A typical Murray Institute graduate degree program is three years in length. Graduate certificates are usually one and a half years in length. Students attend class one night a week during the academic year and take two courses—two full days per week—during a six-week summer session. Occasionally a Saturday course will be scheduled on one Saturday a month throughout the academic year. A three-credit, graduate-level course entails approximately 36 hours of direct classroom contact per semester. Students should expect to spend two to three hours in reading, writing, and other forms of scholarship outside of class for every hour in class.

Why are the Murray Institute education degrees and certificates longer than other School of Education programs?
Murray Institute education degrees and certificates include a substantial theology component, which can range from nine to fifteen credits beyond the traditional degree program. This component is a hallmark of the Murray Institute insofar as it systemically seeds parishes and schools with advanced-degree educators who are deeply formed in faith.

What is the purpose of adding the theology component to the Murray Institute’s academic programs?
Catholic institutions in the USA were once predominantly staffed by priests and religious brothers and sisters who were trained in Catholic theology and catechesis, but that is no longer the case. Today, administrators, faculty, and staff in Catholic schools and parishes are at least 93% lay people. If Catholic institutions are to preserve their Catholic identity, those in leadership and other ministerial positions need to be educated in the doctrines and traditions of the Catholic faith and given the skills to do effective catechesis.

May I break away from the cohort and complete my degree more quickly?
No. Students accepted into the Murray Institute’s academic programs are expected to study with the cohort for the entire program.

May I take a leave of absence from a Murray-delivered program?
Generally speaking, you are not permitted to take a leave of absence from a Murray-delivered program. Murray programs are designed as a cohort learning experience. Students are encouraged, at the time of application, to consider the commitment they will need to make in order to study with a cohort over the duration of a Murray program. However, leaves of absence have been granted for serious illness, pregnancy complications, military service, and other comparable circumstances that are outside of the students’ control. Students are encouraged to consult with their academic advisor or the director of the Murray Institute, if they find themselves in one of these situations.

How much does it cost to participate in a Murray Institute program?
Murray-delivered degree and certificate programs are tuition-free for Archdiocesan Catholic educators who are accepted into one of its cohorts. Program applicants must submit an application fee ($25), and there is a fee of $85 for the Miller Analogy Test for those who are required to take it. See Admission Requirements above. Once accepted into the program, students are responsible for their books, which amount to approximately $100-$150 per course.

Kelsey Groebner teaches at Risen Christ Catholic School. She was a member of Cohort 28 and completed a graduate certificate in Multicultural Education in spring 2013.