Sacred Arts Programs: Certificate, Diploma, Master’s

Pontifex University believes that an authentic Catholic education should center on beauty as a primary means of encountering Christ, His creation, and His Church, and this encounter should facilitate the supernatural transformation of the person such that their whole life reflects the divine beauty and inspires the transformation of the culture. 

To this end, Pontifex University provides the opportunity to study theology (primarily scripture and liturgy), philosophy, mathematics, architecture, art history, and fine arts through three Sacred Arts Certificate Programs: 

  • The Certificate in Biblical Studies
  • The Certificate in Philosophical Studies
  • The Certificate in Liturgy and Culture

These programs provide students flexibility in pursuing their personal education goals. The programs may be taken singly and upon successful completion, the student will have earned the corresponding certificate. 


Combining Certificates for the Diploma and Master’s 


There is also the option to complete multiple certificates to earn higher degrees. After earning two certificates, a student will be a candidate for the Graduate Diploma which can be earned by the successful completion of a third certificate. 


Those who complete the Graduate Diploma then have the option of earning the Master of Sacred Art by completing one of the two capstone courses and submitting the required studio work. 

The integration of these subjects brings to light new facets of each and highlights the relations that exist among the subjects. Thus, students receive a holistic formation rooted in a profound knowledge of each subject. 


What Makes These Programs Unique?

The Sacred Arts Programs are different because of the emphasis on beauty as an aspect of all academic disciplines. 

Beauty is not merely an accessible entry point to contemplate the truth. Rather, truth and beauty are intimately and inalienably related. What is most true is also most beautiful, and what is most beautiful is also the truest. The great works of Catholic culture and Catholic tradition are not at the periphery in the understanding of the truths of creation and the Faith, they are at its heart.

At Pontifex University the programs of study manifests the truth, goodness and beauty of the Faith and of Catholic culture. The Sacred Arts Program gives the student an understanding of the theological and philosophical basis for a Christian culture with an emphasis on, but not restricted to, the visual arts, based upon the traditional formation given to the great artists of the past which included a description of the spiritual life, technical training, and intellectual formation. 

The Sacred Arts Programs will benefit those for whom a formation in beauty and creativity has obvious benefits such as artists, architects, and composers since it was through an examination of how the great artists of the past were trained that these programs were developed. Nevertheless, anyone in any field can benefit from the Sacred Arts Programs for there is no field of study or human activity that cannot be enhanced by beauty. Ultimately, the goal is not simply to form artists but to draw all people to the Faith and to the worship of God in the sacred liturgy, which is central to Christian life.


Credit Hours and Fees 


There is a $50 registration fee for each certificate program after which the fee is $300 per credit. Payment plans of $300 per month are available upon request. The total cost for each certificate is listed below:  


Certificate of Biblical Studies (CBS) - 9 credits, $2,750 (includes registration fee)

  • SAC 500 A History and Practical Theology of Images...3 credits
  • THE 511 The Old Testament in Words and Images...3 credits
  • THE 512 The New Testament in Words and Images...3 credits


Certificate of Philosophical Studies (CPS) - 8 credits, $2,450 (includes registration fee) 

  • PHI 500 The Philosophy of Nature...3 credits
  • PHI 501 A Survey of Philosophy of the Good, the True, and the Beautiful...3 credits
  • SAC 510 The Mathematics of Beauty...2 credits


Certificate of Liturgy and Culture (CLC)  - 8 credits, $2,450 (includes registration fee)

  • THE 513 The Bible and the Liturgy...3 credits
  • THE 514 The Psalms in Words, Images, and Prayer...3 credits
  • Plus any two electives:
    • THE 515 The Heart of the Mass...1 credit
    • SAC 511 Fundamentals of Beauty in Architecture...1 credits
    • SAC 512 Introduction to Sacred Music...1  credit
    • SAC 513 Christian Humanism in Contemporary Cinema...1 credit


In order to earn the Master of Sacred Arts, the student must complete and pass one of the two Capstone Courses. Either capstone also requires the submission of a portfolio of artwork created in a minimum of 85 hours of self-directed study culminating in an original work of art. 


Capstone with Studio work: 5 credits, $1,550 (includes registration fee)

  • SAC 595 A Study of Artistic Methods for Patrons and Artists...5 credits.

Culminates a project which is:

    • EITHER
      • The submission of a portfolio of artwork created in a minimum of 85 hours of self-directed study in a medium of the choosing of the student (subject to approval by the Program Director) culminating in an original work of art.
    • OR
      • Significant essay - 10,000 words. Topic will be decided in discussion with Program Director. You will watch the videos as though preparing for the art portfolio - these will generate ideas for your essay, but then in session with the program director you can choose to write rather than paint.

SAC 595 is a class that teaches you how artists work and the choices they make in the course of creating a work of art. There is some practical work required - although those who do not wish to focus strongly on production of art itself can choose options that allow written answers rather than artistic practice. The goal for those who wish to practice art in the future is to guide them into the practice of the basic visual vocabulary of art in their work. The goal for the non-artist is to impart a deep understanding of how artists work so that as future patrons you can engage productively with artists.


Single Courses and Auditing


For those who wish to take a single course for credit the fee is $300 per credit hour plus the $50 registration fee. 


For those who wish to audit, the fee is $100 per credit hour plus the $50 registration fee. 


Time Frame


Each certificate should be completed within 12 months of enrollment with each single course being finished in four months after registration for that course.


The capstone should be completed within 12 months of enrollment in the Master's program. 



To complete an application for any of the Sacred Arts Programs

please click the link below:

Application for Admission into Pontifex Universiy