College-level Training in Philosophy and Theology

The Catholic Studies Academy provides Catholics of all walks of life with the opportunity to deepen their intellect and faith through a systematic education that parallels what you would receive at a four-year institution.
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Catholic Studies Academy empowers Catholics to strengthen their faith through the systematic study of philosophy and theology in a flexible and affordable way.

Catholics today need a deeper intellectual formation that meets today’s challenges and inspires faith in those they encounter.

Contrary to what you will hear from many so-called experts, the primary challenge to faith today is intellectual…

…it’s about the truth. 

Recent Articles

St. Paul Talks About Purgatory in the New Testament

In his First Letter to the Corinthians (3:10–15), St. Paul says that a Christian life can have its foundation only in Jesus Christ, but that on that foundation, the life we go on to live may be more or less worthy, as it’s constructed of works that conform more or...

What Do Catholics Have to Believe About Purgatory?

The doctrine of purgatory is often seen as a Roman accretion that’s distorted Christianity’s thesis that salvation is a free gift of grace by introducing the Pelagian idea that we have to earn our salvation.  That’s because, when people think about purgatory, they...

Avoiding the Success Trap

Avoiding the Success Trap: The Radical Alternative of Value-Centered Living Whether we like it or not we receive an endless stream of unsolicited advice or images related to success. Success sells: it has the appearance of competence, mastery, cleverness, and daring....

The Solemnity of All Saints: Venerating All of the Saints

Why does the Church celebrate a special feast day for All Saints?  The veneration of saints had once been mostly a local phenomenon, so the Solemnity of All Saints has a great catholicizing effect.  If you really want to be Catholic, you have to venerate all the...

Real Freedom

Often freedom is extolled and insisted upon, but rarely is it defined. But just what is freedom and why is it so important? What is freedom? We are right to value freedom highly, but should we esteem every exercise of freedom? Does freedom just mean the ability to do...

Let’s Not Forget What Grace Can Do

In a previous post, I argued that the Donatists weren’t wrong in their view that, as a matter of discipline, it was imprudent to ordain those who’d previously abandoned the Faith or to allow those who’d done so after having been ordained to exercise their orders upon...

Five Rules for Overcoming Confusion

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you do not know what to do? Where it seems that you’re lost and the way forward is hidden. Sometimes the goals and values that have guided us in the past cease to inspire and illumine or perhaps we have passed through...

Philosophy is Essential to Catholic Higher Education

Thinking philosophically always has its enemies, but there should be no enmity place between Catholic faith, Catholic education, and abstract thought. To think philosophically simply means to think deeply, to think about the universal and the permanent; it is to seek...

Thinking Ethically

Among the various benefits of studying philosophy, one is given the opportunity to learn some of the foundational ideas and theories that help us to make sense of ethical thinking. First, just what is ethical thinking? There are a variety of ways to approach this...

Rehabilitating Donatism?

Amid of the current scandal of a systemic conspiracy of moral turpitude throughout the hierarchy and reaching to its highest offices, an old and tangentially related controversy never fully resolved in the life of the Catholic Church is reemerging.  Today we’re...

Current and Upcoming Courses

Introduction to Practical Theology

{Exclusive Content} In this introductory course, we want to orient ourselves to the world from the perspective of the Church. We want to humbly approach the work of whichever ministry we are involved in with the mind of the Church. We want to think, live, and act with the whole Body of Christ. To do this faithfully and efficaciously, we need to be formed not only in the preambles and tenets of the faith but also in the Church’s documents on the laity, evangelization, and the ministry of the word.

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{Expanded Audio Course} Worst Ideas in Modern Philosophy

Expanded 9-part Audio Series on the Worst Ideas of Modern Philosophy

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Ancient Philosophy

In many ways ancient philosophy set the agenda and foundations for all subsequent developments in the history of philosophy. In this course, students will be introduced to the major figures and ideas of ancient philosophy. This course will set the stage for subsequent lessons in both the history of philosophy and systematic philosophy. This course will include discussions of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and Augustine among others.

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Introduction to Moral Theology

This course presents an overview of the basic elements of moral theology in the Catholic tradition.  Students who complete this course should be prepared to think about the moral universe from a Catholic perspective, anticipating the kinds of questions that might be asked and kinds of arguments that might be made by those who seek to advance one or another thesis in a way that would be consistent with Catholic thought.  In this way, the student is well positioned to be able to study moral theology further, considering in greater depth the wide range of moral problems treated within the Catholic tradition, and to engage the thought of others from a more critical and better informed position.

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Philosophy of the Human Person

In this course, students will be introduced to the philosophical study of the human person, with a special emphasis on achieving self-understanding through classical philosophical psychology. This class will explore the unity of soul and matter, the immortality of the soul, the meaning of human freedom, and role of the passions in human psychology.

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Introduction to Sacred Scripture

This course is intended to prepare the student for subsequent study of the Bible by introducing the Bible through a presentation of its various literary forms and categories, its basic themes, its overall narrative thrust, and its overarching concern and message.  Viewed from the perspective of faith, approaches Scripture as a whole, unified work, at a supernatural level, while remaining faithful to issues regarding human authorship, specifics of historical and cultural context throughout the Bible, and variations in the textual tradition of Scripture as received by the Catholic Church.

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Fundamental Theology

In this course, students will be introduced to the basic sources employed by responsible theologians and how they ought to be approached and assessed according to a well-formed theological method.

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Introduction to Philosophy

In this course, students will be introduced to the foundational ideas of perennial philosophy as well as its historical origins.

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Catholic Studies Academy will empower students to avoid:

Vapid, sentimental theology that neither illumines nor inspires.

The frustration of being unable to speak clearly and precisely about the Faith.

Intimidation and defeat before secular attacks on Catholic Faith.

Catholic Studies Academy is here to serve you and meet your needs

Higher education is cost- and time-prohibitive, but you have the desire to move beyond basic catechesis.

You want solid intellectual formation. Catholic Studies Academy is here to equip you and meet your need.

Catholic Studies Academy is staffed by academic experts fully prepared to provide you with a systematic, college-level formation in philosophy and theology.

…you may not need the degree but desire depth.


…you may want more.



“Three things are necessary for the salvation of man: to know what he ought to believe; to know what he ought to desire, and to know what he ought to do.”

– St. Thomas Aquinas

“Three things are necessary for the salvation of man: to know what he ought to believe; to know what he ought to desire, and to know what he ought to do.”

St. Thomas Aquinas

Features and Benefits

  • College-level philosophy and theology courses entirely online.
  • Access to reliable experts on philosophy, theology, and catechetics.
  • A community of committed Catholics seeking to deepen their faith through rigorous, intellectual formation.
  • A systematic, college-level curriculum in philosophy and theology.
  • Staffed by professional scholars and experienced teachers.
  • Faithful, rigorous, and independent – CSA is free to maintain the integrity of its mission without compromise.

Students who enroll in CSA will be able to:

DEMONSTRATE familiarity with the major figures and movements of the history of philosophy and theology.

DEFINE and understand philosophical and theological ideas and foundational principles.

REFUTE the most common errors that challenge and subvert the Catholic faith today.

DEMONSTRATE essential truths in philosophy and theology including the existence of God, the objective difference between right and wrong, the real possibility of Hell, the indissolubility of marriage, et cetera.

MEDITATE more deeply on the mysteries of God.

Join the Academy

“The Church remains profoundly convinced that faith and reason “mutually support each other”; each influences the other, as they offer to each other a purifying critique and a stimulus to pursue the search for deeper understanding.” (Fides et Ratio 100)

– Pope Saint John Paul II

“The Church remains profoundly convinced that faith and reason “mutually support each other”; each influences the other, as they offer to each other a purifying critique and a stimulus to pursue the search for deeper understanding.”

Pope Saint John Paul II

Fides et Ratio 100

Dr. Benjamin Smith
Lecturer in Philosophy

Dr. Smith, Lecturer in Philosophy and co-founder, received his M.A. in philosophy from the Catholic University of America and his Ph.D. from the Center for Thomistic Studies. He is steeped in Thomist philosophy and experienced in the analysis and refutation of modern errors. Dr. Smith has more than a decade of full-time experience as a professor and scholar. He has published articles in The Thomist, the Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association, Public Discourse, and the Imaginative Conservative.

Dr. Richard Bulzacchelli, S.T.D.
Lecturer in Theology

Dr. Bulzacchelli, Lecturer in Theology, received the S.T.L. from the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, DC, and the S.T.D. from the  International Marian Research Institute. He has been a scholar and professor for almost two decades and publishes on a wide range of topics in theology and philosophy. He is the author of two books: Judged by the Law of Freedom: A History of the Faith-Works Controversy and a Resolution in the Thought of St. Thomas Aquinas and Elohim Created: A New Look at the First Creation Narrative.

Jason Gale, M.A., L.Div.
Lecturer in Theology

Jason Gale, Lecturer in Theology and co-founder, earned undergraduate and Master’s degrees in Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville and the Maryvale Institute. He also received an Ecclesiastical License of Divinity (in Catechetics) from the Maryvale Institute. He has published several articles in The Sower Review and The Catechetical Review. He lives with his wife and 5 kids in Dickson, TN. Jason has been in the work of teaching and forming catechists for over 10 years and lectures regularly on catechesis.

Frequently Asked Questions

How is this different from other programs?

Our mission is to model our courses after a 4-year degree program in philosophy and theology. You will have access to the same topics and subjects as you find at a 4-year college or university without the added cost and time constraints. Our lecturers guide you through the material over the course of 12 weeks and after the course is released, you will have access to it for the lifetime of your membership. We take you through a systematic study of philosophy and theology in an abbreviated manner without diluting the content. Most programs out there are usually based on the Catechism, a book of the bible, or are simply topical. We strive to fill that educational gap between the catechesis offered at the parish level and an undergraduate degree.

These elements are foundational for the CSA learning experience:

  • Our approach is systematic, not merely topical
  • Integrates philosophy and theology
  • College-level, academic education, abbreviated but not diluted
  • Independent community of scholars

Meet the instructors and learn more:

How does this work?

The academy works similarly to a magazine subscription. Your monthly subscription gives you

  • access to new material each week (including a theology class and a philosophy class)
  • exclusive material
  • a private forum for only members and the lecturers
  • along with added content throughout the year

Each course is approximately 12 weeks and a new course in theology and philosophy will be available every 3 months. Lectures for new course material will be available weekly during the 12 weeks. Lectures for past courses will be available at any time.


Students will have access to four theology and four philosophy core track courses for a term of 6 months each. Two new courses (one theology and one philosophy) will be rolled out every three months. When you enroll, you are given access to 101 and 102 courses in Philosophy and Theology.

  • Fundamental Theology
  • Introduction to Philosophy
  • Philosophy of the Human Person
  • Introduction to Sacred Scripture

At the end of 6 months, the next courses will be available to you. You will have access to each course for a term of 6 months. We will continue to carry through a systematic track of courses during the duration of your membership.



Scholars and Fellows will have access to all new courses including exclusive courses like Introduction to Practical Theology and lifetime access to all courses in the archives. You will be able to take all courses as your schedule allows and will have immediate access to all new lectures as they are published.

What courses are available now?

On June 1, you will have access to one 12-week course in Philosophy and also one 12-week course in Theology.

  • Fundamental Theology (4-Part Foundation course and 12-week course)
  • Introduction to Philosophy

Currently, our 2 courses available lay the framework and foundation for the study of theology and philosophy. New courses will be available every 12 weeks.

2018-19 Schedule:
June 1, 2018: 2 new courses
September 1, 2018: 2 new courses will be added(4 total)
December 1, 2018: 2 new courses will be added (6 total)
March 1, 2019: 2 new courses will be added (8 total)

Each year will follow this schedule. We will also be adding more mini-courses and lecture series, exclusive audio content (including an expanded WIMP series) and other learning opportunities!

Will I have access to each course forever?


All enrolled students will have access to each course for a total of 6 months. Every 3 months, 2 new courses will be made available to you, and you will have the opportunity to complete each course over a 6-month period. You can upgrade your membership at any time to access any of the course archives.

Scholars & Fellows

All enrolled scholars and fellows will have full access to all courses on the Catholic Studies Academy. Past courses will be available in their entirety and lectures from current live courses will become available each week over the course of 12 weeks.

How soon can I access the lectures?

Each course spans 12 weeks and a lecture will be available each week. On June 1, the very first lecture for Introduction to Philosophy and Fundamentals of Theology will be available to you. Our next 2 courses will become available on September 1 with a new lecture available for you each week.

How many courses will I have access to?

Student Membership

With the Student membership, you will have access to 4 theology course and 4 philosophy course per year. Every 3 months, you will be given access to one new theology and philosophy course. Each course will be available to you for 6 months.

Scholar & Fellow Memberships

With the Scholar and Fellow memberships, you will have access to courses as they become available. Every 3 months, you will have access to a new theology and a new philosophy course. This works out to 4 philosophy and 4 theology course per year.

Can I earn college credits?

The mission of Catholic Studies Academy is to provide a systematic education in theology and philosophy in an affordable and accessible manner. For these reasons, we do not offer credits for courses taken. We do offer certificates for courses completed (Scholars and Fellows only).

Can I purchase individual courses?

Yes – Some of our courses are available for individual or bundle purchase here.

I'm not sure if I have time for a college course?

The estimated time commitment for our courses is about 1-2 hours a week. The weekly coursework is recommended as follows:

  • 30 minutes – Video/Audio lecture
  • 30 minutes-1 hour – Online interaction in the forum
  • 30 minutes-1 hour – Recommended Reading

This work can be done each week or if you have more time one week rather than another, you can easily complete multiple classes in one week.

I'm no philosopher...

That is why you are here. You have a desire to know truth and to explain it in a rational way and be faithful to the Church. If you love wisdom, you are in the right spot!

This sounds a little out of my league

When you begin learning a new subject, it always seems “a little out of your league”. But the learning process takes some time to organize the material in your intellect. However, when you arrive “on the other side”, the material makes sense. In this case, we are asking the highest and most important questions about life.

Will I be under a contractual obligation?

No, you can cancel or upgrade at any time. If you have any questions or need to reach our support team, please email

What courses are offered?

CSA Faculty will be rolling out a new philosophy and a new theology course every 3 months. The content of these courses will eventually give you access to the foundational and elective courses you might find at a faithful, Catholic college/university.

This will include courses in:

Theology – Fundamental Theology, Introduction to Sacred Scripture, Moral Theology, The Sacraments, The Church, Christology, Theology of the Trinity, Various Scripture Courses, etc. Philosophy – Introduction to Philosophy, Ancient Philosophy, Philosophy of the Human Person, Medieval Philosophy, Early Modern Philosophy, Epistemology, Metaphysics, Late Modern Philosophy, Philosophy of God, Ethics, Political Philosophy

What if I have a question or need clarity on a subject?

Students & Scholars: You have access to our online forum which gives you access to not only the professors but also the wider CSA community Fellows: In addition to the online forum, you will have further access to the lecturers for questions and dialogue through email.

Are you an accredited college?

No, we are not an accredited college. Keeping with our mission of affordable and accessible higher ecducation, we will never be accredited by an arbitrary institution.

Join the Academy

WHIT – Worst Heresies in Theology

Join us as we reveal some of the Worst Heresies in Theology by which men have traded the truth of the Gospel for a lie, enticing others to worship the creature rather than the Creator.


(Signing up for this series will also sign you up for the periodic newsletter from CSA.
Once you register you can update your settings at any time to choose what emails you want to receive.)

WHIT – Worst Heresies in Theology

Join us as we reveal some of the Worst Heresies in Theology by which men have traded the truth of the Gospel for a lie, enticing others to worship the creature rather than the Creator.

(Signing up for this series will also sign you up for the periodic newsletter from CSA. Once you register you can update your settings at any time to choose what emails you want to receive.)

Sign up for our free 5-part mini-series

Join us as we reveal the Worst Heresies in Theology by which men have traded the truth of the Gospel for a lie, enticing others to worship the creature rather than the Creator.

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