Catholic Virtual Academy

In support of Saint Mary’s Lasallian Catholic mission to awaken, nurture, and empower learners to ethical lives of service and leadership, we have partnered with Catholic Virtual to provide Lasallian high school students like you with an opportunity to engage in transformative college-level learning and earn college credit while still in high school.

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota Catholic Virtual Academy courses are delivered online and asynchronously by instructors trained in best practices for online learning. These courses offer excellence, convenience, and flexibility to suit your busy life, making it possible for you to take Saint Mary’s classes whenever and wherever you have a computer and Internet connection available.

With more than 100 years of academic tradition, Saint Mary's is regularly ranked among the nation's top higher education institutions by U.S. News & World Report (including ranked online programs), the Princeton Review, and Forbes.

Courses offered through Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota Catholic Virtual Academy are delivered online and asynchronously by instructors trained in best practices for online learning. These courses offer excellence, convenience, and flexibility to suit your busy life, making it possible for you to take Saint Mary’s classes whenever and wherever you have a computer and Internet connection available.

As a Saint Mary’s Catholic Virtual Academy student, you will be guided through your classes by caring and engaging professors using a variety of learning materials including textbooks, multimedia presentations, discussion forums, and other digital tools. Saint Mary’s professors are there and available to answer questions just as with any other class.

  • Earn dual credit for high school and college credit online.
  • Save money by transferring college credit.
  • Get a headstart on college and understand what it is like to take college courses.
  • Access to university resources to support your academic success.
  • Build confidence while building your future.

You are eligible to apply if you meet all of the following:

  • Enrolled in one of Catholic Virtual partner high schools.
  • Are at least 16 years old.
  • Carry a 3.0 high school unweighted GPA.
  • Have the recommendation of your high school counselor, principal, or head of school.

Once you have been accepted and registered for courses, you will begin preparing to study online at Saint Mary's:

  • Complete training in Canvas, the learning management system
  • Complete the self-paced Catholic Virtual Academy student orientation course
  • Acquire textbooks online Saint Mary's University of Minnesota Bookstore
  • Create a study plan that includes three hours of academic work per credit per week for Catholic Virtual Academy courses
  • Prepare for your class by checking your Saint Mary's assigned email and online course dashboard daily.
  • Take advantage of the student support resources at Saint Mary’s Student Success Center (tutors, Writing Center, library materials, etc.)

Ready to apply?

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota Catholic Virtual Academy accepts new students two times per year for classes starting in the fall semester and spring semester.* Once you have determined you are eligible to apply, follow these steps:

  • Attend a virtual information session
  • Meet with your high school counselor and determine which courses are best for you and your schedule, taking into account your high school workload and your college courses through Catholic Virtual Academy
  • Complete the online application
  • Register for courses with the directions provided

*Students who apply for the fall semester are eligible to take classes during spring semester without reapplying.

What is Catholic Virtual Academy?
A unique partnership between Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota and Catholic Virtual providing dual credit opportunities for Catholic Virtual Lasallian partner high schools.

What is Dual Credit?
It is a program allowing eligible students to take college courses while still in high school, simultaneously earning credit at both institutions.

What courses can I take?
Courses available through Catholic Virtual Academy during the fall 2021 semester include:
B105 Environmental Biology
COM202 Communication Fundamentals
E130 First-Year Writing
E175 Introduction to Literature
EC262 Principles of Macroeconomics
FN101 Personal Finance
H152 The Modern World
PY111 General Psychology

How many courses am I allowed to take?
Students can take two courses per semester.

How do I get my textbooks?
Contact the Saint Mary's University of Minnesota Bookstore.

Are these self-paced courses?
No, these are asynchronous, instructor-led online courses. While there are no set class times, there are assignments with set due dates.

What type of support is available to me? What if I have a question about homework or need help with a technical issue?
For academic support, advisers at Saint Mary’s Student Success Center are available for assistance. Professors may also be reached via phone and email. Technical support is also available at Saint Mary's University of Minnesota HelpDesk.

What if I need to drop or withdraw from a course?
You should work closely with your high school counselor and a Saint Mary’s adviser before deciding to drop or withdraw from a course. It is important to understand how these decisions will affect satisfactory academic progress in college, as well as at your high school. Deadlines are established each semester for dropping or withdrawing from courses, and it is your responsibility to meet these deadlines. For information about refunds, contact Catholic Virtual.

What GPA do I need to maintain to stay in the program?
Catholic Virtual Academy students must maintain a 3.0 GPA to remain eligible for participation in the program.

Which colleges and universities will accept my Saint Mary’s credits, and how will those credits transfer?
Saint Mary’s credits earned through dual enrollment programs have been recognized by colleges and universities nationwide. Colleges and universities may recognize coursework taken at other institutions in several ways:

  • Transfer the credits into your program of study
  • Transferred courses can be used for exemption from specific course requirements
  • Transferred courses can be used to fulfill prerequisite course requirements
  • Transferred courses can fulfill prerequisite course requirements for more advanced studies.

Are all colleges and universities obligated to recognize my credit hours?
Credit recognition is the prerogative of the institution granting it. College policies vary regarding transfer credit and may be applied differently from year to year and student to student. Factors may include how much work the student can show was completed in a course and the final grade earned.

Will my Catholic Virtual Academy grades affect my GPA at the college I eventually attend?
Most institutions do not use grades of courses accepted for transfer credit in their determination of a student’s GPA at that campus, but some do. The best way to verify this is to contact the registrar at the institution you are considering.

If you decide to attend Saint Mary’s, the grade you earn in your Catholic Virtual Academy courses will count toward your GPA.

How do I transfer my Catholic Virtual Academy course credits?
To receive any form of recognition, you must request that a transcript from Saint Mary’s be sent to your college.

How do I request my Saint Mary’s transcript?
Current students and alumni may request transcripts through the National Student Clearinghouse. Saint Mary's information about transcript requests.


Note: students must enter Saint Mary's University, instead of St. Mary's University when filling out the Clearinghouse form.

If applying to Saint Mary’s as an undergraduate, there is no need to submit an official Saint Mary’s transcript; however, do note in your application that you have taken Saint Mary’s courses as a part of the Catholic Virtual Academy.