John Paul the Great Catholic University

  • John Paul the Great Catholic University

    Escondido, CA

  • John Paul the Great Catholic University

    Escondido, CA

  • John Paul the Great Catholic University

    Escondido, CA

  • John Paul the Great Catholic University

    Escondido, CA

  • John Paul the Great Catholic University

    Escondido, CA




Catholic Faculty (full time)
Catholic Faculty (adjunct): 63%


Catholic Students


On-campus students in single-sex dorms


When one thinks of a traditional Catholic college, it’s not likely situated in office buildings in a business community in downtown Escondido, California. But no other Catholic college is quite like John Paul the Great Catholic University, and the setting is rather appropriate for this 21stcentury addition to Catholic higher education. 

Students enjoy the mild weather and charm of this San Diego suburb, where the University moved in 2013 from its former site in San Diego. Look behind the doors, and you will find state-of-the-art technology and software to prepare students for futures in business, filmmaking, and other “new media,” with a firm grounding in the liberal arts and faithful Catholic theology. It’s a smart combination for the Church in today’s culture. 

The campus features a post-production studio, equipped with software and technology used in Hollywood filmmaking. A sound stage, complete with camera equipment, lighting, and audio equipment, allows students to shoot their productions. In addition, a “Business Launchpad” provides basic office infrastructure for student-led startup companies. 

And the new campus is strategically located next to the California Performing Arts Center, which provides critical infrastructure for future conferences as well as the University’s acting program. 

Although it is situated in southern California, the small, specialized University traces its heritage to Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio. While visiting there in 2000 with his daughter, President Derry Connolly had the inspiration to develop a college in his hometown. 

“While at Franciscan, I saw students incredibly on fire for their faith. That wasn’t something I had experienced before,” said Connolly, who has worked as a professor and administrator at the University of California-San Diego for more than a decade. “The idea for John Paul the Great came to me while in front of the Blessed Sacrament. I wanted to try to connect the idea of students on fire for their faith with what I did day-to-day, teaching entrepreneurship to students at one of the top 20 schools in the U.S.”

The University offers undergraduate degrees in communications media, business, and humanities, as well as an M.B.A. in film producing. Undergraduates can specialize in film (screenwriting, producing, post-production, and production/directing), creative writing, acting, musical theatre, animation, video game development, graphic design, illustration, entrepreneurship, leadership and management, sales and marketing, theology, and New Evangelization—the latter being something of a combination of new media, business, and theology.

But undergraduates also take one course every quarter on some aspect of Catholic philosophy, theology, history, ethics, or culture. And unlike most colleges and universities, John Paul the Great’s academic calendar is year-round based on quarters, not semesters. 

With 260 undergraduate students, almost all of them Catholic, the University has long-range plans for a traditional campus with up to 1,200 students. In spring 2016, the University added a new building with more space for future studios, library, and auditorium.  

The University is governed by an eleven-member board of trustees, chaired by a COO. The others include a priest, deacon, and several area business leaders. Dr. Connolly, a native of Ireland, has a Ph.D. in applied mechanics from Cal-Tech, 15 years of employment with IBM and Kodak, and eight patents to his name. 

JPCatholic received accreditation with the Western Association of Schools and Colleges in March 2015. 

A college education in upscale San Diego county should be expensive, but JPCatholic is priced far below the average California college. Tuition and room fees for the 2019-2020 academic year are $33,360 (the academic year lasts for 3 quarters). Financial aid includes scholarship packages based on both need and merit, work-study opportunities, and federal grants and loans. 


JPCatholic requires a 69-credit core curriculum. This includes 12 credits in theology, 12 credits in philosophy, 21 credits in humanities and math or science, 6 credits in communications, and 18 credits in business.

Students can choose to major in communications media, business or humanities. The new humanities major expands on the required humanities core curriculum, and has five areas of emphasis: theology and philosophy, creative writing and screenwriting, musical theatre, illustration, and new evangelization.

In many ways, the University combines the best of a college with the hands-on skill learning of a technical school. From their first weeks on campus, many students are able to use cameras and professional post-production software. 

The University assumes that most students will be called to work in business, entertainment, and digital media. In their senior year, entrepreneurship students and some others participate in the newly revamped Business Launchpad, which teaches them to create a blueprint for a company and launch it using University facilities. Several students have used these plans to continue their own businesses after graduation. 

Not only has JPCatholic established a niche, but the University already has a respectable track record of success with graduates in media, technology, and filmmaking. Students and faculty created a feature film called Red Line and an online television series that attracted more than 125,000 site visitors and a great deal of press coverage. Graduates and employees launched Yellow Line Digital, a social media marketing company.  

JPCatholic is emphatic in ensuring fidelity to the Magisterium: “All teaching faculty will commit to harmony with Catholic Church teachings (the pope and bishops) in speech and action. Faculty, staff, students or volunteers who knowingly in public speech or actions take positions against the Catholic Church compromise their relationship with JPCatholic. JPCatholic expects all trustees, faculty and staff to celebrate the positive spiritual and entrepreneurial components of its mission and eschew cutting down what the institution is striving to build.” 

Overall, there are 39 faculty members and two visiting faculty. The mandatum is required for all professors of theology. To help keep the University’s budget small while also maintaining a practical emphasis, many professors are employed in part-time work in their field. 

JPCatholic does not have a study abroad program, but offers a three-week Europe trip over spring break, during which students are immersed in the cultures of Ireland, England, and Italy. 


The University has a small Eucharistic chapel which seats about 25 people. In order to accommodate a higher attendance for Mass, the University has transformed a large classroom into a reverent chapel, outfitting it with icons, an altar, and a crucifix. Class schedules are structured around daily Mass, which is offered each weekday on campus. 

Various priests from the diocese and religious orders visit JPCatholic to say Mass. Confessions are also available six times per week and by appointment. Eucharistic Adoration is available every weekday on campus, with Liturgy of the Hours prayed in the chapel in the morning. The Rosary is prayed by students nightly at their residence apartments.   

The local St. Mary’s Catholic Parish has 24-hour Eucharistic Adoration and the Extraordinary form of the Mass on Sundays.   

Students have become involved in teaching CCD classes, doing pro-life work, and helping homeless people. 


About 20 percent of JPCatholic’s students commute from home, and the remainder live in two-bedroom townhomes and apartments leased by the University at the Latitude33 complex, less than a half-mile from campus. Men and women residing in townhomes live on opposite sides of the street and those in apartments are separated by floor, but some apartments may be adjacent to or across from non-student residences. Students are not normally permitted to visit residences of the opposite sex. 

The townhomes and apartments are located next to a shopping center with a movie theater and grocery store. There are part-time job opportunities in the shopping center and on historic Grand Avenue, which is home to bistros, bakeries, and gelato and coffee shops.  Down the street from the residences is Grape Day Park, with space for sports and short film production. 

The University does not offer a meal plan, so students are responsible for their own meals.  The University estimates that cost of living may total $1,000 per quarter for the typical student.  Students walk or ride bicycles to class. 

Households—voluntary groups of students who support each other spiritually and socially, according to the Franciscan University of Steubenville model—are highly encouraged. About 18 percent of the students currently belong to a household. 

Alcohol is not permitted on campus or in apartments, and the University encourages chastity. Student dress can vary with some wearing t-shirts, sandals, and flip-flops, although some theology classes may require a higher standard of dress. 

With a population of about 1.4 million, nearby San Diego presents a broad array of economic, social, and cultural opportunities. The diversified economy includes military and port facilities, tourism, biotechnology, marine science, and many start-up businesses, particularly in technology.  Cultural offerings include the San Diego Museum of Art, the San Diego Zoo, and a wide range of professional sports teams. 

San Diego is one of the safest large cities in the nation, but students should avoid crossing the nearby Mexican border.  In addition to the San Diego International Airport, Amtrak and other rail and public bus systems are available. 

Students can take the Sprinter train, with a station just two blocks away, to Hollywood for networking events and internships. For $2, students can take the train to the beach. 


JPCatholic has had a variety of student-led organizations, with clubs and groups dedicated to art, tabletop gaming, pro-life outreach, choir, swing dance, and classic movies. The University staff and students have established some informal sports activities, such as hiking, surfing, flag football, and soccer. 

Student government also sponsors several events each quarter such as “open mic” nights or variety programs, internal film festivals, dances, and beach BBQs. 

Students also venture into San Diego for the many social, cultural, film festival, and athletic opportunities available there. 

Bottom Line

John Paul the Great Catholic University is part of the new breed of small Catholic institutions that have responded to the crisis in Catholic higher education with a renewed commitment to faithful theology and philosophy. 

But JPCatholic is also uniquely modern, preparing students for 21st-century careers in business and media technology while retaining a traditional liberal arts core. The University has found a special niche among Catholic colleges, one that will appeal to a particular student with a love for entrepreneurship, digital media, and evangelization. 

The University offers Catholic families three very attractive components: a strong Catholic identity, a complete yet specialized curriculum, and a location in one of the most livable and appealing areas in the country. 

Questions & Answers

Each year, the Newman Society asks the colleges recommended in The Newman Guide to answer the following questions. Below you will find the responses that we received directly from John Paul the Great Catholic University.

Is your institution accredited by at least one regional or national education association? (Yes/No)


Please identify each accreditor and indicate whether it is approved by the U.S. Department of Education:

Western Association of Schools and Colleges, which is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

Please cite evidence of student or alumni accomplishment, such as graduation rate, graduate school placement, job placement, awards, etc.

Our Placement Rate is 92%, and 76% of alumni surveyed reported that their current work is related to their degree. Our graduates have worked at or with companies such as Sony Playstation, Disney, Universal Pictures, Metanoia Films, NBC, Netflix, National Geographic, Rotten Tomatoes, Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Catholic Answers, Drive Studios, Ascension Press, Life Teen, Coca Cola, and Adidas Group.  Some alumni have been accepted into top grad schools (e.g. UCLA’s MFA program, Catholic University’s MBA).

Students have also found success in launching their own entrepreneurial ventures. Yellow Line Digital is a marketing agency founded by faculty and alumni; it’s located next door to campus and currently employs about ten alumni.

More details on Alumni Success can be found at

Please identify any notable public recognition of your institution’s academic quality in the last three years, such as rankings, awards, etc.

In 2019, U.S. News & World Report placed John Paul the Great Catholic University at #12 in its list of Best Regional Colleges West, and at #24 for Top Performers on Social Mobility for Regional Colleges West.

Without neglecting difficult topics and ideas, how does your institution avoid leading students into serious error and spiritual harm through blasphemous, dissident, or heretical material in the bookstore, library, lectures, and course content?

Our mission is to impact culture for Christ, and as part of that mission, we find it important to engage with the culture around us, while being firmly rooted in the truths of our Faith. Students will engage with various artifacts of culture – ranging from the philosophical writings of Nietzsche to critically acclaimed films – that don’t always reflect a Catholic worldview. This content is viewed through the lens of our Catholic faith, allowing students to perform a healthy analysis of both the artistic and moral value of a work as they study its academic or cultural significance.

All of that said, we take seriously our students’ formation in virtue and truth, and our coursework avoids presenting content that is gratuitous or overtly blasphemous. Any intellectual works that are dissident or heretical would be presented as such. All courses are taught in a manner faithful to Scripture, Tradition, and the Church’s Magisterium.

How are the insights of the Catholic faith integrated throughout the curriculum and course content in all subject areas?

Professors of our creative arts and business coursework are Christian (and often specifically Catholic), so they can speak to the unique challenge of living out their faith in their industry, and how to integrate a Christian sensibility into the work they create.

Our faculty and students are inspired by Pope John Paul II’s Letter to Artists, where he expressed that artists have an important vocation to be “co-creators” with God and lead people to reflect upon beauty and truth: “Humanity in every age, and even today, looks to works of art to shed light upon its path and its destiny.”

This inspiration drives our students to pursue excellence in their craft for the glory of God.

How does the institution’s academic program form students in love and knowledge of God, for sainthood?

Our General Education provides students with an enriching intellectual foundation in theology and philosophy. Students will focus especially on Sacred Scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas.

Students at JPCatholic form a supportive community of peers who are passionate about both their craft and their faith in Christ. Various clubs, events, and service projects all foster virtue and a path toward sainthood.

But most importantly, the sacraments are at the center of our campus community. Daily Mass is available at 11am; no classes are scheduled during that hour, so all students are free to attend.

How does the institution’s academic program prepare students for the renewal of culture in the light of Christ?

Our unique combination of creative arts and business programs with a foundation in Catholic theology and philosophy gives our students an especially distinctive preparation for impacting culture through these influential fields. JPCatholic is forming the next generation of artists and innovators with a love for Christ and a talent for pointing audiences to the beauty and truth of our Faith.

What is the median SAT and ACT of your most recently admitted class? (Note that some colleges may not require one or both scores from all students) 

SAT: 1120


What is the median H.S. GPA of your most recently admitted class?


Are more than half of the current members of your faculty practicing Catholics? (Yes/No)


Approximately what percentage of your current faculty members are practicing Catholics?

Full Time Faculty: 83%
Adjunct Faculty: 63%

Are members of your faculty officially informed of their responsibility for maintaining and strengthening the Catholic identity of the institution? (Yes/No)


How are faculty members informed of this responsibility?

Faculty sign an agreement to not teach contrary to the Magisterial teachings of the Church.  Non-Catholics do not teach theology or philosophy courses.

Are members of your teaching faculty required, as a condition of employment, to be faithful to the magisterium of the Catholic Church in all teaching activities? (Yes/No)


Are members of your teaching faculty required, as a condition of employment, to conform to Catholic moral teaching in their public actions and statements both on and off campus?


Do all Catholic faculty members make the Catholic Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity? (Yes/No)


Please identify key undergraduate faculty members who are noted experts in their field, have produced important publications, have leadership roles in academic associations, etc. and briefly describe such accomplishments (optional):

Chris Riley, Professor of Film, is the author of The Hollywood Standard: The Complete and Authoritative Guide to Script Format and Style and is considered the most authoritative figure on official screenplay format.  He worked in the script department at Warner Bros and is the former director of the acclaimed Act One Writing Program in Hollywood.

Prof. Colin Brady is a creative producer and animation supervisor who has worked at Pixar, Industrial Light and Magic, Imagi Studios, Rhythm and Hues, and Pixomondo. Colin has directed animation for Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Ang Lee, John Lasseter and Martin Scorsese. He has worked on projects including A Bug’s LifeToy Story 2The Hunger Games, and Hugo.

Prof. Marc Burch, Professor of Business, is a founder and the VP of Business Development at ComoBlue, a software application company. He helped develop ideation, social gaming, and product strategy for Facebook and mobile applications, managing the business development, partnerships, and ad networks. He is also an angel investor and executive entrepreneur providing early-stage capital.

Dr. Derry Connolly – founder and president of JPCatholic – also teaches business coursework. He spent 15 years working in industrial Research and Development with IBM and Kodak. He holds 8 US patents and has numerous technical publications. He has also taught Applied Innovation at the Von Liebig Center for Entrepreneurism and Technology Advancement; and served as the Associate Dean of Continuing Education at UCSD Extension.

Prof. Nathan Sartain is a senior environment artist at Sony Playstation specializing in environment, prop art, and texturing. His work has included clients such as Disney/Pixar, SyFy, Cartoon Network, and game franchises such as Destiny and The Last of Us.

Prof. Steve Kramp, Chair of Theology and Humanities, is a theologian and prize-winning poet. Prior to coming to JPCatholic he taught courses in writing, literature, and cultural history at a number of universities and colleges, including the University of California, Merced, and the Franciscan University of Steubenville. He holds a BA in English from the University of Oregon, an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and an MA in Theology and Christian Ministry from the Franciscan University of Steubenville.

Dr. Keyes is a recent convert to Catholicism from Anglicanism. He is beginning the process of formation to the priesthood through the Ordinariate of St. Peter. Dr. Keyes’ impressive academic background includes a Ph.D. in Theology from Boston College and an M DIV from Duke Divinity School. He brings with him deep academic expertise and a passion for the mission of JPCatholic to Impact Culture for Christ.

Does the institution have a department of Catholic theology, distinct from “religious studies” and other disciplines?


Are courses in Catholic theology clearly identified and distinguished from other courses dealing with religion?


Does every faculty member in the theological disciplines have the mandatum (or the “canonical mission” for ecclesiastical faculties) approved by the appropriate Church authority, as required by Canon Law? (Yes/No)


Do all faculty in the theological disciplines make the Catholic Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity? (Yes/No)


Does your institution require that all theology courses be taught in a manner faithful to Scripture, Tradition, and the Church’s Magisterium, and also to the principles and methods proper to Catholic theology? (Yes/No)


Please identify the theology courses that are included in the undergraduate core or distribution requirements and the professors who routinely teach those courses:

Christian Experience I (Personal Relationship)
Christian Experience II (Catholic Doctrine)
Christian Experience III (The Sacramental Life)
Christian Experience IV (Theology of the Body)

These are normally taught by Prof. Steve Kramp or Dr. Samuel Keyes.

Please describe the place of Catholic theology in your institution’s undergraduate curriculum and how it is distinct from other institutions.

Central to an education at John Paul the Great Catholic University is our four-course series in theology.  As this series explores the teachings of the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, it takes care to emphasize the special contributions of Pope St. John Paul II: the Catechism of the Catholic Church, his Theology of the Body, and his integration of traditional theology with culture and lived experience.  By taking up theological study in the spirit of John Paul II, JPCatholic students emerge equipped to engage with culture, to yoke faith with reason, and to say yes to John Paul II’s call for a New Evangelization.

Please identify any course that every undergraduate student must take:

Foundations I – The Classical Period

Foundations II – The Middle Ages and the Renaissance

Foundations III – The Enlightenment and Romanticism

World History and Cultures

College Writing II

Christian Experience I (Personal Relationship)

Christian Experience II (Catholic Doctrine)

Christian Experience III (The Sacramental Life)

Christian Experience IV (Theology of the Body)


Philosophy of Nature

Philosophy of Man

Philosophy of God

Entrepreneurial Thinking

Introduction to Marketing

Business Planning

Negotiation Skills

Social Media Marketing

Leadership and Management

Business Communications

Please identify the courses that students may choose from in order to satisfy common curriculum distribution requirements:

Students should choose between:

College Writing I;
Culture Making and Aesthetics

How many credits are required for graduation and what percent are from core / distribution courses?

69/180 credits   38%

Is every undergraduate student required to take one or more courses in which they are taught authentic Catholic doctrine and practice? (Yes/No)


If yes, please describe them generally and note how many courses are required?

The core curriculum requires four courses in Scripture and Catholic theology.

Is every undergraduate student required to take one or more interdisciplinary courses relating theology or philosophy with other disciplines? (Yes/No)


Number of Majors: 


List the major, minor and special program areas that students may choose for specialization while pursuing an undergraduate degree:

Major: Communications Media

Areas of Emphasis: Screenwriting, Film Producing (Business of Film), Production/Directing, Post-production, Acting for Stage & Screen, Animation, Game Development, Advertising, Graphic Design.

Major: Business

Areas of Emphasis: Creative Entrepreneurship, Marketing & Advertising, Leadership & Management

Major: Humanities
Creative Writing & Screenwriting, Musical Theatre, Illustration, New Evangelization, Theology & Philosophy

What are the three most popular majors or specialty disciplines for undergraduate students, and about what percentage of undergraduate students specialize in these disciplines?

Film: 38%

Animation and Gaming: 20%

Business: 12%

Does each undergraduate degree program require Catholic ethical formation related to the student’s major field(s) of study? (Yes/No)


Does your institution regularly provide academic events to address theological questions related to specialized disciplines? (Yes/No – if yes, please describe)

Yes. Our Impacting Culture Speaker Series provides regular opportunities for students to hear from creative professionals on their integration of faith with their work. Past speakers have included Tim Reckart (Director of Sony Animation’s The Star), and Bill Marsilii (Screenwriter, Deja Vu).

Does your institution require cooperation among faculty in different disciplines in teaching, research, and other academic activities? (Yes/No – if yes, please describe)

There is no requirement, but it is supported. As one example, our Visual Effects Production course is co-taught by two professors from both the Animation and Film departments

Does the institution have one or more priest chaplains on campus for the Sacraments and spiritual direction? (Yes/No)

Yes. None live on campus, but several are regularly on campus to offer spiritual direction.

On average, how many hours per week is a priest chaplain on campus and available to students?

10 hours

Please describe the priests who minister to students and celebrate the Sacraments on campus.

Various priests from the local areas celebrate Mass on-campus; these include priests from Miles Christi, the Augustinians, local parishes, and the Chaldean Catholic Rite.

Does the local bishop (or other competent ecclesiastical authority) select or approve the appointment of your priest chaplain(s)? (Yes/No)


Does the institution have one or more campus ministers on campus (lay or religious, but not priests) who are available to students for spiritual direction? (Yes/No)


Please describe the campus ministers who are not priests.

One of our professors is a consecrated virgin, and she is available for female spiritual direction. In addition, various religious sisters have also been available for spiritual direction.

Does your institution offer Mass to students at least on Sundays and other days of obligation? (Yes/No)

Yes. Weekend Masses on campus are usually offered on Sunday evenings. Students also attend local parishes.

On average, about what percentage of undergraduate students attend Sunday Mass (including the Saturday vigil Mass) during the academic year? 

Estimated 90%

Does your institution offer daily Mass to students? (Yes/No)


On average, about how many undergraduate students attend daily Mass during the academic year?

We estimate about 50% of student body attend daily Mass at least once a week.

Approximately 50 students attend campus daily Mass on a given day.

Does your institution offer the Extraordinary Form of the Mass to students? (Yes/No – if yes, when and how often?)


Are all of the Masses celebrated on campus reverent and in accord with liturgical norms and directives? (Yes/No)


Please list the schedule of Masses, noting the following for each Mass: the day and time, the Form or Rite of the Mass, and the style of music, if any (chant, traditional, contemporary, etc.):

Mo 11:00 a.m., Ordinary Form (Acapella Choir)
Tu 11:00 a.m., Ordinary Form (Acapella Choir)
We 11:00 a.m., Ordinary Form (Acapella Choir)
Th 11:00 a.m., Chaldean Catholic Rite (Chant)
Fr 11:00 a.m., Ordinary Form (Acapella Choir)
Sun 7:00 p.m. Ordinary Form (Acapella Choir)

Does your institution offer Confession on campus at least weekly? (Yes/No)


List the schedule for Confession by day and time:

Mo – 11:45-1:00
Tu –11:45-1:00
We – 11:45-1:00
Th – 11:45-1:00
Fr – 11:45-1:00
Sa – Local Parish 4:00-5:15 p.m.
Su – 6:00-6:30

Other: As needed, or at special events (retreats, etc)

Does your institution offer Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at least weekly? (Yes/No)


List the schedule for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament by day and time:

Monday-Friday, usually 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
(Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is also available 24 hours at St Mary’s Catholic Church.)

Please identify regularly scheduled devotions on campus for students such as the Rosary and prayer groups:

Rosary is prayed nightly at 9:00 p.m. in the townhome common area. On Thursday evenings there is a weekly Adoration night with Praise & Worship, run by our student campus ministry team. The Divine Mercy Chaplet is normally prayed after Mass in our adoration chapel.

Does your institution offer retreat programs available to all Catholic students at least annually? (Yes/No)


Please describe any formal programs to foster vocations to the priesthood and religious life:

There is currently no formal pre-theology program.

If your institution has formal vocation programs, about how many students participate in them each year?


Are you aware of any graduates from your institution (not including seminary students, if any) who are ordained to the priesthood or have entered religious life? Please describe.

Yes. There are several Chaldean Catholic seminarians who have completed their undergraduate and graduate degrees at JPCatholic. So far, four of them have been ordained to the priesthood.

We have also had several women who have chosen to enter the religious life.

Does your institution limit religious services and activities on campus (not including private prayer and devotions) to faithfully Catholic activities? (Yes/No)


Please describe options for students to reside on and off campus:

JPCatholic has leased a block of townhome and apartment units in the Latitude33 complex, less than a half-mile (approx. 10 minute walk) from the classrooms and production facilities. Students walk or ride bicycles to class.

The townhomes are three-story floorplans, whereas the apartments are one-floor layouts. Each unit normally has five students, split between two bedrooms.

The complex is located right next to a shopping center with a movie theatre and grocery store. Down the street from the student housing is Grape Day Park, which offers plenty of space for sports and short film production. There are an abundance of part-time job opportunities in the shopping center and on historic Grand Avenue, which is home to bistros, bakeries, gelato and coffee shops.

Because students do not live in traditional dorms, students experience and are encouraged to develop a greater degree of responsibility. For example, the University does not offer a meal plan, so students are responsible for their own meals. Students also clean their apartments and there are periodic room checks to ensure cleanliness.

The Latitude33 complex includes 2 workout rooms, a pool, a game room, and a cabana area with grills. Students can study and socialize in either the Student Center on-campus or in one of three townhome/apartment units that the school uses as common areas for JPCatholic students. These common areas are available during set hours when there is a Resident Assistant on duty.

Undergraduate students are only allowed to live off-campus if:
a) they are 23 years of age or older, or
b) they live at home with their parents and commute to JPCatholic, or
c) they’re married or part of a religious order

What percentage of students reside in housing offered by your institution?


Does your institution offer only single-sex residence halls? (Yes/No)


What percentage of students living on campus live in single-sex residence halls?


If your institution offers co-ed residence halls, how are students of the opposite sex separated?


When are students of the opposite sex permitted to visit common areas of residence halls?

Three common apartments/townhomes are open during set times for students of both genders to intermingle; the units are supervised by a Resident Assistant on duty. Each of these units has set hours published on our website, and each one is open for at least 5 hours each day.

Are students of the opposite sex ever permitted to visit students’ bedrooms? (Not including irregular “open house” events, once or twice a semester.) (Yes/No – if yes, when?)

Students are normally not allowed into an apartment/townhome of students of the opposite sex. However, there are two main exceptions:

  • Students may invite students of the opposite sex over for dinner between the hours of 5:00-10:00pm. There may be up to one dinner per week per unit. Apartment dinner visits are limited to common areas of the units; visits in the bedrooms are strictly prohibited.

    The invitation for the dinner must go out and be accepted by at least three but not more than six students of the opposite sex. All suitemates must agree to the inter-visitation. A request form must be filled out and approved by Residential Life in advance.

  • If a student wishes to use their apartment for a mixed-gender film shoot, they must fill out an Apartment Filming Request Form and receive approval in advance. A supervisor such as a Resident Assistant must be present on set. Film shoots are allowed to use the bedrooms.

If students of the opposite sex are visiting students’ bedrooms, does your institution require that doors are fully open and lights on? Please describe.


How does your institution foster sobriety and respond to substance abuse on campus, particularly in campus residences?

Alcohol abuse is rare. Abuse has led to expulsion, loss of financial aid, and loss of student work-study positions. To discourage the contemporary fixation on alcohol as a centerpiece of college campus life, alcohol is not normally allowed on-campus. Some controlled exceptions apply for students 21 years of age and up; these involve specific times, locations, RA supervision, and other restrictions.

On-campus counseling for various issues, including substance abuse, is available for students.

How does your institution foster a student living environment that promotes and supports chastity, particularly in campus residences?

Our inter-visitation policy limits the opportunities for male and females to visit one another’s apartments.

Student Households provide support and encouragement in living a life of virtue.

Spiritual Direction is offered on campus regularly, and the Sacrament of Reconciliation is offered six days a week.

How does your institution foster Catholic prayer life and spirituality in campus residences?

The Rosary is said in the Common Room every night and the Student Life Team actively encourages prayer and evangelization groups on-campus. Official Households – groups of either men or women with a common devotion – build spiritual community among residents by leading charitable events, praying together, and fostering fellowship.

Additional Residence Life information, clarification, or description (optional):

During most breaks, students may choose to stay on-campus in the student housing. However, all students are required to move-out during our September break (between the Summer and Fall quarters) to allow for deep cleaning of the units. Multiple storage unit options are available nearby, and the residence life staff help facilitate a smooth transition.

Please identify and briefly describe officially recognized student clubs and activities at your institution that…

…foster spiritual development:

Households, SOUL Campus Ministry

…engage in corporal works of mercy:

Rotaract Club

…address sexual issues (including birth control, abortion, homosexuality):


…address issues of social concern:

Rotaract Club, “Out of the Cave” Student Journal, The Pelican News

…address particular academic interests:

Film Club, Live Broadcasting Club, “Out of the Cave” Student Journal, the Impacting Culture Speaker Series

…address particular cultural interests:

Swing Dance Club, Film Club, Pianist Club, “Out of the Cave” Student Journal, Improv Club, Choir, Anime Club, Gaming Club, Sketch Comedy Club,

…provide opportunities for athletic pursuits:

Flag Football Club, Ultimate Frisbee Club

…please list all student clubs not listed in the above categories:


If applicable, in which athletic Division and Conference does your institution compete? (Please specify NCAA, NAIA, etc. as well as Division level.)


What athletic teams are offered for men and women?


How do you help develop the mind, body, and soul of student-athletes?


Does your institution require all student clubs and activities, including those listed above, to operate in accord with Catholic teaching? (Yes/No)


How does your institution address student clubs and activities that may conflict with Catholic teaching?

Student clubs which conflict with Catholic teaching are not allowed on-campus.

Does your institution require student services like health care, counseling and guidance to conform to Catholic ethical and moral teaching and directives? (Yes/No)


How does your institution restrict student access to obscene and pornographic material, including computer and network access, the library, and the bookstore?

Our library does not contain any obscene or pornographic material, and we do not have an on-campus bookstore. Students are expected to practice chastity and self-control in their use of the internet; viewing pornographic material is a violation of the Code of Student Conduct.

Additional Student Activities information, clarification, or description (optional):

While students are required to provide their own health care insurance, University referrals are made only to providers that conform with Catholic ethical and moral teachings and directives.

Has your institution’s diocesan bishop (or other competent ecclesiastical authority) officially recognized the institution as Catholic? (Yes/No)


Do your institution’s governing documents include or reference the General Norms and Particular (United States) Norms of Ex Corde Ecclesiae? (Yes/No)


Do your institution’s governing documents or institutional policies require conformity to the General Norms and Particular (United States) Norms of Ex Corde Ecclesiae? (Yes/No)


What is your institution’s mission statement?

Mission: To impact our culture for Christ by shaping creators and innovators, leaders and entrepreneurs at the intersections of communications media, business, and theology, guided by the spiritual, moral and social teachings of Jesus Christ.

Does your institution have a written policy prohibiting awards, honors, or speaking platforms for individuals or organizations that defy, by public action or statement, fundamental Catholic moral principles including the sacredness and dignity of human life and the sanctity of marriage? (See United States bishops, “Catholics in Political Life.”)(Yes/No)


Please give or explain your campus speaker and honoree policy in light of Catholic moral teaching:

No honors are given without the personal approval of the President.  In accordance with the bishops’ standards we never “honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles.”

Guest speakers on campus are subject to an approval process which also takes this into account.

Describe the makeup of your institution’s undergraduate student body with regard to sex, religion, home state/country and type of high school (public, private, homeschool):

Total number of undergraduates: 276

Male: 49%   Female: 51%

Catholic: Est. 98%
Other Christian: Est. 2%

Number of states represented: 37

Top three states:   California, Arizona, Florida/Washington/Colorado (tied)

Students from top three states: 153

Catholic HS: 32%
Homeschool: 19%
Private HS: 7%
Public HS: 42%

Most up-to-date information provided by the University

Editor’s Note: Campus safety and security information for most colleges is available via the U.S. Department of Education website here.

Are prospective and current members of your institution’s governing board(s) informed of their responsibility for maintaining and strengthening the Catholic identity of your institution? (Yes/No)


Are more than half of the current members of your institution’s governing board(s) practicing Catholics? (Yes/No)


Do Catholic members of your institution’s governing board(s) make the Catholic Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity? (Yes/No)


Is your institution’s president a practicing Catholic? (Yes/No)


Does your institution’s president make the Catholic Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity? (Yes/No)


A Message from the President

Dear Prospective Students:

Thank you for including John Paul the Great Catholic University in your college search! I’m excited that you are considering joining our dynamic student body of creators and innovators, scholars and entrepreneurs, dedicated to excelling in their field and impacting culture for Christ.

We are incredibly proud of JPCatholic’s unique academic environment. Our campus is a tight-knit community where you can develop your artistic, entrepreneurial, and intellectual gifts while thriving in a supportive Catholic environment. We are proud of our hands-on education, our distinguished practitioner faculty, our talented and diverse student body, and the impressive accomplishments of our alumni.

Whether your focus is on film, creative writing, acting, game development, animation, graphic design, illustration, marketing or any of our other emphases, you will find a creative and collaborative community of students and faculty who share your same passion.

Our programs are intentionally very hands-on, enabling you to create an abundance of projects and to build your portfolio starting your freshman year. We offer you the tools and mentorship for honing your craft, and we combine your career preparation with a solid foundation of Catholic liberal arts core in theology, philosophy, the humanities, and business. And of course, if you are to Impact Culture for Christ, you must truly know Christ; the sacraments are at the heart of our campus life, with no classes scheduled during our daily Mass.

Our patron Pope Saint John Paul II wrote in his Letter to Artists, “Humanity in every age, and even today, looks to works of art to shed light upon its path and its destiny.” We take his words as inspiration for the stories, art, and projects we create, that we may use our talents to bring the Truth, Beauty, and Goodness of Christ to the world.

May God bless you in your college discernment, and I hope to see you soon at JPCatholic!


Dr. Derry Connolly

Visit Campus

Get in touch with John Paul the Great Catholic University to schedule your campus visit:


220 West Grand Ave
Escondido, CA 92025

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