After years of attempting to establish a Catholic university in Los Angeles focusing on STEM teachings, Catholic Polytechnic University (CPU) was approved by the state in December to operate and will welcome its inaugural class of students in person for fall 2024.

Dr. Jennifer Nolan, the founder and president of CPU, said she’s relieved after a “long, long” process, and has lofty expectations for the university.

“It’s been like a three-year process to get approved by the state, but we’re officially approved,” Nolan said. “We’re basically starting up a Catholic Caltech or a Catholic MIT. That’s the vision of it.”

A Los Angeles-area location for the campus has been identified but is still being finalized. To start, the university will offer bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in computer science, with courses of study in subjects such as cybersecurity, technology and data science, but also theology, history, and economics. CPU is now accepting applications for students to attend in the fall.

According to CPU, its mission is to “promote the intersection of faith and science as seen through the lens of faithful Catholic teachings.” Nolan said they have 25 Catholic scientists and engineers from institutions such as NASA, Caltech, MIT, Stanford, and USC who have committed to teaching at the university.

Nolan said CPU is still seeking corporate sponsorships and partnerships to help lower tuition for students, create opportunities for scholars to earn work experience, and offer businesses potential high-quality job candidates.

The university received approval and a blessing from Los Angeles Archbishop José H. Gomez in January 2020. CPU was founded by Nolan and Christopher Plance, a theology and history teacher at St. Monica Academy in Montrose who is on the university board of directors.

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