Catholic University of America

Washington, DC

Catholic University of America

Washington, DC

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The Catholic University of America is a shining jewel in the nation’s capital—176 green acres in an urban setting. Located in the heart of the bustling Brookland neighborhood, Catholic University is a national research university with 32 research centers and facilities that still maintains the nurturing feel of an undergraduate college. Inspired by our rich 133-year intellectual history, the University welcomes undergraduate and graduate students of all religious traditions from around the globe to study with world-class faculty at the forefront of their fields. An education with Catholic University is a great investment, and the University commits more than $69 million annually in merit- and need-based financial assistance to undergraduate students. 

At Catholic University, small class sizes are the norm, and undergraduate students work closely with top researchers, scholars, and artists. Challenging academics help students interpret and appreciate the relationship between faith and reason—a key aspect of the Catholic intellectual tradition. And while the University’s setting in Washington, DC, makes Politics a popular major for many students, there are more than 70 undergraduate majors available. Prominent programs include Architecture, Biology, Business, Engineering, Music, Nursing, Philosophy, Psychology, Social Work, and Theology as well as pre-professional studies in Dentistry, Law, Medicine, and Veterinary Science. With downtown Washington just minutes away via the convenient Metrorail system (the University has its own stop on the Red Line), the city’s myriad museums, galleries, monuments, parks, performing arts venues, and historic sites become an extension of the classroom. Students from all academic disciplines are encouraged to examine, understand, and act on contemporary issues. The University also models an integrated academic and career advising program, starting in the first year, to help students develop internship and research plans to support their career aspirations. 

First-Year Experience 
All first-year students are traditionally grouped into Learning Communities of about 18 students who take a sequence of four core classes in philosophy, theology, and English together. They also participate in service learning activities, take class-based excursions throughout DC, and enjoy an annual speaker series.

University Honors Program 
This program features small discussion-based classes and seminar-style tracks in Environmental Studies, Humanities, Philosophy, Social Science,  and Theology. The Centennial Village honors community offers a distinctive first-year residential  experience featuring dinners and discussions with invited professors, movie nights, and group excursions to the city. 

Life on campus and off 
Students are required to live on campus for their first three years, though many choose to live in University housing all four years. Catholic University supports more than 100 student organizations and has a vibrant performing arts culture, countless community service opportunities, leadership development programs, and intramural and club sports. There are shops, restaurants, and an arts walk just off campus and more dining, shopping, and entertainment options downtown. Washington, DC, is one of the nation’s largest college towns with nearly 300,000 students in the region. Catholic University participates in the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area, providing students with access to 15 Consortium universities. 

Prepared for life 
Catholic University students (and alumni) can depend on help from the Center for Academic and Career Success (CACS) to learn about and land internships and jobs through career fairs, position postings, résumé reviews, interview skill sharpening, workshops, and additional resources. Internships are available at organizations throughout the capital region, including Congress, the Smithsonian Institution, NASA, the National Institutes of Health, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and many others. CACS listed more than 9,000 opportunities in 2018–2019. By the time they graduate, 80% of Catholic University students complete at least one internship, and 60% complete two or more. 

Division III athletics 
Catholic University is committed to the Division III ideal of the scholar athlete. Our 25 varsity teams compete in the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Landmark Conference, the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) in football, and the Mid-Atlantic Rowing Conference (MARC).  

Looking ahead
Despite the recent challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, Catholic University continues to take steps toward a bigger and brighter future. We’ve started work on a new dining hall to be completed in 2022 and—thanks to a $40 million gift—are currently in the design stages for a new building to house the Conway School of Nursing and support other science programs across campus.

Other colleges and universities talk about having a “DC experience.” At CatholicU, the vibrant pulse of the nation’s capital has been interwoven with the University and the lives of its students since 1887. Eight US presidents have walked the campus. Three popes have visited. The University offers specific courses (like Washington 101)  that introduce students to the city as a classroom, where varied lessons on history, politics, culture and the arts, global economics, public policy, and more can be found at nearly every turn. Students also have unsurpassed opportunities for internships on Capitol Hill, at the Library of Congress, at the Smithsonian, and at other leading public and private organizations.



In 2019, three Catholic University students—two of which were undergraduate students—were awarded prestigious Fulbright research grants for study overseas.


In 2020, Catholic University was recognized as one of the top schools for service by Catholic Volunteer Network


In 2018, Catholic University saw a 98.57% pass rate for Nursing students taking the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) for the first time.


In 2017–2018, CatholicU’s athletics department was honored with the National Association of Division III Administrators Community Service Award in On-Going Projects for its annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.


Spiritual life 
The Office of Campus Ministry offers daily Mass, small faith communities, weekly Eucharistic adoration, and numerous student-run retreats each year. Through Campus Ministry, students deliver food to the homeless, serve in soup kitchens and shelters, tutor in after-school programs, visit the elderly, and participate in summer and spring mission trips. Approximately 80% of undergraduates are Catholic, but the Office of Campus Ministry also helps students seeking to nourish their faith in other religious settings by providing information on local services offered by other religions and Christian denominations. 

An Inside Look

What students are saying about us...

  • “It’s been a joy to be a part of this faith community. It’s become a special type of extended family. The professors and friends I’ve met here have helped me become the person I am now.”

    • Emily Carey ’19

  • “I’ve loved DC ever since visiting as a kid. I love the history, the monuments, the museums. And I’ve gone to Catholic schools my whole life. I wanted that experience for college too.”

    • Jeremy Striano ’21
  • “I’m a Catholic. I take my faith seriously and I try to show the love of God to others when I perform. The academics here are good, and I like the warm, welcoming atmosphere.”

    • Antonio Plumer ’22
  • “I love my business classes because in everything we’re learning, I don’t have to separate my faith. I would like to start a for-profit business that does good in the world, where my faith influences my business decisions.”

    • Lizzy Rich ’20