The Catholic University of America
Write Your Story
The story you create for yourself during the next four years could be the most important one you ever write. And what better setting than at a comprehensive research university, informed by the liberal arts and Catholic intellectual tradition, and located in the exciting, opportunity-rich environment that is the nation’s capital?
With 12 schools, more than 70 undergraduate programs, and 36 research centers and facilities, the University still maintains the nurturing feel of an undergraduate college. Inspired by our rich 135-year intellectual history, CatholicU 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. The University’s setting, with downtown Washington, D.C., just minutes away via the convenient Metrorail system (the University has its own stop on the historic Red Line), makes Politics a popular major. Other prominent programs also 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.
We have a commitment to undergraduate research—best reflected in our increasingly popular Research Day—that could earn you a rare co-author credit on a published paper while you’re still an undergraduate. And when not studying or practicing or performing, our students also get to enjoy the scores of museums and galleries, theaters, restaurants, monuments, markets, parks, and historic sites that make Washington, D.C., one of the most interesting, dynamic, and influential cities in the world.
Ours is a welcoming, faith-filled community inspired by discovery and the pursuit of knowledge, committed to social justice, and engaged with high-energy student life. As the one and only national university of the Catholic Church in the United States and America’s second-oldest research university, we believe in the compatibility of faith and reason, and we pride ourselves on expressing these ideals through acceptance, service, and always striving to better ourselves and the lives of others. At Catholic University, we embrace you and the development of your character—regardless of your religious belief.
Students at Catholic University find themselves in a world within a world—in both a powerful and historic city, and surrounded by lush green landscapes and cherry blossom trees. Situated just three miles north of Capitol Hill in the heart of the bustling Brookland neighborhood, the 176-acre campus is the largest in Washington, D.C., providing a grassy, residential oasis for more than 3,000 undergraduate students and 2,400 graduate students looking for a distinctive educational experience rooted in a deeper meaning.
The city’s myriad museums, galleries, monuments, parks, performing arts venues, and historic sites become an extension of the classroom, too, and students from all academic disciplines are encouraged to examine, understand, and act on the important contemporary issues found at nearly every turn in the nation's capital.
Catholic University combines world-class academics, individualized support, and unsurpassed opportunities for internships to help students maximize their talents, skills, and abilities to make change in the world. 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 D.C., and enjoy an annual speaker series. With guidance from our Center for Academic and Career Success, 80% of CatholicU students complete at least one internship—with the U.S. Congress, Smithsonian Institution, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, NASA, National Institutes of Health, among many other D.C.-area organizations—by the time they graduate. Sixty percent complete more than two!
Students are required to live on campus for their first three years, though many choose to live in University housing all four years. The welcoming and supportive residential experience promotes friendships to last a lifetime… just ask any of our more than 88,000 active alumni around the world. At the same time, a vigorous array of programs offered by the Office of Campus Ministry invites students to explore both faith and friendship while serving those in need. More than 40% of students participate regularly in community service, earning honors from the NCAA and Catholic Volunteer Network for national leadership in giving back to our neighbors throughout the capital region.
More than 100 student clubs and organizations, 25 Division III intercollegiate athletic teams (we compete in the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Landmark Conference and the Mid-Atlantic Rowing Conference (MARC)), and a robust study abroad program featuring study sites in 37 countries across six continents offer plenty of other opportunities for keeping busy and engaged as a CatholicU student.
Also at CatholicU, we understand the value of education far surpasses its cost. That’s why we commit more than $70 million each year to a comprehensive financial aid program, and why over the last three years we have directly offered 95% of first-year students scholarships and/or need-based grants.
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 commons 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.
To make it an even easier decision to apply, Catholic University does not charge an application fee to apply for undergraduate admission. And in 2020-2021 we became “test blind,” meaning we no longer consider standardized test scores as part of the review for admission.
A College of Distinction
A College of Distinction - Catholic
A College of Distinction - Washington, DC
#8 Most Engaged in Community Service | The Princeton Review's Best 388 Colleges
#21 in the nation on Best Green Colleges in the U.S. | College Consensus
#87 for Best Value | U.S. News & World Report
Best Catholic Colleges, Best Colleges in America, Best Private Universities in America, and Best Colleges in Washington, D.C. | Niche
Other colleges and universities talk about having a “D.C. 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. Five 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.
“I was immediately drawn to Catholic from the moment I stepped on campus. I could tell there was something special and that it was more than just a university, it really was a family.”
“As a politics student, there's no place like Washington, D.C., to live and learn. The opportunities to gain professional experience off campus with internship opportunities have been invaluable to my student experience.”
“I've made excellent friends in all grades and majors. And the professors are gems who care about their students and are great teachers and scholars. This is simply an open and welcoming and cheerful place.”