The Catholic University of America

Washington, DC

The Catholic University of America

Washington, DC

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Your story begins here

The story you create for yourself during the next four years could be the most important one you ever write. And what better setting for that story than a comprehensive research university that’s informed by the liberal arts and Catholic intellectual tradition in the exciting, opportunity-rich environment of the nation’s capital?

Students at The Catholic University of America find themselves in a world within a world—in both a powerful and historic city surrounded by lush, green landscapes. Situated just three miles north of Capitol Hill in the heart of the bustling Brookland neighborhood, Catholic University’s 176-acre campus is the largest in Washington, DC, providing a grassy, residential oasis for more than 3,000 undergraduate and 2,400 graduate students who are all looking for a distinctive educational experience rooted in a deeper meaning. 

With 12 schools, more than 70 undergraduate programs, and 32 research centers and facilities, the University still maintains the nurturing feel of an undergraduate college. Inspired by our rich 133-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, DC, just minutes away via the convenient Metrorail system (the University has its own stop on the historic Red Line)—makes Politics one of our most popular majors. Other 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.

The city’s myriad museums, galleries, monuments, parks, performing arts venues, and historic sites are an extension of the CatholicU classroom, and students from all academic disciplines are encouraged to examine, understand, and act on important contemporary issues found at nearly every turn in the nation’s capital.

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 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 striving to better ourselves and the lives of others. At CatholicU, we embrace you and your character development—regardless of religious beliefs.

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 DC, 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—and 60% complete more than two—by the time they graduate at places including the US Congress, Smithsonian Institution, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, NASA, National Institutes of Health, and many other DC area organizations.

Students are required to live on campus for their first two years, though many choose to live in University housing for all four. Our 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, the 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 our students participate regularly in community service, earning honors from the NCAA and Catholic Volunteer Network for national leadership by giving back to our neighbors throughout the capital region.

With more than 100 student clubs and organizations; 25 Division III athletic teams competing 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); and a robust study abroad program that features study sites in 37 countries on six continents, CatholicU offers students plenty of opportunities to keep busy and engaged. 

We have a commitment to undergraduate research—best reflected in our increasingly popular Research Day—that could earn you a co-author credit on a published paper while you’re still an undergraduate. When they’re not studying, practicing, or performing, our students get to enjoy the scores of museums and galleries, theaters, restaurants, monuments, markets, parks, and historic sites that make Washington, DC, one of the most interesting, dynamic, and influential cities in the world.

At CatholicU, we understand the value of an education far surpasses its cost. That’s why we commit more than $70 million each year to our comprehensive financial aid program and why over the last three years, we’ve directly offered scholarships and/or need-based grants to 95% of first-year students.

Despite recent challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, Catholic University continues to take steps toward a bigger and brighter future. We’re working 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 that will house the Conway School of Nursing and also support other science programs across campus.

To make it an even easier decision for you, Catholic University doesn’t 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. 

Visit us at to explore our campus either virtually or in person, register for an information session, and check out our virtual viewbook. Begin writing your story at CatholicU. We can’t wait to see what you do with it.



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.

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. 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.

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