The Catholic University of America is a four-year private university located in Washington, D.C. The university has about 6,700 students, 3,500 of whom are undergraduates. It is the only institution of higher education in the United States founded by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and it is considered a “pontifical university.” It was established as a center of graduate research in 1887, and was approved by Pope Leo XIII on Easter Sunday of that year. The university began accepting undergraduate students in 1904.
The university is built on a tradition of Catholic study and academic rigor in programs ranging from philosophy to social work to architecture and more. The university offers undergraduate degrees in 72 programs, master’s degrees in 103 programs, and doctoral or terminal degrees in 66 programs. It is located in the Brookland neighborhood of D.C., an area that features 60 catholic institutions, including the Dominican House of Studies and Trinity Washington University. The neighborhood is often referred to as “Little Rome.”
The university operates undergraduate programs in nine schools: the School of Architecture and Planning, the School of Arts and Sciences, the School of Engineering, the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music, the School of Nursing, the School of Philosophy, the National Catholic School of Social Service, Pre-Professional Studies, and the Metropolitan School of Professional Studies.
In addition to graduate programs in those schools of study, the university also offers graduate studies in its schools of Law, Canon Law, Library and Information Science, Theology and Religious Studies, and the Catholic School of Social Service.
For students who need to balance their studies with a working life or family life, the university’s Metropolitan School of Professional Studies (MSPS) offers programs that accommodate busy lives, with evening, accelerated and online courses, as well as student services tailored to adult students. The program accepts undergraduate and graduate
In addition to its core academic studies, the school continues to support and encourage its mission as an institution of original research. The university operates research institutes including the Vitreous State Laboratory, the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies, and the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage
and Family. The campus also is home to 17 research centers with facilities on campus, including the Catholic Biblical Association, the Cognitive Science Lab, the Center for Global Standards Analysis, and the Center of Spirituality and Social Work.
Most Popular Fields of Study
The Catholic University utilizes the Common Application form, readily available online, and also allows students to apply for Early Action. Applicants are required to be high school graduates. Home-schooled applicants must complete an additional essay explaining their curriculum.
Several forms of financial assistance are available to qualifying students. All enrolling students seeking financial aid must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. About 80 percent of enrolling students receive some level of financial aid – based on need and academic potential.
The university offers “University Academic Scholarship” and Archdiocesan Scholarships, as well as need-based grants, a special alumni grant (alumni nominate incoming freshmen for the award), the Parish Scholarship, and the Family Grant.
Student Financial Aid Details
Of the 3,500 undergraduates, about 2,500 live on campus. The university’s residence life department provides 49 resident assistants and six professional live-in staff members to students.
Students belong to more than 100 clubs and organizations, with themes ranging from academic to political and religious. The university’s Office of Campus Activities also operates the Cardinal Leadership Discovery Program, which, through a variety of programs and service opportunities, seeks to develop each student’s personal relationship, community connections, and leadership abilities.
About 84 percent of undergraduates on campus self-identify as Catholic, and the campus ministry has two groups of student ministers who live in residence halls. A number of faith-based programs are available on campus as well.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Student Graduation Demographics
The Cardinals compete in NCAA Division III, and most teams are members of the Landmark Conference. The football team is a member of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference. The university fields 21 teams, including football, baseball, volleyball, field hockey, as well as men’s and women’s cross country, soccer, basketball, swimming, lacrosse, tennis, and more. The university’s primary indoor facility is the Raymond A. DuFour Center, which seats about 2,000. The football team plays at Cardinal Stadium, which seats about 3,500.
Additional School Information
The university has been visited by reigning Popes on two occasions: Pope John Paul II visited in 1979; and Pope Benedict XVI visited in 2008 to give an address on Catholic education and academic freedom.
The university as a whole is accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
Justine Ventimiglia graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Michigan – Dearborn. Currently residing in a 1950’s modest ranch in Metro Detroit, she enjoys researching and writing about Mid Century Modern furniture and decor as she works on restoring her home and documenting the process.