The Catholic University of America

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Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above
Carnegie Classification
Doctoral Universities: High Research Activity
Religious Affiliation
Roman Catholic

Catholic University of America is a private institution located in Washington, D.C. on a 176 acre campus – the largest college campus in the District of Columbia. Catholic University of America is unique in that it serves as the national university of the Catholic Church and is the only education institution founded by the United States bishops. Established in 1887, the University began as a papally chartered graduate and research center with the support of Pope Leo XIII. The founder’s mission was to develop a national institution that would “promote faith in the context of spiritual freedom, spiritual pluralism, and intellectual rigor.” Incorporated on 66 acres of land in 1887, President Grover Cleveland attended the event and laid the cornerstone of Divinity Hall, which is now known as Caldwell Hall.

Academic Programs

The Catholic University of America’s mission is to be a “comprehensive Catholic and American institution of higher learning, faithful to the teachings of Jesus Christ as handed on by the Church.” Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, the University is made up of a dozen schools, more than 20 research facilities, and offers well over 200 doctoral, master’s, and undergraduate programs.

The largest school within the Catholic University of America is the School of Arts and Sciences. With 18 departments, this School offers majors in over 45 fields of undergraduate study, at least 30 graduate concentrations, and over a dozen doctoral concentrations. Other schools which make up the University include the School of Canon Law, the only school of Catholic canon law in the U.S.; the School of Engineering; the Columbus School of Law, a pioneer in clinical legal education; the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music, the only university music school in the D.C. area; the School of Nursing; the School of Philosophy; the Metropolitan School of Professional Studies; The Tim and Steph Busch School of Business and Economics; the National Catholic School of Social Service; and the School of Theology and Religious Studies.

Student Life

The Catholic University of America has a total enrollment figure of more than 6,500, including nearly 3,500 undergraduate students. Approximately 7% of the study body is made up of international students who represent nearly 85 foreign nations. On-campus housing is offered to students with a variety of options including traditional residence halls, suites, and apartments. The University’s residence buildings are located in several distinct areas on campus, including in the Centennial Village, Central, North 1 and 2, and Opus neighborhoods.

More than 90 on-campus student-led clubs and organizations are recognized by the Catholic University of America and campus activities include concerts, theatre performances, 5k runs, open-mic nights, and more. Students work out on new equipment at the Eugene I. Kane Fitness Center and also enjoy white water rafting excursions, intramural teams, yoga classes, club sports and other recreational and athletic opportunities. As an NCAA Division III school, the Catholic University of America’s intercollegiate teams compete in the Landmark Conference and the football team is a member of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference. Varsity sports include basketball, cross country, lacrosse, soccer, swimming & diving, tennis, track & field, men’s baseball and football, and women’s field hockey, softball, and volleyball.

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