The Catholic University of America

620 Michigan Avenue NE, Washington, DC 20064 | (202) 319-5000

#120 (tie) in National Universities | Overall Score 46/100.0
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School Details

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2018 Quick Stats

  • Tuition & Fees $44,060 (2017-18)
  • Room and Board $14,316 (2017-18)
  • Total Enrollment 6,076
  • Application Deadline Jan. 15

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The Catholic University of America is a private institution that was founded in 1887. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 3,241, its setting is urban, and the campus size is 176 acres. It utilizes a semester-based academic calendar. The Catholic University of America's ranking in the 2018 edition of Best Colleges is National Universities, 120. Its tuition and fees are $44,060 (2017-18).

Catholic University of America, as its name suggests, is the national university of the Catholic Church. Students take several courses in theology and philosophy before graduation, and the Campus Ministry holds worship services and offers leadership opportunities to interested students. For other ways to get involved, Catholic University students can check out more than 80 clubs and organizations. The school's Cardinals athletic teams compete in the NCAA Division III Landmark Conference in every sport except football. The football team plays in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference. Freshmen and sophomores are required to live on campus, and because the university has a stop on Washington, D.C.'s public transportation system, the Metro, students are just a short trip away from Capitol Hill and other national landmarks.

The school is home to about 20 research facilities, including the Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies. For graduate students, Catholic University runs the Columbus School of Law, a Department of Education and a School of Engineering, among other academic departments. There is also the Theological College, a seminary for male students preparing for priesthood. Among the many notable graduates of Catholic University are alumni such as actors Jon Voight and John Slattery; Robert Craves, co-founder of Costco Wholesale Inc.; and James Vanderslice, a former Dell Inc. executive.

General Information

  • Private, Coed school type
  • 1887 year founded
  • Roman Catholic religious affiliation
  • Semester academic calendar
  • Urban setting
  • $312.0 million 2016 endowment

School Mission and Unique Qualities

Content is provided by the school.

According to the school, The Catholic University of America is unique as the national university of the Catholic Church, with the added distinction that all undergraduates combine a base curriculum in the liberal arts with more in-depth courses from their major fields of study. Private and coeducational, CUA has 12 schools. Ten schools award undergraduate degrees: architecture and planning, arts and sciences, business and economics, engineering, music, nursing, philosophy, professional studies, social work, and theology and religious studies. All 12 schools grant graduate degrees. The student body of Catholic University totals nearly 6,500; of those nearly 3,500 are undergraduates. The University was founded in 1887 as a graduate institution. That foundation offers undergraduates unique opportunities to conduct scholarly and scientific research in their fields of study, working closely with faculty. CUA undergraduates begin their academic career with the First-Year Experience, which introduces them to philosophy, theology, rhetoric, and logic through study in small, supportive learning communities. This coursework engages them in thinking about, discussing, and writing about the great questions that have shaped human history and that continue to confront us today. Students have unique opportunities to address those questions worldwide through CUAs education abroad programs. Students in all majors can find semester, yearlong, or summer-only opportunities for study on five continents. In September 2015, the Rome Center of The Catholic University of America and Australian Catholic University opened, offering newly renovated living quarters for undergraduates, a wing for graduate students, apartments for visiting faculty, a studio for architecture majors, a chapel, and a garden, among other amenities. Politics majors can choose internships in the British or Irish houses of parliament, or the European Parliament or Commission. Architecture students can study the marvelous buildings of Rome or Paris, or, in the award-winning Spirit of Place Spirit of Design course, engage in a design-build project that begins in the studio and ends building a project in remote locations in such countries as Peru, Ireland, and Finland. Students in engineering can fulfill some of their academic requirements at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Nursing majors can learn valuable intercultural lessons at Australian Catholic University as well as take part in mission trips to Central America over the summer and on spring break. Through Campus Ministry, CUA students also embark on mission trips to Central America and Jamaica. In the nations capital they serve poor, elderly, homeless, or otherwise disadvantaged people through homeless food runs, work with Little Sisters of the Poor at the Jeanne Jugan Residence across the street, and at So Others Might Eat. The long history of the University in Washington, D.C., offers CUA students an incredible range of cultural and professional opportunities, most accessible from the D.C. Metrorail system, which is adjacent to campus. In fact, students at the University have the best of both worlds: They study and live on 176 acres, the largest campus in D.C., where they can enjoy a complete collegiate experience. They also are located in the heart of the United States capital, a 9-minute Metrorail ride from Capitol Hill, the Smithsonian Institution, Supreme Court, Library of Congress, and Union Station. In short, students from around the United States and numerous foreign countries find that CUAs academic offerings, Catholic foundation, stunning campus, and extensive off-campus opportunities make it a desirable educational destination.

2018 Rankings

The Catholic University of America is ranked #120 in National Universities. Schools are ranked according to their performance across a set of widely accepted indicators of excellence.

#120 (tie) in National Universities
At schools whose highest degree is a doctorate

See all scores and key indicators.
Read more about how we rank schools.

Other rankings at this school: Online, Graduate

Undergraduate Information

Alumni Starting Salaries

Below are the median starting salaries by major for alumni of The Catholic University of America.

Median starting salary of alumni: $50,500* *

Median starting salary of alumni: * $50,500*

By major:

Political Science and Government, General
Political Science and Government, General: Unlock with Compass
Psychology, General
Psychology, General: Unlock with Compass
Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse
Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse: Unlock with Compass
Architecture: Unlock with Compass
Mechanical Engineering
Mechanical Engineering: Unlock with Compass
Show All 14 Salaries by Major »
Data provided by . Last updated 2017.


When applying to The Catholic University of America, it's important to note the application deadline is Jan. 15, and the early action deadline and the early decision deadline are Nov. 1 and Nov. 15, respectively. The application fee at The Catholic University of America is $55. Scores for either the ACT or SAT test are due Feb. 15. It is selective, with an acceptance rate of 80 percent and an early acceptance rate of 87.8 percent.

For more information about the tests, essays, interviews and admissions process, visit the Applying to College knowledge center.

Selectivity: Selective 

Selectivity:  Selective

Fall 2016 acceptance rate: 80% 

Fall 2016 acceptance rate:  80%

Application deadline: Jan. 15 

Application deadline:  Jan. 15

SAT/ACT scores must be received by: Feb. 15 

SAT/ACT scores must be received by:  Feb. 15

Priority application deadline:

Academic Life

The student-faculty ratio at The Catholic University of America is 7:1, and the school has 63.4 percent of its classes with fewer than 20 students. The most popular majors at The Catholic University of America include: Political Science and Government, General; Psychology, General; Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse; Architecture; and Mechanical Engineering. The average freshman retention rate, an indicator of student satisfaction, is 84 percent.

Class sizes :
Classes with fewer than 20 students
50 or more

Student-faculty ratio: 7:1 

Student-faculty ratio:  7:1

4-year graduation rate: 62% 

4-year graduation rate:  62%

Student Life

The Catholic University of America has a total undergraduate enrollment of 3,241, with a gender distribution of 45 percent male students and 55 percent female students. At this school, 56 percent of the students live in college-owned, -operated or -affiliated housing and 44 percent of students live off campus. In sports, The Catholic University of America is part of the NCAA III.

Student gender distribution:
55% Female

Total enrollment: 6,076 

Total enrollment:  6,076

Collegiate athletic association: NCAA III 

Collegiate athletic association:  NCAA III

Full-time degree-seeking students:

Cost & Financial Aid

At The Catholic University of America, 55 percent of full-time undergraduates receive some kind of need-based financial aid, and the average need-based scholarship or grant award is $24,944.

Paying for college doesn't have to be difficult or devastating. Go to the Paying for College knowledge center to get advice on raising cash and reducing costs, or use the U.S. News 529 Finder to choose the best tax-advantaged college investment account for you.

Financial aid statistics:

Tuition and fees: $44,060 (2017-18) 

Tuition and fees:  $44,060 (2017-18)

Room and board: $14,316 (2017-18) 

Room and board:  $14,316 (2017-18)

Minimum credits per term a student can take for full-time tuition price:

Campus Safety

Campus safety data were reported by the institution to the U.S. Department of Education and have not been independently verified. The numbers for criminal offenses reflect reports of alleged offenses to campus security and/or law enforcement authorities, not necessarily prosecutions or convictions. Experts advise prospective students and their families to do their own research to evaluate the safety of a campus as well as the surrounding area.

Campus Services

The Catholic University of America offers a number of student services, including nonremedial tutoring, placement service, health service, health insurance. The Catholic University of America also offers campus safety and security services like 24-hour foot and vehicle patrols, late night transport/escort service, 24-hour emergency telephones, lighted pathways/sidewalks, student patrols, controlled dormitory access (key, security card, etc.). Of the students at The Catholic University of America, 44 percent have cars on campus. Alcohol is permitted for students of legal age at The Catholic University of America.

Students who have cars on campus: 44% 

Students who have cars on campus:  44%

Health insurance offered: Yes 

Health insurance offered:  Yes

Nearest airports (miles):

U.S. News College Compass

See expanded profiles of more than 1,800 schools. Unlock entering class stats including SAT scores and GPAs. Save schools, compare and take notes.

Undergraduate data are based on the 2016 school year.
* Median starting salary for alumni with 0-5 years of postgraduation work experience and whose highest degree is a bachelor's

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