The Catholic University of America is America’s pontifical university for primarily lay students, overseen by several cardinals and bishops. In recent decades, the University has made progress in strengthening its Catholic identity, especially in faculty hiring.
Catholic University is one of the largest institutions within The Newman Guide, with more than 130 academic programs in 12 schools of business, canon law, nursing, philosophy, theology, and more. The comprehensive, liberal arts core curriculum includes three Catholic theology and three philosophy courses. Catholics comprise three-quarters of the students but only about 60 percent of the faculty, which the University has been striving to improve. All theology professors have a canonical mission, which is similar to the mandatum but for pontifical faculties.
There are several Masses, Confession, and Adoration each day on campus and at the magnificent Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, which is an extraordinary benefit to Catholic students. All student residence halls are appropriately single-sex, but regrettably opposite-sex visitation is allowed in student rooms until late at night, with no open-door policy.
The University offers more than 100 student clubs and more than two dozen varsity sports in the NCAA Division III Landmark Conference. Washington provides museums, politics, lectures, and internship opportunities.
Studying at a mid-sized urban university means higher cost with less personal attention, yet greater resources and diversity in both the student body and the faculty. For many students, studying at the Church’s national university in the nation’s capital is an opportunity too good to miss.
What we really like:
Catholic University’s First-Year Experience is rooted in the Catholic intellectual tradition. The Busch School of Business has earned a great reputation for integrating Catholic and business principles. Theology studies lead to a pontifical degree; the faculty is reportedly varied but includes some outstanding theologians. Philosophy historically has been excellent.
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