Catholic University of America: Academics, Admissions & Tuition

About the Catholic University of America

Located near the heart of Washington, D.C., the Catholic University of America (CUA) was founded in 1887 with the support of Pope Leo XIII. Today, it is known as the national university for the Catholic Church in the U.S., but the college was initially a graduate research center. It wasn't until 1904 that the college started to administer undergraduate courses. Some early doctoral programs introduced were in philosophy and social work, and they are among the oldest programs in the nation in these disciplines. CUA also has a rich history of being the only American university with ecclesiastical educators conferring canonical degrees in philosophy, canon law and theology. Additionally, CUA is the only university in the D.C. area that has a school of library science and a school of music.


CUA's 12 schools offer 72 undergraduate programs, 103 master's programs, and 66 doctoral and terminal degree programs. The average class size is nine students, and 98% percent of the faculty hold doctoral or terminal degrees. Online, accelerated, and evening courses are available through CUA's Metropolitan School of Professional Studies. The college also offers an Intensive English Program (IEP) for incoming international students to further develop their English language skills. CUA has one main library, the Mullen library, and four additional libraries that house special collections in engineering, architecture, and math; nursing and biology; music; and physics.


CUA has early action and regular decision application dates. Prospective students who apply by November 15th receive admission notification by mid to late December. Those who apply by February 15th receive admission notification by mid-March. Applicants can apply for early or regular admission by completing CUA's online or paper application or by using the Common Application. In addition to completing the application, a prospective student must submit an essay, a $55 non-refundable application fee, a secondary school report, an official high school transcript, official SAT or ACT scores, and a letter of recommendation. The school also awards credit for qualifying Advanced Placement (AP) scores.

In fall 2010, 87% of the 6,207 applicants were accepted, and 18% enrolled. Full-time students comprised 94% of the undergraduate population, and 55% of all undergraduates were female. The school enrolls a fairly young population, with 91% percent of undergraduates under 25 years of age. Additionally, 97% of the undergraduate student population enroll from out of state. Although religious affiliation isn't required, 81% of undergraduate students are Catholic.

Tuition & Financial Aid

Specific tuition costs to attend CUA varied by academic program, but in 2012-2013 the estimated yearly tuition cost for a full-time undergraduate student was $36,320. Students enrolled in the Metropolitan School of Professional Studies paid $775 per credit hour, and law school students paid $21,540 per semester. Off-campus programs cost $915 per credit hour, but students enrolled in online courses are charged on-campus tuition rates.

The 2011-2012 average cost for books and supplies was $1,200 per year. Housing costs vary based on selected accommodations. Meal plans ranged from $484 to $2,799 per semester. Freshman and sophomores living on campus are required to select the anytime meal plan option, which costs $2,599-$2,799 per semester. Mandatory fees vary by school and for undergraduates and graduates students. Some of these fees include activity fees, technology fees, additional course fees and deposit fees.

Tuition can be paid at the beginning of each semester or through an interest-free payment plan. The school awards scholarships based upon merit and academic achievements. Fellowships and assistantships also are available for full-time graduate students. Additionally, CUA partners with the Don Bosco Cristo Rey High School in Washington to recruit students by offering work-study jobs to offset future college costs.

School Type 4-year, private not-for-profit**
Degrees Offered Certificate programs, associate's, bachelor's, master's, doctorates**
Religious Affiliation Roman Catholic**
Academic Calendar Semesters*
School Setting Large city**
Student Body 3,633 undergraduates and 3,261 graduate students in 2011**
Student Housing Various options including residence halls, suites and apartments; over 65% of undergraduates live on campus; freshman and sophomores are required to live on campus*
Schools and Programs 12 schools and 241 undergraduate and graduate programs*
Student-Faculty Ratio 9 to 1**
Most Popular Fields of Study by Degree Level (Number of Recipients) In 2010-2011:
Bachelor's: Political Science and Government (87)
Master's: Social Work (122)
Doctorate: Law (261)**
Undergraduate Graduation Rates For the Fall 2003 class:
65% in four years
72% in six years
73% in eight years**
Admission Rate 87% in 2010**
Entering Class Size 904 in 2011***
First-Year Retention Rates 80% (full-time students)
50% (part-time students)**
Average SAT and ACT Scores of Admitted Students Middle 50% in 2010:
SAT composite: 1000-1220
ACT Composite: 22-27**
Application Due Date November 15th for early admission *
February 15th for regular decision*
Decision Notification Date Mid to late December for early admission*
Mid-March for regular decision*
Tuition $36,320 per year (cost for 2012-2013, excluding fees)**
Financial Aid Sources Available (Percent of Students Receiving it) In 2010-2011 for first-time undergraduates: Federal grants (12%), state and local grants/scholarships (4%), institutional grants/scholarships (91%), federal student loans (62%), other student loans (9%)**
Percent of Students Receiving Some Form of Aid 94% of first-time undergraduates in 2010-2011**

Sources: *Catholic University of America, **College Navigator, National Center for Education Statistics, ***IPEDS Data Center, National Center for Education Statistics.

School Contact Information

  • Address: The Catholic University of America, Office of University Admissions, 620 Michigan Ave., NE, Washington, D.C. 20064
  • Phone: (202) 319-5305
  • Website:

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