The United States offers a wide variety of large, 4-year institutions that are affiliated with the Catholic faith. These schools provide students with diverse degree programs, spiritual growth opportunities and other student resources. Here we discuss a handful of the largest Catholic colleges, as defined by having more than 10,000 undergraduate students.
Many of the large, Catholic institutions are located in or near large cities across several different states in the central to eastern half of the country. Compare each school's tuition rate and undergraduate population size in the table below.
|School Name||Institution Type||Location||Tuition (2017-2018)*||Undergraduate Population (2016)*|
|DePaul University||4-year, private not-for-profit||Chicago, IL||$39,010||15,407|
|Loyola University Chicago||4-year, private not-for-profit||Chicago, IL||$43,078||11,129|
|Saint Leo University||4-year, private not-for-profit||Saint Leo, FL||$22,220||11,017|
|Saint Louis University||4-year, private not-for-profit||Saint Louis, MO||$42,166||11,779|
|St. John's University-New York||4-year, private not-for-profit||Queens, NY||$40,520||16,429|
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
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Description of the Largest Catholic Colleges and Universities
All of the largest Catholic colleges and universities in the country offer a variety of certificate, undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Students trying to choose between the schools may also want to consider factors like available student resources, organizations/activities and/or spiritual growth opportunities. Learn more about each of the large Catholic schools and their distinguishing characteristics.
According to the school's website, DePaul University offers a diverse student population that represents all 50 states and 114 different countries. The average class size is less than 40 students and the school offers more than 130 undergraduate majors and more than 175 graduate programs. Students may pursue undergraduate study in areas like Chinese studies, data science, game design, jazz studies, neuroscience, religious studies and more, or graduate study in areas including acting, cybersecurity, counseling, law, business and public health. The school has a wide range of student organizations and clubs; some of the most popular are the Multicultural Greek Council and Student Government Association, but also include The Writer's Block, Air DePaul (drones), DePaul Urban Farming Organization and spiritual organizations like Cru, Catholic Student Union, Young Life College and Sounds of Harmony.
Loyola University Chicago
The 2017 graduates from Loyola University Chicago had 44% employed prior to graduation and 98% employed or pursuing graduate school within three months of graduation, per the school's homepage. For students' spiritual lives the school offers a wide range of spiritual retreats, alternative break immersions and faith programs, including Agape Latte, Building-A-Bridge, Ignatian Winter Workout Group and CLCs (Christian Life Communities). Students can pursue study in a wide range of areas, including molecular biology, anthropology, pastoral studies, education, law, conservation and restoration, Latin, math, nursing, sacred music and studio art. The school also offers several pre-professional programs, including pre-health and pre-engineering, as well as several 5-year programs through which students earn both their bachelor's and master's degree in areas like theology, Spanish, computer science and business administration.
Saint Leo University
Saint Leo University offers a student-to-faculty ratio of 14 to 1, according to their website, and has 35 Education Centers in 7 different states, as well as online programs, to reach more students. Many of their programs are available on-campus, online and at an Education Center, including programs in criminal justice, computer science, sociology, psychology, business administration and health care management. The Saint Leo Abbey is located on campus and students can join University Ministry groups, such as Voices of Christ, E-Ministry, Drama Ministry and Imago Dei. Students may also choose to participate in any number of clubs and organizations, Greek Life, volunteer opportunities, athletics, recreation and more.
Saint Louis University
Saint Louis University offers undergraduate degree programs in an array of areas, including athletic training, engineering, meteorology, communication sciences and disorders, nutrition and dietetics, economics, Russian studies and entrepreneurship. Graduate students may pursue study in areas like biology, aviation, dentistry, geosciences, political science, urban planning and development and higher education administration. The school's Campus Ministry puts out a weekly newsletter to inform students of upcoming events and opportunities and also provides students with opportunities for spiritual retreats and growth through CLCs. Saint Louis University prides itself on its research opportunities for students and faculty and has $45 million in extramural funding, according to their site.
St. John's University - New York
According to their webpage, St. John's University - New York has students representing more than 100 countries and offers financial aid to 96% of undergraduates. The school also offers more than 100 areas of study, including actuarial science, graphic design, environmental science, Italian, photography, risk and insurance, theology, toxicology and sport management. Students may choose to join unique Learning Communities where they are paired with a Peer Academic Leader (P.A.L.), faculty mentor and have a resident assistant for support and learn and live with peers with similar interests. The school has a Campus Ministry that offers residence ministry in the residence halls and students may participate in a variety of service opportunities, like Midnight Run, Sponsor a Family, St. Nick's Men's Shelter and University Service Day.