The Catholic University of America

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The Catholic University of America

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Shield of Catholic University

Motto Deus Lux Mea Est (God is my Light)
Established 1887
School type Private
President The Very Reverend David M. O’Connell
Location Washington, DC, USA
Enrollment 5,510 total, 2,587 undergraduate
Religious affiliation Roman Catholic
Campus Urban
Mascot Cardinal

The Catholic University of America (abbreviated "CUA"), located in Washington, DC, is unique as the national university of the Catholic Church and as the only higher education institution founded by the U.S. bishops. Established in 1887 following approval by Pope Leo XIII as a graduate and research center, the university began offering undergraduate education in 1904. Programs emphasize the liberal arts, professional education and personal development.



The CUA campus is located in the historic, residential community of Brookland in Northeast Washington, DC; its main entrance is located at 620 Michigan Ave., NE. The campus is bound by Monroe Avenue to the South, North Capital Street to the West, Hawaii Avenue to the North, and John McCormick Road to the East.

The Campus is served by the Brookland-CUA station on the Red Line of the Washington Metro.

Romanesque and modern design dominate among the university’s 55 major buildings. Adjacent to campus is the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Nearby are the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center and the offices of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


CUA sponsors 21 NCAA Division III sports teams. The school competes in football, baseball, softball, women's volleyball and field hockey, and both men's and women's teams in cross country, soccer, basketball, swimming, lacrosse, tennis, and both indoor and outdoor track and field.

Students also field club teams in sports including horseback riding, ice hockey, crew, and rugby.

The men's basketball team won the 2001 NCAA Division III National Championship and was the only program in Division III to reach the Sweet Sixteen five consecutive seasons, from 1998-2002. The football team has appeared in two major bowl games (the 1936 Orange Bowl and the 1940 Sun Bowl) and has made three consecutive trips to the Division III playoffs. The baseball team advanced to the NCAA Division I Tournament in 1977. The track & field team has produced three national champions, while the swimming program has two individual national titles as well. The volleyball team made its first NCAA tournament appearance in 2001 and followed it up in 2002, while the field hockey team advanced to the 2001 ECAC Southern Region championship game. The men's swim team has won four CAC titles and three National Catholic Division III championships, while women's swimming has won a Catholic Division III title and softball has an ECAC Southern Region title.

Notable alumni



Science and engineering


Public service and politics


Academic degrees

Catholic University has 11 schools as well as the Metropolitan College. The 11 schools offer Doctor of Philosophy degrees or appropriate professional degrees. Undergraduate degrees are awarded by six schools — architecture and planning, arts and sciences, engineering, music, nursing and philosophy.

Undergraduates combine a liberal arts curriculum in arts and sciences with courses in their major fields of study.

Metropolitan College provides programs for adults who wish to earn baccalaureate degrees or participate in continuing education and certificate programs.

Catholic University is the only U.S. university with an ecclesiastical faculty of canon law and is one of the few U.S. universities with ecclesiastical faculties of philosophy and sacred theology. Theological College, the university seminary, has prepared men for the priesthood in many dioceses of the United States.

School of Architecture and Planning

Randall Ott, Dean

  • Bachelor of Science in Architecture
  • Master of Architecture
  • Master of Architectural Studies

School of Arts and Sciences

Lawrence R. Poos, Dean

  • Bachelor of Arts
  • Bachelor of Science
  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration
  • Master of Arts
  • Master of Fine Arts
  • Master of Science
  • Doctor of Philosophy

School of Canon Law

Reverend Monsignor Brian E. Ferme, Dean

  • Licentiate of Canon Law (ecclesiastical degree)
  • Doctor of Canon Law (ecclesiastical degree)

School of Engineering

Charles C. Nguyen, Dean

  • Bachelor of Biomedical Engineering
  • Bachelor of Civil Engineering
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
  • Bachelor of Electrical Engineering
  • Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering
  • Master of Biomedical Engineering
  • Master of Civil Engineering
  • Master of Electrical Engineering
  • Master of Mechanical Engineering
  • Master of Science in Computer Science
  • Master of Science in Engineering
  • Doctor of Philosophy
  • Doctor of Engineering

Columbus School of Law

William F. Fox, Dean

  • Juris Doctor

School of Library and Information Science

Martha Hale, Dean

  • Master of Science in Library Science

Benjamin T. Rome School of Music

Murry Sidlin, Dean

  • Bachelor of Music in Composition
  • Bachelor of Music in Music Education
  • Bachelor of Music in Music History
  • Bachelor of Music in Literature
  • Bachelor of Music in Musical Theatre
  • Bachelor of Music in Orchestral Instruments
  • Bachelor of Music in Organ
  • Bachelor of Music in Piano
  • Bachelor of Music in Voice
  • Master of Arts in Musicology
  • Master of Arts (joint-degree program in music librarianship)
  • Master of Music in Composition
  • Master of Music in Instrumental Conducting
  • Master of Music in Orchestral Arrangements
  • Master of Music in Organ
  • Master of Music in Vocal Pedagogy
  • Master of Music in Piano Pedagogy
  • Master of Music in Vocal Performance
  • Master of Music in Piano Performance
  • Master of Music in Sacred Music
  • Doctor of Musical Arts in Composition
  • Doctor of Musical Arts in Performance
  • Doctor of Musical Arts in Pedagogy
  • Doctor of Musical Arts in Sacred Music
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Musicology
  • Graduate Artist Diploma in Orchestral Conducting
  • Graduate Artist Diploma in Piano
  • Graduate Artist Diploma in Strings
  • Graduate Artist Diploma in Voice

School of Nursing

Nalini Jairath, Dean

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • Doctor of Nursing Science

School of Philosophy

Reverend Kurt Pritzl, Dean

  • Bachelor of Arts
  • Master of Arts
  • Bachelor of Philosophy (ecclesiastical degree)
  • Licentiate of Philosophy (ecclesiastical degree)
  • Doctor of Philosophy (secular and ecclesiastical versions)

The School of Philosophy also offers a joint M.A.-J.D. dual degree program with the Columbus School of Law and a joint M.A.-M.D. program with Georgetown University Medical School.

National Catholic School of Social Service

James A. Zabora, Dean

  • Master of Social Work
  • Doctor of Philosophy

The National Catholic School of Social Service also offers a joint degree in social work and law.

School of Theology and Religious Studies

Reverend Francis J. Moloney, Dean

  • Bachelor of Sacred Theology (ecclesiastical degree)
  • Licentiate of Sacred Theology (ecclesiastical degree)
  • Doctor of Sacred Theology (ecclesiastical degree)
  • Master of Arts
  • Doctor of Philosophy
  • Master of Religious Education
  • Master of Divinity
  • Doctor of Ministry
  • Master of Arts/Master of Science in Library Science (with the School of Library and Information Science)
  • Master of Arts in Catholic Educational Leadership (with the U.S. Department of Education)
  • Master of Arts in the History of Religions (with the Consortium of Washington Universities)
  • Undergraduate Certificate in Pastoral Ministry
  • Undergraduate Certificate in Hispanic Pastoral Leadership
  • Graduate Certificate in Pastoral Ministry

Metropolitan College

Sara Thompson, Dean

  • Bachelor of Arts in General Studies

At Commencement Exercises each May, these degrees are formally conferred by the School of Arts and Sciences.

University Rectors and Presidents

  1. Bishop John J. Keane (18871896)
  2. Bishop Thomas J. Conaty (1896–1903)
  3. Bishop Denis J. O’Connell (1903–1909)
  4. Bishop Thomas J. Shahan (1909–1927)
  5. Bishop James Hugh Ryan (19281935)
  6. Bishop Joseph M. Corrigan (19361942)
  7. Bishop Patrick J. McCormick (19431953)
  8. Bishop Bryan J. McEntegart (1953–1957)
  9. Bishop William J. McDonald (1957–1967, last Rector)
  10. Clarence C. Walton, Ph.D. (19691978, first President)
  11. Edmund D. Pellegrino, M.D. (1978–1982)
  12. Rev. William J. Byron, S.J. (1982–1992)
  13. Brother Patrick Ellis, F.S.C. (1992–1998)
  14. Very Rev. David M. O'Connell, C.M., J.C.D. (1998–present)

Campus buildings

A map ( is available to locate the buildings on campus.

Residence halls

  • Caldwell Hall - graduates
  • Caldwell Hall's Elizabeth Ann Seton Wing - graduates
  • Centennial Village - undergraduates, mostly sophomores
    • Camalier House
    • Engelhard House
    • Magner House
    • McDonald House (Upperclassmen Residential College)
    • Quinn House
    • Reardon House
    • Unanue House (Freshmen Residential College)
    • Walton House
  • Conaty Hall - undergraduates, almost all freshmen
  • Curley Court - modular homes for juniors, seniors
  • Flather Hall - undergraduates
  • Gibbons Hall - undergraduates and graduates
  • Millennium Hall North - apartments/suites for juniors, seniors, few graduates
  • Millennium Hall South - apartments/suites for juniors, seniors, few graduates
  • Regan Hall - University Honors housing
  • Ryan Hall - undergraduates
  • Spellman Hall - undergraduates, almost all freshmen

Academic buildings

  • Caldwell Hall - theology, religion, canon law (Deans of Canon Law and Theology & Religious Studies)
  • Columbus School of Law - law (Dean of Law)
  • Edward M. Crough Center for Architectural Studies - architecture (Dean of Architecture & Planning)
  • Gibbons Hall - history
  • Gowan Hall - nursing (Dean of Nursing)
  • Hannan Hall - physics
  • Gilbert V. Hartke Theatre - drama
  • Life Cycle Institute
  • Maloney Hall - chemistry, sciences
  • Marist Hall - media studies, politics, English, library & information sciences, anthropology (Dean of Library & Information Science)
  • McCort-Ward Hall - biology, sciences
  • McMahon Hall - modern languages, Greek & Latin, philosophy, mathematics (Deans of Arts & Sciences and Philosophy)
  • Nursing-Biology Building - sciences
  • O'Boyle Hall - education, psychology
  • Pangborn Hall - engineering, sciences (Deans of Engineering and Metropolitan College)
  • Salve Regina Hall - art
  • Shahan Hall - social work (Dean of Social Services)
  • Theological College - University seminary
  • Ward Hall - music (Dean of Music)

As with most college campuses, classes of many different fields are taught in most of the buildings; the list of courses above is not meant to be exhaustive, but is the primary building for those courses.

Other buildings

  • Caldwell Hall - campus ministry
  • Curley Hall - priests' residence
  • Raymond A. DuFour Athletic Center - with pool, gym, playing fields, and fitness center
  • Grounds Maintenance Complex
  • Hannan Hall - contains Herzfeld Auditorium
  • Gilbert V. Hartke Theatre - includes Callan Theatre and the Lab Theatre
  • Eugene I. Kane Student Health & Fitness Center - infirmary and student gym
  • Leahy Hall - public safety/campus police, computer lab (both open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
  • Life Cycle Institute - research facility
  • McMahon Hall - admissions office, post office, registrar, financial aid office
  • John K. Mullen of Denver Memorial Library - main library (branch libraries in some other academic buildings)
  • Nugent Hall - office of the President and other University executives
  • O'Boyle Hall - counseling center, academic tutoring services, writing center
  • Pangborn Hall - summer sessions office
  • Power Plant
  • Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center - Dean of Students, student organizations, dining services, disability support services, international students office
  • Saint Bonaventure Hall - Housing and Residential Services, faculty offices
  • University Chapel of St. Vincent de Paul - chapel for Catholic Masses and periodic music recitals
  • University Parking Garage - located underground directly south of the Columbus School of Law
  • Visitors Information Center
  • Ward Hall - music performances in recital hall

Abandoned buildings

  • Cardinal Hall (formerly University Center West & East) - to reopen as new admissions and alumni offices
  • Keane Hall - undergoing renovations
  • Spalding Hall - permanently abandoned

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