Best Catholic Colleges and Universities

Advertisement CollegeChoice.net is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Are you ready to find your fit?

Best Catholic Colleges and Universities Badge

What are the Best Catholic College or University Degrees?

For those looking for the right Catholic education, we have compiled the College Choice ranking of the 75 Best Catholic Colleges and Universities in the United States. In compiling our list we used criteria that college freshman indicated were most important to them: college reputation, net cost, financial aid packages, and average graduate salary.

The Catholic Church takes education seriously. Some of the nation’s oldest and most storied colleges and universities were founded by the Catholic Church. Most of these schools continue to educate their students within the Catholic tradition, providing an education that is both rigorous academically as well as geared toward the twin aims of service to the world and personal growth in faith.

Because the Catholic faith is so rich in culture and history, it is important for those who wish to be surrounded by such a religious tradition to find the right Catholic college or university.

mini icon
Advertisement CollegeChoice.net is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Accredited Online College Programs

Explore our featured online programs and find the right match for you today.

Top 10 Best Catholic Colleges and Universities

Rank School Location
1 University of Notre Dame Notre Dame, IN
2 Georgetown University Washington , DC
3 VIllanova University Villanova, PA
4 Boston College Chestnut Hill, MA
5 Creighton University Omaha, NE
6 Santa Clara University Santa Clara, CA
7 College of the Holy Cross Worcester, MA
8 John Carroll University University Heights, OH
9 Loyola University Maryland Baltimore, MD
10 Xavier University Cincinnati, OH

What kind of Catholic College or University degree should you get?

Other than a shared religious foundation, no two schools are alike on this list. You will find schools that range from small liberal arts colleges in rural towns to large, world-renowned research universities.

Make no mistake, Catholic Colleges and Universities are not meant for Catholics alone. An education that focuses on the entire person is a valuable education whether you identify as religious or not. Further, many of American’s top Catholic Colleges and Universities are recognized as premier academic institutions.

How much do people make with a Catholic College or University degree?

Catholic colleges and universities are some of the most respected and prestigious schools in the United States. Getting an acceptance letter to one of these schools means you’ll not only receive an amazing education, but you’ll also have the assurance of financial stability after college. Take, for example, the average salaries for the top three schools on this list:

  • University of Notre Dame: $133,800
  • Georgetown University: $140,300
  • Villanova University: $119,800

Clearly, your financial future looks optimistic any way you slice it. This figure, of course, can vary depending on your specific degree. Suffice it to say, your return on investment for all of the schools on this list make your Catholic education more than worth it.

What can you do with a degree from a Catholic College or University?

What can’t you do with a degree from a Catholic college or university? Choosing a school with a strong religious background often means your curriculum—no matter the degree—will be steeped in both academic rigor and human value. You’ll gain not only textbook smarts, but people skills and the value of community.

The alumni networks at these schools are vast. You’ll reap the benefits of age-old communities that can connect you to internships, jobs, promotions, and more. Earning an undergraduate degree at one of these schools is just the beginning; you’re in for a lifetime of valuable benefits.

Thus our ranking aims to find the nexus between the best of academic prestige and return on investment. In compiling our list we used publicly available sources like the websites of the schools themselves, the National Center for Educational Statistics, U.S. News and World Report, and Payscale.com.

Rankings

See our rankings methodology page.

  1. University of Notre Dame
    Location

    Notre Dame, IN

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Founded in 1842 by a member of the Congregation of Holy Cross, The University of Notre Dame is a private Catholic research university located in Notre Dame, Indiana. Its name refers to the Virgin Mary, who is the university’s patron saint. The school remains affiliated with the Congregation of Holy Cross.

    Program Features

    The school continues to teach in the Holy Cross tradition, with many priests from the order still working for the university, including the sitting president. The Catholic identity is closely tied to the school, with a strict commitment to the faith evident in the architecture and art around campus, the numerous ministries funded by the school, and the 80 percent of students who self-identify themselves as Catholics. Notre Dame boasts a number of national accolades:

    • #18 in National Universities
    • #20 in Best Value Schools
    • #6 in Accounting

    Notables

    Catholic Mass is a part of everyday life at Notre Dame, with Mass being celebrated 100 times a week and religious clubs dominating student life. And while Catholic organizations are the most prominent, Notre Dame is known for its openness to other faiths, and students are free to join the Jewish Club, the Baptist Collegiate Ministry, the Muslim Student Association, and more.

  2. Georgetown University
    Location

    Washington , DC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Georgetown University was founded in 1789 and is a private, non-profit university. It is the oldest Catholic and Jesuit university in the entire country and is located in Washington, D.C., with campuses in Italy, Turkey, and Qatar. It was founded by John Carroll, the country’s first Catholic Bishop.

    Program Features

    The school has enjoyed an affiliation with the Society of Jesus since 1805, with 52 Jesuits residing on campus, employed as faculty, and playing a part in the school’s administration. And while Georgetown is a member of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, it is governed independently of the Jesuit order and the Roman Catholic Church. Here are some national stats associated with the school:

    • #4 in Best Colleges for Veterans
    • #26 in Best Value Schools
    • #4 in International Business

    Notables

    Georgetown University offers close to 50 majors in four undergraduate schools and master’s and doctoral programs throughout five graduate and professional schools. Georgetown hosts its own law and medical schools. It is also known for its School of Foreign Service, which is ranked first in the world for its graduate program of Foreign Policy.

  3. VIllanova University
    Location

    Villanova, PA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Villanova University is a private Roman Catholic university located in Villanova, Pennsylvania. The campus is housed within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. It was founded in 1842 by the Order of Saint Augustine, which holds ties to Saint Augustines Church and its parish school, Saint Augustine’s Academy. It offers undergraduate and graduate degrees across 100 fields of study from four colleges and one graduate school.

    Program Features

    Villanova University is home to the largest student-run Special Olympics in the world, with more than 1,000 athletes competing annually from across the state. The school is also a partner with Habitat for Humanity, and claims the largest group of student volunteers for the Habitat for Humanity Collegiate Challenge than any other U.S. university. Villanova has much to be proud of, including:

    • Undergraduate acceptance rate of 44%
    • 95% freshman retention rate
    • 12:1 student to faculty ratio

    Notables

    Aside from providing a Catholic education, Villanova University also provides Catholic services to students in their campus life. Campus Ministry was created to promote the Augustinian ideals of a wise and spiritual community and provides community and pastoral support services for all students.

  4. Boston College
    Location

    Chestnut Hill, MA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Established in 1863, Boston College is a private Catholic Jesuit research university that was founded by the Society of Jesus. It is a member of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. The school is located in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.

    Program Features

    The school offers undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate degrees through nine schools and colleges, including the Boston College School of Theology. It is nationally ranked for its undergraduate program by U.S. News and World Report, and is home to some of the most competitive graduate programs available in the country. Here are a few more stand-out statistics:

    • #11 in Finance
    • #32 in National Universities
    • Over 200 student clubs and organizations

    Notables

    Boston College is also home to 112 Jesuits, who live on the campus. These Jesuits are members of the faculty and administration, graduate students, and visiting international scholars and professors, and they make up one of the largest Jesuit communities in the world. Jesuit priests also have the reputation for presiding at the chapel liturgies within St. Mary’s Hall, the Jesuit residential facility.

  5. Creighton University
    Location

    Omaha, NE

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Creighton University was established in 1878 and is a private, Roman Catholic, Jesuit university. It is a member of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities and is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. It is located in Omaha, Nebraska.

    Program Features

    The university is made up of nine schools and colleges that grant degrees at the undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate levels. The school is best known for housing a School of Pharmacy, a School of Law, a School of Medicine, and a School of Dentistry all on the same campus.

    • #1 in Regional Universities of the Midwest
    • #1 in Best Colleges for Veterans
    • #6 in Best Value Schools

    Notables

    As a Jesuit university, and one of the top private colleges in the country, Creighton University relies on the faith-based teaching tradition it was founded on to help guide students to become active and responsible agents of change in a secular world. The school continues to teach in the Jesuit tradition of educating the student as a whole by offering faith-based services on campus, such as Mass and fellowship opportunities.

  6. Santa Clara University
    Location

    Santa Clara, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Santa Clara University is a private, non-profit Jesuit university founded in 1851, making it the oldest operating college or university in California. It is located in Santa Clara, California.

    Program Features

    The school offers well over 40 areas of study at the undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate levels through its six schools. It is home to the Jesuit School of Theology, which accepts both priesthood candidates and laypersons for their graduate programs. Santa Clara University also boasts:

    • 96 percent retention rate for first-year students
    • 515 full-time faculty and 364 part-time faculty
    • #2 in Best Regional University of the West

    Notables

    The school is known for having received the STARS Gold Rating by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. In 2013, Santa Clara University created the Center for Sustainability to understand and advance the public understanding of how social justice and environmental responsibility inform one another through outreach programs and student forums.

  7. College of the Holy Cross
    Location

    Worcester, MA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Founded in 1843 by the Society of Jesus, The College of the Holy Cross is a private, undergraduate, Catholic, Jesuit liberal arts college. It is a member of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities and the Colleges of Worcester Consortium. It is the only Catholic college to be nationally ranked in the top 50 liberal arts school as rated by U.S. News and World Report.

    Program Features

    The College of the Holy Cross offers 28 majors in a liberal arts curriculum, all of which lead to the completion of a Bachelor of Arts degree. There are also multidisciplinary concentrations, pre-professional programs, and the option to create a unique major through the Center for Interdisciplinary and Special Studies. Additional highlights include:

    • 90 percent on-campus student housing
    • 10:1 student to faculty ratio
    • 50 percent of undergraduates receive financial aid

    Notables

    The College of the Holy Cross is well known for its Classics department. In fact, it is the second-largest Classics program in the country. It also has the distinction for having Ancient Greek as a required course.

  8. John Carroll University
    Location

    University Heights, OH

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    John Carroll University is a private Catholic Jesuit research university located in University Heights, Ohio. It was founded in 1886 by the Society of Jesus, and is a member of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities.

    Program Features

    This school is primarily an undergraduate institution, with the majority of its programs offered at that level. Select master’s degrees are available in certain departments, with a plan for expanding the graduate offerings in motion. International programs, such as a degree in International Studies and the Study Abroad Program are also slated for improvement. The school excels regionally:

    • #6 in Regional Universities of the Midwest
    • #5 in Best Colleges for Veterans of the Midwest
    • #7 in Best Value Schools of the Midwest

    Notables

    Campus Ministry at John Carroll University is steeped in the Catholic and Ignatian traditions, serving people of all faiths by offering interfaith services, fostering community development through stewardship, and advocacy for tolerance. The Campus Ministry is the most popular center for students at the school and has been providing spiritual guidance since its establishment.

  9. Loyola University Maryland
    Location

    Baltimore, MD

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Established in 1852 by the Society of Jesus, Loyola University Maryland is a private, non-profit, Roman Catholic, Jesuit research society located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a member of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. It lies within the Archdiocese of Baltimore. The best known alumni from this school include authors Tom Clancy and Mark Bowden.

    Program Features

    Loyola University Maryland graduates are all expected to complete the core curriculum that is a mainstay of the Jesuit tradition in schools. Courses such as foreign languages, ethics, history, and theology are taught, keeping the school’s heritage intact while continuing to remain open to students of other faiths. Other stand-out features include:

    • 12:1 student to faculty ratio
    • 88 percent freshmen retention rate
    • Over 55 percent of undergraduates receive financial aid

    Notables

    This school offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in three different schools. Loyola College is the biggest school, encompassing the broader range of liberal arts departments and the pre-heath programs that are taught by the school.

  10. Xavier University
    Location

    Cincinnati, OH

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Xavier University is the sixth-oldest Catholic University in the country. It is a private research university located in Cincinnati, Ohio, where it was founded in 1831 by the Jesuits and dedicated to the patronage of Saint Francis of Xavier.

    Program Features

    Xavier prides itself on its balance of old and new: state of the art facilities nestled among historic campus buildings; the long-held traditions of the Catholic faith expressed for a 21st century world; rigors of first-class scholarship and the vital lived experience outside of the classroom. Here are some Xavier highlights:

    • 98 percent of graduates land a job within 6 months
    • Students practice over 20 different religions on campus
    • Over 160 locations for volunteer service

    Notables

    Xavier University has a 12:1 student/teacher and an 83 percent freshman retention rate. One of the most popular programs at this school is the Business, Management, and Marketing, of which 29 percent of the student body are majors.

mini icon

Online College Resources

Helping you prepare and gain the most out of your educational experience.


Scholarships and Financial Aid for Online Law School Students

Scholarships and Financial Aid for Online Law School Students

November 6, 2020   |   Staff Writers

Earning a law degree opens professional doors. However, law school graduates owe an average of over . Scholarships and other forms of financial aid can help law school students obtain...

College Preparation Checklist

College Preparation Checklist

October 19, 2020   |   Staff Writers

Preparing for college before the first day sets up new students for success. Beginning college can be overwhelming, even for learners who have taken college-level classes in the past. Knowing...

Advertisement CollegeChoice.net is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Discover a program that is right for you.

Search schools to find the program that is right for you.