Approved by: President
History: Issued -- August 2006
Revised -- March 9, 2015
Last Reviewed --
Related Policies: Disability Accommodations for Students Policy; Non-Discrimination, Anti-Harassment and Title IX Compliance Policy
Additional References:

Graduate Admissions;

Responsible Official: Dean of Graduate Studies tel. (202) 319-5247

I. Introduction


The Catholic University of America admits qualified students regardless of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, marital status, personal appearance, family responsibilities, physical or mental disability, political affiliation, status as a veteran, or any other basis protected by applicable Federal and District of Columbia laws, and does not discriminate against students or applicants for admission on any such basis in the administration of its educational or admissions policies or in any aspect of its operations. The University is the national university of the Catholic Church in the United States and the University's policies and practices, which govern the University's community, are grounded in the teachings of the Catholic faith.

The University has an obligation to ensure that students admitted into its academic programs are fully prepared and qualified to engage with a reasonable expectation of success. This is especially true of students whose first language is not English and students who have been educated abroad.

The Office of Admissions and the various academic units of the University involved in admissions decisions will comply with the University policy regarding minimum English proficiency using the standards and procedures outlined in this policy. Individual schools or departments may prescribe additional requirements that can be found in the appropriate section of the Announcements.

II. Admission to Graduate Studies


The application for admission may be submitted online at Application materials may be requested at or by contacting the Office of Admissions at tel. (800) 673-2772 or tel. (202) 319-5057. The academic deans of the various schools make decisions on graduate applications based on the recommendations of the admissions committees. Admission is granted only for the semester to which one applies. Those failing to register for the semester for which they have received acceptance must reapply for admission, unless permission for a one- or two-semester deferral is obtained from the dean of their school and notification is sent to the Office of Graduate Admissions. Deferral of admission does not guarantee deferral of scholarship.

Admission to study does not imply admission to candidacy for a degree, which is granted only after completion of required courses or examinations. Admitted students are required to submit a nonrefundable enrollment deposit to hold his or her place in the class. The deposit is credited toward tuition and fees upon matriculation.

By provision of the Academic Senate, no member of a Faculty in the ranks of Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, or Ordinary Professor, and no Officer of Administration (as specified by name in the Announcements of the University) will be admitted to a graduate degree program. Interpretation of this rule and authorization of exceptions to it are within the jurisdiction of the Graduate Board.

If at any point during the admission or attendance period, materials are found to be altered or falsified, the Office of Graduate Admissions reserves the right to expel an applicant or student.

III. Application Requirements


The following materials should be submitted directly to the Office of Graduate Admissions, The Catholic University of America, 620 Michigan Ave., N.E., Washington, D.C. 20064 unless submitted electronically.


A. Completed Application Form and Nonrefundable Application Fee


The application fee typically is waived only in the following cases:

  1. Catholic University undergraduates (while maintaining continuous enrollment)
  2. Catholic University graduate students applying for an advanced graduate degree (while maintaining continuous enrollment)

B. Official Transcripts of all Undergraduate Coursework and Postsecondary Studies


Applicants for graduate study are expected to have earned, or to be near completion of, a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. Their records should indicate that they are prepared to pursue advanced study and research in the field or fields in which they intend to specialize. Applicants who have received a bachelor's degree from a non-accredited institution or who have completed an educational program equivalent to a bachelor's degree may be admitted if their undergraduate scholastic records indicate superior ability in the field in which they intend to specialize.

In order to expedite the processing and evaluation of admissions, unofficial transcripts may be submitted. However, final, official transcripts and documentation of degree conferral are expected to be submitted as soon as possible. Official transcripts and documentation of degree conferral must be sent directly from the Registrar of the school(s) previously attended and should show degree(s) earned, courses completed toward the degree, grade earned in each course, and the basis of grading in effect at the institution. Where available from the school(s) issuing the transcript(s), all transcripts should be sent electronically to the Office of Graduate Admissions.

Except for an applicant in their final year of study, an applicant with unofficial documents will be provisionally admitted if they meet all other admission requirements. An applicant who is in the final year of studies may be admitted fully; however, documentation of the degree conferral will be required in order to complete the registration for courses. This documentation should be official and submitted directly by the institution granting the degree. Any student who fails to submit the required documentation will be blocked from registering until such documentation is received.

C. Official Letters of Recommendation


Letters should be requested from officials or faculty members of institutions previously attended who are acquainted with the applicants' ability for graduate study. Employment supervisors may serve as recommenders when appropriate. Most schools require three letters; please refer to the school requirements for details.

D. Standardized Examinations


Most schools require the submission of standardized test reports such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Miller Analogies Test (MAT). Please refer to the appropriate school for details.

Official score reports, no more than five years old, must be submitted directly to The Catholic University of America by the testing service; student copies or photocopies will not be considered official. For information about the GRE, please visit or contact GRE-ETS, P.O. Box 6000, Princeton, NJ 08541-6000. CUA's test codes are GRE (5104), MAT (1042), and TOEFL (5104).

E. Statement of Purpose


Certain schools have specific guidelines for the preparation of the statement. If not specified, applicants should address the following in a statement of approximately 500-750 words:

  1. State your purpose for undertaking graduate study in your chosen field. Include your academic objective, research interests and career plans. Also discuss your related qualifications, including collegiate, professional and community activities, and any other substantial accomplishments not already mentioned on the application form.
  2. How would you describe your ability and commitment to undertake graduate education at this time?
  3. What are your proposed career goals?
  4. What influenced your decision to apply to The Catholic University of America?

F. Additional Requirements


Specific schools may have other requirements such as an early application deadline, the submission of additional materials such as writing sample, portfolio, audition or interview. Please review the appropriate school entry for details.

International applicants and those who have studied outside the U.S. should carefully consult section IV of this policy.


IV. International Student Admission


A. Application Method


Because of the delays that often occur in obtaining and evaluating credentials, prospective international students should submit complete applications for admission well in advance of the beginning of the semester for which they are applying.

Applications should be submitted to the Office of Graduate Admissions no later than July 1 for the fall semester (classes beginning in August) and November 1 for the spring semester (classes beginning in January).

B. Required Credentials for International Candidates


International applications are considered complete when the Office of Graduate Admissions has received the following:

1.  The completed application form and nonrefundable application fee.

2.  A certified, translated copy of transcripts of all previous education equivalent to secondary and postsecondary education in the United States. All transcripts issued from outside the United States must be certified by a recognized evaluator of international educational records (such as WES or AACRAO), even if in the English language.

3.  Credential Evaluation of any non-U.S. degrees:

  1. Applicants for graduate programs who hold undergraduate degrees from foreign institutions of higher education must provide, as part of the application process, a degree equivalency evaluation from a reputable credentials evaluation service recognized by the University. This ensures that applications are given full consideration by University officials who may not be familiar with the education program of that specific institution.
  2. Recommended agencies that can provide this service can be found at
4.  Evidence of sufficient proficiency in the English language to participate in the academic program.
  1. All students, regardless of U.S. immigration status, from countries and areas where English is not the common, spoken language must demonstrate a practical understanding of spoken and written English to benefit from instruction, study and examinations in that language.
  2. For graduate programs, the mechanisms for establishing sufficient English language proficiency and the standards used are established and administered by the University admissions office in partnership with the Dean of Graduate Studies and the appropriate deans.
  3. The University typically does not require individuals who have received a bachelors or graduate degree from an accredited U.S. institution of higher education to demonstrate English proficiency. Students who do not demonstrate a sufficient level of competency in the English language may be advised to continue their language study before reapplying for admission. At the discretion of the Office of Admissions and the appropriate dean, students with a borderline level of proficiency may be conditionally admitted to an academic program provided that the appropriate dean's office and Admissions has agreed upon an initial plan to improve the student's language competencies. The student's ability to continue in the academic program is contingent upon the successful fulfillment of the terms of the initial academic plan. Proficiency minimums required for application to The Catholic University of America are set forth below.

University English Language Proficiency Minimums

Source of Evaluation

Acceptable standard

TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)







(20 in each category)



ELS (English Language Service)

Completion of level 112

Catholic University's Intensive English Program

Completion of level 100 course and cumulative GPA of 3.0 plus "adequate" evaluation by the Director of Program

d.  Notwithstanding the above, note that English proficiency requirements for satisfactory participation in a particular program can vary considerably from one course of study to the next, and individual programs may in some instances impose higher proficiency minimums. Those programs where the minimum is higher are set forth at

C. Conditional Admission of Students with Borderline English Proficiency


A student who cannot document that he or she meets the standards indicated above may be admitted conditionally to an academic program if the Request for a Waiver Form is initiated in the Dean's Office and approved by all relevant administrative offices.

D. Additional Requirements for Issuance of Immigration Documents for F-1 or J-1 status


International students who need to have immigration documents issued by the University on their behalf must be able to document their financial ability to cover the costs of their studies in the U.S. These costs include tuition, living expenses, health insurance, fees, and other costs associated with living and studying in the U.S.

V. Provisional Admission


Provisional admission may be granted to an applicant who is missing one or more required documents, such as official GRE scores, but who is otherwise deemed suitable for admission. Such applicants may be requested to secure a notarized statement concerning their academic career from an authoritative source.

Provisional admission is normally granted for one (1) semester, and provisionally admitted students must complete the requirements of their admission before being admitted as regular students. If the provisions of admission are not completed within one (1) semester, The University reserves the right to withdraw students from future semesters.

VI. Conditional Admission


Conditional admission may be granted to an applicant with strong academic credentials but who is in need of strengthening a specific body of knowledge through prerequisites which do not apply toward the completion of their degree. Conditional admission may also be granted to an applicant whose record may indicate academic deficiencies or concerns, but may show promise of success in others areas of evaluation. Conditionally admitted students must successfully complete the requirements of their admission normally within one semester before being changed to regular student status. If the conditions of admission are not completed within one semester, then the University reserves the right reserves the right to withdraw the student from future semesters.

VII. Students with Disabilities


Disability Services, designed to support and encourage the integration of students with disabilities into the mainstream of the University community are provided through the Office of Disability Support Services (DSS). To be eligible for services at the University, students must register with DSS and submit documentation of disability. Recently admitted students are encouraged to contact DSS beginning June 1 to begin the registration process. For more information on services or documentation requirements and registration procedures, please contact the Office of Disability Support Services at tel. (202) 319-5211, TTY tel. (202) 299-2899, e-mail or visit the DSS website at

VIII. Admission of Non-Degree Students


An applicant who does not wish to pursue a degree program at The Catholic University of America but who wishes to follow courses independently or in a program required for a certificate, either for credit or as an auditor, may apply for admission as a non-degree seeking student. Standard tuition and fees apply to students who take courses as non-degree or audit status. The application must be accompanied by the specified application fee and supported by official transcripts of all previous postsecondary education. In lieu of a transcript, a properly qualified student who is working toward a degree at another institution may submit written authorization for temporary enrollment at this University from the cognizant dean of that institution.

In the case of an applicant who has received a bachelor's degree from a non-accredited school or who is deficient in preparation, admission as a non-degree seeking student may be granted. After three courses are completed with a grade of B or better, students may apply for degree seeking status. By law, a student visa can be issued to an international applicant only for the purpose of enrolling in a full course of study that will lead to the attainment of a specified educational or vocational objective, as defined in The Code of Federal Regulations at 22 CFR Part 62 and 8 CFR Part 14. The application of an international student as a non-degree student will be evaluated according to these criteria.

Admission as a non-degree student is limited to a single semester or summer session, unless renewed by the dean of the school for registration in subsequent consecutive semesters or summer sessions. No fee is charged for such renewal. A non-degree student who does not enroll in consecutive terms or who enrolls in a different school must submit a new application for admission, which must be accompanied by the application fee.

A non-degree student who wishes to be considered for admission to a degree program must submit the application and supporting documents ordinarily required for admission to the degree program. Since the mere accumulation of courses will not satisfy degree requirements, one should consult the appropriate dean or department chair before enrolling. A non-degree student may take up to a maximum number of nine graduate credits.

IX. Readmission


A student who has withdrawn from the University, or who is presumed to have withdrawn because of failure to maintain continuous enrollment, must apply for readmission. An application for readmission is subject to the same scrutiny as is an application for original admission. The student may be required to adhere to degree requirements adopted since original matriculation or to special requirements imposed as a condition of readmission, such as repetition of certain examinations or courses. A student who has been withdrawn for more than ten years may not be eligible for readmission.

A student who is readmitted, upon registration, will incur a re-admission fee on their student account.

The University complies with requirements regarding readmission of veterans as set forth in Executive Order 13607, Principles of Excellence for Educational Institutions Serving Service Members, Veterans, Spouses, and Other Family Members.