The Catholic University of America

Archived 08/23/05

Admission to Graduate Study

Application Requirements
Admission of International Students
Competence in the English Language
Provisional Admission
Admission of Students With Disabilities
Admission of Nondegree Students

Admission to graduate study is open to persons of character, intelligence, and motivation regardless of race, creed, ethnic background, or disabilities.* Certain minimum requirements are specified below. Individual schools or departments may prescribe additional requirements; these can be found in the appropriate section of these announcements.

The application for admission may be submitted online at Application materials may be requested by completing the "Tell Us More About Yourself" form at or by contacting the Office of Admissions at 800-673-2772 or 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 $200 nonrefundable enrollment deposit to hold his or her place in the class. The deposit is credited toward tuition and fees upon matriculation.

*The university is prohibited by law from requesting information of applicants as to the presence of any disabilities. It is the responsibility of the student who is disabled to report any such condition to the university if he or she needs special services. The information should be reported directly to the adviser to students with disabilities in the Office of Disability Support Services. This should be done as soon as possible after notice of admission is received in order to allow adequate time for provision of special services and aids which the student may need while in attendance. The adviser is also prepared to assist with accommodations needed during the student's attendance.

Application Requirements
The following materials should be submitted directly to the Office of Graduate Admissions, The Catholic University of America, 102 McMahon Hall, Cardinal Station, Washington, DC 20064.

  1. The completed application form and $55 nonrefundable application fee. The application fee is waived only in the following cases:
    • CUA undergraduates (while maintaining continuous enrollment)
    • CUA graduate students applying for an advanced graduate degree (while maintaining continuous enrollment)
    • Project 1,000 applications
    • McNair Scholars
  2. Official transcripts of all undergraduate coursework and postsecondary studies.
    • Applicants for graduate study will be expected to have earned 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.
    • Transcripts 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. An applicant who is in the final year of undergraduate studies may be admitted provisionally pending receipt of a transcript showing conferral of the degree.
  3. 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.
  4. 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, N.J. 08541-6000. CUA's test codes are GRE(5104), MAT(1042), and TOEFL(5104).
  5. Statement of Purpose. Certain schools have specific guidelines for the preparation of the statement. (National Catholic School of Social Service and the School of Library and Information Science) If not specified, applicants should address the following in a statement of approximately 500-750 words:
    • State you 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.
    • How would you describe your ability and commitment to undertake graduate education at this time?
    • What are your proposed career goals?
    • What influenced your decision to apply to The Catholic University of America?
  6. 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.

Admission of International Students
In addition to the items requested above, please note the following.

  • A certified, translated copy of your undergraduate record must also be submitted if the transcript is not written in English. Education completed at institutions outside of the United States, as shown by official documents, may be accepted as equivalent to educational experience in the United States, but the dean of the school to which the applicant seeks admission must approve each case.
  • Evidence of competence in the English language is required. This is attested by the submission of an official Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score report. Please see the following section "Competence in the English Language" for further information.
  • Prior to issuance of the Certificate of Eligibility (Form I-20 or where appropriate, Form IAP-66), official documentation must be submitted that shows funding for one year of study. The amount should include tuition and living expenses. All documents should be originals (not copies or faxes) in English, with currency translated into United States dollars.

Competence in the English Language
All applicants from countries and areas where English is not the common, spoken language must sufficiently well understand spoken and written English to be able to benefit from instruction, study, and examinations in the English language. The assessment used to evaluate this proficiency is the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). A minimum score of 580 (paper-based test) or 237 (computer-based test) is required; however, individual schools may specify a higher score for admission. Residence in the United States does not waive the TOEFL requirement. For information about the TOEFL, please visit or contact TOEFL/TSE Services, P.O. Box 6151, Princeton, N.J. 08541. CUA's test code for the TOEFL is 5104.

Applicants who are not sufficiently competent in English will be advised to continue their language study before reapplying for testing and possible admission. Applicants whose performance on the TOEFL satisfies admission requirements but indicates that further study is necessary will be required to take remedial instruction or courses. These language requirements must be completed satisfactorily before the student will be allowed to pursue a full program of regular courses.

The university's Metropolitan College offers an intensive English program in which prospective international students may enroll in order to improve their competence. Please mail requests for additional information to Metropolitan College, 334 Pangborn Hall, The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. 20064, or call 202-319-5256.

Provisional Admission
Provisional admission may be granted for one semester to an applicant who is missing one or more required documents, such as a final, official transcript, but is otherwise deemed suitable for admission. Such applicants may be requested to secure a notarized statement concerning their academic career from an authoritative source. Admission is provisional for one semester and the student must submit the required documents in that semester. An applicant with strong academic credentials may be accepted provisionally while completing prerequisite courses for a specific degree program.

Admission of Students With Disabilities
An applicant may choose to identify a physical, learning, psychological or other disability and ask that it be considered a relevant factor in the admissions process. The optional review procedure is intended to enhance an individual's opportunities for admission and may not be used to discriminate against the applicant. Individuals who choose not to be identified as having a disability at the time of application will be evaluated for admission in the regular manner. Recent documentation verifying the disability, which for learning disabilities should include test results, must be sent along with a request for special review checked on the admissions application. Nonstandard administration scores from standardized entrance examination, such as the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), are accepted and are not devalued in any way.

For information about required disability documentation or services for students with disabilities, applicants should contact the Office of Disability Support Services at 202-319-5211.

Information is also available on the Web site at or in the Student Handbook.


Admission of Nondegree 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 nondegree seeking student. 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 nondegree seeking student may be granted. After three courses are completed with a grade of B or better, the chair may recommend to the dean a change of status with full admission to a degree program. 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 8 CFR 214.3(k)(4) and 214.4(a)(1)(x). The application of an international student as a nondegree student will be evaluated according to these criteria.

Admission as a nondegree 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 nondegree 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 nondegree 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 nondegree student may take up to a maximum number of nine graduate credits.


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.

An applicant for readmission is required to pay the $55 application fee.