A Distinctive Mission

Beginning with required classes in theology and philosophy, Catholicism serves as a foundation for all fields of study, from analyzing the consequences of poverty in an economics class to studying Dante to using graphic design for social good. No religious or intellectual question is bracketed at Notre Dame or off limits from critical reflection. In fact, students are challenged to ask the bigger questions: “What is a good life?” “How do we organize a just society?” “Does God exist?”

“We’re thinking about the impact, we’re trying to be compassionate, and we’re trying to do something that’s really worthwhile for the world.”

— Camille Suarez '13

Through the integration of reason and religious faith, a hallmark of Catholicism, the College seeks to nourish both the intellectual and the spiritual lives of its students and faculty. In response to Catholic social teaching in particular, the College of Arts and Letters fosters research and study that further social justice and serve the common good. Graduates from Notre Dame are empowered to be Catholic leaders, serving the Church, their communities, and the world.

“As a Catholic university, we see how our faith influences everything we do. My research is distinctly connected to and informed by my faith. But anything you do at Notre Dame can be part of the Catholic mission and our commitment to Catholic social teaching.”

— Luke Donahue ’17, German and theology major

Our distinctive intellectual mission is to be at once excellent—on par with the very best private research universities in the country—and authentically Catholic. Our Catholicism drives much of our research, from development economics to sacred music to the role of religion in literature.