Indicators of Excellence


Notre Dame’s commitment to academic excellence, values, service and character development annually places the University among the nation’s top 25 institutions of higher learning in surveys conducted by U.S. News and World Report, Princeton Review, Time , Kiplinger’s and the Templeton Foundation.Notre Dame ranks as one of the nation’s most selective universities, joining Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, Dartmouth, Brown, MIT and Rice as the only schools that admit fewer than half of their freshman applicants and enroll more than half of those who are admitted.An influential book from Johns Hopkins University Press ranks Notre Dame sixth among 11 rising private research universities. Notre Dame ranks first among U.S. Catholic colleges and universities in the number of undergraduates who have gone on to earn a doctorate since 1920, according to independent studies conducted by Georgetown University and the Delta Epsilon Sigma scholastic honor society.Notre Dame is one of just five universities to rank consistently both in the top 25 in the U.S. News & World Report survey of America’s best colleges and the Sears Directors Cup standings of the best overall athletic programs.

Computer and information technology resources at Notre Dame have been ranked among the nation’s best for three consecutive years in the survey “America’s 100 Most Wired Colleges.”


Notre Dame’s graduation rate of 93 percent for all students ranks behind only Harvard, Yale and Princeton.The academic profile of the entering Notre Dame undergraduate features a median SAT score of better than 1335. Some 40 percent ranked 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 in their high school graduating classes, and 85 percent graduated in the top 10 percent. Entering students were leaders in volunteer service, sports, fine and dramatic arts, and student government. Notre Dame’s 96 percent retention rate between the freshman and sophomore years is among the highest in the country, thanks in large part to the University’s unique First Year of Studies program.Notre Dame graduates are accepted into medical schools at a rate of about 75 percent, almost twice the national average.

Notre Dame’s student body includes some 700 students from 80 nations around the world.


In a survey of some 2,000 leading scholars of American religion, two of the scholars regarded as “most important to the field” are Notre Dame historians Nathan Hatch and George Marsden. Of the two books singled out as “most important for the study of American religion,” one was “The Democratization of American Christianity,” by Hatch, the University’s provost. A third Notre Dame historian, Jay Dolan, also was cited as one of the leading authors in the field. Carolyn Woo, Gillen Dean of the Mendoza College of Business, has been named one of the 40 “young leaders” of American academe by Change, the journal of the American Association for Higher Education. Notre Dame’s School of Architecture offers the nation’s only fully accredited curriculum in Classical architecture and has been described by New York Times as “the Athens” of the New Classicism movement. Faculty in the Notre Dame theology department have published more than 300 books since 1965, an output unmatched in higher education.Notre Dame’s Institute for Medieval Studies was the first in the United States, and the University also founded the first publication series dedicated specifically to medieval topics. According to the National Science Foundation, Notre Dame is one of the top three U.S. universities in low-energy nuclear physics research.The University’s biological sciences department is an internationally recognized center for research in mosquito biology, and the Vector Biology Program houses the World Health organization’s Aedes Reference Centre. The 7,500-acre University of Notre Dame Environmental Research Center on the Wisconsin-Michigan border encompasses woodlands, ponds, streams and more than 30 lakes. Home to the University’s Jerry Hank Family Program in Environmental Studies and the new James B. Hank Research Facility, it is one of the premier ecological field stations in the world. Notre Dame’s Department of Accountancy consistently ranks among the top 10 in the country in an annual nationwide survey of accountancy department chairs. The University ranks seventh in the number of alumni who are partners of Big Five accounting firms. The distance learning initiative in the Executive MBA Program in the Mendoza College of Business has been selected as the best in higher education.The Department of Mathematics ranks among the top quarter among all universities that grant a doctorate in the field.Five of the leading marketing researchers in the nation are Notre Dame faculty members, according to a survey published in Marketing Educator. Faculty members in the Notre Dame chemical engineering department are among the world’s top 10 most frequently cited scholars in the field, according to Science Watch. Five professors in Notre Dame’s electrical engineering department are fellows – the highest grade of membership – in the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers.The wind tunnels housed in the Hessert Center for Aerospace Research are internationally known for pioneering techniques in smoke-flow visualization. The Notre Dame Law School is rated among the top 30 overall and is among the top five in the quality of the faculty and student satisfaction, according to a Princeton Review survey.The Law School is the oldest in the nation under Catholic auspices. The Notre Dame MBA program has the No. 1 business ethics curriculum in higher education, according to Business Week, and is rated by Forbes among the top 20 in giving students the best return on their investment.Notre Dame in 1917 became the first university in the United States to offer a four-year course of studies in foreign commerce, beginning an emphasis on global issues that continues today in the Mendoza College of Business. Notre Dame has the only operating center for liturgical research and education established by the United States’ bishops. Notre Dame established the first programs in law, engineering and architecture at an American Catholic institution of higher learning.Music professor Alexander Blachly was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1999.

Marketing professors William Wilkie and Joel Urbany have been recognized by the Journal of Consumer Psychology as among the nation’s most productive authors of consumer marketing research.


The first evidence of a new subnuclear particle – an exotic meson – was discovered by a team of physicists led by the elementary particle physics group at Notre Dame. Long theorized, the particle had remained undetected, and its discovery will allow physicists to expand their understanding of nature at its most fundamental level.Notre Dame is part of a new consortium of universities constructing the world’s largest telescope in Arizona. The first experimental demonstration of a transistorless approach to computing, called quantum-dot cellular automata, was performed by a team of Notre Dame electrical engineering researchers. The new approach, which will take years to perfect, could allow for as many as 40 trillion devices on a four-inch-square chip, compared with six million devices on the most advanced conventional chip.Notre Dame’s Nuclear Structure Laboratory is one of only nine government-designated and university-operated accelerator labs in the country. Two Notre Dame engineers, Bill Spencer and Michael Sain, have developed a new method to protect buildings from violent movement during earthquakes and other catastrophic events.Notre Dame paleontologist J. Keith Rigby has uncovered what is believed to be the largest Tyrannosaurus Rex yet found.The U.S. Department of Energy-supported Radiation Laboratory on campus has given Notre Dame the largest concentration of radiation chemists in the world, with typically 30 different external institutions represented annually on its research staff. Notre Dame was the first American university to provide formal training in radiation chemistry and it continues to be the principal source of trained postgraduates in the field.Among scientific and technological innovations historically associated with the Notre Dame campus are the discovery of the formulae leading to synthetic rubber, the first demonstration of the aerodynamics of glider flight, the first transmission in the United States of a wireless message, and the first disintegration of the nucleus of an atom by electron bombardment.

Physicists David Bennett and his wife, Sun Hong Rhie, are developing a new technique to observe extra-solar planets.


The University’s network of 242 alumni clubs – including 22 in foreign countries – is the most extensive in higher education. With graduates renowned for their loyalty and generosity, Notre Dame annually ranks among the top five in percentage of alumni who contribute.In the world of business, Notre Dame alumni serve in chief executive and other leadership positions at firms such as Goldman, Sachs & Co.; Bank of America; Haggar Company; Mobil Corp.; Morgan Stanley, Dean Witter, Discover & Co.; the Chicago Mercantile Exchange; Merck & Company; Marriott Corp.; and Liz Claiborne, Inc.Notre Dame alumni preside as chief executive officers at some 20 American colleges and universities.Notre Dame graduates in high-level governmental positions include U.S. Congressmen representing New York and Indiana; the governor of Puerto Rico; and the Secretary of the Interior. In alumni satisfaction surveys, Notre Dame ranks among the top three nationally. Notre Dame alumni hold senior positions at some of the nation’s leading media organizations, including ABC News, Newsweek, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, NBC, Chicago Tribune, Philadelphia Inquirer, Universal Press Syndicate, PBS, Sports Illustrated, La opinion, PRIMEDIA and the Poynter Institute for Media Studies.

Astronaut alumnus James Wetherbee is deputy director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center and has served as pilot or commander on four space shuttle missions.


Notre Dame ranks in the top 20 among all American colleges and universities in size of endowment (about $3 billion) and in annual voluntary support. Since 1984-85 the University has ranked first in the amount of money contributed annually by parents. It has the largest endowment and yearly gift total of any Catholic institution of higher learning in the world. DeBartolo Hall, the University’s 84-classroom teaching facility, includes state-of-the-art computer and audio-visual equipment that makes it the most technologically advanced in higher education.

The new 65,000-square-foot Hammes Notre Dame Bookstore is among the largest in American higher education.


Community service is a hallmark of Notre Dame. About 80 percent of Notre Dame students through the University’s Center for Social Concerns are active in social service, and at least 10 percent of each year’s baccalaureate graduating class spends a year or more in volunteer service, prompting UN General-Secretary Kofi Annan to say, “Notre Dame represents much that is best and most generous in the American tradition.”More than 600 Notre Dame graduates have participated in the Holy Cross Associates program since its inception in 1978. Established by the University’s founding congregation, the program engages young lay people in the congregation’s service to the poor in the United States and Chile.Notre Dame’s Social Concerns Seminars, in which undergraduates spend fall and spring breaks offering assistance in Appalachia, constitute the most comprehensive service-learning program in higher education.

The University’s Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) sends 135 recent graduates to teach in some 90 understaffed Catholic schools in the Southern, Southeastern and Southwestern United States.


Notre Dame has the largest proportion of students studying abroad of any research university in the United States. Notre Dame offers 14 international study programs in 13 countries: Austria, France, Ireland, Mexico, Japan, Spain, Greece, Egypt, Australia, Chile, Israel, England and Italy. Notre Dame’s Keough Institute for Irish Studies is the nation’s foremost Irish studies program, and Notre Dame has the most prominent presence in Ireland of any American university. The Keough Institute is under the direction of the distinguished Irish scholar and novelist Seamus Deane and brings the foremost Irish scholars in the world to Notre Dame as both visiting and permanent faculty. Notre Dame students study the Bible, Middle Eastern history and the social and political problems of the Palestinians and Israelis in the Holy Land at the University’s Ecumenical Institute for Theological Studies at Tantur, located on a hilltop on the road from Jerusalem to Bethlehem.The University’s London Centre programs, which recently moved into expanded quarters in an historic building near Trafalgar Square, include some 120 students each semester from each of Notre Dame’s four colleges.Notre Dame’s London Law Centre operates the only full-time branch of an American law school located outside the United States. Notre Dame students who choose to study Down Under attend the University of Notre Dame-Australia, a private Catholic university founded in 1989 and located in Fremantle. Although there are no financial or legal ties, Notre Dame-Australia drew much of its founding inspiration from its U.S. namesake.