Advances to Date

Notre Dame has made numerous advances toward achieving its vision to be among the world's top research universities while remaining fully committed to its Catholic mission and its unsurpassed excellence in undergraduate education. The following indicators of excellence bear witness to those achievements.

Advancements in Research and Scholarship

  • In 2010, the University surpassed the $100 million mark in earned research dollars, eventually receiving $120 million in awards for the year.
  • Faculty in the College of Arts and Letters earned five fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities in 2009 alone, bringing the total to 42 during the past 11 years, more than for any other university in the nation.
  • Twenty-one Notre Dame faculty members, including current President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., have been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the nation’s leading learned academy.
  • The National Science Foundation has joined with Notre Dame and two other universities to establish the Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics.
  • According to the National Science Foundation, Notre Dame is one of the top three U.S. universities in low-energy nuclear physics research.
  • The Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory and Notre Dame have collaborated to create a new Institute for Theoretical Sciences.
  • Notre Dame’s Keough-Naughton 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-Naughton Notre Dame Study Centre-Ireland, housed in historic O’Connell House in Dublin, engages in extensive cooperative agreements with Trinity College, Dublin, and University College Dublin (UCD).

Catholic Mission

  • In academic year 2009–10, a total of 22 Holy Cross religious served as faculty at the University of Notre Dame. Consistent with the two prior years, the College of Arts and Letters had the most members of the order on faculty, and others served in the College of Science, the Mendoza College of Business, First Year of Studies, and the School of Architecture.
  • In the wake of conflicts across the globe, Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies continues its work as one of the world’s principal centers for the study of the causes of violent conflict and strategies for sustainable peace. Faculty conduct research on war, genocide, terrorism, ethnic and religious conflict, and violation of human rights; teach students earning degrees in peace studies; and contribute to on-the-ground peacebuilding worldwide.
  • At the request of Pope Paul VI, Notre Dame helped found the Ecumenical Institute for Theological Studies at Tantur, located on a hilltop on the road from Jerusalem to Bethlehem. The University offers graduate and undergraduate students the opportunity to live and study at Tantur.
  • 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 former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to say, “Notre Dame represents much that is best and most generous in the American tradition.”
  • Begun in 2001, the Robinson Community Learning Center (RCLC) welcomes community and Notre Dame partners that strengthen the Northeast Neighborhood of South Bend through relationship educational opportunities. By promoting innovation and excellence, the center builds individual capacity and enhances existing systems throughout South Bend. An off-campus educational initiative of the President’s Office, the RCLC today serves an estimated 500 participants each week through regular programming. The center also partners with the juvenile court and community schools in the Michiana area, with program outreach that connects with nearly 8,000 additional youth per year. This level of outreach is only possible due to strong and intentional relationships with community partners and the shared resources of the University and community.
  • The University’s Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) sends nearly 200 recent graduates to teach in some 100 understaffed Catholic schools in the Southern, Southeastern, and Southwestern United States. A national model, ACE has received the Higher Education Award from the Corporation for National Service for leadership in using national service resources through AmeriCorps.
  • The Eck Institute for Global Health is a university-wide enterprise that recognizes health as a fundamental human right and endeavors to promote research, training, and service to advance health standards for all people, and especially people in low and middle-income countries who are disproportionately impacted by preventable diseases.

Excellence in Undergraduate Education

  • Notre Dame’s graduation rate of 95 percent is exceeded by only Harvard and Princeton.
  • Notre Dame’s 95 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 80 percent, almost twice the national average.
  • Notre Dame has one of the highest undergraduate residential concentrations of any national university, with 80 percent of its students living in 30 residence halls. About 40 Holy Cross religious and some 15 men and women of other religious communities continue to live and provide a pastoral presence in the halls.
  • Notre Dame ranks seventh in a listing of “dream schools” in a survey of parents by the Princeton Review. The top ten are Stanford, Princeton and Harvard Universities, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Yale University, University of California Los Angeles, Notre Dame, Brown University, University of Southern California, and New York University.
  • Among doctoral granting universities, Notre Dame ranks in the top 10 in the percentage of students studying abroad.
  • Notre Dame offers more than 40 international study programs in 21 countries.