University of Notre Dame
#120 Overall Influence#23 Desirability Rank

University of Notre Dame

Catholic university in Notre Dame, Indiana, United States

By James Barham, PhD

The University of Notre Dame (ND) was founded in 1842 by Edward Sorin, a Catholic priest of the religious order of the Congregation of Holy Cross (Congregatio a Sancta Cruce—CSC). ND was originally a primary and secondary school. Two years later, in 1844, the school received its college charter from the General Assembly of Indiana (which had been a state since 1816). It awarded its first degree in 1849.

Today, ND is still run by the CSC, although the faculty members and the student body are now recruited from far beyond the confines of the Catholic Church.

ND’s transformation from a small Catholic college to a modern research university has been gradual but steady. Already in 1919, the university began to abandon its traditional Classical and Scholastic curriculum in favor of a modern, secular curriculum. Another major push toward parity with secular institutions nationwide was initiated under the leadership of President Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., beginning in the 1960s.

ND gained further national recognition when Hesburgh became a national figure, standing arm-in-arm with Martin Luther King, Jr., at a Chicago civil-rights rally in 1964. In 1969, Hesburgh was appointed Chairman of the US Civil Rights Commission by President Richard Nixon.

In addition to ND’s college, graduate school, and such highly regarded professional schools as the Notre Dame Law School and the Mendoza College of Business, ND is also home to several highly regarded, specialized institutes, including the Keough School of Global Affairs, the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, and the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Studies.

Among many prominent ND alumni and faculty, we may mention the following:

  • Mathematician, Mei-Chi Shaw
  • Computer scientists, Jeffrey Vitter & James Massey
  • Philosophers, Alasdair MacIntyre, Alvin Plantinga, Ralph McInerny, Peter van Inwagen & Gary Gutting
  • Science fiction author, Orson Scott Card
  • Romance novelist, Nicholas Sparks
  • Physicist, Charles W. Misner
  • Electrical engineer, Panos Antsaklis
  • Aeronautical and biomedical engineer, Dava Newman
  • Physiologist, Philip Majerus
  • Geneticist, Anne Villeneuve
  • Developmental biologist and Nobel laureate for physiology or medicine, Eric Wieschaus
  • Priest, explorer, and early evolutionary theorist, John Augustine Zahm
  • Evolutionary biologist, H. Frederik Nijhout
  • Ecologist, William Mitsch
  • Sociologists, Christian Smith, Ann Mische, Lynette Spillman & Saskia Sassen
  • Economist, Kasey Buckles
  • Political scientists, Patrick Deneen, David E. Campbell, Emilia Justyna Powell & Ming Chu-cheng
  • Legal scholar and political scientist, Richard W. Garnett
  • Intellectual historians, George Marsden & Brad S. Gregory
  • American Studies scholar, Murray Sperber
  • Islamic Studies scholar, Ebrahim Moosa
  • Sinologist, Edward L. Shaughnessy
  • Catholic bishop and popular author, Robert Barron
  • Peruvian priest and liberation theologian, Gustavo Gutiérrez
  • Journalist, Robert Costa
  • TV journalist and political commentator, Mark Shields
  • TV personalities, Phil Donahue & Regis Philbin
  • Current US Representative, John Ratcliffe
  • Former US Senator, Joe Donnelly
  • Former US Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice


What does this school look for?

Annual Applications




Graduation Rate


Median SAT Score


Median ACT Score



How much does it cost to attend?

Tuition (in-state)


Fees (in-state)


IncomeAverage Net Cost

After Graduation

Averages for 10 years after enrolling

Avg Earnings




Campus Life

What's it like to attend this school?

The People

Full time on-campus stats

Student Body






The Campus

Where will you be attending?


400 Main Building, Notre Dame IN 46556

What is University of Notre Dame known for?

Our answer to this is to show you the disciplines in which a school's faculty and alumni have had the highest historical influence. A school may be influential in a discipline even if they do not offer degrees in that area. We've organized two lists to show where they are influential and offer corresponding degrees, and where they are influential through scholarship although they don't offer degrees in the disciplines.

Top areas of influence with degrees offered

#45 World Rank #18 USA Rank
#47 World Rank #19 USA Rank
Religious Studies
#57 World Rank #20 USA Rank
#53 World Rank #29 USA Rank
#64 World Rank #31 USA Rank
#47 World Rank #35 USA Rank
Political Science
#72 World Rank #38 USA Rank
#155 World Rank #54 USA Rank
#98 World Rank #58 USA Rank
Computer Science
#183 World Rank #68 USA Rank
#170 World Rank #81 USA Rank
#144 World Rank #82 USA Rank
#201 World Rank #90 USA Rank
#151 World Rank #92 USA Rank
#205 World Rank #98 USA Rank
#167 World Rank #98 USA Rank
#142 World Rank #106 USA Rank
#267 World Rank #111 USA Rank
#352 World Rank #171 USA Rank

Other areas of influence

#119 World Rank #95 USA Rank
#146 World Rank #109 USA Rank
Criminal Justice
#152 World Rank #107 USA Rank
Social Work
#214 World Rank #77 USA Rank
Earth Sciences
#306 World Rank #192 USA Rank

Influential People

Who are University of Notre Dame's Most influential alumni?

University of Notre Dame's most influential alumni faculty include professors and professionals in the fields of Mathematics, Religious Studies, and Political Science. University of Notre Dame’s most academically influential people include Orson Scott Card, Jacques Maritain, and Jack Sepkoski.

Orson Scott Card
Orson Scott Card

American science fiction novelist

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Jacques Maritain
Jacques Maritain

French philosopher

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Jack Sepkoski

American paleontologist

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Regis Philbin
Regis Philbin

American television personality

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Phil Donahue
Phil Donahue

American talk show host, film producer and writer

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Saskia Sassen
Saskia Sassen


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John Augustine Zahm
John Augustine Zahm

Holy Cross priest, author, scientist, and South American explorer

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Theresa Rebeck

Writer, playwright, novelist

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Douglas Vakoch
Douglas Vakoch

American astrobiologist

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Donald F. McGahn II
Donald F. McGahn II

American government official

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William J. Mitsch
William J. Mitsch

American ecologist

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James Massey

American information theorist and cryptologist

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