Harvard College Logo


100 Eck Center, Notre Dame, IN 46556

(574) 631-5000


University of Notre Dame

University of Notre Dame

Founded in 1842, Notre Dame stands on 1,250 acres considered by many to be among the most beautiful possessed by any university in the nation. From the collegiate Gothic architecture and park-like landscape to exquisite outdoor sculpture and breathtaking views, Notre Dame’s campus is a visual splendor.

An Undergraduate Experience Like No Other

Along with the intellectual rigor of the Notre Dame Experience, we know how to have fun. As a student here, you'll have access to a wealth of people, activities, and events that will broaden your horizons and help you discover unexpected passions.

Art is a privileged way in which humanity learns to express itself, to innovate, and to create, reminding us of the uniqueness of the human spirit. With over 900 arts events annually and numerous programs and departments, the Notre Dame campus offers an opulent variety of opportunities for students to share their expression.

With a population of more than 300,000, South Bend and the surrounding area offer a wide range of cultural, recreational, and entertainment opportunities of Notre Dame Students. In the immediate area alone you'll find 70+ shops, 58+ restaurants, 4 museums, and more than 20 arts and entertainment venues, including the Morris Performing Arts Center, which hosts plays, standup comedians, and musicians.


The University of Notre Dame is a Catholic academic community of higher learning, animated from its origins by the Congregation of Holy Cross. The University is dedicated to the pursuit and sharing of truth for its own sake. As a Catholic university, one of its distinctive goals is to provide a forum where, through free inquiry and open discussion, the various lines of Catholic thought may intersect with all the forms of knowledge found in the arts, sciences, professions, and every other area of human scholarship and creativity.

The intellectual interchange essential to a university requires, and is enriched by, the presence and voices of diverse scholars and students. The Catholic identity of the University depends upon, and is nurtured by, the continuing presence of a predominant number of Catholic intellectuals. This ideal has been consistently maintained by the University leadership throughout its history. What the University asks of all its scholars and students, however, is not a particular creedal affiliation, but a respect for the objectives of Notre Dame and a willingness to enter into the conversation that gives it life and character. Therefore, the University insists upon academic freedom that makes open discussion and inquiry possible.

The University prides itself on being an environment of teaching and learning that fosters the development in its students of those disciplined habits of mind, body, and spirit that characterize educated, skilled, and free human beings. In addition, the University seeks to cultivate in its students not only an appreciation for the great achievements of human beings but also a disciplined sensibility to the poverty, injustice and oppression that burden the lives of so many. The aim is to create a sense of human solidarity and concern for the common good that will bear fruit as learning becomes service to justice.

Notre Dame also has a responsibility to advance knowledge in a search for truth through original inquiry and publication. This responsibility engages the faculty and students in all areas of the University, but particularly in graduate and professional education and research. The University is committed to constructive and critical engagement with the whole of human culture.

The University encourages a way of living consonant with a Christian community and manifest in prayer, liturgy and service. Residential life endeavors to develop that sense of community and of responsibility that prepares students for subsequent leadership in building a society that is at once more human and more divine.

Notre Dame’s character as a Catholic academic community presupposes that no genuine search for the truth in the human or the cosmic order is alien to the life of faith. The University welcomes all areas of scholarly activity as consonant with its mission, subject to appropriate critical refinement. There is, however, a special obligation and opportunity, specifically as a Catholic university, to pursue the religious dimensions of all human learning. Only thus can Catholic intellectual life in all disciplines be animated and fostered and a proper community of scholarly religious discourse be established.

In all dimensions of the University, Notre Dame pursues its objectives through the formation of an authentic human community graced by the Spirit of Christ.


Where the Heart Is: Each of the 29 residence halls offers students not only a tight-knit community and social circle, but also the opportunity to participate in numerous long-standing traditions. Every hall has a mascot and nickname, a color scheme, a favorite charity and a signature event, ranging from concerts to game shows, casino nights and auctions. In Fisher Hall, it’s the Fisher Regatta, a one-on-one boat racing tournament held each April on St. Mary’s Lake that is open to all dorms, with most halls entering at least one home-made watercraft. Usually drawing more than 1,000 participants with boats resembling anything from a pirate ship to a basketball court, the Regatta is the culmination of countless hours of hard work and dedication. You can’t talk about residence hall traditions without mentioning the famous inter-hall dances known as SYRs (officially “Set Up Your Roommate,” with some known variations on the acronym), which provide opportunities to mix and mingle, socialize and cut loose a bit.

Grabbing a Bite: Some of the most popular student traditions, not too surprisingly, are centered around food. It’s easy to see why the Coleman-Morse Center (or “Co-Mo”) is a popular study spot. Two words: Free food. With a popcorn machine and soda fountain, the location almost always draws a crowd. Not quite free – but close – night owls can grab an infamous “quarter dog” in the LaFortune Student Center after midnight. To add flair to campus dining, North and South Dining Halls offer themed meals throughout the academic year including Halloween and Valentine’s Day desserts, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Cinco de Mayo dinners, and Lenten and Easter buffets. Also a big favorite – candlelight dinners after home football games in the dining hall complete with white tablecloths and yes, plenty of candles.

Keeping the Faith: Deeply rooted in its Catholicity, Notre Dame also is home to an abundance of spiritual traditions. There are 47 chapels on campus, including one in every residence hall, each with its own personality when it comes to expressions of faith. The Men of Morrissey celebrate the name day of Fr. Andrew Morrissey with a solemn Mass honoring St. Andrew the Apostle each Nov. 30. Keenan Hall’s men join residents of a women’s hall once a month for a joint liturgy followed by an ice-cream social on Keenan Kommons. Lewis Hall celebrates Lucenarium, or “Lewis Luce,” which is evening prayer in the Holy Cross tradition, on Monday nights. One of the more unique and popular hall faith traditions is the Thursday Dillon Hall Milkshake Mass. The special liturgy is the brainchild of veteran Dillon rector Rev. Paul Doyle, C.S.C., who conceived of it as a means of stemming the increasing tide of students going off campus for fun on Thursday nights. After a 10 p.m. Mass, Dillon residents gather in the hallway outside the hall’s chapel for milkshakes prepared by Father Doyle. From a modest beginning of 15 attendees, the Milkshake Mass now routinely draws 80 Dillon residents for a faith and fellowship experience

In the Name of Fun: Jump right in, the water isn’t fine for the annual Polar Bear Plunge. Sponsored by Badin and Dillon Halls, some 250 beachgoers pay five dollars for the “privilege” of running into the freezing waters of St. Joseph’s Lake each February. This annual tradition would defy logic if not for the fact that it benefits charities. Equally chilly is the annual North Quad vs. South Quad snowball fight, which lures otherwise reluctant students out into the cold. At midnight after the first major snowfall, they storm campus for the showdown. If you find yourself walking home from a late night of studying on that particular night, be careful not to get caught in the crossfire.

An Tostal: Wrapping up each academic year, An Tostal is a week-long festival celebrating the final full week of classes. Started in 1967, its name is derived from the spring festivals held in Ireland during the 1950s. An Tostal features games, prizes, music, and food, and events have included pig chases, concerts, picnics, pie-throwing, kissing marathons, tug-o-war, mattress races, and chariot races.

Academically Speaking: Pass by the Main Building with its famed Golden Dome and you’re bound to see dozens of students, faculty, administrators and visitors bustling in and out of its majestic doors. But one thing you won’t see is any undergraduate student climbing the front stairs to the building’s main entrance – that’s because of a tradition that requires all students to wait until graduation before they’re allowed to make the climb. The tradition of the steps being off limits until commencement originates in 19th-century porch etiquette and smoking rituals. Only after successful completion of a degree program was a student deemed equal enough to ascend the steps and to smoke on the porch with his professors. Though “porch etiquette” may seem archaic by today’s standards, students don’t seem to mind the minor inconvenience.

A Tradition of Giving: Notre Dame students are known not only for their academic prowess, but also for their focus on service – and they’ve developed a knack for combining the two with fun – and mud. “Muddy Sunday,” an annual volleyball tournament sponsored by Keenan Hall, offers the opportunity for all students to get in touch with their inner toddler and slide, slop and play volleyball in the mud. All proceeds are donated to the Notre Dame chapter of Habitat for Humanity. For those students whose definition of “fun” means hours of brutal training and the possibility of being pummeled by fellow students in a boxing ring is the Bengal Bouts. Legendary football coach Knute Rockne first organized boxing at Notre Dame in 1920, yet Bengal Bouts’ true identity wasn’t established until 1931, when a service focus was added: raising funds for the Holy Cross Missions in Bangladesh. In 2010, the program raised a record-breaking $100,000 propelling the Bouts past the million dollar mark for all-time contributions.

Good Sports: The student section has a variety of well-loved traditions that are passed down from one generation to the next. Students remain standing throughout the game, celebrating touchdowns with airborne pushups. They transition from full-throated roar to a hush at the end of the third quarter, when they hear “May I Have Your Attention Please,” followed by another pun-laden safety announcement and punch line delivered by the legendary retired Indiana State Police Sergeant Tim McCarthy. And they honor the current Irish head coach at the start of the fourth quarter as the band plays the 1812 Overture.

And Our Hearts Forever: One of the most meaningful and visible displays of Notre Dame tradition comes when students and alumni lock arms and sway, shoulder-to-shoulder, as the alma mater, “Notre Dame, Our Mother,” plays. In these brief moments, history comes alive and it’s not about the dorm dances, late-night study groups or pep rallies. It all comes down to the lyrics of a song written by a 1923 alumnus, words that capture the true significance of Our Lady’s University to so many: “And our hearts forever… Love thee, Notre Dame.”

Student Life:

100% of first-year students and 80% of sophomores, juniors, and seniors live in the 29 residence halls on campus. There are no social fraternities or sororities at Notre Dame - the residence hall is the focus of social, religious, and intramural athletic activities.

What happens when 8,400 brilliant and involved students get together? They create clubs and organizations for every interest. They write for The Observer, our student newspaper. They develop their ideas through the Entrepreneurship Society. They motivate at-risk children to pursue their dreams through College Mentors for Kids. With more than 350 student clubs and organizations to choose from, you'll find a number of ways to get involved.

Even if you're not a varsity athlete, Notre Dame provides countless opportunities to engage in athletics, including: inter-hall sporting events (we're the only non-academy school to offer full-tackle, full-pad tackle football), an intramural program that Sports Illustrated deemed one of the best in the country, extensive recreational facilities, including Rolfs Sports Recreation Center and Rockne Memorial, and bookstore Basketball, the world's largest five-on-five tournament featuring more than 700 teams each year.



The Leprechaun
In keeping with the nickname Fighting Irish and the Irish folklore, the Leprechaun serves as the Notre Dame mascot. The Leprechaun brandishes a shillelagh and agressively leads cheers and interacts with the crowd, supposedly bringing magical powers and good luck to the Notre Dame team. The Leprechaun was named the official mascot in 1965.

University of Notre Dame today:

The University of Notre Dame has nine schools and colleges. Notre Dame undergraduates can choose from approximately 75 degree programs and graduate students can pursue more than 50 master’s, doctoral, and professional degrees including several combined degrees.


Notre Dame has an enrollment of approximately 8,500 undergraduates, 2,100 graduate students, and 1,600 professional school students, with a total enrollment of nearly 12,200 students. 

Famous graduates:

Condoleezza Rice (born November 14, 1954) grew up surrounded by racism in the segregated South, but went on to become the first woman and first African-American to serve as provost of Stanford University. She received her master's from the University of Notre Dame in 1975. In 2001, Rice was appointed national security adviser by President George W. Bush, becoming the first black woman (and second woman) to hold the post, and went on to become the first black woman to serve as U.S. Secretary of State.

Nicholas Sparks (born December 31, 1965) wrote his first (unpublished) novel while sidelined by a sports injury. He then attended the University of Notre Dame and went into sales. Business setbacks got him writing again and in 1995 he finished The Notebook, which was a best-seller and later turned into a hit movie. He followed this novel with Message in a BottleNights in Rodanthe and The Longest Ride, among others.

Interesting facts about the University of Notre Dame:

The Notre Dame marching band was founded in 1843 and is the oldest college marching band still in existence.

Notre Dame graduates are accepted into medical schools at a rate of about 80 percent, almost twice the national average.

Notre Dame boasts seven Heisman trophy winners, the highest number in the whole country.

The Golden Dome that sits on top of the Main Building is covered in 23.9-karat gold leaf. Students often find flakes of gold in the surrounding grass during a re-gilding, so I guess you could say gold is literally falling from the sky at Notre Dame!