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Carlow University
Carlow University is a private, co-ed, Catholic university with a strong commitment to social...

Carlow University

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Carlow emphasizes a well-rounded liberal arts education with a solid foundation in ethics and social justice. Its students carry with them the values that have defined Carlow University for nearly a hundred years. They go on to do good—and do well—in their chosen professions. According to a recent career outcomes report, 94 percent of Carlow alumni were employed or continuing their studies at Carlow or other universities within six months of graduation.

Student Profile

Fall 2015 Enrollment
1,280 undergraduate students
77% of undergrad students are full time
16% male — 96% female
5% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2015-2016 Academic Year
97 full-time faculty
167 part-time faculty
12 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

Fall 2015
78% of first year students live on campus
32% of all students live on campus

School Location

Carlow has one of the safest campuses in one of the safest cities in the country, situated in the heart of the Eds, Meds, and Tech section of Oakland in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Carlow is an island of historic architecture and cutting-edge learning technology in a bustling, vibrant community. Carlow’s proximity to world-renowned hospitals and laboratories offer unique access to students interested in pursuing science or health care degrees.

High-Impact Practices

Read more about the importance of High-Impact Practices 

First-Year Seminars and Experiences X
Common Intellectual Experiences  
Learning Communities X
Writing-Intensive Courses X
Collaborative Assignments and Projects X
Undergraduate Research X
Diversity/Global Learning X
Service Learning, Community-Based Learning X
Internships/Coops/Practicums X
Capstone Courses and Projects/Senior Experience X


77% of students began in Fall 2014 and returned in Fall 2015 (full time, first time freshmen)


57% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 0%
Hispanic/Latino 3%
Black or African American 19%
White 64%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0%
Asian 2%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 5%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 7%


Carlow University offers a variety of athletic teams, including: Men’s and Women’s Basketball, Golf, Soccer, Cross Country, and Track and Field (Spring 2018), along with Women’s Softball, Tennis, and Volleyball. The Carlow Celtics are affiliated with the United States Collegiate Athletics Association (USCAA) and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), both of which offer post-season opportunities to athletes across the United States.

Other Information

Carlow’s dedication to social justice and service to the community began long before “social justice” became a buzz phrase. Founded in 1929 by the Sisters of Mercy, Carlow’s students and faculty have been at the forefront of such issues as environmental protection, women’s empowerment and education, and racial equality, having participated in different activist events like the Civil Rights marches in Selma. With the 2017 launch of the Social Justice Institutes, Carlow addresses the epidemic of gun violence with a scholarship available to eligible students affected by what the American Medical Association calls “a public health crisis.”

Academic Programs

CARLOW: Majors Accounting Art Art Education Biology Business Administration (MBA) Business Management Chemistry Communication Counseling Psychology (PsyD) Creative Writing Creative Writing (MFA) Criminal Justice Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Early Childhood Education Early Development and Learning Educational Leadership for High Performance Learning English Forensic Accounting Fraud and Forensics (MS) General Studies Health Management History Human Resource Management and Technology Liberal Studies Mathematics Nursing Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Nursing: RN to BSN Nursing: Family Nurse Practitioner Nursing: MSN-MBA Dual Degree Political Science Professional Counseling (MS) Psychology Respiratory Care Social Work Special Education


The Carlow Compass, Carlow’s core curriculum, is rooted in liberal arts and the Catholic intellectual tradition. It is designed to navigate and explore a student’s educational pathway within a course of study, emphasizing career-readiness and ethical leadership.


Undergraduates at Carlow can take advantage of many study abroad opportunities, from a semester in Italy to an entire year in Northern Ireland. Some of Carlow’s unique offerings include the service-oriented Carlow Cares spring break trips to places like Nicaragua. Carlow’s MFA in Creative Writing includes two intensive residencies per year, which consist of a two weeks’ stay in Pittsburgh and another two weeks at Trinity College in Ireland.


Thanks to the size of Carlow University, undergraduate research has always been an important dimension of its biology and chemistry programs. Unlike research universities, which often hold undergraduate classes that are taught by graduate students, students at Carlow have opportunities to work directly alongside faculty. Together, they pursue meaningful research projects that can lead to publications in journals and presentations at professional conferences.

While the sciences (natural, social, behavioral) are the notable fields in which Carlow undergraduates collaborate with faculty through research, Carlow undergraduates also engage in other types of scholarship with the faculty, such as social activism and artistry. Some courses at Carlow offer a mix of collaborative and research opportunities that are often showcased at Carlow’s Undergraduate Scholarship Day.

For example, Dr. Clara Cheng’s Feed the Deed project is a collaborative research activity in which her entire class of Social Psychology students promote prosocial action as part of a class project. Service-learning and Contemplation and Action courses are also distinctive at Carlow for their full-class, collaborative projects that involve both faculty and students. Past examples include website-design projects for nonprofit institutions as well as initiatives for nutrition awareness in the Oakland community. Similarly, Dr. Sandi DiMola’s public policy courses connect research with real community need by partnering with YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh, designing training modules to encourage women to take on appointed roles as board and commission members.

Activities Offered

Campus Ministries X
Choral groups X
Concert band  
Dance X
Drama/theater X
International Student Organization  
Jazz band  
Literary magazine  
Marching band  
Model UN  
Music ensembles  
Musical theater  
Pep band  
Radio station  
Student government X
Student newspaper X
Student-run film society  
Symphony orchestra  
Television station  


Carlow University’s First Year Seminar (FYS) orients students to the university community and builds a foundation for their academic success. Within a small group setting, FYS connects students with Carlow’s history and mission, familiarizing them with key support services and departments. Most importantly, FYS connects students with other students and with faculty. Students explore their new university together—and delve further into their own academic and professional goals. Students also take either College Writing and Research or Presentations and Argumentation with the same group of FYS classmates.


As students move through the core curriculum, they take course-level writing assessments to measure the progress of their writing skills at the initial stages of the curriculum. These assessments are useful tools that help determine clear steps for improvement throughout the continuation of their coursework. In their third year, all students (including transfers) complete an “anchor” experience in which they undergo a formative writing assessment, receiving recommendations for additional writing support and improvement before they move on to their disciplinary capstone experiences in their final year.

Common Core

Arts/fine arts  
Computer literacy  
English (including composition) X
Foreign languages  
Mathematics X
Sciences (biological or physical)  
Social science  

Class Size Breakdown

Size 2-9 10-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-99 100+ Total
Number of Classes 78 225 95 5 2 2 1 408

Carlow University’s learning opportunities outside the classroom allow students to put into practice their new liberal arts knowledge and Marcy-heritage values. A full variety of clubs provide extra outlets to students with professional, social, and civic interests. Students seeking leadership experiences may participate in the Student Government Association, Campus Activities Board and Residence Hall Association, Commuter Student Association, and the Office of Campus Life. The student organizations thrive on Carlow’s park-like campus in a bustling urban location.

Campus Housing Options for Undergraduates

Coed dorms X
Men’s dorms X
Women’s dorms X
Apartments for married students  
Apartments for single students  
Special housing for disabled students  
Special housing for international students  
Fraternity/sorority housing  
Cooperative housing  
Theme housing X
Wellness housing  
Other housing options  


Committed to compassionate and caring service of persons who are poor, sick, and uneducated—regardless of race, nationality, age, gender, or religion—the seven Sisters of Mercy established and staffed numerous schools, an orphanage, and the first hospital in Pittsburgh. Their legacy fuels Carlow’s efforts every day, maintaining the core values behind everything it does.


All first-year students participate in Mercy Service Day, an annual event that sends Carlow community members (students, faculty, staff, and alumni) into many parts of the Pittsburgh community to work with over a dozen nonprofits. Students help paint houses with Habitat For Humanity Pittsburgh, sort canned goods at Duquesne Repack, serve food at the Jubilee Soup Kitchen, and much more.


Carlow’s Office of Career Development provides career-planning services that prepare students and alumni for successful transitions from college to their careers. They provide career advising sessions, career-related programming, internship/job search support, and employer engagement both on and off campus.


In their junior and senior capstone experiences, students pursue their own independent research under the direct oversight of a faculty member. They then present this information to the Carlow community—including their peers—through Carlow’s Scholarship Day, an annual event that highlights undergraduate research in all disciplines through poster presentations, panels, demonstrations, and readings.


Admissions Fall 2015

806 Total Applicants
696 Total Admissions
218 Total Freshmen Enrollment

86.35% of applicants admitted

Admissions Deadlines for 2016-17 Admission

Rolling admission? No

Closing date: Aug 15
Priority date: Feb 1


Very Important
Rigor of secondary school record
Academic GPA
Standardized test scores

Class rank
Application Essay
Extracurricular activities
Character/personal qualities
First generation
Alumni/ae relation
Volunteer work
Work experience
Level of applicant’s interest

Freshmen Profile Fall 2015

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Critical Reading 440 540
SAT Math 430 530
SAT Writing    
SAT Essay    
ACT Composite 19 24
ACT Math 17 24
ACT English 18 24
ACT Writing    




Tuition $27,136
Fees $628
Total $27,764
Room and Board (on campus) $10,784
Estimated Total On Campus $38,548


Average Financial Aid Packages 2015-2016 Final

$25,130 First year students
$3,739 All undergrads

Financial Aid Breakdown 2015-2016 Final

$3,739 Average need-based scholarship or grant award
$3,442 Average need-based loan

Financial Aid Information

Every applicant to Carlow is assigned an admissions counselor who guides them through every step of the enrollment process, helping them submit the correct materials, deciding on a major, and everything in between.   

Carlow believes that educational opportunities shouldn’t be limited by a student’s ability to pay. Over 90% of students receive financial assistance, many of whom probably thought attending Carlow was not possible. Carlow’s goal is to make its unique, values-based education affordable and enrolling a reality.