Pacific Lutheran University


Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) was established in 1890 by a group of Norwegian Lutherans headed by Reverend Bjug Harstad from the Puget Sound area. The university was established with the main objective of helping immigrants adjust to their new land and find jobs. Another prime objective was to produce graduates who would serve the church and the community. Although it was set up as a university, it functioned primarily as an academy until 1918 when it closed for two years. It reopened after two years as the Pacific Lutheran College, offering two-year courses, and merged with the Columbia College. The Spokane College also merged with the Pacific Lutheran College in 1929. In 1960, the institution was reorganized and renamed Pacific Lutheran University.

Pacific Lutheran University is located on a 156-acre woodland campus six miles south of Tacoma, in suburban Parkland. The university is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and has consistently been ranked in the top 15 Western region universities in the U.S. News & World Report’s annual “Best Colleges” survey.

Pacific Lutheran University is comprised of a College of Arts and Sciences and professional schools of Arts and Communication, Business, Education and Movement Studies, and Nursing offering undergraduate, graduate and continuing education programs.


Information Summary

Ranks 7th in Washington and 324th overall. See the entire top 2,000 colleges and universities list
Overall Score (about) 89.7
Total Cost On-Campus Attendance $56,784
Admission Success rate N/A
ACT / SAT 75%ile scores 28 / 1270
Student Ratio Students-to-Faculty 15 : 1
Retention (full-time / part-time) 83% / N/A
Enrollment Total (all students) 3,207


The College of Arts and Sciences offers B.A. and B.S. degrees programs. Courses are offered in areas such as Humanities, Natural Sciences, and Social Sciences.

The School of Arts and Communication offers the Bachelor of Arts in Communication, Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art & Design and Theatre, Bachelor of Musical Arts, and Bachelor of Music Education degree programs.

The School of Business offers BBA and MBA degree programs. The areas of concentration for the BBA programs include Accounting, Finance, Management and Human Resource, and Marketing. The MBA program offers concentration areas in Entrepreneurship & New Venture Management, Health Care Management, and Technology & Innovation Management.

The School of Education and Movement Studies offers the Bachelor of Arts in Education, Bachelor of Arts in Physical Education, Bachelor of Science in Physical Education, and Master of Arts in Education degree programs. The courses are offered in areas such as Instructional Development and Leadership and Movement Studies and Wellness Education.

The School of Nursing offers the Bachelor of Science in Nursing and the Master of Science in Nursing degree programs.

Most Popular Fields of Study


College Building :: Pacific Lutheran University
College Campus :: Pacific Lutheran University


Pacific Lutheran University offers a competitive admissions policy; applications are scrutinized on the basis of grade point average, class rank, transcript patterns, standardized test scores, personal essay, and an academic recommendation. Students are required to take the SAT or the ACT. The required preparation courses include mathematics, a foreign language, English, social studies, laboratory science, visual or performing arts, and electives. Pacific Lutheran University also admits transfer students from regionally accredited colleges or universities. Transfer students need to have at least a 2.50 GPA with at least 30 semester hours of college level, academic coursework.

International students need to submit the application for admission, an essay, a letter of recommendation and a certificate of finances to demonstrate availability of funds to finance the education expenses for a year. They are also required to submit their high school and college transcripts. They are required to provide evidence of their proficiency in English by submitting their TOEFL scores.

Financial Aid

Pacific Lutheran University participates in a variety of financial aid programs to help students meet their educational expenses. Four types of financial aid are available for the students of the Pacific Lutheran University. These include scholarships and grants, loans, work-study programs, and payment plans.

The merit-based awards include Regents’ Scholarship, President’s scholarship, PLU Academic scholarship, National Merit scholarship, Washington Scholar’s award, and Phi Theta Kappa scholarship. The need-based awards include Q Club scholarship, University Grant, Dollars for scholars, Federal Pell Grant, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, and the Washington State Need Grant. Students may also be able to rreceive various loan options such as Stafford (Subsidized and Unsubsidized) loans, Federal Perkins Loans, Federal Parent PLUS loans, and Federal Grad PLUS loans. Students can also apply for work-study programs wherein they can seek in-campus and off-campus work-study positions.

To apply for financial aid from the Pacific Lutheran University, students are required to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to the U.S. Department of Education. The Pacific Lutheran University recommends a priority deadline of January 31 to apply for the financial aid.

Student Financial Aid Details

Ranks 3030th for the average student loan amount.
Secrets to getting the best scholarships and financial aid in Washington.


Pacific Lutheran University believes in creating an atmosphere where students are challenged to learn and grow outside the classroom. The campus has a home town feel. The Hong International Hall is a hub for campus activities primarily focused on culture, language, and international issues. The Lagerquist Concert Hall has brilliant acoustics where students get the opportunity to practice and perform. The Student Involvement and Leadership program features a student government which provides advice and support for student activities. The clubs and organizations in the Pacific Lutheran University provide a great opportunity to students to branch out into areas previously uncharted, or altogether unexplored.

Students can either join an existing club or form a new one. Common clubs on the campus of the university include Alpha Psi Omega, Anthropology club, Amnesty International, Circle K, Cycling Club, Hip Hop 101, Super Smash Bros. Club, the Mark, and the Nordic Klubb.

The Counseling Center provides useful advice, career guidance, and personal assistance to the students. Other facilities available on campus include a Campus Ministry, Diversity Center, Health Center, and a Women’s Center. The library houses new and used books, journals, and electronic resources. The Garfield Book company is the bookstore of the Pacific Lutheran University and houses books, apparel, merchandise, greeting cards, and gift items.

There are numerous housing options at the Pacific Lutheran University. The university offers guaranteed housing to all first-year students. There are many residence halls such as Foss, Harstad, Hong, Kriedler, and Ordal which are well-equipped and have facilities such as in-room cable TV, internet connection, kitchen microwaves, study lounges, desks and chairs, and twin extra-long beds. The dining options include The Commons, Old Main Market, Tahoma Bakery and Café, Espresso Cart, and The Cave.

Student Enrollment Demographics

Student Graduation Demographics


Pacific Lutheran University is a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III. The Pacific Lutheran University athletes are known as the Lutes and the official colors are yellow and black. Pacific Lutheran University participates in 20 varsity sports including baseball, men’s and women’s crew, men’s and women’s basketball, football, softball, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s swimming, men’s and women’s outdoor track & field, and women’s volleyball.

The on-campus athletic facilities include Olson Auditorium-Names Court, the home of the PLU volleyball and men’s and women’s basketball teams; Memorial Gymnasium, Swim Center, Names Fitness Center, Tennis Courts, Baseball Field, Softball Field, Soccer Field, and Track and Field.


  • Pacific Lutheran University. About PLU. Web. 30 July 2011.
  • Pacific Lutheran University. Office of Admission. Web. 30 July 2011.
  • Pacific Lutheran University. PLU Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog 2010-2011. 2010. Print.

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