Western Washington University


For students who want a West Coast college experience near the sea, Western Washington University offers strong academic programs, reasonable prices and a scenic location near Puget Sound.

Western Washington University has very well-respected business programs, and academically is a very well-rounded college. Like many West coast universities, there is a prevailing climate of political correctness, which may not be comfortable for some students, while others may enjoy the company of like-minded individuals.

Western Washington University offers more than 130 majors. The school’s programs are organized into eight colleges, the College of Business and Economics, Fairhaven College, the College of Fine and Performing Arts, Graduate School, the Huxley College of the Enivronment, the Woodring College of Education, the College of Sciences and Technology and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

The university’s master’s programs are well regarded, and are ranked highly by U.S. News and World Report among western universities. The graduate school offers graduate degrees in teaching, the arts, business administration, education, accounting and science. The university does not offer doctoral programs at this time.

The student faculty ratio at Western Washington University is 19 to 1, and about a third of the classes at the university have fewer than 20 students. The university prides itself on having full-time faculty teach classes, instead of pawning the work off on graduate students.

The most popular majors at Western Washington University include business management, marketing, communications, psychology, social sciences and art-related majors. One well-regarded degree program is the university’s bachelor’s degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, which is modeled after a similar program at the University of Oxford. Western started out as a teacher’s school, and its education program remains a strong component of the university’s overall mission.

The university is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, which accredits colleges and universities in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. More than 150 colleges and universities are accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

The university is well-reviewed by college ranking publications. U.S. News and World Report’s most recent college rankings list Western Washington University as the No. 21 regional university in the West.

Western Washington University is very involved in research, having 16 research institutes and laboratories devoted to advancing knowledge in a number of fields. The university’s Vehicle Research Institute recently developed a car known as the Viking that runs on electricity, gasoline, biomethane and compressed natural gas as part of a competition to develop vehicles that get 100 mpg cars.

Most Popular Fields of Study


Information Summary

Ranks 12th in Washington and 503rd overall. See the entire top 2,000 colleges and universities list
Overall Score (about) 86.7
Total Cost On-Campus Attendance $24,077
Admission Success rate N/A
ACT / SAT 75%ile scores 29 / 1280
Student Ratio Students-to-Faculty 24 : 1
Retention (full-time / part-time) 81% / 64%
Enrollment Total (all students) 16,121


Western Washington University has a Jan. 31 application deadline for new students who wish to start school in the fall quarter, Oct. 1 for winter quarter and Jan. 1 for spring quarter.

Western Washington University has a selective admissions policy. Students are expected to have a standard core of academics under their belt from high school. The average GPA of entering freshmen is 3.5, and the average SAT score is around 1100. Western Washington Univeristy requires new students to write an application essay. Students applying for admission should also include information about their high school activities and honors.

As of April 2010, the university charged a $50 application fee.


College Building :: Western Washington University
College Campus :: Western Washington University

Financial Aid

Students applying to Western Washington University are eligible for federal grants and student loans. There are also a number of grants and scholarships offered by the state of Washington, the university and other organizations that students may be eligible for. Each year, Western Washington University students receive about $100 million in student loans, scholarships and grants.

For example, the university awards Western Alumni Association Scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $3,000 to incoming freshmen. Recipients of the scholarships must have a good academic background, be active in school and community activities and have a demonstrable financial need. Children and grandchildren of Western Washington University graduates are given first priority on the scholarships. These scholarships may be renewable.

Western Washington University Presidential Scholarships range from $500 to $5,000 and are awarded based on GPA, SAT and ACT scores, the rigor of the coursework taken in high school and other achievements.

The university also offers a number of diversity scholarships, such as the Multicultural Achievement Program Scholarship which awards a tuition waiver and living expense scholarships worth between $500 and $2,000 to 200 freshmen each year. To qualify for the scholarship, applicants must demonstrate a commitment to diversity and multiculturalism.

The university’s office of financial aid also stands ready to help students find other grants and scholarships they may be eligible for.

Student Financial Aid Details

Ranks 4290th for the average student loan amount.
Secrets to getting the best scholarships and financial aid in Washington.


Western Washington prides itself on having a diverse and open-minded student body. Nearly 45 percent of the students at the university are minorities, making the campus inclusive and representative of the nation as a whole.

Located in Bellingham, Wash., a city of about 80,000, the university offers students a mid-sized urban setting. The campus overlooks Puget Sound and Bellingham Bay, making it a place of great natural beauty. Hikes and water activities are student favorites. In fact, the university’s water skiing team recently received a $13 million donation to help build a new water skiing facility for the university.

The campus is the site of many concerts and shows, and each year the band Death Cab for Cutie plays, as one of the band’s members is an alumni of the university. A bus system makes access to the city’s clubs and night spots easy, providing plenty of opportunities for off-campus socialization.

The campus is currently undergoing a $11.7 million renovation project that will include a new visitor’s center and other improvements.

The university’s Recreation Center provides a variety of work out, exercise and other fun options. Each year the center hosts the university’s Ultimate Viking Challenge, which consists of powerball, pull & plunder, jousting, obstacle course and other events.

Another popular hangout for Western Washington University students is the university’s cafes and markets on campus. The university has several eateries and convenience stores scattered throughout campus, making it easy for students to get a bite to eat between classes.

The university has more than 200 clubs and activities for students, including professional and academic clubs, recreational sports clubs and special interest clubs such as the Dead Parrot’s Society, an improvisational comedy club.

Western Washington University does not have Greek fraternities and sororities, as students have repeatedly voted them down, feeling that these organizations run counter to the school’s ethos of diversity and inclusion.

Western Washington University has a very high freshman retention rate, meaning that the university does an excellent job of helping its new students adjust to college and the rigors of the coursework there. Many colleges and universities struggle with retention rates.

Student Enrollment Demographics

Student Graduation Demographics


Western Washington University has a strong athletic tradition and takes pride in its many competitive teams. The university is a NCAA Division II school and is a member of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.

Western Washington University offers men’s basketball, soccer, golf, cross country and track and field. The university offers women’s basketball, soccer, golf, cross country, rowing, softball, volleyball and track and field.

Western Washington University has had a fair amount of success among its athletic teams. The women’s softball team won a national championship in 1998, the rowing team won four national championships between 2005 and 2008. The university has won three Great Northwest Athletic Conference All-Sports Championships.

Unfortunately, the university recently ended its football program. Western Washington University dropped the football program in 2009, ending a program that started in 1903 which had 383 wins under its belt. In the final season, the team had a 6-5 record.

Western Washington University’s athletic teams are known as the the Vikings. The school’s colors are blue and white.


Western Washington University students have a strong tradition of public service. Each year a large number of its graduates go on to serve in the Peace Corps. In 2008, the university had the sixth-highest number of alumni serving in the Peace Corps among mid-sized universities.

The university hosts a yearly Children’s Literature Conference that is well-attended and has become something of a tradition at the school.

Western Washington University’s commitment to diversity and multiculturalism is becoming a tradition, as many university events seek to advance these causes.

Additional School Information

Western Washington University was originally founded more than 100 years ago as a women’s college. The university has undergone a number of name changes over the years, being known as the State Normal School at Whatcom to the Washington State Normal School at Bellingham, to the Western Washington College of Education to Western Washington State College. The university adopted its current name in 1977.

The university has an interesting sculpture collection of some well-known and acclaimed pieces. The collection is funded by the NEA and the Washington State Arts Commission, and private donors.

The university has a number of noteworthy alumni, including Robert Angel, creator of Pictionary; Nick Hammer, the bassist for Death Cab for Cutie; Dave Christensen, University of Wyoming football coach; and U.S. Rep. Randy Tate, among others.


  • The College Board College Handbook, 2010 . 47th ed. New York: College Board, 2009. Print.
  • McGrath, Anne. Ultimate college guide 2010 . 7th ed. Naperville, Ill.: Sourcebooks Inc., 2009. Print. http://www.wwu.edu/

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