University of Puget Sound - Colleges of Distinction - Colleges of Distinction
University of Puget Sound
"Students come to Puget Sound for exceptional professors who are devoted to teaching and...

University of Puget Sound

Tacoma, Washington

No Place Like This Place

In no other place does such a magnificent natural environment combine with the abundant academic resources of a nationally recognized, top-ranked liberal arts college. Set in one of the most exciting and innovative regions of the country, Puget Sound provides students with access to internships and opportunities at industry giants such as Microsoft and Starbucks, as well as world-class cultural and entertainment experiences. Graduates include Rhodes and Fulbright scholars, notables in the arts and culture, entrepreneurs and elected officials, and leaders in business and finance locally and throughout the world.

Student Profile

Fall 2014 Enrollment
2,553 undergraduate students
99% of undergrad students are full time
43% male — 57% female
81% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2014-2015 Academic Year
244 full-time faculty
43 part-time faculty
11 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

64% of students live on campus.

School Location

Tacoma, Washington—35 miles south of Seattle

Retention Fall 2014

87% of students began in Fall 2013 and returned in Fall 2014 (full time, first time freshmen)

6 Year Graduation Rate 2014

76% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 0%
Hispanic/Latino 7%
Black or African American 1%
White 75%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0%
Asian 7%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 9%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 1%


NCAA Division III, Northwest Conference. 23 varsity sports (11 men’s: baseball, basketball, crew, cross country, football, golf, soccer, swimming, tennis, track and field (indoor and outdoor); 12 women’s: basketball, crew, cross country, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track and field (indoor and outdoor), volleyball; varied club and intramural sports.

Other Information

The University of Puget Sound is an independent, national liberal arts college with a four-year core and interdisciplinary approach.

Academic Programs

African American Studies; Art; Asian Languages and Cultures; Asian Studies; Biochemistry; Biology; Molecular and Cellular Biology; Business Leadership; Chemistry; Chinese; Classics; Communication Studies; Comparative Sociology; Computer Science; East Asian Languages; Economics; Education (Graduate); Engineering (Dual-degree program); English; Environmental Policy and Decision Making; Exercise Science; Foreign Languages and Literature; French Studies; Geology; Gender Studies; Geology; German Studies; Global Development Studies; Hispanic Studies; History; Honors; Humanities; International Political Economy; Japanese; Latin American Studies; Mathematics; Music; Natural Science; Neuroscience; Occupational Therapy (Graduate); Philosophy; Physical Education; Physical Therapy (Graduate); Physics; Politics and Government; Psychology; Religion; Science, Technology, and Society; Spanish; Theatre Arts.

More Distinctions

  • Puget Sound has been listed in the The Best 377 Colleges, printed by thePrinceton Review, for many years. In 2012 it was rated ninth in the country for “most accessible professors.”

  • Puget Sound ranks first among baccalaureate colleges in Washington state for the number of graduates who went on to earn Ph.D.s.

  • Puget Sound is consistently in the top 10 among small colleges producing Peace Corps volunteers.

  • Puget Sound students have won more than 115 prestigious national scholarships since 2000, including Fulbright, Watson, National Science Foundation, Goldwater, Mellon, Rotary Ambassadorial, Princeton-in-Asia, and Udall awards.

  • Puget Sound ranked 17th among “small schools” for the number of graduates who joined the 2011 Teach for America corps.

Some students know exactly what they want to do when they enter Puget Sound, while others discover their passion during their time here. A committed faculty helps students find their academic voice…

study abroad

The university promotes the importance of intercultural understanding. More than 40% of Puget Sound students study abroad before they graduate. Programs are available in more than 40 countries. Typically, Puget Sound students study abroad during their junior year, so in their sophomore year, students can use the international programs office as a resource for selecting programs that best fit their academic and personal goals.

service for change

The Civic Scholarship Initiative, Sound Policy Institute, and Race and Pedagogy Initiative provide unique opportunities for students to work on community problems. Supporting projects that connect community members and students in areas of mutual concern, the initiatives provide real-world laboratories, solve problems, develop policies, and educate the public on significant issues. The initiatives combine education, service, and research to offer students a productive and meaningful experience. Projects have included the Road Home: Homeless Policy for Pierce County, in which the university worked with the Pierce County Department of Community Services; Race and Pedagogy Youth and Family Summit, where young people voiced their concerns about issues surrounding race and education at all levels and shared ways to combat racism in schools; and Ski Level to Sea Level community classes, which enhance campus and community members’ understanding of environmental issues.

undergraduate research

There are many opportunities for students to engage in research in all fields. Most major programs of study either require or provide the option for a research-based thesis in the senior year. Summer research projects are also available with granted awards for their participants.


The university is home to the notable Pacific Rim/Asia Study-Travel (PacRim) program. The program sends students from Puget Sound on PacRim trips once every three years. These study-travel programs last nine months and offer students rigorous academics and a time of personal inquiry. Visiting eight Asian nations, the group engages in a vast multicultural experience that forces them to confront novel systems of culture, economics, politics, religion, and philosophy. Asian classrooms and hands-on education extend the limits of the regular curriculum that students experience in the U.S.

Professors at Puget Sound demand excellence; they are recognized experts for whom students are the first priority…

professors who demand excellence

Boasting a 12:1 student-faculty ratio, Puget Sound offers more than 1,200 classes each year that are taught exclusively by professors, never by graduate students or teaching assistants. Puget Sound professors have won six Carnegie Foundation Washington State Professor of the Year awards, more than any other institution. The university is home to many distinguished professors, including a Grammy Award nominee, the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Genius Award, and a leading expert on the ethics of stem-cell research.

the school of music

The university has a long tradition of excellence in music and is one of only a few national liberal arts colleges to offer a comprehensive School of Music or conservatory program. The School of Music offers Bachelor of Music degrees in performance, music education, and elective studies in music business. It also offers a Bachelor of Arts in Music as well as a music minor.

understanding contemporary society

The International Political Economy Program offers a multidisciplinary approach to the study of modern society. It uses the tools and methods of political science, economics, and sociology. The innovative program was designed by Puget Sound professors, who wrote the landmark textbook, and has been implemented at hundreds of colleges and universities worldwide.


Each year up to 25 freshmen are admitted into the Business Leadership Program. Not only are these students educated in business fundamentals, including finance, accounting, marketing, law, ethics, leadership, and management, but they also apply their knowledge to real-world situations by participating in regional business field trips, an evening leadership speaker series, a professional internship, and mentoring events. Internship opportunities abound in the region with companies such as Starbucks, Boeing, Russell Investments, Amazon, Costco, and Microsoft in Seattle and Tacoma.

Puget Sound is a founding member of the Nationwide Internships Consortium, a group of national liberal arts institutions that share internship resources. This gives Puget Sound students access to thousands of internship opportunities across the county.

The natural surroundings in Western Washington start at sea level and soar to the top of 14,410-foot Mount Rainier. In between are parks, beaches, rivers, and lively city neighborhoods…

in the shadow of the mountain

Nearly 60% of students live on Puget Sound’s 97-acre campus. The Tudor-Gothic buildings are set among native fir groves in a North-End, residential section of Tacoma, Washington. With more than 76% of students coming to the university from outside the state of Washington, Puget Sound has a geographically diverse student body. Students come from 49 states and territories and 13 countries to live and learn at the university.

themed housing

Puget Sound is a leader in the area of community living. The Freshman Residential Seminar Program allows a group of freshmen to live together and take the same first-year seminar class. Many themed houses are available for continuing students to live in, each house offering a unique living and learning environment. Honors housing, a humanities program, and a language and culture program are a few of the many living/learning options available. Students in themed houses develop awareness of their theme throughout the campus by planning educational programs that relate to the theme of their respectives houses. Past examples of these activities include wilderness outings hosted by the Outhaus, the Alphabet Music program hosted by the Music House, and hula lessons hosted by the Hawai`i House


Puget Sound’s athletics department is part of the Northwest Conference (NWC) in the NCAA Division III. The Loggers consistently rank among the top teams in the NWC with several teams earning postseason bids. About half of the student body participates in club and intramural sports, which are offered in the fall, winter, and spring.

Puget Sound graduates secure jobs at internationally recognized firms, gain admission to selective graduate schools, and earn prestigious fellowships, such as Rhodes and Fulbright scholarships, National Science Foundation grants, and Watson Fellowships

onward and upward

Puget Sound prepares students for lives of service and leadership. The college is consistently in the top 10 among small colleges producing Peace Corps volunteers. Puget Sound graduates are also known to enjoy outstanding acceptance rates to medical, dental, and law school programs around the country. The university is among the top 30 bachelor’s degree institutions nationwide for producing Fulbright Scholars.

a step ahead in business

Business leadership students are paired with regional business leaders, who serve as mentors throughout students’ sophomore, junior, and senior years. These volunteer mentors, often Puget Sound alumni, help prepare students for internships and careers by teaching from personal and professional experience.

career services

Career and Employment Services (CES) provides comprehensive resources and counseling for students at every point in their career planning, including part-time, full-time, and work-study employment; internships; and career choices. Faculty members also serve as advisors and write recommendations for students. Through the Alumni Sharing Knowledge (ASK) Network, students have a valuable career-consulting network.

notable alumni

Notable alumni are involved in every aspect of professional life and include: National Public Radio correspondent Rachel Martin ’96, Zumiez retail chain CEO Richard M. Brooks ’82, climate activist Greg Craven ’91, and astrophysicist Jack Tueller ’71, among others.

Cost and Financial Aid


Admissions Fall 2014

5,583 Total Applicants
4,427 Total Admissions
663 Total Freshmen Enrollment

79.29% of applicants admitted

Freshmen Profile Fall 2014

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Critical Reading 560 680
SAT Math 550 650
SAT Writing    
ACT Composite 25 30
ACT Math 24 29
ACT English 25 31
ACT Writing    

Admission to Puget Sound is highly selective. The Office of Admission typically receives more than 7,000 applications for a freshman class of 675. Through its competitive admission process, great care is taken to match an applicant’s academic and personal accomplishments with Puget Sound’s goal of enrolling an academically talented and diverse student body.  

  • High school class rank: 69% in top quarter
  • High school average GPA: 3.5 (unweighted)
  • SAT I scores: middle 50% between 1730 and 1980
  • ACT scores: middle 50% between 26 and 30

The Admission Committee considers the following:
 content and rigor of high school course selection, grade point average, SAT I or ACT I scores, class rank (if applicable), personal essay, cocurricular interests, teacher and counselor recommendations, and an interview (recommended, but not required).

Puget Sound offers two Early Decision options for first-year students who know Puget Sound is their first-choice college and who agree to attend if admitted. Early Decision candidates receive consideration for admission, scholarships, and financial aid in advance of regular admission applicants.

Admission Application Deadline:

First-Year Students
Early Decision I
Apply by November 15, Notification on December 15
Early Decision II
Apply by January 2, Notification on February 15
Regular Decision 
Apply by January 15, Notification by April 1

Transfer Students

Priority Application Deadline: March 1, Notification on a rolling basis
Priority Application Deadline: November 1, Notification on a rolling basis


Net Price Calculator


Tuition $43,200
Fees $228
Total $43,428
Room and Board (on campus) $11,650
Room Only $6,150
Board Only $5,500
Estimated Total On Campus $55,078


Financial Aid Breakdown 2014-2015

100% of full-time first-time undergraduates receiving any financial aid
45% of full-time first-time undergraduates receiving student loan aid

$17,358 Average amount of federal, state, local, or institutional grant aid received
$8,162 Average amount of student loan aid received by full-time first-time undergraduates

Financial Aid
The university actively joins in partnership with students and their families to help finance a Puget Sound education. Approximately 65% of the students enrolled at Puget Sound receive need-based assistance. 

All prospective students who apply for admission by January 15 are automatically considered for academic merit scholarships, which range in amount from $7,000 to $19,000. Puget Sound also offers scholarships for performance excellence in music, theater, art, and forensics; National Merit designation; achievement in humanities, mathematics, or science; and interest in religious activities.

The amount of financial aid awarded depends on many factors, including demonstrated financial need and academic record. For need-based financial aid consideration, Puget Sound requires submission of the Free Application for Financial Aid (FAFSA). Early Decision I candidates should also submit the College Scholarship Service (CSS) Financial Aid Profile form.

A Place to Call Home: Becoming Who You Want to Be

“Go where he will,” claimed the great American essayist and educator Ralph Waldo Emerson, “the wise man is at home.”   One thing we try very hard to do at a residential liberal arts college like...

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