Western Washington University
Western Washington University is a public, four-year university located in Bellingham, Washington. Western is known for having the best of both worlds: the faculty access and student focus of a smaller institution, while giving the students the resources, choice, and diversity found at larger research universities.
Get to know Western Washington University
FIRST YEAR INTEREST GROUPS (FIGS)
Incoming freshman are highly encouraged to begin their academic career in a First Year Interest Group (FIG). A FIG is a combination of three courses—2 Gen Eds and 1 seminar. The seminar is highly beneficial because it is much smaller in class size than the Gen Ed courses. Smaller classes typically lead to more in-depth class discussion, peer interaction, and increased comprehension of the material. In general, FIGs make the transition into college easier. The university believes that students benefit greatly from participation, locking in popular classes early, working with top university professors, and forming solid connections with new friends.
The seminar portion of the FIG is not a study course. It is its own class with course material, expectations, and assignments. What sets seminars apart from other courses is the structure. Seminars are capped at 25 students in order to maintain an intimate learning environment. Because seminars are small, students are given plenty of opportunity to engage with both the course material and peers.
FIRST YEAR EXPERIENCE COURSES
Aside from FIG options, WWU also offers first year experience courses (FYE). FYE classes are exclusively open to freshmen, designed to introduce students to college-level academics. FYEs are very small in class size so as to ensure that students participate in class discussion, learn how to ask questions, and have the chance interact with faculty.
GUR Strands are highly involved learning communities that span over the course of a year. Strands link 2-3 Gen Ed courses together, providing beneficial context to each course’s perspective. Through a structured strain of classes, freshmen can build upon skills throughout the year, greatly enhancing their educational experience. GUR Strands take an interconnected approach to academics, enabling students to draw from what they have learned and link it to new ideas. Currently, there are two Strand options available:
- Understanding Human-Environment Interactions
- Biology Scholars
Any form of abroad education is considered highly beneficial. WWU offers plenty of options to choose from and encourages all students to get involved in whatever way best suits their interests. In general, students who study abroad gain valuable skills in global citizenship and tolerance, independence, and cross-cultural communication. Below are the different programs available:
- Global Learning Programs: In Global Learning Programs, faculty from various disciplines lead students on study abroad trips. GLPs are typically offered during the summer term; however, there are also a handful offered during the academic year. A few examples of GLPs are: China—Culture, Community, and Citizenship; India and Nepal—Global Health in the Himalayas; and Summer in Germany—Contemporary Art in Berlin.
- Exchange: Exchange programs are more appropriate for independent students with advanced language skills. In an exchange agreement, students from WWU study at a partner institution abroad, where they are expected to meet all the requirements set up by that university. In general, exchange programs are cheaper than traditional study abroad.
- Study Abroad: Study abroad programs place less emphasis on language skills and total immersion and instead focus on culture. Housing arrangements and educational structure varies by program, so students should conduct the appropriate research before selecting a destination.
- International Internship: Students have the opportunity to complete an internship while abroad. Internships range in duration and workload, but each student that chooses this path must work closely with a faculty member.
- Independent Study Abroad: WWU allows students to pursue independent study abroad when the established programs fail to meet an individual’s academic or personal goals. Students who opt to do independent study are required to work closely with the respective WWU department and faculty advisors.
WWU students have amazing access to research opportunities, the topics of which span across several disciplines. Students that engage in undergraduate research gain a plethora of valuable skills, and faculty mentors provide the right amount of assistance in developing those skills. Because Western Washington is highly dedicated to sustainability and environmental education, there are a lot of Green-focused research projects.
ENROLLMENT BY ETHNICITY
Nonresident aliens: 1%
Black or African American, non-Hispanic: 2%
White, non-Hispanic: 71%
American Indian or Alaska Native, non-Hispanic: 0%
Asian, non-Hispanic: 6%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, non-Hispanic: 0%
Two or more races, non-Hispanic: 8%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown: 1%
MARINE SCIENCE SCHOLARS PROGRAM
The Marine Science Scholars Program (MSSP) is a unique, 2-year program offered to a select group of incoming freshmen. Invited students join a competitive, academic community that is designed to engage them with the sciences and prepare them for fruitful careers. Participants are given incredible benefits like exclusive internship opportunities, research experiences, and working with faculty and marine scientists from the Shannon Pointe Marine Center.
The Honors Program is perfect for self-motivated individuals that are passionate about pushing themselves and love to overcome challenges. Participants have the benefit of learning from award-winning faculty in small, discussion-based courses. The Honors curriculum puts a heavy emphasis on reading, writing, and critical thinking. And upon completion of the program, each student will have had enough practice with these skills to be masters. The Honors program is made up of the following components:
- First Year Sequence
- Lower Division Colloquia
- Upper Division Seminars
- Capstone Senior Project
CAMPUS 2 COMPASS
Campus 2 Compass is a mentoring program that connects Western Washington students to local schools. The initiative addresses the needs of underrepresented and underprivileged students with the intent of pushing them toward opportunities in higher education. WWU students provide various services to the local schools, including one-on-one mentoring, group discussion, and teacher support. WWU also works with students during recess, after school, during lunch, and any time in between. The ultimate goal of the program is to ignite educational goals and show how they can be attained.
Western Washington students truly have the world at their fingertips. For students who enjoy time outdoors, Bellingham offers everything from waterways to mountains. And for students who like to explore music and recreational activities, the city hosts many concerts, theatre productions, and more! Students are highly encouraged to step outside of campus and enjoy all that Bellingham has to offer.
SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing
25th Percentile: 550 | 75th Percentile: 650
25th Percentile: 530 | 75th Percentile: 630
25th Percentile: 22 | 75th Percentile: 28
25th Percentile: 20 | 75th Percentile: 27
25th Percentile: 22 | 75th Percentile: 29
Tuition & Cost
Tuition (in-state): $6,879
Tuition (out-of-state): $21,391