Whitworth University - Colleges of Distinction - Colleges of Distinction
Whitworth University
"Rooted in a strong Christian tradition, Whitworth produces compassionate, intelligent and prepared graduates. The...

Whitworth University

Spokane, Washington

An Education of Mind and Heart


Since 1890, Whitworth has held fast to its founding mission of providing “an education of mind and heart” through rigorous intellectual inquiry guided by dedicated Christian scholars. Recognized as one of the top regional colleges and universities in the West, Whitworth University has an enrollment of nearly 3,000 students and offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Student Profile

Fall 2015 Enrollment
2,346 undergraduate students
99% of undergrad students are full time
38% male 61% female
32% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2015-2016 Academic Year
187 full-time faculty
142 part-time faculty
11 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

Fall 2015
93% of first year students live on campus
53% of all students live on campus

School Location

Spokane, Washington—200-acre campus located seven miles north of downtown.

High-Impact Practices

High-Impact Practices Read more about the importance of High-Impact Practices

First-Year Seminars and Experiences X
Common Intellectual Experiences X
Learning Communities  
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

Retention Fall 2015

85.9% of students began in Fall 2014 and returned in Fall 2015 (full time, first time freshmen)

6 Year Graduation Rate 2015

75% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 2%
Hispanic/Latino 8%
Black or African American 2%
White 75%
American Indian or Alaska Native 1%
Asian 5%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 6%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 1%


NCAA Division III, Northwest Conference. 20 varsity sports (10 men’s: baseball, basketball, cross-country, football, golf, soccer, swimming, tennis, indoor/outdoor track & field; 10 women’s: basketball, cross-country, golf, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, indoor/outdoor track and field, volleyball).

Other Information

Whitworth University, founded in 1890, is a private, residential, liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). 

Academic Programs

Accounting; American Studies; Applied Physics; Art; Art, Three-Dimensional: Ceramics, Sculpture, Mixed Media; Art, Two-Dimensional: Drawing/Painting and Printmaking; Art Education; Art History; Arts Administration; Asian Studies; Athletic Coaching; Athletic Training; Biblical Languages; Biochemistry; Biology; Biophysics; Business Management; Certification for Ministry; Chemistry; Communication; Community Arts; Community-Based Theatre; Community Engagement and Transformation; Computer Science; Criminal Justice; Cross-Cultural Studies, History Emphasis; Cross-Cultural Studies, Political Science Emphasis; Dance; Economics; Education (Elementary, Secondary, Special Education); Engineering (Dual Degree); Engineering Physics: Electrical, Mechanical, Management; English; English/Language Arts; ELL (formerly ESL); French; German; Graphic Design; Health Science; History; Information Technology; Instrumental Performance; International Business; International Studies, History Emphasis; International Studies, Political Science Emphasis; Jazz Performance; Journalism & Mass Communication; Kinesiology; Leadership Studies; Literature; Marketing; Mathematical Economics; Mathematics; Medieval and Early Modern Studies; Military Science/ROTC; Modern Languages; Music; Music Business; Music Composition; Music Education; Music Ministry; Nursing; Peace Studies; Performance Theatre; Philosophy; Physical Chemistry; Physics; Piano Pedagogy; Piano Performance; Political Science; Pre-Chiropractic; Pre-Dental; Pre-Engineering; Pre-Law; Pre-Medical Technology; Pre-Medicine; Pre-Ministry; Pre-Pharmacy; Pre-Physical Therapy; Pre-Veterinary; Printmaking/Digital Art; Psychology; Public History; Reading Instruction; Social & Cultural Analysis; Social Service & Community Action; Sociology; Spanish; Speech Communication; Study Abroad; Technical Theatre; Theatre; Theology; U.S. Cultural Studies; Visual Communication; Voice Performance; Women’s & Gender Studies; Writing.

More Distinctions

  • U.S. News & World Report placed Whitworth No. 9 in its 2012 ranking of 115 regional universities in the West and No. 2 in its ranking of best values in the same category.

  • Kiplinger’s ranked Whitworth No. 51 in its 2010 rankings of the top 100 private university values in the U.S. Princeton tops the list followed by the California Institute of Technology, Yale, Rice, and Harvard. West coast schools joining Whitworth (No. 51) in the top 100 are Stanford (No. 12), USC (No. 28), Santa Clara University (No. 43), and Gonzaga University (No. 32).

  • Whitworth was designated “Best in the West” in Princeton Review’s 2011 Best Colleges: Region by Region guide.

  • In 2010, Whitworth won a $587,494 grant from the National Science Foundation to provide financial support for 48 underrepresented students majoring in the sciences over the next four years.

  • Whitworth was recognized in 2009 as a top producer of Fulbright scholars, with 11 students and three faculty members selected for Fulbright awards since 2000.

  • Whitworth was named to the 2011 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll by the Corporation for National and Community Service. The honor roll is the highest federal recognition a school can achieve for its commitment to service-learning and civic engagement.

The wide range of opportunities to study abroad gives Whitworth students the chance to explore the world…

Taking Learning to New Horizons

Whitworth students develop intercultural competence by participating in study abroad programs over the January term or during a full semester through the university’s innovative 4-1-4 academic calendar.

Whitworth’s 30 international study programs include ancient philosophy in Europe, computer science in India, women’s studies in Thailand, politics and culture in South Africa, and Latin American Studies at the university’s new Costa Rica Center.

More than half the members of the Whitworth Class of 2010 participated in at least one international or domestic off-campus study program during their college years.

Activities Offered

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

Whitworth faculty are outstanding scholars, and, more importantly, dedicated teachers…

A Strong Faith

While some Christian universities limit engagement with challenging ideas or secular scholarship, Whitworth encourages tough questions and a fearless search for answers. And though many other institutions deny the role of  faith in the pursuit of truth, Whitworth consistently affirms Christian conviction and intellectual curiosity as complementary rather than competing values. These dual commitments set Whitworth University apart in the higher education landscape.

Distinguished Scholars. Individual Attention.

Whitworth combines high-quality academic instruction with personal attention to create a sense of belonging that’s often lost at larger institutions. With the university’s student-faculty ratio of 11:1, students are not just numbers in professors’ grade books. Professors frequently meet students for coffee or lunch or invite them to their homes. It is this kind of one-on-one interaction that results in Whitworth’s personalized learning environment.

Engaged Research

Scholarly activity is viewed at Whitworth as an aid, rather than an obstacle, to great teaching. In fact, many professors engage students fully in the daunting enterprise of discovery, the dissemination of new knowledge, and the creation of original contributions to their fields. Students work alongside faculty on research ranging from assessing the impact of micro-lending in low-income neighborhoods and developing countries to exploring the theological insights of early Christian aesthetics.

Common Core

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


Other: Worldview program, American Diversity, Global Perspectives

Class Size Breakdown

Size 2-9 10-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50-99 100+ Total
Number of Classes 77 255 159 55 10 3 2 561

The pristine beauty of the Spokane region lends itself to a diverse range of outdoor activity…

A Diverse Range of Activity in a Beautiful Physical Setting

Whitworth’s 200-acre campus of red-brick buildings and tall pines is located seven miles north of downtown Spokane in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. An active campus life offers 11 distinct residence halls, dozens of student organizations, abundant opportunities to enjoy fine and performing arts, and a highly successful NCAA Division III athletics program with 20 varsity sports.

Student Leadership

Whitworth’s nationally recognized student-leadership program offers students numerous opportunities to get involved. Within residence halls, students serve as residence assistants, medics, cultural-diversity advocates, and small-group coordinators.

Whitworth’s student leaders focus on building strong peer relationships and respect for shared values so that students become good decision-makers rather than just good rule-followers. In fact, Whitworth students meet each fall to establish their own policies for living in the community and maintaining accountability to the campus code of conduct.

A Diverse Community

As a Christian institution, Whitworth takes seriously Christ’s example of loving across racial, ethnic, gender, socioeconomic, and religious differences. With such a high standard, Whitworth remains focused on being an inclusive community that seeks out and welcomes people with diverse backgrounds and perspectives. Whitworth partners with the Northwest Leadership Foundation on the innovative Act Six Leadership & Scholarship Initiative, which brings a multicultural cadre of up to 10 first-generation, lower-income students from Spokane to Whitworth each year. Whitworth, the first college to join the program, provides scholarships that cover 100 percent of financial need as well as extensive training to student participants.


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

Whitworth graduates excel in both careers and prestigious graduate school programs throughout the country…


Whitworth has a strong track record for placing students in both successful careers and top graduate schools, including Harvard University Law School, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Princeton Theological Seminary, and Stanford University. But aside from preparing graduates to succeed in their careers, Whitworth also encourages them to find and live out their vocations by connecting their deepest convictions to their work.


Whitworth alumni include:

  • Ross Anderson, a reporter for the Seattle Times who shared the 1990 Pulitzer Prize in journalism for his articles on the Exxon Valdez accident;
  • Frank Hernandez, an internationally recognized opera singer and winner of an ARIA Award, the George London Competition, and the Puccini Competition
  • Peter Blomquist, the regional director of the CARE Northwest office and former head of the Starbucks Foundation
  • Desiree DeSoto, a professional long-board surfer who competes internationally


Admissions Fall 2015

4,545 Total Applicants
2,837 Total Admissions
584 Total Freshmen Enrollment

62.42% of applicants admitted

Admissions Deadlines for 2016-17 Admission

Rolling Admission? No

Application closing date (fall): Aug. 1, 2016
Priority date: Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Admissions Factors

Very Important
Academic GPA
Application Essay

Rigor of secondary school record
Standardized test scores
Extracurricular activities
Character/personal qualities
First generation
Alumni/ae relation
Geographical residence
State residency
Racial/ethnic status
Volunteer work
Work experience

Religious affiliation/commitment
Level of applicant’s interest

Freshmen Profile Fall 2015

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Critical Reading 530 630
SAT Math 530 640
SAT Writing 510 630
SAT Essay    
ACT Composite 23 29
ACT Math    
ACT English    
ACT Writing    


Net Price Calculator



Tuition $39,600
Fees $962
Total $40,562
Room and Board (on campus) $11,170
Room Only $6,026
Board Only $5,144
Estimated Total On Campus $51,732


Average Financial Aid Packages 2015-2016 estimated

$35,733 First year students
$32,974 All undergrads

Financial Aid Breakdown 2015-2016 estimated

82.1% on average, the percentage of need that was met
20% of financial need students that had need fully met

$24,331 Average need-based scholarship or grant award
$4,984 Average need-based loan

There is no fee to apply to Whitworth University; go online to www.whitworth.edu/apply

Further information about admissions may be found at admissions website

Additional  information about financial aid may be found at financial aid website.

What I Know – Whitworth University President Beck A. Taylor

Just passing through Between my appointment as Whitworth University’s 18th president and when I officially took office on July 1, campus historian Dale Soden published an updated volume of Whitworth’s remarkable 120-year history. Besides being...

Get a free sample of the Colleges of Distinction 2017 guidebook!

Subscribe to receive a free sample of the Colleges of Distinction 2017 guidebook with:

– Must-Read Advice

– College Checklist

– 330+ School Profiles

Plus, we'll send you 3 critical checklists for college-bound students!

You have Successfully Subscribed!