Western Washington University (WWU or Western) is a public institution situated in Bellingham, Washington. Established in 1893 as the state-funded New Whatcom Normal School, it succeeded a private women's teaching school founded in 1886. The university adopted its present name in 1977.

WWU provides a diverse range of bachelor's and master's degree programs. As of 2019, the student body comprised 16,142 individuals, with 15,240 being undergraduates, and the faculty included 664 full-time members. The university's athletic teams, known as the Vikings, compete in Division II of the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

The main campus spans 215 acres in Bellingham, Washington, while branch campuses are situated in Anacortes and Lakewood, Washington. Accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, WWU also holds additional accreditations for its individual colleges.


In the 2022-23 rankings by US News, Western Washington University secured the top position as the leading public institution granting master's degrees in the Pacific Northwest. It also claimed the 14th spot overall in the Western region, encompassing both public and private universities. Notably, Western was one of only two public institutions listed in the top 25 in the Master's-Granting Universities (West) category, which includes schools with master's programs but without doctoral offerings. The university maintains a 72% acceptance rate.

Furthermore, in 2013 and 2014, Western Washington University achieved the top ranking among medium-sized colleges and universities, showcasing its commitment to producing alumni who contribute as Peace Corps volunteers.

Academic Structure

Western Washington University provides a diverse range of academic programs, offering bachelor's degrees, as well as Master of Arts, Master of Science, Master of Education, Master of Arts in Teaching, Master of Business Administration, Master of Professional Accounting, Master of Music, and Doctor of Audiology degrees. The university is organized into various colleges, each housing specialized programs:

  1. College of Business and Economics
    • Accounting
    • Decision Sciences
    • Economics
    • Finance and Marketing
    • Management
    • Supply Chain Management
  2. College of Fine and Performing Arts
    • Dance
    • Design
    • Music
    • Theatre Arts
    • Visual Arts
  3. College of Humanities and Social Sciences
    • Social and Behavioral Sciences
      • Anthropology
      • Behavioral Neuroscience
      • Communication Sciences and Disorders
      • Community Health
      • Physical Education, Health, and Recreation
      • Political Science
      • Psychology
      • Sociology
    • Humanities
      • Communication
      • English
      • History
      • Journalism
      • Liberal Studies
      • Linguistics
      • Modern and Classical Languages
      • Philosophy
  4. College of Science and Engineering
    • Advanced Materials Science and Engineering
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Computer Science
    • Engineering and Design
    • Industrial Design
    • Geology
    • Mathematics
    • Physics and Astronomy
    • Science, Math, and Technology Education
  5. Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies
    • American Cultural Studies
    • Law, Diversity, and Justice
  6. Graduate School
  7. College of the Environment
    • Environmental Science
    • Environmental Studies
  8. Woodring College of Education
    • Educational Leadership
    • Elementary and Secondary Education
    • Human Services and Rehabilitation
    • Special Education
  9. Independent Programs
    • Canadian–American Studies
    • East Asian Studies
    • Energy Studies
    • Honors Program
    • International Studies
    • Marine Science

These colleges collectively embody the academic diversity and interdisciplinary nature of Western Washington University.

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