Central Washington University

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Public, 4-year or above
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Master's Colleges & Universities: Larger Programs
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Central Washington University is a public, comprehensive university located in Ellensburg, Washington. Established in 1891 as the Washington State Normal School with Mr. Benjamin Franklin Barge serving as the institution’s first principle, the School was originally founded for the purpose of training future elementary and junior high teachers. Today the scope and vision of Central Washington University (abbreviated CWU) has grown, though the University is still committed to serving the people of Washington and beyond. WSU is co-located with community colleges in Edmonds, Everett, Des Moines, Steilacoom/Puyallup, Kent, Yakima, Moses Lake, and Wenatchee, allowing students to earn their baccalaureate degrees without needing to leave their local communities.

Academic Programs

Central Washington University’s mission is to “prepare students for enlightened, responsible, and productive lives; to produce research, scholarship, and creative expression in the public interest; and to serve as a resource to the region and the state through effective stewardship of university resources.” CWU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and has been so since 1918.

Central Washington University offers more than 135 majors and is home to nationally and/or regionally distinguished programs in music, geology, paramedicine, physics, and education. The University is comprised of several colleges, including the College of Arts and Humanities, the College of Business, the College of Education and Professional Studies, the College of the Sciences, the School of Graduate Studies, and the William O. Douglas Honors College. CWU is committed to serving Washington’s residents and communities and thanks to a new duel admission program, community college students are now able to be admitted to CWU when they are admitted to a college. In addition to this, CWU also offers a number of online programs and serves more online students than any other comprehensive university in the state.

Student Life

Central Washington University has a total enrollment figure of approximately 12,000, including well over 11,000 undergraduate students. More than 90% of students come from Washington States and roughly one-third identify themselves as students of color; CWU’s male to female ratio is split nearly 50/50. More than 3,000 students make their home on CWU’s campus in one of the University’s several residence halls, apartment complexes or in one of the dozen Living Learning and Theme Communities which allow students of a particular major or interest to share housing.

Central Washington University recognizes more than 125 active student clubs and organizations on campus. These and other campus events and activities provide students with opportunities to build friendships and make connections with fellow students outside of the classroom and allow them to cultivate valuable leadership skills. As an NCAA Division II school, sports are an important component of CWU’s campus life. The University fields over a dozen varsity athletic teams which compete in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference. In addition to this, more than 30% of students participate in intramural sports and the campus is also home to nearly two dozen sports clubs.

Ready to start your journey?

Ready to start your journey?