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WWU / Fairhaven College of Interdiscipinary Studies

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Frequently Asked Questions

Location & Visiting

The city of Bellingham is located in the northwest corner of Washington state, with Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands to the west, Mt. Baker and the Cascade Mountains to the east, Vancouver, BC 50 miles to the north and Seattle 90 miles to the south. Fairhaven College can be found on the southern edge of Western's campus, nestled into the trees of Sehome Hill.


How do I arrange a visit to Fairhaven?

Contact Fairhaven College staff, with the date and approximate time you would like to visit at 360-650-6680 or e-mail Alternately, every February we hold a week of day long visits when prospective students can sit in on a class, get a tour of Fairhaven and have lunch with current students -- for applicants who apply by January 15th.

How do I arrange a visit with Western Washington University?

Check out the WWU Admissions website for more information about visiting Western as a whole.

Fairhaven's relationship to Western Washington University

How is Fairhaven related to Western?

Fairhaven is one of the seven colleges of Western Washington University, so Fairhaven students are also Western students and enjoy the same resources. Our role is to provide a liberal arts education which stresses interdisciplinary studies, innovative instruction, narrative evaluations and student involvement in developing their own avenues of study.

What is Western Washington University like?

Visit Western's website for "10 Reasons to love Western" to get overview of what it feels like to be a student here. Browse our student profiles to see how Fairhaven students integrate with WWU.

What are the other colleges within Western?

In addition to Fairhaven, the other colleges within Western are: The College of Arts and Sciences; The College of Business and Economics; The College of Fine and Performing Arts; Huxley College; Woodring College of Education; and The Graduate School. part of their concentrations, Fairhaven students can choose courses from the other undergraduate colleges.

How is Fairhaven different than Western?

Fairhaven students are part of a more intimate learning community dedicated to interdisciplinary studies, with 450 students out of Western's 13,500 undergraduates. Our seminar classes focus on discussions and typically have 15 to 20 students working with each other to make connections across academic disciplines and addressing the challenges in the world.

Fairhaven Academics

What is the Interdisciplinary Concentration?

Students who choose to design their own degree Fairhaven create an Interdisciplinary Concentration. While Fairhaven students have the option of choosing one of the majors WWU, most choose to create Interdisciplinary Concentration. The self-designed Concentration allows you to design a program of studies that meets your academic and personal goals. Students receive support in planning their Concentrations by taking classes within the Core Curriculum which help you plan your degree and by working with a faculty committee to identify coursework to combine into integrated course of study. Degree Options

What is the Law, Diversity & Justice Concentration?

The Law, Diversity & Justice Concentration is an interdisciplinary degree program offered through Fairhaven College's Center for Law, Diversity & Justice (CLDJ). The LDJ Concentration is designed to increase the number of people from underrepresented groups seeking careers in social justice. About LDJ

What is Fairhaven's Core Curriculum?

Fairhaven's unique core curriculum includes a series of courses designed to widen students' exposure to areas of study, to connections among disciplines and to interdisciplinary theory and practice.


Is it true that Fairhaven College does not use letter grades?

Yes. Every student in a Fairhaven course completes a narrative self-evaluation and receives a written evaluation from the instructor in place of a letter grade. Narrative Evaluation

What can you do with this education?

Fairhaven College graduates have distinguished themselves in virtually all fields including business and industry, counseling and health, education, visual and performing arts, government, journalism, research, medicine, law, ministry, international and public relations, and more. Fairhaven alums start their own businesses, create new jobs within established organizations and work for non-profit agencies. A large number of our graduates enjoy participation in community organizations. Service Learning

Can get into a graduate program with a Fairhaven degree?

Fairhaven graduates have been admitted to graduate and professional schools throughout the world. These institutions recognize that Fairhaven students have successfully taken responsibility for the content and direction of their education and are well prepared for graduate level study.

Our Graduates

Fairhaven Life

Why do students choose Fairhaven?

Fairhaven students are attracted to the opportunity to structure their own education within a learning community. Fairhaven stresses independent thought, choice, critical thinking, self-discipline, self-awareness, and social commitment. Special features of Fairhaven include a core curriculum, the Interdisciplinary Concentration, independent study, and discussion within seminar style classes. Students enjoy the advantage of personal contact with faculty in a stimulating small college atmosphere, with access to the resources of a large university. About Us

What is student life like Fairhaven?

Fairhaven students are well-known for their involvement in campus and community activities. Check out our Student Life section of this site to see our flickr photostream, connect with us on facebook, and read about what students are up to. Student Life

What is the "Outback?"

Founded in 1972, the Outback Farm is a five acre student-run farm the south end of Fairhaven College which teaches, develops and implements sustainable growing and land use methods in order to enrich the student body, the University, and the Bellingham community. The Outback Farm

Applying to Fairhaven

How do I apply to Fairhaven College?

Fairhaven College's curriculum is designed to be four years, but Fairhaven admits students at all levels: directly from high school, transfer students from other colleges, students who are already enrolled at WWU. Because we're small, we have selective admission and we admit students every quarter. Students must simultaneously apply to both Western Washington University and Fairhaven College. The Fairhaven College Admissions Committee will contact you to schedule an interview as necessary once your application is complete.

I plan to transfer to Fairhaven College from another institution. Will my credits count toward graduation from WWU/Fairhaven?

When a new student enters Fairhaven we provide a credit evaluation which indicates those courses we accept that count toward graduation from Western, as well as those credits which waive Fairhaven's Core requirements. See our Advising pages for more information.

Core Curriculum Requirements | Advising Information

What can I expect in my interview?

Interviews are opportunity for you to ask any questions you may have about Fairhaven and to tell us about your interests. This is a good chance to expand on your goals and interests or share anything you think would be relevant or that you would like us to know. Interviews last approximately 30 minutes. Application