Upside-Down Program (Fairhaven College)

The Upside-Down program at Fairhaven College gives students the unique opportunity to continue their education by expanding on the academic skills provided from a Washington state two-year college A.A.S or A.T.A. degree program. The usual route to a BA degree calls for general education in the first two years and specialization in the last two years. Upside-Down students reverse this process by expanding on the specialized skills they received in two years from their technical degree with upper division coursework combined with interdisciplinary liberal arts course work. Admission to Fairhaven College and admission to the Upside-Down Program requires supplemental application materials.

Western’s Upside-Down Program is part of the Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies. Fairhaven College is a small interdisciplinary, liberal arts college within Western Washington University that provides students with an innovative, interdisciplinary approach to teaching and learning. Students take an active role in the design and content of their education by building strong working relationships with their faculty to explore new ideas within a supportive educational structure. Students enjoy a small learning community while also drawing from resources within the larger university. Fairhaven College offers students a small, interactive classroom of 15-20 students within a college of 400 students. Fairhaven’s interdisciplinary curriculum is shaped around inquiry, creativity, leadership, and scholarship. Fairhaven emphasizes critical inquiry with a focus on social and environmental justice and diversity.

Beyond the Classroom

Fairhaven offers unique opportunities for you to connect your interests. Upside-Down Program students often bring professional experience and specific career goals and they are provided mentorship and advising to appropriately enhance the skills they bring to this phase of their education. Internships, independent studies, and interface with career planning resources are encouraged as they plan their studies.

Careers and Graduate Studies

Fairhaven College graduates have distinguished themselves in virtually all fields including business, health, education, the arts, government, journalism, research, medicine, law, ministry, international and public relations, and more. Notable alums include: Debora Juarez, Tribal Law expert and former King County Superior Court Judge; Theodore Bestor, professor of Harvard's Anthropology Department; Rabbi Ellen Weinberg Dreyfus; TJ Martin, Oscar-winning director for "Undefeated"; and Pulitzer-Prize winning Environmental Journalist William Dietrich.

Graduate and professional schools throughout the world recognize that Fairhaven students have successfully taken responsibility for the content and direction of their education and are well prepared for graduate study. Recent graduates have been admitted to top programs around the country including: UCLA's School of Law; the Public Administration program at Syracuse University; Vancouver Film School; and Cornell University's Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

Sample Careers

  • Human Services Caseworker
  • County Parks Director
  • Conservationist
  • Legal Advocate
  • Social Worker
  • Videographer

Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies

Upside-Down Program (Fairhaven College), BA

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