Academic Programs

There’s something for everyone at Western

Explore our 200+ Academic Programs to learn more about which major is right for you. Can’t find exactly what you’re looking for? At Western, you also have the opportunity to design a major that more closely aligns with your personal goals through our Interdisciplinary Studies programs.

For a complete list of majors, minors, and graduate degrees, please see the University Catalog.

Western has seven colleges and multiple academic programs, centers, and institutes

Majors and Graduate Programs

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118 results

Undergraduate Majors

A professor lecturing about accounting concepts to a class.

Accounting is an important tool used by managers of organizations to plan, control, and report financial activity. Accountants work for all kinds of businesses.

Rush hour in Grand Central Station in New York City.

American Cultural Studies is an interdisciplinary field of critical inquiry that investigates power dynamics, inequality, and agency, at the intersection of race, gender, status, religion, class, and ability.

Hand stencil cave paintings cover the walls of a cave in white, black, red, and brown pigment.

The scientific study of humankind in all the cultures of the world, past and present—explore what it means to be human.

Children drawing with sidewalk chalk.

Share your love of art with others and help enrich the lives of people in your community.

Brightly colored painting of an ancient Persian court depicting musicians and dancers.

As art historians in-training, students explore why culturally significant objects came to exist, what purpose they served, and how they continue to captivate us. By studying human expression, artists and historians document the changing world.

Student drawing on a large drawing pad in an art studio setting.

Art Studio includes ceramics, drawing, fibers, inter/mixed-media, painting, photography, printmaking, and sculpture. The program provides opportunities to create, interpret, analyze, and make informed judgments about art, studio concepts, and practices.

Professor sitting and lecturing to a small class.

Behavioral neuroscience explores the role of the nervous system in normal and abnormal behavior, thought, and emotion. This major emphasizes an understanding of nervous system structure and function from the molecular/cellular level to the systems level.

Human colorectal cancer cells stained with multiple colors of dye in order to study a cancer therapy.

Biochemistry studies the chemical processes of living organisms. Biochemical research has had a huge impact on biology and medicine in the last few decades, helping us to better understand biological structures like cells, proteins, and DNA.

Harbor seal and Mew gull in the ​​​​Squalicum Creek during salmon spawning season.

As scientists, biologists have three goals: Understanding the structure/function of organisms, generating and disseminating reliable data pertaining to biological systems, and developing a deep understanding of the natural world that can inform solutions.

Group of students in the Business Administration degree program sit around a desk, listening to a male student speak

From major corporations to independent businesses, every operation needs skilled administrators to succeed. A bachelors in business administration gives you the tools to fill leadership roles in both business and the community.

A person holding a notebook and inspecting plants in a greenhouse.

The State of Washington is a leader in responding to the societal imperative regarding environmental issues and Western's degrees in Business and Sustainability are action components of the state’s initiatives.

Coastal islands northwest of Vancouver, British Columbia. Lots of green trees on a bluff overlooking the sea.

Canada and the United States share a continent and are linked by deep economic ties, common historical experiences, and many cultural similarities; they are also marked by real and important differences, which the program helps students better understand.

A gloved hand pouring purple liquid from a beaker into a flask

Chemistry is the branch of science that deals with the identification, investigation, and use of substances of which matter is composed. Western’s Chemistry program is widely recognized by employers and graduate schools as one of the strongest in the US.

Lion Dance during Chinese New Year in Seattle International District.

Western's Chinese Language and Culture program provides students with the opportunity to become competent communicators in Chinese language and culture, shared by 1.3 billion people, approximately one-fourth of the world’s population.

A child using gestures while talking with an adult.

Anyone at any age can be affected by illness or injury that will impair the ability to talk or hear. Each one can be helped in some way by a speech-language pathologist, audiologist, or speech, language, and hearing scientist.

Multiple symbols on a sign on a pillar in a German airport.

Communication Studies examines the ways in which humans interact through the use of symbols: verbal, nonverbal, and visual. It includes the study of communication among humans as well as providing experience in the crafting and presentation of messages.

Data visualized in 3D with a grid laid over it.

Computer science is an exciting, growing, challenging field that is critical to many aspects of everyday life. For some, the most motivational aspect of computer science is being involved in creating technology that will help people the world over.

In a server stack, a person holds up a large shield to hold off a metaphorical cyberattack

In our expanding data-driven world, Cybersecurity professionals are crucial defenders against cyber threats and terrorist attacks. Businesses need skilled cybersecurity specialists to protect company information and assets.

4 dancers in various poses wearing yellow, navy, red, and plum dresses.

Dance studies create a foundation for understanding and evaluating contemporary thinking about dance and related arts, while nurturing a physical and intellectual understanding of the language of movement.

Motion design student work projected onto the side of a large building.

Design is the visual communication of ideas. Western's Design program emphasizes the process of problem solving and encourages students to make connections between culture and design, and their role as visual communicators.

A room full of people holding each others hands up in the air.

To effectively advocate for and work with individuals with disabilities, it is imperative that professionals have a solid background in a variety of topics central to the provision of supports for individuals with disabilities.

Colored pencils surrounding a drawing of an orange circle with a blue outline.

Early childhood education relates to the teaching of children from birth to eight years old. Knowledge of developmental changes and the subjects being taught in an early childhood classroom are important for early childhood educators.

Elementary Students gathered around an elementary school teacher looking at a tablet computer.

Elementary teachers have a unique opportunity to make a difference in their communities by laying the foundation for both future academic learning and for future participation in democratic society.

A Mongolian man standing in a bright yurt with a golden eagle on his arm. He wears a fur hat. Medals are hung on the richly embroidered walls of the yurt.

The East Asian Studies program offers an interdisciplinary study of the area, with a primary focus on the countries of China and Japan. Under special advisement, Korea and Mongolia are also subjects for study.

Two store owners displaying food products in their business.

Do social and political issues such as income inequality, economic development, sustainable resource use, globalization, or the implications of free trade capture your interest? If so, you should consider a major in economics and its related fields.

Stack of books

This major and professional training program focuses upon educational inclusion for our nation’s increasingly diverse population.

Students look through circular structure with grate, one student holds a flashlight

Globally, access to modern energy services, including efficient usage, is essential to realize 21st century living standards. A transition from inefficient fossil fuels to a clean, efficient system is key to managing urgent risks such as climate change.

Student working with a 3D Printer

Engineering is the use of scientific principles to design and build machines, structures, computers and electronics, and other items. Western's program has three areas of study: Electrical & Computer, Manufacturing, and Polymer Materials Engineering.

Close-up of books on a shelf.

English engages students in diverse literary heritages as well as fosters the development of sophisticated abilities in critical analysis, creative inquiry, reflective reading, and effective communication and expression.

4 students sitting and standing around a table discussing research.

The program prepares students with the knowledge and skills needed to make positive changes towards a socially and environmentally just world.

Mountain goats relocated by Western Washington alumni and faculty from Olympic National Park to their new home in the Northern Cascades.

Environmental Science draws on basic knowledge of the physical, chemical, biological, and quantitative aspects of natural systems. Western’s program is committed to creating a space for students to value, change, and study the environment.

Overhead shot of a group of students studying the riverbank ecosystem of the Elwha River

Do you want to use your knowledge and skills to promote positive change in the environment? Do you want to understand the interactions and interdependencies between human and natural systems? Then Environmental Studies is the major for you.

A student sitting at a table looking over papers with a calculator next to him.

The field of finance encompasses many different areas including investments, financial institutions, corporate finance, and real estate. Coursework is offered in each of these areas as well as courses in multi-national finance and insurance.

French lavender fields at sunset

The study of French includes instruction in language, literature, linguistics, and culture. Students of French at WWU acquire the skills required not only to speak the language, but also to study and appreciate francophone societies and cultures.

A desk with piles of maps in a large room.

Geography is the science of place and space. Geographers ask where things are located on the surface of the Earth, why they are located where they are, how places differ from one another, and how people interact with the environment.

Aerial view of Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park. Huge rainbow colored hot spring in a field of salty white.

Do you enjoy the outdoors? Are you concerned about the environment? Are science and nature among your favorite subjects? Have you ever wondered why the Earth appears as it does? If you answer “yes," you may want to consider majoring in geology.

Icelandic volcano erupting lava against a beautiful pink and blue sunset.

Geophysics involves studies in the application of physics as a means of understanding a range of geological processes. It is distinct from geology in that a more intensive set of math and physics courses, and applications of these skills, are required.

Timber-framed German houses along a river canal. On the other side of the river is a park with large trees and a walking path.

German Studies aims to teach students in depth about the cultures of the German-speaking world. Germany is the United States’ biggest European trading partner, and the German language is the second most commonly used business language in the world.

Student standing next to a painted mural of a lion's head in Plodiv, Bulgaria.

Humanities students acquire a substantial knowledge of religious, philosophical, literary and aesthetic movements in the history of Western culture. Students also study works of the humanities in at least one other culture, and that culture’s history.

Mayan stone carving of a royal lady giving her king a jaguar mask and shield. They wear elaborate clothing, headdresses, and body jewelry.

The study of history involves a careful search through existing evidence to determine what happened in the past, but understanding how and why that evidence was created and saved is at the center of the discipline. It’s all about asking tough questions.

Close-up of several hands stacked on top of each other.

Do you want to make a difference in your community and empower others? A human services degree is the perfect career choice if your desire is to advocate for and improve the lives of individuals, families, or entire populations.

A student designing, prototyping, and building a modern bent plywood chair with upholstery.

Industrial Design is a professional service of creating and developing concepts and specifications that optimize the function, value, and appearance of products and systems for the mutual benefit of both the user and the manufacturer.

Four students sitting in a circle, having a discussion.

In this program, you will take an active role in the design and content of your education by building strong working relationships with faculty and exploring new ideas within a supportive educational structure.

Hands drawing Japanese characters with brushes on white paper.

The best way to understand a culture directly is through its language. Studying Japanese opens the door to learning firsthand about Japanese society through language, literature, culture, and civilization.

Student sitting at a desktop, thinking and writing, with a copy of the Western Front next to them on their desk.

Increasingly the methods of distribution have become more complex, but the basic mission of a journalist remains the same: to serve the public by finding, defining, writing, editing, and dispensing information for a mass audience.

A person with devices attached to their head runs on a treadmill while three others look on, monitoring their vital signs.

The Kinesiology Program provides concentrated study of human movement from developmental, mechanical, motor control, psychosocial, psychological, pathological, and physiological perspectives.

Streets of a city on a sunny day, with a yellow cathedral centered in shot

The United States and the different countries of Latin America have shared a critical history since the nineteenth century. Currently, close to 60 million Latino/a/x people are part of the U.S. society.

A teacher and a student talking, the teacher is holding up a piece of paper with a large letter A.

Linguistics, the science of language, is an interdisciplinary field which relates to the diversity of the cultures and languages of the world. It is an integral part of most serious pursuits dealing with aspects of language study and analysis.

a person sitting in a warehouse with some packaging materials, processing orders.

Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management is an integrated professional education made up of three components: Operations Management, Business, and Engineering Technology.

A small coho salmon swims in a tank at the Poulsbo Marine Science Center with fluffy white anemones and a pale orange starfish.

The Marine and Coastal Science (MACS) degree program is a new cohort-based, interdisciplinary, experiential program that gives participants opportunities to engage in coastal and marine-focused research.

A person writing on a white board during a presentation.

Marketing is more than just sales and advertising - it means satisfying the wants and needs of customers by building mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and customers. In Marketing, students learn how to help people solve problems.

Green math equations illuminated by a uv light

Mathematics is the study of pattern, structure, and change. Although it is one of the most ancient disciplines, new mathematics is being created every day. It can be found in everything from internet security to green energy technology to investment.

A hand pushing a yellow shape into place in a group of colored shapes.

Multidisciplinary Studies is designed to integrate a student’s academic interest and skills. Students learn to be integrative thinkers who see connections in seemingly disparate information and to communicate effectively with diverse audiences.

A student playing a violin on a stage under lights.

The Music program is comprised of five degrees: General Music, Music Education, Composition, Musicology, and Performance.

Students examining driftwood washed up on the shore.

The Natural Resource Management BA degree provides graduates with real-world, interdisciplinary skills and knowledge needed for natural resource and environmental management careers.

Close-up of a medical professional typing on a keyboard with a stethoscope next to them.

Western's nationally accredited RN-to-BSN program is a degree completion program for nurses to complete their BSN. It has been guided by national standards for nursing as well as WWU Student Learning Objectives.

Close-up of several round pins with different phrases and words of encouragement on them.

Philosophy is among the oldest of intellectual disciplines and is the study of general and fundamental questions. What is ideology and where does it come from? What constitutes good and bad conduct, right and wrong values, or good and evil? What is art? What is the nature of beauty?

Three students sitting on and next to Western's log ramp art installment.

Physics is "the fundamental science." Astronomy, biology, chemistry, geology, and engineering all apply the principles of physics to specific problems. Almost all areas of modern technology involve the applications of physics.

Two students stand and speak at a podium with the Western logo.

Political Science is one of the oldest fields of academic inquiry. In an increasingly interdependent world, the study of politics and government flourishes as relations between persons, groups, and nations become more complex.

Three people sitting around a table with laptops and papers, having a discussion.

Pre-Professional Pathways are not offered as majors at Western, nor are they at most other universities, but they can be incorporated into or taken alongside any degree-granting major offered at Western.

A 3D render of a brain in pastel colors.

Most of the major issues facing the people of the world today—hunger, overpopulation, the continuing threat of war, prejudice, pollution, drug addiction—are people problems; people have created them, and it will be people who must and will find solutions to them.

Close-up of a medical professional wearing medical masks.

The Public Health curriculum teaches students the effect of health promotion and education on individuals and their relationship with their environments. Effective Public Health is ecological in its approach.

Student sail sailboats on Lake Whatcom.

The purpose of recreation and leisure is to contribute to the health and well-being of individuals and enhance the quality of community life.

A teacher works closely with an elementary school student on a reading assignment.

The Secondary Education program is designed for students who want to become teachers at the middle or high school level and leads to a recommendation to the State of Washington for a teaching certificate with an endorsement in at least one subject area.

A memorial of hundreds of children's shoes on the steps of the Saskatchewan Legislative Building.

Sociologists examine subjects encompassing a vast array of human behavior: crime and punishment, the formation and dissolution of families, bureaucracy in organizations, conflicts between classes, and global inequalities.

A warm and sunny cobblestone street lined with stone and plaster buildings with green shutters and the small plant pots suspended on the walls.

The study of Spanish includes instruction in language, literature, linguistics, and culture. Students of Spanish acquire the skills required to not only speak the language, but also to learn about and appreciate Hispanic societies, cultures, and artistic expressions.

A row of children wearing coats playing outside on green grass.

Help tailor educational experiences for students with disabilities. Figure out which services and supports will benefit each student and give them the resources they need. Our graduates are actively recruited to work in a variety of rewarding special education settings.

A student writing statistic equations on a blackboard with chalk.

Gain the ability to analyze, make sense of data, and get useful answers. Statistical techniques allow us to make sure that conclusions and decisions are based on valid empirical evidence. Statistics is essential in science, business, and government.

Scene from the musical 1776. Actors playing the signers of the Declaration of Independence are debating each other on stage.

Learn the history and craft of theater. Western offers many specializations including Acting, Dramatic Writing, Educational Theatre, Technical Theatre, Theatre Management, Stage Management, Costume Design, Lighting Design, and Scenic Design.

Aerial view of students walking along a brick pathway on South Campus.

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.

Aerial view of the Canberra Parliament House, Australia. A large green rectangular campus with large boomerang walls surrounding parliament buildings. All surrounded by concentric circles of roads. The parliament is clearly what the rest of the city revolves around.

This major prepares students to become city planners. Planners develop solutions for the design of sustainable communities and for the protection of the natural environment. Planners are at the forefront in promoting social justice and equity.

Large sustainable buildings with many windows, brick walls, and colorful wind cowls that circulate air. There is plenty of green space and sidewalks.

Help make cities healthier and more livable for everyone. Examine the dynamics between social and natural systems. Channel your passion for environmental issues and promote sustainable policies and practices in your neighborhood and beyond.

WWU students at a protest.

Examine how sex, gender, and sexuality shape and are influenced by societies throughout history. Look at social phenomena through an intersectional lens and a variety of theories to explain why things are the way they are and how we can change them.

Graduate Programs

Two people working on laptops and pointing to a shared piece of paper

Earn an MPAcc degree in one year while meeting the 5th year educational requirement to take the CPA exam.

A person working on a spiral notebook and laptop on a desk

An opportunity to start the MPAcc program a year early, for outstanding undergraduate students.

A woman presenting a board full of post it notes to a table full of people

A social justice approach to education programs, in a hybrid in-person/online format designed for working adults.

Skulls packed into a wall

Study Humankind in the Cultures of the World

Graduate student on right with arms extended to another person's ear, fitting for hearing equipment

Build knowledge and skills in the evidence-based diagnosis and treatment of hearing and balance disorders across the lifespan.

Petri dishes filled with samples

Conduct creative, independent research over a broad spectrum of topics. Gain background and skills for professional careers.

Seal lounging on the beach

A research-based program in coastal marine and estuarine systems at Shannon Point Marine Center.

Small vials of liquid

Student success. Cutting edge research. Gain a competitive advantage for careers or PhD study. Start fall, winter, or spring.

Two women sitting on a couch talking

Preparing knowledgeable, skilled, culturally sensitive, and ethical professional counselors in a CACREP accredited program.

A neon turquoise circuit board

In depth experiences, real world impact. Start on your schedule in fall, winter, or spring.

professor and student in a computer science lab with laptop in foreground

Get a jump start on your graduate degree with a five-year BS/MS.

A woman sitting in front of a shelf full of books writing with a pen

A unique, two-year MFA with a multigenre focus, and opportunities to gain teaching and editorial experience.

Space view of earth at night time

Accelerate your career in data analysis and modeling for environmental applications with a nine-month online program.

Back view of someone in an audience with their hand up

Developing strong leaders in education. Start any quarter at locations around Puget Sound, in Bellingham, or online in BC.

Students in a classroom, most seated at desk with one standing holding a green folder

An EdD designed for aspiring superintendents, assistant superintendents, executive directors, and others in district-level leadership positions in the US and Canada. Everett and online options.

Overhead view of a field full of solar panels

For a leg up in your career, or as an intro to a graduate program in Energy Studies, zero in on economic, law, and public policy issues related to energy in our climate vulnerable world.

Students studying in an old, wood trimmed library

Your passions, your goals. Pursue an advanced path in literary or writing studies in a small community of scholars.

Peak of a mountain in the clouds.

Preparing future professionals to address environmental problems in careers as scientists or in PhD study.

Turquoise sea floor with reflections from waves

A research-based program in coastal marine and estuarine systems at Shannon Point Marine Center.

A Western professor and student collecting tide pool samples

An interdisciplinary approach to environmental problems.

Plastic model showing a cross section of a brain

In-depth research experience in an array of domains in psychology, supported by a mentorship model.

Red image of a river system with blue accents along the bottom

The Geographic Information Science Certificate provides students with in-depth, hands-on training in Geographic Information Science theory and techniques.

Striped red desert rock formations

Cultivating professional geoscientists with the ability to conduct original and meaningful scientific research.

Sprawling, curved wooden shelves of books

Understand the past, engage the present. Make real contributions to historical knowledge while pursuing your goals.

Soccer player working with research equipment on the field

Design and implement programs to enhance human movement and performance. Start on your schedule: fall, winter, or spring.

People working at different stations in a kinesiology lab

Design, implement, and assess the psychological aspects of exercise, sport, and wellness programs. Cohorts begin every other fall.

Children gathered on a rug in a classroom, some raising their hands

Deepen your knowledge and practice in language and literacy instruction in a program designed for working teachers.

Young children drawing

A five-quarter program leading to secondary level teaching certification, with a focus on promoting student learning. Start fall or spring.

A teacher at a whiteboard in conversation with a person whose back is to the camera

A seven-quarter program leading to secondary level teaching certification with a focus on promoting student learning. Begins each summer.

A teacher at the whiteboard in front of a classroom of students

Begin preparing now to apply for our forthcoming six-seven quarter program leading to secondary level teaching certification, with a focus on multilingual education.

Two people playing violin

Prepare for professional-level work in music as a performer, conductor, composer, scholar, or educator.

Hands typing on a laptop keyboard

Readies students to lead in healthcare organizations and community settings through hybrid classes and real-world practice experiences.

A doctor giving a man a shot, while two nurses look on

Empowers students to excel in educating future nurses, communities, and nursing staff through hybrid classes and real-world practice experiences.

Mathematic equations written on a chalkboard

Ancient discipline, cutting-edge field. Pursue your specific interests in math in this small yet flexible program.

Blackboard with mathematical equations written in chalk

Start your graduate studies early and earn both a BS and MS in Mathematics in five years.

Two women working on a tablet

A five quarter intensive program for emergent professionals. Begins each summer in Bellingham.

Two people in business attire giving a high five

A two-year, evening program in Bellingham designed for working professionals.

Smiling student in a gray sweater, holding a tablet while sitting in front of a blackboard

A two-year interdisciplinary enterprise management program focused on assisting working professionals as they evolve into adaptive leaders prepared to manage in the dynamic, changing, and interconnected contemporary business environment. Offered weekends in Everett.

A person gesticulating in front of a computer screen

Enhance your teaching with new literacy practices for any level or content area with this one year certificate, online.

Solar panels against a lightly cloudy blue sky

For a leg up in your career, gain expertise in the science, technology, economics, public policy, and planning issues associated with the development of electric energy systems in a context specific to the Pacific Northwest.

Books on library shelves

Preparing aspiring principals in a flexible program located in Bellingham, Seattle, Tacoma, and Bremerton.

People placing their hands in a circle on top of one another

Empower people, enhance lives. CACREP accredited, hybrid in-person/online program, located in Everett.

Young students in a classroom

Preparing professional counselors for ESA certification at the elementary and secondary levels. CACREP and NCATE accredited.

A young person wearing headphones sitting at a computer displaying audio frequencies

A two-year academic and clinical program leading to professional positions or advanced study.

Front door of a school

Prepares aspiring school district leaders with a flexible program offered in Everett.

More Major Options

Design your own degree with faculty at Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies! Recent concentrations include:

  • Medicine and Social Justice
  • Eco-Cultural Studies in Education
  • Law, Diversity & Public Policy
  • Law, Diversity and Justice Concentration

Student/Faculty Designed Majors

Additional Student/Faculty designed majors are available through: