National Recognition

Western is recognized nationally for its successes, from its leadership as one of the most sustainable, “green” campuses in the nation by the Sierra Club to being named the top master’s granting institution in the Pacific Northwest by U.S. News and World Report. Western’s goal is to build a stronger Washington by being an international leader in active learning, critical thinking, and societal problem solving, and these awards and honors illustrate those successes.

Recent Awards

Best in the Northwest

Western Washington University is the highest-ranking public, master’s-granting university in the Pacific Northwest, according to the 2022 U.S. News & World Report college rankings, which also placed WWU 4th in a ranking of the best public schools in the West, a region stretching from Texas to the Pacific, and one of the best schools in that region for veterans.

Silver Bicycle Friendly University

Western Washington University was recently named a Silver Bicycle Friendly University by the League of American Bicyclists. The League of American Bicyclists, the premier grassroots advocacy organization encouraging better bicycling and protecting the rights of people who bike, has honored Western Washington University with a Silver-level Bicycle Friendly University award in recognition of Western’s achievements in promoting and enabling safe, accessible bicycling on campus. 

Washington Monthly Ranks Western 20th among 616 master’s-granting universities

Washington Monthly ranks four-year schools (national universities, liberal arts colleges, baccalaureate colleges, and master’s universities) based on their contribution to the public good in three broad categories: social mobility, research, and providing opportunities for public service.

Western Receives First-gen Forward Designation; National Honor for Commitment to First-generation Student Success









The Center for First-generation Student Success, an initiative of NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education and The Suder Foundation, recently announced the
2021-22 First-gen Forward cohort and has awarded Western Washington University with the First-Gen Forward designation.

The First-Gen Forward designation recognizes institutions of higher education who have demonstrated a commitment to improving experiences and advancing outcomes of first-generation college students. 

Nationally ranked for graduates who go on to earn research doctorates

SED: Survey of Earned Doctorates logo

Out of more than 600 institutions, Western ranks 7th nationally for graduates who go on to earn research doctorates (source: Survey of Earned Doctorates).

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration logo - A stylized bird flying over the ocean

Third Nationally for NOAA/Hollings Scholars

Western finished third in the nation, tied with Stanford, as producers of prestigious National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Ernest J. Hollings Undergraduate Scholars in 2018.

Among the Top Producers of Fulbright Winners

The Fulbright Scholars Logo

Western produced five Fulbright winners in 2019, placing it tied for fifth place among public masters-granting institutions nationally.

Great Value

Kiplinger's ranks WWU among its 100 Best Values in Public Colleges for 2019.

Peace Corp Logo, a waving American flag

Peace Corps Volunteers

Western ranks second in the nation in 2017 among medium-sized universities sending its graduates to the Peace Corps.

US President Honor Roll logo - an eagle with spread wings

Community Engagement

Western Washington University has been selected for the national 2014 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction award, which recognizes higher education institutions across the country that reflect the values of exemplary community service and achieve meaningful outcomes in their communities.

Western was given the Community Engagement classification by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching for its efforts to operate community-outreach programs, deepen students’ civic and academic learning and to enhance overall community well-being.

2020 Great College to Work For

Great Place to Work

The Chronicle of Higher Education’s 2020 Academic Workplace report names Western as one of the best colleges in the nation to work for, winning honors in two categories: teaching environment, and tenure clarity and process.

Forbes Magazine ranks Western among the 2017 list of Nation's Best Value Colleges.

Military Friendly

20-21 Military Friendly School

US News Rankings #10 Best College for Veterans

G.I. Jobs selected Western again in 2021 as a "Military Friendly School", placing Western in the top 20 percent of all higher education institutions nationwide.

Western also recently was ranked No. 7 in a list of '50 Best Colleges by the Sea' and third in a Money Magazine ranking of "Colleges and Universities for People Who Love the Great Outdoors."