Accredited colleges and universities have had their educational programs and faculty evaluated by an outside agency. Those agencies ensure that the school provides a high-quality education to its students, so to have your degree recognized by employers, it’s critical to attend an accredited institution. Below you’ll find information on higher education in the state and helpful resources on online colleges in Washington.
- School Search
- Accreditation Agencies
- Education Links
- Notable Schools
Accredited Online Colleges Database
The following agencies accredit schools in Washington. However, it’s important to understand that this list only includes institution-wide accreditors, rather than agencies that only award program-specific accreditation. For details on program-specific accreditation, look through our subject pages.
- Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
- Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC)
- Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET)
- Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS)
- Council on Occupational Education (COE)
- Distance Education and Training Council (DETC)
- Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS)
Higher Education Links
For more information about higher education reforms and propositions in the state, visit the state’s higher education boards and council websites. In addition, contact them or individual schools for more general college and university information.
Picking a school can be a daunting task, especially when considering the sheer number of accredited colleges there are in the state. Our database below can help with narrowing down your options for your specific area. In addition, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most notable accredited online and campus-based schools in the state to help you begin your school search.
Washington is home to some of the largest and oldest university systems on the West Coast, as well as some more modern and innovative institutions. Learn more about some of them below.
University of Washington
Founded in 1861, the University of Washington is one of the oldest universities on the West Coast. In addition, the school enrolled 43,485 students during the 2011-2012 school year on its Seattle campus alone, making it the university with the largest student population in the state. UW has produced 136 Fulbright Scholars, 35 Rhodes Scholars, 7 Marshall Scholars, and 4 Gates Cambridge Scholars to date.
Washington State University
Washington State University is the second largest school in the state, enrolling 19,446 students on its main Pullman campus and 2,376 students online through its global campus in Fall 2013. The school has been recognized for its high level of research activity by the Carnegie Foundation, and WSU alumni include Irwin Rose, who was awarded the 2004 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
The Evergreen State College
Evergreen State College employs a nontraditional “program” approach to teaching instead of having students enroll in a collection of courses. The aim is to encourage students to approach their education in an interdisciplinary manner. In addition, Evergreen has a strong focus on sustainability, with plans to reduce the institution’s waste and carbon output to achieve carbon neutrality and zero waste. Notable alumni include Lynda Weinman of Lynda.com and cartoonist Matt Groening, the creator of The Simpsons.
The state’s private colleges regularly rank as some of the best schools in the region. Find out more about the most notable ones below.
A Catholic liberal arts school, Gonzaga University was founded in 1887 and has a student population of 7,605 for the 2013-14 school year, making it the largest private school in Washington. The school has been ranked by U.S. News & World Report and Forbes as one of the best colleges in the region.
Seattle University is a Jesuit Catholic school, and the second largest private school in Washington. It has been ranked by U.S. News & World Report and Bloomberg Businessweek as one of the best colleges in the West. In addition, The Princeton Review ranked Seattle U for having one of the best undergraduate programs in the nation. The average class size is fewer than 20 students per instructor, ensuring that students receive more one-on-one attention during their education.
Though the school is considerably smaller than some of the other private institutions in Washington, with just 1,541 students enrolled, Whitman College is regarded as one of the state’s top private schools. In fact, it has been regularly ranked by Forbes as one of the best colleges in the West, as well as in the country. The school has also produced some notable alumni, including Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger, the first Space Camp graduate to become an astronaut.