Grad Schools in Washington State
Washington State is home to more than 40 different colleges, universities, and other institutions of higher education—meaning it’s a place rich with educational opportunities. If you’re interested in pursuing research or supporting your growing career, earning a graduate degree in Washington could be your next step toward your goal.
Whether you’re a native of The Evergreen State or want to put roots down someplace new, you could find unique opportunities, challenging programs, and welcoming communities here.
Popular Graduate Degree Programs in Washington
Why Study In Washington?
If you already live in Washington, you probably already have a pretty compelling reason to earn your degree here—it’s convenient! After all, studying in your home state, in your community or near your place of work could all have distinct benefits. But what if you’re not a local, and want to try living someplace new while you earn your degree?
Here are three great reasons you might want to spend graduate school living in Washington.
The Pacific Northwest
Love the outdoors? Then life in Washington might be for you. Living in the Pacific Northwest, you could have the great outdoors within reach. After all, in Washington alone, you have access to several beautiful national parks, including Olympic National Park, North Cascades National Park, and Mount Rainier National Park. And if that’s not enough, Washington is also home to nine different national forests, including the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, which covers more than four million acres.
If you’re coming out west to study forestry or environmental science, Washington could be full of opportunities to put that learning into practice. And if you’re not—maybe you just plain love hiking, and want to experience the great outdoors in your free time.
Washington Arts & Culture
If you’re the creative type, you might feel right at home in Washington—and not just because they turn coffee into an artform. Some of your favorite rock bands got their start here. From garage rock to grunge—Nirvana, anyone?—Seattle, Washington is known for its music scene.
Washington also has fascinating museums, architecture, performing arts, you name it. Whether you gravitate toward Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, or elsewhere, you’ll likely find a unique arts and culture scene.
More into sports culture? Washington is also home to several major teams, including the Mariners (Major League baseball), the Seahawks (the NFL), and the Seattle Sounders FC (soccer).
Of course, while hiking and the arts are both fulfilling, you also have practical considerations to think about. Luckily, Washington State could be the place for you to gain hands-on professional experience that complements your education and supports your goals.
For example, its location makes Washington a hub of international trade (particularly with Asia)—in fact, it’s one of the largest exporting states in the country. They’re also a leader in hydroelectric power and agriculture, and home to a thriving technology and manufacturing industry. This includes online retail, aerospace engineering, biotechnology, and more.
Discover Top Washington Cities for a Graduate Program
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Cities in Washington
Washington is a big place. Your experience living there would be impacted significantly by whether you’re living in the suburbs or nearer to the wilderness, or in a bustling city.
Below are snapshots of five cities where you could live, work, and study in Washington.
Easilythe best-known city in Washington, Seattle is known for a few important landmarks: the Space Needle, Pike Place Market, the Puget Sound, and the Chihuly Garden and Glass museum, to name a few. It’s also the home of 90’s grunge, Amazon, and Starbucks.
Seattle is made up of about twenty different neighborhoods, each one with a vibrant local culture and traditions. Most of them host unique street fairs and parades every year that residents may participate in. Take for example the Seafair Pirates, a community service organization known for performing at the annual Seafair festival.
Also known as “The Lilac City,” Spokane is the second largest city in Washington. Its location in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and along the Spokane River makes it a destination for outdoor recreation.
Residents of Spokane enjoy skiing, hiking, biking, running, and more! The region is also home to a diverse array of plants and animals, notably big game, birds of prey, wolves, and fish.
While the city is made up of many different neighborhoods, these are grouped together into three different districts. Some of the most well-known include Riverside, Browne’s Addition, and Hillyard, which are notable in part for their historic architecture and business. Many of these areas are even recognized for their significance on the National Register of Historic Districts.
Located on the Puget Sound and about 60 miles from Mount Rainer National Park, Tacoma is the third largest city in Washington. It’s known for its livability and walkability, as well as for being chosen as the ending point of the Northern Pacific Railway when it was established in the 19th century. Today, it’s a center of business for the region, including several international food manufacturers and distributers.
As a student living in Tacoma, you could enhance your studies through the city’s many historic landmarks and cultural attractions. This includes architecture designed by influential architects from Tacoma. Tacoma is also home to many unique museums, including the Museum of Glass, the American Car Museum, and art and history museums. Residents may also enjoy performing arts venues and other annual public events.
Located in southern Washington, Vancouver is the largest suburb of Portland, Oregon. It’s named for Fort Vancouver, which was an outpost for fur-trading in the 19th century. Today, it’s a unique community with a thriving art scene, and a close relationship with neighboring Portland. Industries in Vancouver include healthcare, social services, manufacturing, and retail. i
Vancouver’s cultural scene is supported by a strong revitalization effort, including the designation of a formal downtown arts district by the city. Art lovers could enjoy local galleries, the symphony orchestra, and annual cultural events. The city’s waterfront location and robust park system means that nature-lovers could explore trails, boating, fishing, and other outdoor activities.
Bellevue Washington boasts one of the largest downtown areas of any city in Washington, with more than twenty companies headquartered there and more with branch offices, many of which are involved with technology, software, or video games. It’s also the home of many different small businesses and numerous commercial districts. Graduate students in or around Bellevue could find opportunities to put learning into practice in the field through internships or potential career opportunities in many of these organizations.
Bellevue has also been referred to as a “boomburg” or “edge city,” meaning it shares many qualities with other suburban regions. The city has made a concerted effort to preserve its natural resources and green space, resulting in a substantial park system, including the Bellevue Botanical Garden.
Explore Graduate Schools in Washington
- Goddard College
- North Cascades Institute
- University of Washington
- Washington State University (WSU)
- Gonzaga University
What to Study in Washington State
Whether it’s finding an academic program that suits your needs, or the career opportunities to support your path of study, Washington may have your back. Below are three example subjects you might consider.
If you’re passionate about conservation, studying environemntal science in Washington State may be for you. After all, who wouldn’t want to study fascinating subjects like geography, geology, ecology, and forestry in the Pacific Northwest? In addition to finding programs in your discipline that challenge and support you, you could be surrounded by beautiful national parks and forests—giving you the chance to put your learning into action to help the natural world.
Environmental Science graduate programs may be professional—meaning they’d focus on applying your scientific expertise in the field, such as educating others on the importance of conservation—or academic, meaning they’d focus on performing research to better understand the natural world and our impact on it. A related field may be environmental engineering, which would focus on creating and developing technology to solve environmental challenges.
Some examples graduate programs in Washington related to environmental science include:
- Washington State University Master’s in Natural Resources & Conservation
- WSU Plant Pathology Program
- University of Washington Forest Resources Program
- Evergreen State College Natural Resources Management & Policy Program
- Western Washington University Environmental Studies Program
Education is one of the largest industries in Washington, employing more than 160,000 people in 2015. That could mean one of two things.
(1) If you’re one of those people, already involved with your school community, you might be seeking graduate education to better serve your students or support an ongoing career. (2) If you’re not already an educator, you might be looking for a program with the support, resources, and experience you need to get involved.
Programs are often designed according to the needs and responsibilities of specific roles, and certain levels of experience. In other words, an experienced teacher who wants to develop a certain skill set to support her students or instructional techniques might choose a different one from an aspiring teacher, or from a teacher who wants to move into administration.
A few examples of Education Graduate Programs in Washington:
- North Cascades Institute Graduate Master of Education Residency
- University of Washington Tacoma Master of Education
- Goddard College Hybrid Master of Arts in Education (Seattle)
- Gonzaga University Online Special Education Program
- Washington State University (WSU) Educational Administration Program
Mental Health & Counseling
Universities in Washington offer a variety of graduate mental health, counseling and psychology programs. At the master’s level, many of these are geared toward preparing aspiring counselors to qualify for licensure in Washington and get involved with clinical practice. This may incorporate field-experience, such as observation in a clinical setting or internships. However, if you’re interested in other areas, like research or leadership roles in mental health organizations, some programs might accommodate those interests as well.
Generally, mental health, counseling, and related programs concentrate on one particular area of need. For example, one program might focus on marriage and family therapy, whereas another may on addiction.
Some example graduate programs in Washington related to mental health include:
- Antioch University Couple and Family Therapy Program
- Washington State University (WSU) Counseling Psychology Program
- Saybrook University MA Psychology MFT-LPCC Specialization
- Western Washington University Rehabilitation Counseling Program
Find Graduate Schools in Washington State
Browse the sponsored program listings here to start your search for Graduate Schools in Washington! Use the menu to narrow your search by city, or to select your preferred format, degree level, and area of study.
[i] datausa.io/profile/geo/washington/#category_industries [iii] census.gov/quickfacts/table/POP010210/5363000,00 [iv] census.gov/quickfacts/table/POP010210/5367000,00< [v] census.gov/quickfacts/table/PST045214/5374060,00 [vi]census.gov/quickfacts/table/POP010210/5305210,00
Warner Pacific University
Northwest Baptist Seminary
St. Martin's University
Pacific Lutheran University
Seattle Pacific University
Institute of Global Education
Mars Hill Graduate School
Bakke Graduate University