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.
Top 7 Occupations in Washington
Requiring a Post-Secondary Degree
Whether you need help deciding what degree to pursue, or just want to get a feel for
professions with the highest employment in Washington , the table below should be helpful.
- Registered Nurses56,880
- Software Developers, Applications51,540
- General and Operations Managers46,740
- Business Operations Specialists, All Other34,370
- Accountants and Auditors30,460
- Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education25,890
- Management Analysts19,650
These results were reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For more information see the OES May 2017 State Data Report.
Discover Top Washington Cities for a Graduate Program
|Population||Median Household Income||Median Gross Rent||% of persons with a bachelor's degree or higher|
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
- Kirkland, WAKirkland, WASaybrook University is the world’s premier institution for humanistic studies. It is a rigorous and unique learner-centered educational institution offering advanced degrees in psychology, mind-body medicine, organizational systems, and human sc...
Additional Washington Campus: Kirkland
- OnlineOnlineUpcoming Start Date: October 14, 2019Northcentral University was founded in 1996 to provide working professionals around the world with unprecedented access to richly engaging, professionally-relevant, and academically-rigorous education from a U.S. university. As a regionally accred...
Seattle UniversitySeattle, WASeattle, WASeattle University, founded in 1891, is a Jesuit Catholic university located on 50 acres in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood. More than 7, 900 students are enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs within eight schools and colleges.
Seattle Pacific UniversitySeattle, WASeattle, WASeattle Pacific University located in Seattle, Washington is a private Christian University. Also known as SPU, the school is home to 4,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The school is located only ten minutes from downtown Seattle which is fu...
Additional Washington Campus: Online
Seattle Institute Of Oriental MedicineSeattle, WASeattle, WAThe Seattle Institute of Oriental Medicine offers Master’s programs that lead to licensure in the field of Acupuncture. They offer two different degrees, and each one takes a dual sided approach to education, with students studying in the classroo...
Western Washington UniversityBellingham, WABellingham, WAWith 15,000 students, 160 academic programs, and an energized campus community, Western offers the focus on students and the faculty access of a smaller college and the academic choice, resources, multicultural diversity, and room to grow of a large ...
Whitworth UniversitySpokane, WASpokane, WAWhitworth University offers a top notch education in Spokane, Washington while promoting Christian ideals. Part of the university’s mission is to reach people all over the world. Whitworth not only provides an ideal academic education it also offer...
Whidbey Island Writers AssociationOnline
Western Reformed SeminaryTacoma, WATacoma, WAWestern Reformed Seminary is a graduate school of Theology. Their goal is to train leaders by giving them a solid foundation that allows them to be rooted and grounded in the word of God and to nurture their desire to dedicate their lives to serving...
Warner Pacific UniversityOnlineOnlineSince 1937, Warner Pacific College has been serving the Pacific Northwest with Christ- centered liberal arts education. We’ve been providing continuing education opportunities to adult students through our Adult Degree Programs (ADP). ...
Additional Washington Campus: Vancouver
Mars Hill Graduate SchoolBothell, WABothell, WAMars Hill Graduate School is the old name of the reformed education institution now called The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology. It is an accredited Christian graduate school offering master level degrees in Counseling Psychology, Divinity, an...
Bakke Graduate UniversitySeattle, WASeattle, WABakke Graduate University (BGU) is a graduate school which includes a school of Christian theology for church leaders, a school of urban studies for non-profit (NGO & NPO) leaders, and a school of business for leaders. The university offers a wide va...
Pacific Lutheran UniversityTacoma, WATacoma, WAPacific Lutheran University (PLU) is a Lutheran university located just outside of Tacoma, Washington. With close to 4,000 full-time students and 280 full-time faculty the competitive school offers Bachelors and Masters degrees in its several college...
Evergreen State CollegeOlympia, WAOlympia, WAThe Evergreen State College is an accredited public liberal arts college and a member of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges, located in Olympia, Washington, USA. Founded in 1967, Evergreen was formed to be an experimental and non-traditional...
Northwest Baptist SeminaryTacoma, WATacoma, WACorban University is the new name of the Northwest Baptist Seminary which merged with the university a few years ago. The programs offered by the two institutions were reorganized and now they are offered from the Corban University School of Ministry...
IslandWoodBainbridge Island, WABainbridge Island, WAIsland Wood is a 255 acre outdoor learning center that provides a thorough and unique learning experience and that supports environmental and community awareness. Island Wood offers a graduate program in conjunction with the University of Washington,...
St. Martin's UniversityLacey, WALacey, WASt. Martin’s University is located in Lacey, Washington just outside the city of Olympia and offers both undergraduate as well as graduate degrees. The University gets its name from the abbey with which it is associated. Many of the faculty w...
North Cascades InstituteSedro-Woolley, WASedro-Woolley, WANorth Cascades Institute prepares young educators for an exciting career in environmental education. The institute offers an outstanding residency program designed to prepare students in every aspect of environmental education while living in the Nor...
Goddard CollegeOnlineOnlineGoddard specializes in low-residency education, a format that is designed to accommodate the lifestyles of working adults. Unlike online courses or traditional classes, the low-residency format offers the best of both worlds – experienced facul...
Presidio Graduate SchoolSeattle, WASeattle, WAPresidio Graduate School pioneered the field of sustainable management starting in 2003. Today, Presidio is a world leader in the field. The school offers MBA, MPA, and a dual MBA/MPA program as well as an Executive Certificate in Sustainable Managem...