Writing skills are essential to success in the professional world. WSU’s nationally ranked Writing Program supports, tutors, and assesses writing to help students communicate effectively. Before beginning the junior year, all students must assemble a Writing Portfolio. Required for graduation, the portfolio is used to evaluate students’ readiness to write at the requisite level for upper-division courses in their major.
Common Reading Program
Each year the University chooses a single book to be read by all freshmen. Professors, residence hall staff, librarians, and others explore topics raised in the book. They link topics to course content and special extracurricular programming. Professors also share information from their research that relates to the book’s themes. Students learn the value of research, the power of ideas, and ways in which different disciplines approach similar problems.
Innovations that foster student success
The Transformational Change Initiative takes a multipronged approach to helping students succeed in college and beyond. First, it tailors instruction to actively engage students with coursework and encourage collaboration with peers. Then, it provides parents with a handbook of activities to do with their students. These activities help students identify their most important values. The handbook shows students how those values could help them make decisions on issues they encounter in college. Finally, the program provides students with experiential learning opportunities to further hone their problem-solving skills.
Honors College that prepares top students for influential careers
The Honors College attracts top students in all majors from across the United States and around the world. Honors alumni have long and distinguished records of leadership and impact throughout their careers.
The Honors College curriculum lets students choose among dozens of specialized classes in place of required general education courses. Class sizes are typically capped at 25 students. Honors students complete a thesis project, researching with a mentor an academic question of importance to them. They document their analysis and conclusions, and orally present their work to faculty evaluators.
Top training for future broadcast journalists
The Edward R. Murrow College of Communication offers the only comprehensive broadcast journalism program in the state of Washington. Noted for combining professional skill building and theory, the program is one of just a few nationwide that airs a daily, student-produced television newscast: Murrow News 8. The College houses 3 nationally acclaimed media outlets, including Northwest Public Radio, Northwest Public Television, and the student-run Murrow News Service. Students produce stories for media outlets nationwide. They have won national and regional Emmys for their television productions.
Foreign (and domestic) correspondence opportunities
Accomplished students in the Murrow College of Communication have the chance to report stories from abroad. The Murrow Backpack Journalism Program takes top journalism students to distant lands: the Galapagos Islands, Guatemala, Costa Rica, China, Sri Lanka, and more. Equipped with the latest video, audio, and web technology, travelers produce multimedia content for blog posts, final projects, and even publication by professional media.
A similar program, Backpack Environmental, sends journalism students to destinations around the U.S. Students profile the field research of environmental scientists in the Center for Environmental Research, Education, and Outreach (CEREO).
Fast track to a doctoral degree in life science disciplines
The STARS (Students Targeted toward Advanced Research Studies) program allows select students in biochemistry, genetics and cell biology, microbiology, or neuroscience to earn a doctorate in as little as 7 years after leaving high school. The program immerses freshmen in research and provides them with one-on-one mentorship from faculty members.
Path to success for low-income students in engineering and computer science
The Academic Redshirt program prepares promising students from low-income households to succeed in engineering and computer science disciplines. If you’re selected, you’ll be given the academic foundation you need to prepare for the demands of these fields. Plus, first-year coaching on study skills and habits readies you for the challenges that lie ahead.
Summer research opportunities
Dedicate your summer to conducting research alongside award-winning professors. Investigations span a wide range of fields, among them engineering, plant sciences, health sciences, and environmental sciences. The summer concludes with a symposium showcasing your work. Summer research programs are hosted by WSU faculty and funded by the National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates, US Department of Agriculture, and faculty grants.
Springboard for aspiring entrepreneurs
Multiple WSU programs nurture students seeking to launch their own enterprises.
- The internationally recognized Harold Frank Engineering Entrepreneurship program unites students from a variety of disciplines to develop businesses from their technology ideas.
- The Center for Entrepreneurial Studies enables you to learn the hands-on skills and teamwork necessary to create a prototype, develop a business plan, and ultimately launch a commercially viable product and business.
- The annual WSU Business Plan Competition challenges you to launch a new venture. You receive expert advice in navigating the entrepreneurial process as you compete for scholarship money.
Accelerated track to DVM and nursing degrees
Honors College students can apply early to 2 health care programs:
- Through the Honors College Vet Med Program, sophomores can apply to the WSU College of Veterinary Medicine. If selected, they pursue the Honors curriculum that dovetails with vet med prerequisites and can graduate with their DVM degree in 7 instead of the usual 8 years.
- Incoming Honors freshmen can apply for the Nursing Direct-Admit Program. Accepted students maintain the required GPA and complete Honors and nursing prerequisite courses in Pullman in years 1 and 2, and years 3 and 4 at one of the nursing college sites in Spokane, Yakima, or the Tri-Cities.
Unique construction engineering program
In 2016 WSU will begin offering the only Bachelor of Science degree in Construction Engineering in the Pacific Northwest. Designed with input from Fortune 500 company leaders, the academic program equips graduates to succeed in the heavy/civil construction industry.
Cross-disciplinary training in design, construction, and engineering
The unique, interdisciplinary environment in engineering and design disciplines prepares graduates to be work ready on Day 1, with hands-on skills. WSU’s School of Design and Construction offers all 4 of the following academic programs:
- Interior design
- Construction management
- Landscape architecture
In each field, students interact with other disciplines throughout the curriculum. The Integrated Design Experience (IDX) studio fosters collaboration among students in these disciplines, as well as civil engineering students and user groups, to develop sustainable solutions for the built environment.
Hands-on design and fabrication studio
Translate design ideas into working prototypes, using band saws, sanders, drills, laser cutters, 3-D printers, and other tools. The Frank Innovation Zone promotes creativity by providing fabrication tools, as well as testing and measurement equipment, in a supervised space. No matter what your major, you can use the “FIZ” to build class projects or support club activities. A staff advisor is on hand to offer guidance as needed.
World-class wine science program
Viticulture and enology students master the art and science of grape growing and wine-making at WSU’s Ste. Michelle Wine Estates WSU Wine Science Center. The center is one of the most technologically advanced of its kind in the world. It sits in the heart of the state’s wine country—in Richland on the WSU Tri-Cities campus. Viticulture and enology students complete internships in a vineyard and a winery to translate their knowledge into practice.
Fermentation science major
Study the science behind fermented beverages and foods. You’ll learn about yeasts, bacteria, and molds and discover industrial-scale applications of fermentation. There are only a handful of other fermentation science programs nationwide. Most focus on a specific commodity—like wine, dairy, or beer. In contrast, these courses (pdf) examine fermentation science across a broader spectrum.
Building information literacy skills across the curriculum
One of the goals of the WSU baccalaureate is information literacy, or the set of skills needed to find, retrieve, analyze, and use information. To give students this important preparation, WSU Libraries faculty created an innovative information literacy skill-building guide. They work closely with professors and instructors to customize and teach these skills for specific courses of study. In fiscal year 2016, WSU Libraries faculty taught about 1,340 instruction sessions for 71 courses, reaching more than 49,200 individuals.