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Academic Excellence

Accolades. Achievements. Standout academic programs.

Top tier research

One of America’s leading research universities

WSU is one of just 131 U.S. colleges and universities—out of 6,500+ public and private institutions—named among doctoral universities with “very high research activity” in the Carnegie Classification (2018). This designation represents the highest level of research activity for doctoral institutions.

Faculty elected to membership in the National Academies

The nation’s highest honor for scientific researchers

Leader in U.S. Department of Agriculture research and development expenditures

USDA is the largest funder of agricultural and natural resource research and development at U.S. academic institutions. Expenditure of USDA funding is the most consistent measure of external research support for a university. WSU spent $38.1 million in USDA funding in the 2018 fiscal year, placing it in the top 2 among 391 universities nationwide.

— National Science Foundation Higher Education Research and Development Survey (2018)

#1 for research in literacy (e.g. media literacy) and substance abuse prevention

conducted by Murrow College of Communication faculty

Communication Institute for Online Scholarship (CIOS)

Programs that foster undergraduate success

Writing Program

Writing skills are essential to success in the professional world. WSU’s nationally acclaimed 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.

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, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and faculty grants.

Honors College

The Honors College prepares top students in all majors for influential careers. The curriculum lets students choose among dozens of specialized classes in place of required general education courses. Class sizes are typically capped at 25 students. A thesis project allows students to conduct mentored research, exploring an academic question of importance to them. The College attracts top students from across the United States and around the world. Honors alumni have distinguished records of leadership.

Accelerated tracks to advanced degrees

Veterinary medicine

Through the Honors College Vet Med Program, you could earn a DVM degree from the WSU College of Veterinary Medicine in just 7 years—instead of the usual 8.

Biosciences Ph.D.

If you’re a top student in the biosciences, you could earn a doctorate within 7 years after leaving high school through the STARS (Students Targeted toward Advanced Research Studies) program.


If you’re an incoming freshman in the Honors College, you could begin nursing courses in your junior year through the Nursing Direct-Admit Program.

Entrepreneurial training

Dream of launching your own enterprise? WSU offers springboards for aspiring entrepreneurs:

Harold Frank Engineering Entrepreneurship program

Join students from a variety of disciplines to develop a business from your technology ideas.

Center for Entrepreneurship

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.

WSU Business Plan Competition

This annual event challenges you to launch a new venture. You receive expert advice in navigating the entrepreneurial process as you compete for scholarship money.

More about undergraduate academics

The Division of Academic Engagement and Student Achievement supports academic engagement and achievement.


Unique opportunities for graduate students

Interdisciplinary doctoral degrees

Tailor your doctoral degree to your interests in programs that bridge disciplines:

Internships at U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratories

Across many fields (radiochemistry, chemical engineering, and more) doctoral students and post docswork alongside preeminent researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and Idaho National Laboratory.

Examples of topics explored include bio-based products and catalysis.

National Institutes of Health (NIH) training program

The NIH Protein Biotechnology Training Program trains science and engineering graduate students in basic science relevant to biotechnology.

More about graduate programs

The Graduate School oversees the University’s graduate education programs and helps prepare students for post-graduation success.