May 24, 2024  
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

About Central


Ever since Central Washington University was founded in 1891, we have prepared students to excel in the workplace and become effective contributors in society. Over the past 130-plus years, CWU - originally named the Washington State Normal School - has consistently sought to redefine and advance higher education in the state of Washington, while focusing on making post-secondary degrees accessible to all, regardless of race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic background.

Our success is based on creating a diverse, inclusive, and welcoming environment through hands-on academic programs that prepare our students for the real world; cultivating and sustaining an award-winning faculty; and delivering an affordable education that offers significant return on investment for our graduates. By focusing on these values and constantly working to improve our product, CWU has become one of the fastest-growing public universities in the state of Washington over the past 25 years. It’s difficult to argue that Central offers one of the best returns on investment in the Northwest, if not the country.


Central Washington University will be a model learning community of equity and belonging.


In order to build a community of equity and belonging, Central Washington University nurtures culturally sustaining practices that expand access and success to all students. We are committed to fostering high impact practices, sustainability, and authentic community partnerships that are grounded in meaningful relationships.

Core Values

Central Washington University is committed to advancing societal growth through the essential activities of teaching, discovery, and service. None of these core elements can be achieved in isolation from the others, but when combined, they contribute to making the world a better place for everyone. As we work to elevate individuals and communities, the faculty and staff at CWU know that we must prioritize our efforts in relation to our mission, vision, values, goals, and resources. While seeking to maximize the value of each element of our mission, CWU goes out of our way to emphasize the integration of scholarship, teaching, and public service.

As a public comprehensive university, CWU strives to create an engaging learning environment that prioritizes teaching, learning, and student success. The faculty is comprised of scholar-teachers who work in the interests of their students, their disciplines, and the region. Central also encourages individualized programs of student success and promotes undergraduate and graduate student-faculty partnerships that are geared toward discovery, creative expression, and engaged learning.

As a community dedicated to the principles of academic freedom, CWU understands that we must create a campus environment that promotes reasoned, civil, and enlightened discourse and creative expression without fear of reprisal, ridicule, or exclusion. Our primary focus is on providing an educational environment that empowers each person with the freedom to explore, evaluate, and learn in ways that suits their individual needs.

CWU also believes strongly that it is our responsibility to serve our region by addressing pressing economic and social issues. As a comprehensive institution, we try to use our intellectual capacity to not only contribute to disciplinary literature’s, but also to assist business, social, and government leaders. This collaboration helps strengthen and diversify the region’s economic base, while helping create a sustainable natural environment and address critical social issues.

CWU also takes pride in being a place where people from a wide variety of backgrounds and cultures gather. This means that our campus must do whatever it takes to enable all individuals to grow and prosper as they seek to identify their true selves. In keeping with the academic values of shared governance and reasoned dialogue, the university aims to be open, transparent, and empowering above all.

This philosophy guides everyone in the Wildcat community, from students, staff, faculty, and administrators. Everyone agrees that we must adhere to these shared values:

• Student success: CWU believes that student success is best achieved by providing supportive learning and living environments that encourage intellectual inquiry, exploration, and application. CWU believes that learning is best achieved in small classroom or group settings with ample opportunities for individualized instruction, mentoring, advising, and programming.

• Access: CWU believes in providing educational opportunities to as many qualified students as possible. CWU believes that restrictions of place, time, and finances can be overcome through the effective use of partnership with community colleges and by effective and efficient use of learning, communication, and social technologies.

• Engagement: CWU believes that learning, research, and creative expression are enhanced by engagement with external partners. CWU believes that as a publicly-funded institution, it has a responsibility to help address the social and economic challenges faced by our communities.

• Inclusiveness: CWU believes that diversity of peoples, cultures, and ideas is essential to learning, discovery, and creative expression. CWU believes that all faculty, staff, and students must be and must feel physically, professionally, and emotionally safe in order to fully engage in and benefit from the university experience.

• Shared governance: CWU believes that shared governance is most effective when information systems and decision-making processes are both robust and transparent. CWU believes that communication channels should be open and two-way and that faculty, staff, and students should be empowered to participate in the governance systems.

• Facilities: CWU believes that state-of-the-art, safe, and attractive facilities enhance the working and learning environments of faculty, staff, and students. CWU also believes that state-of-the-art technologies provide leverage for the efforts of faculty, staff, and students.

• Safety: CWU believes it has a responsibility to provide a working and learning environment that is both physically and emotionally safe. CWU believes this responsibility extends to the off-campus environment of its full-time, residential students.

Equal Opportunity Policies

CWU’s policies and practices affirm and actively promote the rights of all individuals to equal opportunity in education and employment without regard to their race, ethnicity, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, age, marital status, disability, genetic information, or status as protected veterans. The university administers an affirmative action program for employment purposes and complies with applicable federal, state, and local laws, regulations, and executive orders. Policy statements on affirmative action, gender equity, and sexual harassment, as well as discrimination complaint and resolution policy and procedures available at

The person responsible for institutional compliance with most federal and state discrimination laws and institutional policies is Thomas Pedersen, Director of Civil Rights Compliance and Title IX Coordinator. He also serves as the university’s ADA Compliance Officer. He may be reached at 509-963-2031 or Contact Civil Rights Compliance and Title IX with any questions or concerns related to civil rights and/or disability-related laws and institutional policies, 509-963-2031 or Office of Civil Rights Compliance and Title IX is in Barge Hall, Second Floor, Suite 202.


Central Washington University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). Some programs have been accredited by specialized accrediting and certification associations, including:

WTB Catalog Statements

Catalog certified as true and correct for content and policy. Ruben Cardenas, CWU Veterans Director

Selected programs of study at Central Washington University are approved by the Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board’s State Approving Agency (WTECB/SAA) for enrollment of those eligible to receive
benefits under Title 38 and Title 10, USC.

Central Washington University does not and will not provide any commission, bonus, or other incentive payment based directly or indirectly on success in securing enrollment or financial aid to any persons or entities engaged in any student recruiting or admissions activities or in making decisions regarding the award of student financial assistance.

Schools should limit student enrollment to 85% veteran enrollment for each separately approved educational or vocational objective. In the event that a veteran wishes to enroll in a program that has already reached the 85% cap, he or she may do that but will not be eligible for VA funding. Chapter 35 and 31 students may still enroll even if the 85 percent has been realized.