Willamette University

2014 Quick Stats
900 State Street

Salem, OR 97301

Phone: (503) 370-6300
2013-2014 Tuition
tuition and fees
male /
Feb. 1
application deadline

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U.S. News Rankings

Ranking score and category
U.S. News rank Category Name
#61 Overall Score: 63 out of 100. National Liberal Arts Colleges

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Willamette University is a private institution that was founded in 1842. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 2,103, its setting is urban, and the campus size is 61 acres. It utilizes a semester-based academic calendar. Willamette University's ranking in the 2014 edition of Best Colleges is National Liberal Arts Colleges, 61. Its tuition and fees are $42,305 (2013-14).

Located in Oregon’s state capital, Salem, Willamette University carries the distinction of being the oldest university in the Western United States. The 69-acre campus is located directly across from the Oregon State Capitol and is less than an hour from Portland. All freshmen and sophomores are required to live on campus, unless they commute 25 miles or less to campus. As juniors and seniors, students can move into private residences or one of the university's apartment complexes. Once at the college, students can participate in more than 100 clubs and organizations, including a small, but bustling, Greek life.

Studying abroad is a very popular academic choice for many students at the university, and more than half of the student body studies abroad during college. Students interested in studying abroad have the luxury of choosing programs from more than 40 countries. The university also has a partnership with Tokyo International University, which allows students interested in Japanese language and culture the chance to interact with Japanese students. Willamette University's sustainability efforts have not gone unnoticed. The National Wildlife Federation has recognized the university as first in the nation among 1,050-plus schools for practicing the most sustainability activities, many of which are student-initiated efforts. Willamette is a founding member of the Northwest Conference in the NCAA Division III, and its teams are known as the Bearcats.

Along with being the oldest university in the West, the Willamette University College of Law is the oldest law school in the Pacific Northwest. Not to be outdone, Willamette's Atkinson Graduate School of Management is one of only two MBA programs in the world accredited for both business administration and public administration. The school's weekly newspaper, Willamette Collegian, began publishing in 1875 and has won several distinctions from the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association. Notable alumni of the university include Dale T. Mortensen, the 2010 winner of the Nobel Prize in economics, and James Albaugh, former executive vice president of The Boeing Co.

School mission and unique qualities (as provided by the school):

Willamette University is a premier liberal arts university in the Pacific Northwest that challenges engaged, enterprising, independent thinkers to turn their knowledge into action - a reflection of our motto, "Not unto ourselves alone are we born." One of 40 schools recognized in the popular guide "Colleges That Changes Lives," Willamette provides professors dedicated to student success; hands-on academic experiences that cultivate critical thinking and creativity; and lively, diverse opportunities for fun and personal growth. With an average class size of 14 and a student-to-faculty ratio of 10:1, our community fosters active collaboration among faculty and students. Our professors are recognized researchers and scholars, but they are also fundamentally committed to teaching and serving as mentors ; 10 since 1990 have been named Oregon Professor of the Year, a record unmatched by any other school in the state. We provide individualized experiences both in and out of the classroom ; 56% of Willamette students earn study abroad credit, 28% perform joint research with professors and 67% complete one or more internships. Located across the street from the state capitol, Willamette students have unparalleled access to law and policymaking in virtually any field. We are also co-located with Tokyo International University of America, giving students unique opportunities to learn about and interact with students from the Pacific Rim , as well as chances to study in Japan. In addition to 48 undergraduate academic programs, Willamette students may choose a combined-degree program, pairing their liberal arts education with a master's degree in law or management to stand out from the competition and get a jump start on their careers. Our Pacific Northwest location holds distinct academic advantages, as demonstrated by Willamette's 305-acre outdoor research station, Zena Forest, where students find numerous ways to tie the local landscape to research, coursework and co-curricular activities. At Zena, students also run an organic farm that provides food for campus , one of many examples of the university's commitment to sustainability. Our students live by our university motto both in and out of the classroom. Known for their enterprising nature, they frequently launch endeavors to improve campus and the community. They are serious about service, dedicating 44,000 volunteer hours annually; and they continue to serve after graduation, frequently volunteering through Peace Corps, AmeriCorps and Teach for America. Our students also find numerous ways to stay active and build lifelong friendships ; 95% participate in campus clubs and activities, including 100+ student organizations, 20 varsity sports, many club and intramural teams, and countless campus events and social activities. Our alumni say their time at Willamette was life-changing, and they credit their education with providing the expertise they needed for successful personal and professional lives. Alumni frequently find careers at companies such as Nike, Intel and Microsoft; enter top-notch graduate programs across the country; earn competitive, national awards like the Fulbright Grant that provide money for research or graduate school; and continue to live the Willamette motto by launching companies and nonprofits or devoting themselves to public service.

General Information

School type private, coed college
Year founded 1842
Religious affiliation United Methodist
Academic calendar semester
Setting city
2012 Endowment $208,121,831


When applying to Willamette University, it's important to note the application deadline is February 1, and the early action deadline is December 1. Scores for either the ACT or SAT test are due February 1. The application fee at Willamette University is $50. It is selective, with an acceptance rate of 60.4 percent.

For more information about the tests, essays, interviews, and admissions process, visit the Applying to College knowledge center.

Selectivity selective
Fall 2012 acceptance rate 60.4%
Application deadline February 1
SAT/ACT scores must be received by February 1

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Academic Life

The student-faculty ratio at Willamette University is 10:1, and the school has 71.7 percent of its classes with fewer than 20 students. The most popular majors at Willamette University include: Social Sciences; English Language and Literature/Letters; Visual and Performing Arts; Biological and Biomedical Sciences; and Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics. The average freshman retention rate, an indicator of student satisfaction, is 88 percent.

Class sizes
Class sizes
Student-faculty ratio 10:1
4-year graduation rate 69%
Five most popular majors for 2012 graduates
Social Sciences 27%
English Language and Literature/Letters 10%
Visual and Performing Arts 9%
Biological and Biomedical Sciences 8%
Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics 8%

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Student Life

Willamette University has a total undergraduate enrollment of 2,103, with a gender distribution of 45.1 percent male students and 54.9 percent female students. At this school, 68 percent of the students live in college-owned, -operated, or -affiliated housing and 32 percent of students live off campus. Willamette University is part of the NCAA III athletic conference.

Total enrollment 2,933
Student gender distribution
Student gender distribution
Undergraduate men who are members of a fraternity
Undergraduate men who are members of a fraternity
Undergraduate women who are members of a sorority
Undergraduate women who are members of a sorority
Collegiate athletic association NCAA III

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Campus Info & Services

Willamette University offers a number of student services including nonremedial tutoring, women's center, health service, and health insurance. Willamette University also offers campus safety and security services like 24-hour foot and vehicle patrols, late night transport/escort service, 24-hour emergency telephones, lighted pathways/sidewalks, student patrols, and controlled dormitory access (key, security card, etc). Of the students at Willamette University, 42 percent have cars on campus. Alcohol is permitted for students of legal age at Willamette University.

Students who have cars on campus 42%
Health insurance offered Yes

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Paying for School

At Willamette University, 65.7 percent of full-time undergraduates receive some kind of need-based financial aid and the average need-based scholarship or grant award is $25,099.

Paying for college doesn't have to be difficult or devastating. Go to the Paying for College knowledge center to get advice on raising cash and reducing costs.

Tuition and fees $42,305 (2013-14)
Room and board $10,380 (2013-14)
Financial aid statistics
Financial aid statistics

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* Overview details based on 2012 data

College Rankings

Best Liberal Arts Colleges - Narrow your search with the U.S. News rankings of Liberal Arts Colleges, schools that emphasize undergrad liberal arts education.

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