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About CWU

Welcome to Central Washington University, home of the Wildcats.

A public, four-year university located in historic Ellensburg, Wash.

Central’s commitment to hands-on learning and discovery and individual attention takes students beyond the limits of the classroom and books. Students get to do what they’re studying in real-world, professional settings, which makes learning exciting and relevant.

Each year, CWU graduates thousands of well-educated citizens who are ready for high-demand careers in the workforce: construction management, accounting, engineering technology, teacher education, wine business, paramedicine, aviation, and more.

CWU prepares students to succeed in a global economy through strong partnerships with 30 colleges and universities around the world. In recent years, we have welcomed more than 400 students from 36 countries to our campus.

CWU's residential campus in Ellensburg encompasses 380 acres. There are also six university centers (Des Moines, Lynnwood, Pierce County, Moses Lake, Wenatchee, and Yakima) and two instructional sites (Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Sammamish).

2020-2021 Overview

  • Number of graduates each year: About 3,200 
  • Total undergraduate and graduate enrollment (full-time equivalent): 10,327
  • On-campus residents: 2,800
  • Male/female ratio: 46%/54%
  • Students of color: 42% 
  • First-year student retention: 71%

Where Wildcats are from (2020):

  Washington state: 93.49%

  • King County: 1,960
  • Kittitas County: 1,334
  • Pierce County: 1,217
  • Yakima County: 893
  • Snohomish County: 722 

Estimated costs:

  • Average out-of-pocket for base tuition: $3,000*
  • Full price basic tuition, for 10-17 credits: $6,621
  • Room and board: $13,787

* After scholarships, grants, and financial aid.


  • More than 135 majors
  • Nationally and/or regionally distinguished programs in music, geology, business, physics, education, and STEM
  • Faculty recognized regionally and/or nationally for collegiate teaching in mathematics, physics, geology, music, and chemistry.
  • Average class size: 20
  • Student to faculty ratio: 20-to-1
  • Five Top Majors/Degrees Awarded: Elementary Education and Teaching, General Psychology, Criminal Justice/Safety Studies, Business Administration, and Social Sciences


  • Residence halls: 20
  • Apartment complexes: 5
  • Living Learning and Theme communities: 14 

Student Life:

  • More than 125 clubs, organizations, and associations
  • More than 30 percent of students participate in intramural sports 
  • Approximately 500 students participate in 23 sports clubs

Wildcat Athletics:

  • Competes in NCAA DIvision II 
  • Men’s varsity sports: 6
  • Women’s varsity sports: 7

Take the Next Step to Becoming a Wildcat.