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Central Washington University


The doors of the Washington State Normal School in Ellensburg opened in 1891. Mr. Benjamin Franklin Barge was the first principal of the school, which was founded to educate future elementary and junior high teachers. Classes were held at the Washington Public School until the normal school's first building, Barge Hall, opened in 1893. 


As a public comprehensive university, CWU strives to create an engaging learning environment and therefore places its highest priority on teaching, learning, and student success. The faculty is comprised of scholar-teachers working in the interests of their students, their disciplines, and the region. CWU encourages individualized programs of student success and promotes undergraduate and graduate student-faculty partnerships that are actively engaged in discovery, creative expression, and engaged learning.


The mission of the Office of Undergraduate Research is to promote and support undergraduate research, scholarship, and creative activities in all academic disciplines. We work with faculty, staff, and students in all departments and programs at all of Central Washington University's campuses.

The OUR's programs include:

  • Travel and research grants for undergraduates
  • Research skills workshops and courses
  • End-of-quarter poster sessions
  • The annual Symposium of University Research and Creative Expression (SOURCE)
  • SOURCE Ambassadors
  • Support for faculty
  • Support for students

Student services

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.

Housing services

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 providing 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.

Library services

University Centers strive to provide library resources accessible to center students. CWU-Moses Lake students have access to the BBCC Library, as well as the online resources the CWU Brooks Library provides.

ICT services

CWU has invested in providing the highest level of technological support for all of its students, faculty and staff. From expansive wireless access, to individual customer support, to ongoing software and equipment upgrades, Technology Services (TS) seeks to meet—and anticipate—the growing needs of our computerized society. Below is a brief overview of our services.

Medical services

  • Basic Health is a state-sponsored program providing low-cost health care coverage through private plans for Washington State residents who are within Basic Health's Income Guidelines and not eligible for free or purchased Medicare.
  • Washington State has a number of programs dedicated to providing health care coverage for low income residents. 

Campus life

CWU University Centers are located around the state to provide greater access to higher education. Many are co-located on community college campuses. CWU knows that students have families, jobs, and commitments that don't always allow them to attend a traditional campus. The university centers provide degree programs and certifications that meet individual and community needs. A variety of classroom options are offered including face-to-face, online, interactive television and hybrid programs. Learn more about which CWU campus best fits your needs:

Sports facilities

The Recreation Center offers two floors of amazing health and fitness options. The 80,000 sq. ft. exercise mecca has a 50-foot climbing wall with two arches for bouldering, a strength training area, fitness and cardio equipment areas, an elevated 1/8-mile jogging track, a four-court gymnasium, two group exercise rooms, locker rooms with saunas and the Outdoor Pursuits and Rental shop.

Central Washington University is a regionally accredited institution through the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). The NWCCU is one of six regional accrediting associations that are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Institutional accreditation is important as it qualifies CWU and enrolled students for access to federal funds to support teaching, research, and student financial aid.

Ellensburg, Washington, United States

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