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Frequently Asked Questions

General Information

How do I arrange a visit to Fairhaven College?

To schedule a visit contact the Fairhaven College Admissions Coordinator at (360) 650-2976 or

We recommend also scheduling a tour of Western Washington University’s beautiful campus. You can sign up for a WWU tour online

How is Fairhaven College related to Western Washington University?

Fairhaven is one of the seven colleges of Western Washington University. So Fairhaven College students are also Western students and enjoy the same resources. Fairhaven students participate in Western residence life, campus services, and activities and clubs. Fairhaven College students also have the opportunity to take classes throughout Western’s different academic departments. Fairhaven College provides students with unique opportunities within Western including a liberal arts education that emphasizes interdisciplinary studies, innovative learning, narrative evaluations and student involvement in developing their own plans of study.

How is Fairhaven College different than Western?

Fairhaven College students are part of a more intimate learning community dedicated to interdisciplinary studies. With about 400 students our seminar classes focus on discussions and typically have 15 to 20 students working with each other to make connections across academic disciplines and addressing the challenges in the world.

For Fairhaven College students, WWU’s General University Requirements (GURs) are replaced by Fairhaven College's Interdisciplinary Core Curriculum. Fairhaven College's Core Curriculum includes foundational interdisciplinary coursework with courses such as Science and Our Place on the Planet, Social Relationships and Responsibilities, and Critical and Reflective Inquiry. The Core Curriculum also includes process classes that guide students step by step through their academic career at Fairhaven. These courses are designed to support students to create a self-designed, individual degree plan.

For Fairhaven College students, narrative evaluations written by the student and the faculty member replace number and letter grading. The narrative evaluations, along with the letter grades received in Western classes, chart students’ growth and learning in the classes they take throughout their academics.

What kinds of things do students study at Fairhaven College?

Practically anything! Fairhaven College students have a lot of options and opportunities to decide how they want to shape their education. There is a wide variety of degrees that students have created. A common thread among our student’s interests is social justice.

Examples of Concentrations

What can you do with this education?

Fairhaven College graduates have distinguished themselves in virtually all fields including business and industry, counseling, health, education, visual and performing arts, government, journalism, research, medicine, law, ministry, international and public relations, and more. Fairhaven College alums start their own businesses, create new jobs within established organizations and work for non-profit agencies. 

Can I get into a graduate program with a Fairhaven College degree?

Fairhaven College graduates have been admitted to graduate and professional schools throughout the world. These institutions recognize that Fairhaven students have successfully taken responsibility for the content and direction of their education and are well prepared for graduate level study.

Learn more about our students and graduates.

Fairhaven College Academics

What is the Interdisciplinary Concentration?

Students who choose to design their own degree at Fairhaven College create an Interdisciplinary Concentration. While Fairhaven College students have the option of completing any of WWU’s majors, most choose to create an Interdisciplinary Concentration. The self-designed Concentration allows students to design a program of study that meets their academic and personal goals. Students receive support in planning their Concentrations by taking process classes that provide guidance throughout their academic career. Students also work with a faculty committee to identify the coursework needed to create a cohesive plan of study. Take a look at Degree Options at Fairhaven College.

What is the Law, Diversity & Justice Concentration?

The Law, Diversity & Justice Concentration is an interdisciplinary course of study for Fairhaven College students who are interested in law, diversity, and access to the legal system for under-served communities. The rigorous curriculum emphasizes a critical examination of how issues such as race, class, gender, sexual orientation and disability intersect with the legal system. The concentration builds the skills necessary for success after college: critical reading, writing, research, oral communication, and analytical ability.

About LDJ

What is Fairhaven College's Core Curriculum?

Fairhaven College's unique core curriculum includes a series of courses designed to widen students' exposure to different areas of study and to make connections among disciplines using interdisciplinary theory and practice.


Is it true that Fairhaven College does not use letter grades?

Yes. Every student in a Fairhaven College course completes a narrative self-evaluation and receives a written evaluation from the instructor in place of a letter grade. Read more about  Narrative Evaluations here. Students still receive traditional letter grades in their coursework in other Western departments.

Do I have to know what I want to study as soon as I start?

If you are coming in as a first-year student then you will have time to explore before settling on an area of focus. Fairhaven College students spend their first two years exploring and finding out what their interests are and where their strengths are. Transfer students should have a clear idea of what they are interested in studying. Students build strong relationships with their faculty which helps them through the process of figuring out how they want to design their studies.

Student Life

Why do students choose Fairhaven College?

Fairhaven College students are attracted to the opportunity to structure their own education within a learning community. Fairhaven College stresses independent thought, critical thinking, self-discipline, self-awareness, and social commitment. Students enjoy the advantage of personal contact with faculty in a stimulating small college atmosphere with access to the resources of a large university. Learn more about our program here: About Us

What is student life like at Fairhaven College?

Students at Fairhaven College are well-known for their involvement in campus and community activities. Students have access to Western’s wide variety of activities such as 200+ clubs, WWU sports, live music performances, and recreational activities with the Outdoor Center. Bellingham offers an exciting community to be a part of with Mt. Baker, the Bellingham Bay, and a vibrant downtown there’s always something fun to do!

What is the "Outback?"

Founded in 1972, the Outback Farm is a five-acre student-run farm at the south end of Fairhaven College which teaches, develops and implements sustainable growth and land use methods in order to enrich the student body, the University, and the Bellingham community.

Does Fairhaven College offer study abroad?

Yes, many Fairhaven College students choose to study abroad during their time in school. Students can work with their advisor and Western’s Education Abroad office to find a program that works best for them. Students can also get credit for an independent study project that they work on abroad. There are many different opportunities for students.

Fairhaven College also offers the Adventure Learning Grant which is a $20,000 stipend awarded annually to Fairhaven College students so that they may travel abroad to enrich their education with intellectual risk, challenge, and adventure.

Are residence halls available to Fairhaven College students?

Fairhaven College students can choose to live in any of WWU’s residence halls. The nearby Fairhaven Residential Complex is a great option for Fairhaven College students because they are within a minute or two walk to Fairhaven College. There is a Living-Learning Themed Community in the Fairhaven Residential Complex that provides an opportunity for Fairhaven College students to live in the same stack in Fairhaven and enroll in coursework together throughout the year. This is a great choice for students who want to continue the living-learning community of Fairhaven.

Applying to Fairhaven College

How do I apply to Fairhaven College?

Fairhaven College admits students at all levels: directly from high school, Running Start students, transfer students from other colleges, and also students who are already enrolled at WWU. We admit students every quarter. Because we are a small college, we often have selective admission.

Students must simultaneously apply to both Western Washington University and Fairhaven College. The Fairhaven College Admissions Coordinator will contact you to schedule an interview once your application is received. Take a look at our application requirements and deadlines on our Admissions page.

I plan to transfer to Fairhaven College from another institution. Will my credits count toward graduation from WWU/Fairhaven College?

When a new student enters Fairhaven College we provide a credit evaluation which indicates those courses we accept that count toward graduation from Western, as well as those credits which waive Fairhaven College's Core requirements. See our Advising pages for more information.

Core Curriculum Requirements

What can I expect in my interview?

Interviews are an opportunity for you to ask any questions you may have about Fairhaven College and to tell us about your interests. This is a good chance to expand on your goals and interests or share anything you think would be relevant or that you would like us to know. Interviews last approximately 30 minutes.

How selective is Fairhaven College?

Fairhaven College accepts approximately 90 new students each Fall Quarter. We also accept 30-15 students in Winter, Spring & Summer Quarter. Our acceptance rate can vary significantly from quarter to quarter based on the number of applications we receive, however, over the last few years, our acceptance rate has varied between 60 and 90%. 

What does Fairhaven College look for in an applicant?

Fairhaven College looks for students that are passionate about their interests and their education. We also look for students interested in pursuing a liberal arts education with a social justice emphasis, focused on small classes and interdisciplinary inquiry.