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Frequently Asked Questions

General Information

Fairhaven is one of the seven colleges of Western Washington University. So Fairhaven students are also Western students and enjoy the same resources. Fairhaven students participate in Western residence life, campus services, and activities and clubs. Fairhaven 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.

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

Fairhaven 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 students WWU’s General University Requirements (GURs) are replaced by Fairhaven’s Interdisciplinary Core Curriculum. Fairhaven’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 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.

Practically anything! Fairhaven 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

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 alums start their own businesses, create new jobs within established organizations and work for non-profit agencies. Check out our alumni profiles.

Fairhaven 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.

Our students and graduates

Student Life

Yes, many Fairhaven students choose to study abroad during their time in school. Students can work with their advisor and Western’s International Programs and Exchanges 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 also offers the Adventure Learning Grant which is a $20,000 stipend awarded annually to about 3 Fairhaven students so that they may travel abroad to enrich their education with intellectual risk, challenge, and adventure.

Fairhaven College students can choose to live in any of WWU’s residence halls. The Fairhaven Residence Hall Complex is a great option for Fairhaven students because they are within a minute or two walk to Fairhaven College. Within the Fairhaven Complex there is one building specifically geared towards Fairhaven College students, the Fairhaven College Cluster. This is a great choice for students who want to engage in a living-learning community with other Fairhaven College students. However, if students would like to live in one of the other residence halls on campus that is also available. Students wanting to live in the Fairhaven College Cluster must indicate that preference on their Housing Application.

Fairhaven students are attracted to the opportunity to structure their own education within a learning community. Fairhaven 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. About Us

Students at Fairhaven 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!

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 growing and land use methods in order to enrich the student body, the University, and the Bellingham community.

Applying to Fairhaven

Fairhaven 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 and because we're small, we have selective admission.

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

When a new student enters Fairhaven 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's Core requirements. See our Advising pages for more information.

Core Curriculum Requirements

Interviews are opportunity for you to ask any questions you may have about Fairhaven 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. Application

Fairhaven accepts 90 new students every fall and this is a great time to apply as our acceptance rates are around 70 percent. We also accept 15 students every quarter with an acceptance rate of about 40 percent.

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

Fairhaven Academics

Students who choose to design their own degree at Fairhaven create an Interdisciplinary Concentration. While Fairhaven students have the option of completing any of WWU’s majors, most choose to create an Interdisciplinary Concentration. The self-designed Concentration allows you to design a program of study that meets your 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.

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

Fairhaven'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.


Yes. Every student in a Fairhaven 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. Students still receive traditional letter grades in their coursework in other Western departments.

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 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.