2024-2025 Catalog

Aerial Image of Whitman College

Interdisciplinary research opportunities. Small classes. Global connections forged under the guidance of dedicated faculty members. The support it takes to turn college into limitless opportunity. As a small, residential liberal arts college in Eastern Washington's Walla Walla, Whitman has what it takes to provide an education that goes beyond the classroom. Whitties are scholars, but also explorers and scientists. They climb mountains, travel to far-off corners and advocate for social justice. They care about community and aim to become citizens of the world. A Whitman education is rooted in the traditional liberal arts values of critical thought and academic rigor; add in prestigious internships, off-campus study and civic engagement opportunities, and it becomes more than the sum of its parts. The Whitman experience transforms, allowing students to turn education into life. We invite you to explore this website to learn more about Whitman.

Location: Historic Walla Walla in the scenic southeastern corner of Washington. It is two-and-a-half hours from Spokane, four hours from Portland, and four-and-a-half hours from Seattle.

Student Body: 1,500. Coeducational, representing 45 states, and 67 countries. Approximately two-thirds of Whitman students live on campus.

Faculty: Ninety-eight percent of tenure-track faculty hold the Ph.D. or other appropriate terminal degree in the field. During recent years, Whitman faculty members have been recipients of awards such as the Graves Award in the Humanities and the Lynwood W. Swanson Scientific Research Award. Members of the faculty have garnered honors and fellowships from the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, National Endowment for the Humanities, M.J. Murdock Trust, American Chemical Society, U.S. Fulbright Program, Ploughshares Fund, and other agencies.

Student-Faculty Ratio: 9.4 to 1.

Majors and Combined Plans: Sixty-one departmental majors lead to a Bachelor of Arts degree. In addition, combined 3-2 engineering programs with approved ABET institutions; 3-2 oceanography and biology or geology with the University of Washington; 3-2 forestry and environmental management programs with Duke.

Off-Campus Studies: Currently 38 percent of the junior class pursue study abroad for one semester. Approved off-campus study programs are located in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Cambodia, Cameroon, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, England, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Mexico, Morocco, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Panama, Scotland, Serbia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Turks and Caicos, as well as US-based programs in Tucson, Arizona, Washington, D.C., and Woods Hole, Massachusetts.

Career Planning and Professional Development: In addition to our comprehensive career coaching program, which provides individual coaching to every Whitman student, the Career and Community Engagement Center assists students in accessing valuable career-related experiences. Through campus leadership roles, community engagement, internships, summer jobs, on-campus and off-campus part-time employment, nationally competitive scholarships and grants, as well as on- and off-campus research opportunities, students gain professional skills and personal development that employers and graduate schools expect in their applicants.  The Center offers powerful digital tools, workshops and alumni networking opportunities, along with a comprehensive website containing an incredible library of resources and information.

Affiliations and Accreditations: Whitman College is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Accreditation of an institution of higher education by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities indicates that it meets or exceeds criteria for the assessment of institutional quality evaluated through a peer review process. An accredited college or university is one which has available the necessary resources to achieve its stated purposes through appropriate educational programs, is substantially doing so, and gives reasonable evidence that it will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. Institutional integrity is also addressed through accreditation. Accreditation by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities is not partial but applies to the institution as a whole. As such, it is not a guarantee of every course or program offered, or the competence of individual graduates. Rather, it provides reasonable assurance about the quality of opportunities available to students who attend the institution. Inquiries regarding the institution’s accreditation status by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities should be directed to Helen Kim, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs (kimh2@whitman.edu, 509-527-5187). Individuals may also contact: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, 8060 165th Avenue N.E., Suite 100, Redmond, WA 98052, by phone at (425) 558-4224, or their website www.nwccu.org. Whitman’s Department of Chemistry is accredited by the American Chemical Society.

Athletics: Whitman holds membership in the NCAA (Div. III) and the Northwest Conference. The college supports 17 varsity sports, nine for women and eight for men, with almost 20 percent of the student body participating in varsity athletics. More than 70 percent compete in varsity, club and intramural sports combined.

Alumni Support: Each year, 20% of living alumni give back to Whitman. Gifts to The Whitman Fund – ranging from $5 to $50,000 – collectively provide support to all areas of the student experience, including academic excellence, DEI initiatives, internships, and financial aid.

Campus, Housing, and Facilities: Three blocks from downtown Walla Walla, the 100-acre campus has 18 academic, student service, and administrative buildings. Residential facilities include several coeducational halls, interest houses, one all-female hall (which also houses four sororities), and four fraternity houses.

Financial Aid: About 50 percent of Whitman students receive need-based aid. Whitman also maintains a merit-based scholarship program.

Financial Strength: Market value of endowment and outside trusts is more than $733 million, as of June 30, 2023.

Cost: In 2024-2025 $63,510 for tuition, $15,080 for room and board.

Whitman students work theoretically and across disciplines, but they also get to put their knowledge to use in the field. It's a challenging and rewarding combination that sets students up for success for their lives after Whitman.

Nearly all our students cite their close working relationships with professors as paramount to their success at Whitman. Our faculty members are passionate teacher-scholars known for their research, writing and performance.

In addition to maintaining a faculty of the highest caliber, Whitman College is steadfastly committed to:

  • fostering the intellectual depth and the breadth of knowledge essential for leadership;
  • supporting mastery of critical thinking, writing, speaking, presentation and performance skills;
  • integrating technology across the liberal arts curriculum;
  • promoting a strong faculty-student collaborative research program;
  • promoting a rich appreciation for diversity and an understanding of other cultures; and
  • encouraging a sense of community by offering a vibrant residential life program and extensive athletic, fitness and outdoor opportunities.

Whitman alumni include a Nobel Prize winner in physics; the Mars Rover lead engineer; a U.S. Supreme Court justice; an ambassador to Iraq and six other countries in the Middle East; a NASA astronaut; congressional and state representatives; leaders in law, government and the Foreign Service; respected scholars; CEOs of major corporations; renowned artists, entertainers and writers; prominent journalists; leading physicians and scientists; and thousands of active, responsible citizens who are contributing to their professions and their communities.

Whitman’s admission process is selective to assure a student body with excellence in both academic and extracurricular pursuits and with varied backgrounds. To achieve this balance, the Admission Committee evaluates scholastic records, the quality of written expression, test scores, extracurricular activities, and letters of recommendations. Evidence of motivation, discipline, imagination, creativity, leadership, and maturity also are considered.

Although most of the entering first-year students graduated in the top 20 percent of their high school graduating classes, there are no arbitrary entrance requirements or quotas. It is recommended that candidates complete four years of secondary school English and mathematics, three years of laboratory science, and two years each of history/social sciences and foreign language. The Admission Committee looks for those candidates who take and excel in advanced level courses.

Whitman College is committed to providing access to an affordable education for as many admitted students as possible. More than half of current students demonstrate financial need and approximately 90 percent receive some form of financial aid — scholarships, grants, employment, or loans. All students who need assistance are encouraged to apply for financial aid.

Whitman College has a strong commitment to the principle of nondiscrimination. In its admission and employment practices, administration of educational policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs, Whitman College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, gender, religion, age, marital status, national origin, physical disability, veteran’s status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other basis prohibited by applicable federal, state, or local laws.

Tuition pays for considerably less than the true cost of a Whitman education, with the remainder provided by income from the college’s endowment and by gifts from alumni and other friends of the college. In effect, then, these revenue sources provide a partial scholarship to all students, regardless of whether they receive financial aid.

Whitman reserves the right to adjust its charges, though charges effective at the beginning of a semester will not be changed during that semester.

Whitman College believes in the value of a liberal arts education, and we are committed to making that education accessible to all students regardless of their economic circumstances. That’s why we offer a comprehensive financial aid program and a dedicated team of financial aid staff who work closely with students and their families.

Whitman College offers scholarships, grants, loans, and federal and state work-study programs, to help make college affordable. Merit- and talent-based scholarships are available for students regardless of financial need. We also offer generous need-based scholarships.

Over 91% of students receive financial aid, with an average need-based aid package of more than $52,833. Last year, the college awarded more than $36 million in financial aid.

We know the importance of investing in higher education, but work closely with students to balance their debt by finding external scholarships and helping connect students with employment. In fact, most students graduate with less than $20,000 in student loans.

Federal aid programs include Pell Grants, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, Federal Work-Study, and Direct Loans. The state of Washington offers Washington College Grants, College Bound Scholarships, and state work-study program.

Awards to domestic students with need are based on financial information provided on the College Board’s CSS Profile and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Dependent students must complete both the CSS Profile and the FAFSA. Independent students must only submit the FAFSA. International applicants are no longer required to complete the CSS Profile, and instead must complete our internal Whitman International Student Financial Aid Application (WISFAA), for which there is no submission fee. Students do not need to submit the CSS Profile or FAFSA to be eligible for merit-based aid. Talent-based scholarships for music, debate, fine arts and Theater have a separate application.

Whitman’s merit-based awards are renewable for up to four years for full-time students. Need-based aid is recalculated every year and will adjust with tuition and changes to the student’s family situation.

Financial aid (both merit and need-based) is available for eight semesters at Whitman or, in the case of students transferring credits to the college, the equivalent of eight semesters when transfer credit and Whitman attendance are combined (regardless of whether or not financial aid was received at the previous institution). For financial aid purposes only, 15 credits is the equivalent of one semester. If a student is unable to earn the necessary credits to complete degree requirements in eight semesters, the student may petition the Admission and Financial Aid Committee for a ninth semester of financial aid (see Residence).

The college provides students with learning opportunities through involvement and engagement. Students may participate in activities, such as ASWC, community service projects, academic-year internships, or the Outdoor Program that enhance their leadership skills. The college supports an active campus social life, a comprehensive wellness program, and excellent recreational programs that include varsity competition and an extensive program of club and intramural sports. The campus programs are designed to foster a community feeling within a climate of inclusion and understanding.

The offices of the Dean of Students and the Provost and Dean of the Faculty direct and coordinate a wide range of student support services. The Dean of Students coordinates new-student orientation, housing and residential life, food services, counseling, health services, the debate program, security, and the Reid Campus Center. The Provost and Dean of the Faculty coordinates major advising, postgraduate fellowship and scholarship programs, the Career and Community Engagement Center (CCEC), academic resources, off-campus study, and athletics. Both the Dean of Students and the Provost collaborate closely with the Intercultural Center on a range of campus issues such as student support and programming.

All persons associated with the college share the common responsibility to create a climate conducive to the pursuit of learning and free inquiry. The college regards students as maturing individuals with considerable personal freedom; at the same time, it expects students to accept responsibility for their actions. While Whitman does not attempt to impose a uniform moral standard, the college does expect students to conduct themselves honorably and in ways that reflect respect for the rights of the other members of the community. In some instances, the diversity inherent in group living requires some concessions of individual freedoms.

An inclusive Whitman requires all of us. Through various committees, councils, consultations and consortiums, the Division of Inclusive Excellence supports and engages the broader campus community in the creation of an environment where all feel welcomed and valued. The College Accessibility Committee, annual Community Learning Days, Power and Privilege Symposium, DEIA Dialogues, academic themes, student organizations, field trips, curricular and co-curricular content, Third Space Speakers, Tri-College and NW5C initiatives, Orientation, Summer Fly-In, interest hall communities and events, and many more activities contribute to the cultivation of an institutional climate that embraces, enacts, and acknowledges cultural pluralism, cultural humility, and cultural wealth in the interest of inclusive excellence.

The mission of the Career and Community Engagement Center (CCEC) is to connect Whitman students and alumni to the communities and experiences that help them achieve their aspirations.  The work of the CCEC is to help students identify experiences that enrich their academic pursuits, foster community and civic engagement, help them refine career interests and take the next steps, and provide professional development and preparation relative to those steps. One significant way that we do this work is through the career coaching initiative which pairs every Whitman student with an assigned career coach from our Center.

Advisors in the academic departments and in the Career and Community Engagement Center (CCEC) talk regularly with students about advanced study, and about immediate and long-range occupational opportunities. In addition, the college has selected special pre-professional advisors, listed below, to help in those areas of interest which warrant particular attention because of their general appeal.

Please note that Whitman College does not offer degrees with licensure.

Each department’s faculty members are listed on the department’s page in the Courses and Programs of Study section of the catalog. Administrative officers and staff personnel are listed in the Administrative Offices section. This information was effective as of March 2024.

The information in this catalog is as accurate as possible at the date of revision, July 2, 2024. Further revisions will be made as necessary, with the date of revision noted on the affected page.