Rankings and Recognition

Awards and high rankings for academic rigor, sustainability, community service and social justice are among Seattle University's touchstones of excellence. One of them is a Presidential Award from the White House for community service, a recognition received by only five universities. Here's a look at many of the honors bestowed on the university.

U.S. News & World Report: SU Top 10 in the West for 18th Consecutive Year

US News & World Report Best Colleges 2019 

For the 18th year in a row, Seattle University is one of the top universities in the West, according to U.S. News & World Report: Best Colleges 2019. Nationally, Seattle U ranks #26 for Best Engineering Schools. Its undergraduate business program continued to be among the top in the Northwest with its accounting and finance programs in the top 5 nationally. In the West, Seattle U is #4 in best colleges for veterans. Details can be found here.

U.S. News & World Report
Best Graduate Schools 2020

Best Grad Schools U.S. News & World Report 2020

Seattle University graduate programs in business and law continue to be among the best such programs nationwide, according to the 2020 U.S. News & World Report's "Best Graduate Schools" ranking.

Three graduate Albers School of Business and Economics included in the rankings are: the Executive MBA program, ranked #17 in the nation, is the top-ranked EMBA program in the Northwest and the fourth highest on the West Coast. The accounting program is ranked #24 in the nation and #2 in the Northwest. The finance program is ranked #28 in the nation and #2 in the Northwest.

The three highly ranked School of Law programs are: Legal writing is ranked #2 in the U.S. and has been consistently Top 5-ranked legal specialty. The clinical training program ranked #15 nationally and is top among Northwest law schools. The part-time law school program is ranked #21 nationally and is #2 in the Northwest and on the West Coast.

The Princeton Review Best Colleges 2020

For 17 years running, the Princeton Review has recognized Seattle University as one of the best colleges in the nation for undergraduate education, according to its latest edition of the Best 385 Colleges 2020. The university also was called out in the guide’s categories as a “Best Western” college as well as in its subcategory of "Political Awareness" of its students. Seattle U’s detailed profile for prospective students is available here in the online version of the guide. Princeton Review compiles its information from surveys of 140,000 students attending the colleges featured in the guidebook.

Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings 2020

Seattle University moved up to #113 from #148 in 2019, which placed it in the top 15 percent of the 801 schools measured. Seattle U ranked #21 of 122 Western region universities.

Bloomberg Businessweek

Albers School of Business and Economics ranks #1 in the nation in macroeconomics by Bloomberg Businessweek. Albers is #3 in the nation among the best undergraduate business schools for sustainability. Bloomberg Businessweek gave SU the high sustainability ranking based on student responses about the university's sustainability efforts. In other 2014 Bloomberg rankings, Albers is #2 in the Northwest, #7 in the West and is in the top 35 among private business schools in the U.S. Albers faculty received an A+ rating for teaching. Bloomberg Businessweek ranked the Albers part-time MBA program #44in the nation, which places this graduate program in the top 10 in the West.

Fiske Guide to Colleges, 2020 edition

Fiske Guide to Colleges 2020 edition

Seattle University is again featured in the Fiske Guide to Colleges. Consulted by millions of prospective students and their families, the selective guide highlights the “best and most interesting schools” in the U.S. “With its emphasis on the liberal arts, civic engagement, and Jesuit principles, Seattle U affords students an experience which focuses on educating the entire person. The university’s Jesuit tradition guarantees a nurturing environment and student growth both academically and in community service.”

Colleges of Distinction

2019-2020 Colleges of Distinction Badge2019-2020 Catholic Colleges of Distinction Badge

Seattle University is included in the 2019-2020 edition of Colleges of Distinction. The selection process consists of detailed interviews and research for each institution’s freshman experience and retention efforts alongside its general education programs, career development, strategic plan, student satisfaction, and more. Schools are accepted on the basis that they adhere to the guide’s four distinctions: engaged students, great teaching, vibrant community, and successful outcomes. Colleges of Distinction also singled out Seattle U’s business, education, engineering, nursing and career development programs for recognition. Additionally, Seattle U is recognized as a Catholic College of Distinction.

Transfer Student Program Honor Roll

Phi Theta Kappa Seal Transfer Honor Roll 2018The national honor society Phi Theta Kappa has recognized Seattle University among four-year institutions for their work in attracting and supporting community college transfer students. Seattle U was the only university in the Pacific Northwest and one of only two on the West Coast to be included in the 2017 “Transfer Honor Roll.”

Military Friendly University

Victory Media has recognized Seattle University as a Military Friendly® School in its 2017 listing of colleges and universities nationwide. The designation is reserved for higher-education institutions that exhibit leading practices in recruiting and supporting post-military students.


Criminal Justice Master's Among Nation's Best

Seattle University's master's degree program in criminal justice is among the nation's top 15 campus-based programs for 2015, according to CriminalJustice.com, a comprehensive directory of criminal justice programs. CriminalJustice.com ranks more than 10,000 criminal justice degree and certificate programs in the U.S.

Renowned Sport Business Graduate Program

SportBusiness International journal ranks Seattle University's master in sport business leadership program in the Albers School of Business and Economics in the nation’s top 40 for 2017.

US Department of Education: Seattle University graduates among highest paid in Washington state

College Scorecard, the US Department of Education’s consumer tool that provides national data on costs, graduation rates, debt, and post-college earnings, shows that Seattle U grads earn the most among all non-profit and public higher education institutions in Washington. The median salary of students who received federal financial aid 10 years after entering school was $55,800 annually, outpacing earnings from 73 of 74 public and private Washington institutions in the government database.

College Factual: Seattle U is in the top 15% of schools nationally

College Factual’s 2019 college rankings place Seattle U in the top five of all Washington schools and in the top 15 percent nationally. Among SU’s academic programs, College Factual ranked criminal justice and nursing in the top 5% nationally, and said that graduates from the international business; computer science and information sciences, and liberal arts programs were in the top 5% nationally for highest pay. Programs ranked in the top 10% nationally were business management and marketing; business administration and management; English language and literature; homeland security, law enforcement & firefighting; liberal arts/sciences & humanities; and liberal arts general studies. Graduates from the health professions and social work programs were ranked in the top 10% nationally for highest pay. Programs ranked in the top 15 percent nationally were accounting, marketing and health & physical education, psychology and general psychology.  Graduates from the biological & biomedical sciences; communication & media studies, computer science, nursing, homeland security, law enforcement & firefighting, criminal justice & corrections; health & physical education; and fine & studio arts were in the top 15% nationally for highest pay. Seattle U also earned high marks for the diversity of its student body and location, and was ranked in the top 15% of all Catholic-affiliated universities and for the quality it offers to international students. The nursing program was ranked in the top 15% nationally for students who are veterans. More information about College Factual’s methodologies can be found here.

Distinguished Scholars, Fellows & Faculty

Rhodes Scholars

Seattle University students have a strong track record of achieving academic honors, including two Rhodes Scholars, considered the most prestigious academic award in the world.

“Top Producer” of Fulbrights

2016-17 Top Producer of FulbrightsSeattle University was among master's institutions to produce the most 2016-17 U.S. Fulbright students. Seattle U had five students who were awarded the prestigious honor. Seattle U tied for 6th place with three other schools in the master’s institutions category.

This is the fifth year in a row, and eighth time, Seattle U has ranked as a “top producer” of either student or faculty Fulbright awardees. A total of 70 Seattle U students have earned Fulbrights since the 1994-95 academic year. Three Seattle U faculty are current Fulbright scholars. In all, 27 faculty members have received Fulbright scholarships since the 1999-2000 academic year. 

Udall Scholars

Seattle University has produced four Udall Scholars. Named for Stewart and Morris Udall, both known for their vast public service, Udall Scholars focus on environmental and Native American issues.

Harry S. Truman Scholars

Eight students in as many years received the Harry S. Truman Scholarship, the most prestigious academic award for undergraduates preparing for careers in public service. Seattle University is among the most elite schools in the country for the number of Truman Scholars it produces, a total of 16 to date.

Professor of the Year

The College of Science and Engineering's Chemistry Professor Vicky Minderhout was named Washington's Professor of the Year for 2011-12 by the Carnegie Foundation and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). She was the only professor in the state to receive the prestigious award.

National Science Foundation
Graduate Research Fellowship

This prestigious multi-year funding program supports graduate-level researchers in the physical and social sciences. Nine Seattle University students have been selected in the past decade.

Top Honors in Service

Seattle University consistently receives top national honors for community service. The White House bestowed its highest honor on Seattle University in 2012 in recognition of civic engagement, service learning, and volunteerism. Seattle U has been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with distinction every year since then.

Four out of five Seattle University undergraduate students serve the community. Seattle U students volunteer at more than three times the national average. A major focus of service is the Seattle University Youth Initiative, which connects Seattle U students, faculty and staff with schools and community partners to improve the academic achievement of low-income youth living in the neighborhood surrounding campus.

National Presidential Honors

2012: Received the Presidential Award, the U.S. government’s Highest Recognition for community service.

  • One of five universities in the nation to receive the honor.
  • Only top university cited as a Promise Neighborhoods recipient for coordinated, wrap-around service that supports the educational and social needs of youth.

A Seattle Times editorial called out the award, noting: “Seattle University serves as a national example of the difference higher education can make on its neighbors.”

2013: President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction, which is reserved for only 100 institutions in the nation.

2014: President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll Finalist (Top Five in the nation) for Interfaith Community Service. Also received: Honor Roll with Distinction in General Community Service; Honor Roll in Education and Economic Opportunity. 

2015: President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in the following areas: Honor Roll with Distinction in General service, Education, and Interfaith Community Service; Honor Roll in Economic Opportunity.


2018 AASHE STARS Gold Seal

Seattle University achieved a Gold rating for sustainability from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s (AASHE) 2019 Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS), improving its score over its 2018 Gold rating. SU was ranked #2 nationally among universities for its sustainability curriculum in AASHE’s 2019 Sustainable Campus Index and #4 nationally as an overall top performer among master’s institutions.

In addition, Seattle U has been recognized for eight consecutive years in the Princeton Review’s Guide to 375 Green Colleges 2017 and is #13 in Sierra magazine’s Cool Schools 2019 ranking.

Sierra Magazine 2018 Coolest Schools Badge

In 2015, Seattle U became a Fair Trade designated university. Seattle University won top honors in sustainability among academic and government institutions in the 2013 Green Washington Awards from Seattle Business magazine. In citing SU's statewide leadership award in sustainability, the magazine's November 2013 issue reported, "Seattle University's recent efforts to improve sustainability and reduce waste are myriad and miraculous," noting that the list of green achievements—such as LED lamps and onsite natural gas boilers—gets longer every year.

Seattle University is nationally recognized as an institution where all significant buildings in the past five years have been built to LEED Gold Standards. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is an international green building rating system.

Seattle University received the Governor's Award for Pollution Prevention and Sustainable Practices as well as Washington CEO Magazine's Green Washington Award for sustainable landscape practices and pre-consumer food waste composting program.

The campus has been maintained organically and without pesticides or herbicides since 1998.

Nearly 69 percent of campus waste is recycled, reused or composted. Seattle University’s onsite Composting facility annually turns 178,000 pounds of pre-consumer food waste into compost. The compost is reused on campus to improve soil quality.

In 2010, Seattle University became the first higher education institution in the state to ban the sale and distribution of plastic bottled water.

Academic Honors for Athletic Teams

Four Redhawk athletic teams  -- men’s basketball, women’s basketball, women’s cross country and women’s golf -- received Public Recognition Awards from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) for posting multi-year Academic Progress Rates (APR) in the top 10 percent of their respective sport after the 2015-16 academic year. The APR is an annual scorecard of academic achievement calculated for all Division I sports teams. Seattle U tied for the most programs honored among Western Athletic Conference members. The most recent APRs are multi-year rates based on scores from 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16 academic years.