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Seattle University

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.

Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education: SU Top Private University in Northwest

Seattle University is among the best colleges and universities in the nation for producing successful graduates, investing in the student experience and fostering student success, according to The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College 2016 Ranking. The ranking highlights the top 200 institutions—among 1,000–it reviews nationwide. Seattle U is the top ranked private university in the Northwest. It is #2 in the Northwest overall and #117 in the nation.

The ranking assesses four core competencies:

  • Capacity for teaching: investment in resources to support education;
  • Capability for engaging students: ability of teaching to stimulate learning;
  • Credibility: contributing to successful graduate outcomes;
  • Community: diversity and inclusiveness of the campus environment.

U.S. News & World Report: SU Top 10 in the West

Seattle University is one of the top universities in the West, according to U.S. News & World Report: Best Colleges 2017. The university ranks #8 for its full range of undergraduate, master's and select doctoral degree programs. The university has earned a spot in the West's top 10 for more than a dozen years. In addition, Seattle U ranks #2 in the West for its commitment to undergraduate teaching.

Among U.S. News & World Report specialty rankings, the Albers School of Business and Economics finance program ranks #16 in the nation, #2 in the West and #1 in the Northwest. The Albers accounting program tied for #23 in the nation and ranked #4 on the West Coast and #2 in the Northwest. The College of Science and Engineering ranked #31 among all engineering schools in the U.S. that offer a bachelor's or master's degree. The report ranked Seattle U’s service learning program as #8 nationally.


U.S. News & World Report
Best Graduate Schools 2017

Seattle University graduate programs in business and law continue to be among the best such programs nationwide, according to the 2017 U.S. News & World Report's "Best Graduate Schools" ranking.

Three Albers School of Business and Economics graduate programs achieved high rankings. The Executive MBA program was tied for #12 in the nation and is the top ranked EMBA program in the Northwest. It consistently ranks in the Top 25 by U.S. News, with this year's ranking its best yet. The accounting program was tied for #1 in the Northwest and #16 in the nation. It, too, has been consistently ranked in the U.S. News Top 25. Additionally, the part-time Professional MBA ranks #59 in the country and is the top ranked private program in the Northwest.

The School of Law's Legal Writing program, ranked #1 by U.S. News for several years running, again took the top spot in the nation--one of only two West Coast university legal writing programs ranked in the top group. The clinical training program is tied for #14 nationally and is the only one in the Northwest to achieve the distinction of being in the Top 20. The part-time JD degree program is one of only two Northwest programs to make thetop 25 list in the nation. 

The Princeton Review Best Colleges 2017

Seattle University is one of the nation's leading institutions for undergraduate education, according to The Princeton Review's annual college guide, The Best 381 Colleges. Only about 15 percent of America's 2,500 four-year colleges are profiled in the book, a leading go-to guide for prospective students and their parents. "Seattle University’s outstanding academics are the chief reason we chose it for this book," said Robert Franek, Princeton Review’s senior VP-publisher. In a Princeton Review survey, Seattle U students identified as being happy with their college experience and enjoying the benefits of Seattle.

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, 2017 edition

Seattle University has again been 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., Canada and Great Britain. The 2017 edition considered 2,200 four-year colleges before choosing just a little more than 320 institutions—placing SU in the top 14 percent.

Colleges of Distinction

 Colleges of Distinction, a college guide that takes into account the success of graduates, the quality of teaching, graduation rates, class size and campus atmosphere, features Seattle University in its latest edition. High school college counselors nominate colleges and universities for inclusion in the national guide. Fewer than half of those considered are selected to be in the guide.

Catholic Colleges of Distinction also showcases Seattle University among those schools that excel at four distinctions: engaged students, great teaching, vibrant communities and successful outcomes.

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. To learn more, visit:

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, a comprehensive directory of criminal justice programs. ranks more than 10,000 criminal justice degree and certificate programs in the U.S.

World-renowned Sport Graduate Program

SportBusiness International journal ranks the Seattle University master of sport administration and leadership program in the world’s top 20 and in the nation’s top 10 for 2015.

College Factual: SU Liberal Arts Grads Among Highest Paid

College Factual ranks Seattle University in the top 5 percent nationally for producing liberal arts/science and humanities graduates who are among the top earners in the U.S.

Seattle U ranks #4 in Washington state for overall quality. The university is in the top 5 percent nationally for overall diversity. College Factual focuses its national rankings on graduate outcomes for success including graduation rates and early and mid-career success.

Closing the Gap for Hispanic Students

Seattle University ranked #1 among private universities nationwide for increasing graduation rates and closing gaps between Hispanic and Caucasian students. The report came from The Education Trust, which also ranked Seattle University #2 for increasing the overall graduation rate of Hispanic students by 31.7 percent during a six-year period (2004-10). Seattle University is the only private school in Washington state among the top 25 with increased Hispanic graduation rates and the only Jesuit school in the nation to make the list.

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 51 Seattle U students have earned Fulbrights since the 1994-95 academic year. Three Seattle U faculty are current Fulbright scholars. In all, 27 faculty 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 15 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, the Presidential Award, 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.

Washington Monthly National Ranking

  • Seattle U ranked among the Top 5 master’s universities for service, according to Washington Monthly: Best Colleges of 2013, 2014, 2015. 
  • For three of the past five years, Seattle U has ranked among the Top 10 small schools in the nation to produce Peace Corps volunteers, according to Washington Monthly.


Seattle University achieved a Gold rating for sustainability from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s (AASHE) 2016 Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS). SU is ranked #6 nationally among master’s universities in AASHE’s 2016 Sustainable Campus Index.

In addition, Seattle U has been recognized for seven consecutive years in the Princeton Review’s Guide to 361 Green Colleges and is #48 in the Sierra Club’s Cool Schools 2016 ranking.

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 a green campus 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 60 percent of campus waste is recycled, reused or composted. Since 1995, Seattle University has composted pre-consumer food waste.

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

Six Redhawk athletic teams 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. Seattle U was the only Western Athletic Conference school to receive more than one award. The APR measures eligibility, graduation and retention each semester or quarter and provides a picture of the academic performance for each sports team over four years.

  • Women’s outdoor track and field—fourth year to receive the award
  • Men’s indoor track and field and outdoor track and field—second year
  • Women’s cross country, indoor track and field and rowing—first year