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 2018 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 for 17th Consecutive Year

Best Colleges - U.S. News & World Report - Regional Universities West 2018 

Seattle University is one of the top universities in the West, according to U.S. News & World Report: Best Colleges 2018. The university ranks #7 for its full range of undergraduate, masters and select doctoral degree programs. The university has earned a spot in the West's top 10 for 17 years in a row. Nationally, Seattle U ranks #29 for Best Engineering Schools, and its undergraduate business program continued to be among the top in the Northwest. In the West, Seattle U was ranked #15 for “best value” schools and #4 in best colleges for veterans. The university was also included in a list of schools recognized as having the largest proportions of international undergraduate students (11 percent).

U.S. News & World Report
Best Graduate Schools 2018

Seattle University graduate programs in business and law continue to be among the best such programs nationwide, according to the 2018 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. The accounting program was tied for #1 in the Northwest and #14 in the nation. It, too, has been consistently ranked in the U.S. News Top 25. Additionally, the part-time Professional MBA ranks #2 in the Northwest and #75 in the country.

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. The clinical training program is tied for #18 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 the top 25 list in the nation. 

The Princeton Review Best Colleges 2018

2018 Princeton Best Colleges logoSeattle University is one of the nation's leading institutions for undergraduate education, according to The Princeton Review's annual college guide, The Best 382 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. Princeton Review’s selections are primarily based on its surveys of administrators at several hundred four-year colleges, the opinions of its staff, the 24-member National College Counselor Advisory Board, and from surveys of students.

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, 2018 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., Canada and Great Britain. “With strong pre-professional programs and a commitment to social and spiritual engagement, SU continues to express its mission to empower leaders for a just and humane world.”

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.

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 Graduate Program

SportBusiness International journal ranks the Seattle University master of sport administration and leadership program 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 top 15% of schools nationally


Seattle U earned several top-percentage spots in College Factual’s latest 2018 college rankings, including being in the top 15% of schools nationwide. Among SU’s academic programs, College Factual ranked the criminal justice and corrections programs in the top 20 (top 5%)  nationally. Academic programs that landed in the top 10% are accounting; business administration & management, liberal arts/general studies; and nursing. Top 15% programs were finance & financial management; general psychology; health & physical education; marketing, nursing for veterans, public administration; and social work. SU also was placed in the top 15% of all schools for students from outside of the U.S.

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 46 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 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.


Seattle University achieved a Gold rating for sustainability from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s (AASHE) 2017 Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS). SU is ranked #8 nationally among master’s universities in AASHE’s 2017 Sustainable Campus Index.

In addition, Seattle U has been recognized for eight consecutive years in the Princeton Review’s Guide to 375 Green Colleges 2017 and is #48 in the Sierra Club’s Cool Schools 2017 ranking.

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 multiyear rates based on scores from the 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16 academic years.