Study in Washington
For those with a passion for outdoor pursuits, Washington State will certainly appeal. Just remember to wrap up warm in the colder months!
Washington State (not to be confused with Washington DC) is situated at the extreme northwest point of the contiguous United States, with the Pacific Ocean to the west, and Canada to north.
It is known as the Evergreen State due to the large amount of evergreen forest coverage allowed by its fresh wet climate. It is also home to several mountain ranges, the most notable of which is the Cascade Range which lies to the west of the state.
The main urban hub of the state is Seattle, one of the biggest – over half the state’s population lives in and around it – and best known cities in the United States. It is renowned for its vibrant alternative music scene and its sophisticated café culture.
Seattle is also one of the most economically powerful cities in the country, with its modern wealth founded on its internet and technology industries. But it is not alone in producing the state’s wealth, which is equivalent to that of Denmark. Agriculture still contributes a great deal, and Washington is also known for its wine.
So, if you’re looking to combine spectacular scenery and the great outdoors with culture and city living, then perhaps Washington ought to be pretty high up your list!
Washington: Fast facts
• Total state population is around 6.8 million
• The state is named for the first president of the US, George Washington, who is depicted on the state’s flag
• Pike Place Market in Seattle, founded in 1907, attracts 10 million visitors a year and is arguably America’s most famous farmers’ market – Pike Place Fish Market alone can attract up to 10,000 visitors a day, and is known for its tradition of throwing fish to customers
• Washington leads the US in terms of apple production
• Famous Washingtonians include Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain and Bill Gates
• Microsoft’s headquarters are in Redmond, Washington
• The world’s first Starbucks was opened in Seattle in 1971
• The Hoh Rainforest on western Washington's Olympic Peninsula is the contiguous United States’ only rainforest
Top universities in Washington
Washington is represented by two universities in the 2011/12 QS World University Rankings. Leading the way is the University of Washington, which ranks at 56, putting it among the world’s elite. Accordingly, it has been categorized as a ‘Public Ivy’.
Based in Seattle, the university was founded in 1861 and serves 92,000 students annually. It offers 250 degree options and undergraduates can compete for one of 7,000 research opportunities.
UW receives more federal research money than any other public university in the US. Amongst other things, it specializes in environmental research – take very seriously in the Pacific Northwest region in general.
The Pullman-based Washington State University also makes the rankings, coming in at 354. Smaller than the University of Washington, it nonetheless also caters for a large number of students (a total of 27,000, from 93 different countries) and is also classed as research intensive university.
It offers 95 undergraduate majors, 66 master’s degrees and 47 doctoral courses. In terms of research, Washington State University specializes in energy.
Western Washington University is the next most prominent of Washington's many public institution, serving 15,000 students. Washington is also the home of Evergreen State College, which is famous for not handing out grades to its students!
More states in the north-west of the US:
This article was originally published in November 2012 . It was last updated in January 2020