About the College of Science & Engineering

Welcome from the Dean

It is my pleasure to welcome you to the College of Science and Engineering (CSE) at Western Washington University. We provide high quality academic programs, a student-centered emphasis on active learning, superior laboratory facilities and hands-on research experiences for undergraduate and graduate students.  

The College has 2200 majors served by 214 faculty and staff. We have seen remarkable growth in the sciences over the last 5 years, with the number of majors increasing by 50%. Seven academic departments – Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Engineering and Design, Geology, Mathematics, and Physics and Astronomy- form the foundation of our College. In addition to traditional science and engineering disciplines, we have several outstanding interdisciplinary centers and programs that bring together faculty and students from across the college and university like our Behavioral Neuroscience (BRAIN), Industrial Design and Vehicle Research Institute programs. Our Science Mathematics and Technology Education (SMATE) program is recognized as a national and state leader in the preparation of future K-12 teachers, developing highly effective partnerships and programs to support STEM learning in K-12 schools, and promoting innovations in teaching and learning at the undergraduate level. Our Advanced Materials Science and Engineering (AMSEC) program educates students, supports interdisciplinary research, and enhances regional industry competitiveness and innovation in the rapidly evolving field of materials science. The college is a key participant in the Institute for Energy Studies (IES), which provides education and training related to the production and use of energy through interdisciplinary programs that combine the fields of science, technology and engineering with economics, business management, public policy, and sustainability. The Leslie E. Spanel Planetarium, featuring an advanced full-dome digital projection system containing the most comprehensive set of astronomical data assembled, can project images, ultra-high resolution video playback, and full three-dimensional computer graphics.

We offer undergraduate BS degrees in Biochemistry, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Computer and Information Systems Security (Cyber security), Geology, Geophysics, Industrial Design, Manufacturing Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Plastics and Composite Engineering, Mathematics, Applied Mathematics and Physics. Graduate MS degrees are offered in Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Geology and Mathematics. We also offer a wide range of BA and BAE degrees in disciplinary and interdisciplinary sciences for future K-12 science teachers, and an M.Ed in Natural Science and Science Education.

We offer a wide spectrum of experiences for students ranging from traditional laboratory settings in biology, chemistry and physics labs to field studies. We value close faculty-student interaction in a personalized environment, through small upper division major classes, hands-on lab courses and faculty-mentored research experiences. We have many active student clubs like SACNAS (Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science), the Association for Women in Computing, Engineers without Borders and the American Chemical Society student affiliate that promote and support diversity, an inclusive campus environment and community outreach activities.

College faculty currently have over 5.7 million dollars to support their research through grants from agencies like the National Science Foundation (NSF), US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Research Corporation for Science Advancement, National Institute of Health (NIH), American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund (ACS PRF) and the United States Geologic Service (USGS) and partnerships with industry. Undergraduate and graduate students work hands-on with modern state-of-the-art instrumentation such as inductively-coupled plasma – mass spectrometry, atomic force microscopy and thermal gravimetric analysis – infrared spectroscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, ground-penetrating radar, superconducting magnetometers, terrestrial laser scanners, remotely-piloted NASA rovers driving on the surface of Mars, oceanographic research and drilling ships, computational clusters, telescopes, electron diffractometry and X-Ray photoelectron spectrometry.

Many students are co-authors on peer-reviewed publications and travel to national meetings to present their research. Examples of cutting edge research projects include: computational approaches to designing new metal oxide materials for energy applications; synthesis of bio-compatible conducting polymers for medical applications; structural characterization of blood coagulation factor antibody complexes in hemophilia; development of solar concentrator technologies and photovoltaic devices and new materials for the removal of impurities from fossil and renewable fuels; search for evidence of water and ancient life on Mars; seismic, volcanic and landslide hazards; water quality and availability; geothermal energy resources; design of composite materials and parts for the transportation industry; magnetic and electronic properties of nano structures; property studies of galaxy clusters;  and Change at the Core, an NSF-funded, education research project that is creating a model for institution-wide improvement of undergraduate STEM teaching and learning.

Our academic programs and hands-on internships with community partners prepare our students to meet the skilled workforce needs of our region, state and nation in science, technology, engineering and education. Many of our students go on to advanced professional training and graduate studies in science and health fields.

I encourage you to explore our web-site and visit us in person to learn more about our programs, tour our facilities, meet our dedicated faculty, staff and students and discover the exciting opportunities that await you at Western.

Best Regards,


Dean Catherine Clark