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Northwest University Review

This small nonprofit co-ed Christian university in Kirkland, Washington, a suburb of Seattle, draws students interested in deepening their faith and education. The school was founded by the Northwest Ministry Network of the Assemblies of God, and is a member of the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities. Spirituality is a big part of college life, including the admissions process: Students who apply are required to furnish a letter of reference from a pastor or spiritual mentor, and the school gathers at Butterfield Chapel for services multiple times a week.

The main campus is a serene spot overlooking Lake Washington, with additional campuses in Sacramento, California; Salem, Oregon; and southern Idaho. The school is home to 75 academic programs and offers undergraduate and graduate degrees as well as certificates and online degrees. Classes are offered in the daytime or undergrads and graduate students can opt to take evening classes. Northwest University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

  • Total enrollment: 1,619
  • Undergraduate enrollment: 1,394
  • Steps to admission:
    • Complete an application and pay a nonrefundable application fee
    • Supply a pastoral reference (from a pastor or spiritual mentor) attesting to the spiritual life and spiritual dedication of the applicant
    • High school applicants must supply a high school transcript or equivalent, as well as scores from either the SAT or ACT
    • Transfer students who have fewer than 45 quarter credits or 30 semester credits must also submit their high school transcript
    • Transfer students with fewer than 30 quarter credits and 20 semester units must submit ACT or SAT scores as well as college transcripts
  • Are transfers accepted in both spring and fall? Yes

Financial Aid

  • Is this school eligible for federal financial aid (Title IV approved)? Yes
  • Does this school offer scholarships? Yes
  • What percentage of students receive financial aid? 97 percent
Featured Programs

Criminal Justice

Northwest University offers a criminal justice degree at the bachelor's level, which students can earn through online study. The flexible degree program prepares students by teaching the fundamentals needed to succeed in an entry level job in the criminal justice field. 

Registered Nursing

Holistic health, compassion, Christian values and cross-culturalism are all a part of the syllabus at The Mark and Huldah Buntain School of Nursing, which prepares students for the national licensing examination to become a registered nurse in the state of Washington.


Students majoring in psychology at the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences may select a path from one of five concentrations: counseling psychology, cultural psychology, marriage and family studies, organizational behavior or general psychology. There are advanced degrees as well; for instance, the master's of arts in counseling psychology prepares students to make a one-on-one impact by becoming a mental health counselor.

Theology and Ministerial Studies

Northwest University offers a number of majors related to theology and ministry, including a general ministries major, church and ministry leadership, youth and family ministries, Christian leadership, children and family ministries, music ministry and pastoral ministry.


Students at Northwest University are proud of their faith and looking to deepen it with other like-minded students — you're more likely to find a ministry-related group here than a fraternity or sorority. The majority of the student body is female (59 percent women vs. 41 percent men), and about half of the students live in college-owned housing on campus. However, because the school has a diverse body of students who work and take classes, the campus is bustling at night as well as during the day with students enrolled in evening classes.

NAIA athletics are a popular pastime, for both playing and watching. Northwest University is home to basketball, soccer, cross country and track teams for both men and women. In addition, a number of campus activities are available, including a student-run newspaper, drama and theater groups, a student-run radio station, choral groups, clubs for business and environmental stewardship and student ministries. Nearby Seattle offers a fantastic scene of food and culture.

Students at Northwest University are proud of their faith and looking to deepen it with like-minded students — you're more likely to find a ministry-related group here than a fraternity.

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  • U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges 2015:
    • • Best Colleges in the West: No. 16
    • • Best Value Schools: No. 6

Notable Colleges

Northwest University is divided into six schools and colleges, including the following:

The College of Arts & Sciences offers 10 majors, a variety of minors and certificates to prepare students for their careers or graduate school.

In the College of Business, students can choose from four majors in the business arena: Business Administration, Finance & Accounting, Management and Marketing. They're also required to participate in an internship.

The College of Education includes both academic and hands-on training. Future teachers work with local public and private schools to gain experience, and most of the faculty members have teaching experience themselves.

Through the study of Scripture and theology, the College of Ministry prepares students for all areas of vocational ministry, including youth, pastoral, children's and missions.

The Mark and Huldah Buntain School of Nursing at Northwest University is distinguished by the way it applies Christian values to nursing, as well as its cross-cultural approach, requiring seniors to spend time in a different country, such as Sri Lanka.

The College of Social and Behavioral Science focuses on multiculturalism, compassion and respect to train students in social service. The graduate programs are designed to accommodate working students, with most courses meeting on the weekends or in the evenings.

Notable Faculty/Awards
  • Dr. Larry Bailey, a Professor of Psychology in the College of Social & Behavioral Sciences, received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Military Psychology Division of the American Psychological Association.
  • Dr. Wayne Goodall, Dean and Professor in the College of Ministry, is a founder and former National Director of the Ministries Enrichment Department.
  • Steve Smith, Creative Director and Principal Instructor of Creatio's Recording Arts degree programs, was nominated as a candidate for the first GRAMMY Music Educator Award in 2014.
  • The university's debate team is especially successful, competing successful on both the national and international levels, and winning an international tournament in 2003.

1. Northwest University, http://www.northwestu.edu/
2. Northwest University: All Rankings, U.S. News & World Report, Accessed March 2, 2015, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/northwest-university-236133/overall-rankings

Disclaimer: Information on this page was not provided or commissioned by the featured school. Information has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the featured school.

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