graduate study in Washington, USA, postgraduate, graduate, study, abroad, program

Study for in Washington, United States

State overview

Not to be confused with America’s capital Washington DC, Washington State is situated on the Pacific Northwest of the US and borders Canada. Home to perennial student favourite Seattle, Washington State is the second most populous state on the west coast after California.

Known as the ‘Evergreen State’, Washington was named after the first president of the United States, George Washington. The state is made up of rainforests, mountain ranges and a semi-arid basin in the east.

Education profile

The state of Washington is home to more than 40 institutions offering postgraduate courses, including major research universities, religious schools and private colleges.

You can study a graduate program in Washington State at the following institutions:

Professional, or ‘terminal’, masters are designed to lead to employment rather than further study. Popular courses include: Master of Business Administration (M.B.A) and Master of Library Science (M.L.S.).

Academic masters, however, are generally designed to lead the way into doctorate/PhD study. Popular courses include: Master of Education (M.Ed.), and Master of Engineering (M.Eng.).

Both last between one and three years, depending on the subject.

Doctoral degrees are the most advanced level of higher education, and usually take between four and eight years to complete, which includes the time it takes to write and present a dissertation. 

Immigration and visas

Before travelling to the USA to study in Washington State, you will need to apply for a non-immigrant visa.

The most common kind of student visa is the F-1 visa, which entitles the holder to study at any US accredited college or university.
To apply for a student visa for a graduate program in Washington, you will need to fill out an application form (found on the US Embassy website) and send appropriate documentation, such as evidence of financial standing and proof of university acceptance and academic qualifications, as well as possibly attending a visa interview at the US Embassy in your home country.

Life in Washington

Life in Washington depends on which half of it you decide to live in. The west is full of snow-capped volcanoes and lush green forest, combined with the shimmering city of Seattle and all its musical attractions and cafes.

The east in contrast, is traditional farming country, with fruit farming and grain contributing to Washington State’s growing economy. Many international students find themselves based in the collegiate capital of Olympia, which has a youthful and laidback vibe, while wine aficionados should head to the Walla Walla region, which is reputed to be the next big thing in wine.

Working in Washington

Washington is known for its manufacturing and significant industries include the design and manufacture of aircraft and cars, computer software development, electronics and biotechnology. The state has good trade links with Asia through its ports and is home to a number of major global companies, including Amazon, Starbucks, Microsoft and Costco.

Many billionaires live in Washington, most notably Bill Gates, chairman and former CEO of Microsoft and the second richest man in the world.


Most universities in Washington State will provide international postgraduates with halls of residence accommodation, with some offering dedicated halls for postgraduates. Most will come equipped with study areas, gyms, outdoor areas and cooking facilities.

If you decide to look for private accommodation while studying in Washington, you should contact your chosen university and ask for its advice on good areas to live.

Weather and climate

Washington’s climate varies depending on whether you are studying on its western or eastern side. The west coast has a typically oceanic climate, with frequent rainfall and is actually one of the wettest regions of the US.

The further east you progress, the less rainfall you get and the warmer the temperatures become.

What to do next

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