Institutional Accreditation

  • Pacific Lutheran University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

Accreditation of an institution of higher education by NWCCU indicates that it meets or exceeds criteria for the assessment of institutional quality evaluated through a peer review process. An accredited college or university is one which has available the necessary resources to achieve its stated purposes through appropriate educational programs, is substantially doing so, and gives reasonable evidence that it will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. Institutional integrity is also addressed through accreditation.

Accreditation by the NWCCU is not partial but applies to the institution as a whole. As such, it is not a guarantee of every course or program offered, or the competence of individual graduates. Rather, it provides reasonable assurance about the quality of opportunities available to students who attend the institution.

Inquiries regarding an institution’s accredited status by NWCCU should be directed to the NWCCU accreditation liaison officer of PLU. Individuals may also contact:

Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
8060 165th Ave NE, Suite 100
Redmond, WA 98052

  • National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) Participation

Pacific Lutheran University has been approved by Washington state to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements. NC-SARA is a voluntary, regional approach to state oversight of postsecondary distance education. For more information about NC-SARA, please visit

For more information about state authorizations for distance and online education at Pacific Lutheran University, please view the document Top 5 Things to Know.

Program Accreditation

  • AACSB International – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
  • National Association of Schools of Music
  • Council on Social Work Education
  • Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET for BS in computer science

Program Certification

  • American Chemical Society

Program Approval

  • Professional Educator Standards Board, State of Washington


The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) will perform a comprehensive accreditation evaluation visit of Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA, April 9-11, 2018. The NWCCU evaluation team will meet with campus students, faculty and staff to evaluate the University’s accreditation status in conjunction with the University’s Year Seven Self-Evaluation Report.

Pacific Lutheran University was initially accredited in 1945 and has continuously maintained its accreditation through NWCCU since that time. Accreditation through NWCCU means that Pacific Lutheran University meets the Commission’s established standards of educational quality and effectiveness.

The last evaluation of Pacific Lutheran University by NWCCU took place in April 2014 in conjunction with the University’s Year Three Self-Evaluation Report. NWCCU subsequently confirmed the University’s accreditation status in July 2014.

To obtain a copy of Commission Policy A-5, Public Notification and Third Party Comments Regarding Full-Scale Evaluations, please visit the Commission’s Operational Policies link located on the Standards and Policies page of its website ( or call the Commission office at 425-558-4224.

Third-party comments regarding Pacific Lutheran University’s qualification for accreditation should be sent directly to: Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities; 8060 165th Ave. N.E., Suite 100, Redmond, WA 98052-3981. Signed comments must be received by the Commission no later than March 9, 2018, and will be forwarded to the evaluation team and to Pacific Lutheran University.

The NWCCU is an independent, nonprofit membership organization and is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation as the regional authority on educational quality and institutional effectiveness in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington.