Aerial shot of Converse Hall

Becoming Westminster University

Westminster’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously to transition from college to university. The college will be known as Westminster University beginning Fall 2023. During its nearly 150-year history, Westminster has had various names as its academic offerings evolved.

Westminster has grown from a small college preparatory academy in 1875, to a junior college, and then a 4-year baccalaureate institution in 1949. Since then, the college has grown in size, stature, activities, and academic offerings. University accurately describes what Westminster offers, how we are structured, and the core values that guide us.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Process Questions

Westminster’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved this move to reflect Westminster’s existing programs, opportunities, and achievements of faculty and students. Westminster now operates as a fully comprehensive university, offering degrees from the Bachelor of Fine Arts to the Doctor of Nursing Practice, Nurse Anesthesia. Westminster is defined in the Carnegie classification system as a Master’s level institution and is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as a regional university of the West.

Becoming Westminster University distinguishes us from other Westminster Universitys.

University reflects Westminster’s full range of academic programs (currently 50 + undergraduate, 12 graduate programs including 2 doctoral programs).

Greater recognition: Students with limited knowledge of an institution rely on its status as a university “as a signal of its quality and educational offerings.” Furthermore, students enrolled in a college that converts to a university experience higher earnings in the labor market, suggesting that employers also interpret a "university" as providing a higher quality education than a "college."

University distinction is most often based on the number and type of graduate and professional degrees conferred by an institution regardless of its size. Westminster currently offers over a dozen graduate and professional degrees, up to and including clinical doctoral degrees.

The biggest changes will occur July 1, 2023, but many changes will take place before and after that date for various reasons.

Westminster presidents have considered changing to "university" for nearly 20 years. It’s been discussed in Leadership Council and Staff Council meetings, at Academic Retreats, and with alumni. In the fall of 2022, President Dobkin took a formal proposal to Westminster’s Board of Trustees. The board voted on the measure, and it passed unanimously. The second step was to receive approval from the primary accreditor, the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), which was received in the winter of 2022.

Replacing campus signage will occur over time. Many materials and associated costs will be updated during routine printing and manufacturing. The logo has been updated with the university distinction and will be made public on July 1. Other updates and expenses will be incorporated into the current comprehensive campus planning process.

On June 21, the website will transition from to and the catalog website will transition from to Website users may experience broken links on the website on June 20 and both websites will be down on June 21.

Student Record Questions

Yes, your diploma is still valid and you do not need a new one.

Yes, any new diplomas and replacements issued after the name change goes into effect will display the new name, Westminster University. Simply complete a Request for Duplicate Diploma and submit it to the Registrar’s Office after July 1, 2023.

Yes, any new transcripts issued after the name change goes into effect, will display the new name, Westminster University.

Yes, official Westminster College transcripts remain valid.

Admissions Questions

No. Westminster continues to review all applications holistically and takes into consideration the quality of an applicant’s academic preparation, which includes both difficulties of course work and grades, extracurricular activities, individual talents and character, recommendations, and demonstrated interest in the college.

Our size will remain small enough to retain our small class sizes and supportive, collaborative learning environment.

Tuition and fees will not go up as a result of the change to Westminster University. Westminster seeks to balance the conflicting pressures of ensuring that students have continued access to the faculty, resources, and support that defines a Westminster student experience, with addressing increased costs associated with running the college and maintaining a commitment to affordability. Costs are set each year with these needs in mind.

Employee FAQ

Westminster faculty, staff, and trustees can learn more about internal processes related to the transition.

View information for employees