Gateway to Service….. Engaging Minds, Transforming Lives

WAU History

Washington Adventist University was established in 1904 as a coeducational institution known as the Washington Training College. Its purpose was to train young men and women in the liberal arts. In 1907, when the name was changed to Washington Foreign Mission Seminary, the more limited objective of special training for missionaries replaced the original concept of a liberal arts college. In 1914 the college resumed the status of a liberal arts college and took the name Washington Missionary College. At the first commencement, held May 22, 1915, five students received the bachelor of arts degree. Continued growth and development led to further changes. In 1933 the lower division was organized as Columbia Junior College and received accreditation. It ceased to exist as a separate college in 1942 when Washington Missionary College was given accreditation as a four-year, degree-granting institution by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.  In March of 1961 the college constituency voted to change the name of the college to Columbia Union College. In 2009, Columbia Union College attained university status, and the college constituency voted to change the name of the college to Washington Adventist University.


WAU occupies 19 acres in Takoma Park, Maryland, near the nation’s capital. Its world-class metropolitan setting affords unrivaled opportunity for learning, work, recreation, service and worship.


The university operates under the auspices of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The Board of Trustees guides the overall mission and direction of the university, overseeing management and setting major policies. The administration is responsible for leading the university community and managing day-to-day operations. Faculty, students, and staff participate in governance through committees charged with protecting the integrity and enhancing the value of a Washington Adventist University  education.


School of Arts & Social Sciences 

The School of Arts & Social Sciences offers a curriculum focused on fostering the development of the skills essential to be successful in the global service economy of the 21st Century: writing, critical thinking, debate, analysis, and an understanding and appreciation for cultural diversity.

School of Health Professions, Science & Wellness

The School of Health Professions, Science & Wellness employs a philosophy that balances practical training and theory in approaching education for future health sciences professionals. We bridge the gap between concept and practice.

School of Graduate & Professional Studies (SGPS)

For more than 30 years, WAU has been a leader in providing career building undergraduate degree programs for working professionals. WAU has continued to expand those offerings by adding graduate programs. This provides undergraduate students the opportunity to transition into graduate programs and continue to enhance their skills and competitive marketability.