As a liberal arts college, Washington & Jefferson College focuses exclusively on undergraduate education. It is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. The college's teaching environment reflects the liberal arts tradition of small group instruction by maintaining an average class size of 17 and a student/faculty ratio of 12:1. 85% of faculty have terminal degrees and no classes are taught by teaching assistants. The college has a strong science program, with 35% of students majoring in one of the scientific departments. Within those areas, all 32 professors hold terminal degrees. The most frequent class size is between 10 and 19 students.

The college has a focus on preparing students for graduate school and professional programs. Across all disciplines, 85% to 90% of students who apply to such programs receive offers of admission.Among students who apply to medical school or related health graduate programs, 90% of students gain admission. Approximately 11% of all current W&J alumni are physicians and engineers, making the college third in the nation per capita for producing doctors and scientific researchers.  Among students who apply to law school, approximately 90% of students gain admission.