University of Washington Policy Directory

Print This Page
*Formerly part of the University Handbook
Student Governance and Policies

Scholastic Regulations

Chapter 101



Admission




[Provisions governing enrollment and registration are included in Chapter 102.]

1.  Preliminary Statements and Definitions

  A. General Policy

It shall be the general policy of the University to admit students whose educational backgrounds indicate their reasonable probability of success in a University program. The Faculty Council on Academic Standards is responsible for the interpretation of this chapter and for the development of undergraduate admission policies that will achieve the goals outlined in Board of Regents Governance, Regent Policy No. 4, "Policy on Admission." The Council provides guidance to the Office of Admissions in the development of operating policies and procedures.

  B. Accredited Degrees

The University recognizes degrees awarded by colleges and universities which are fully accredited by their regional accrediting associations.

  C. Undergraduate Application Process

    1) A freshman or transfer applicant for admission shall be required to submit an application that includes an official transcript of his or her record in high school and each college or university attended. (Test score requirements are explained in Subsections 2.B.1.c and 2.C.)

    2) An applicant for admission to post baccalaureate study must provide an official transcript of his or her record at each college or university attended.

    3) Failure to submit complete credentials, as indicated in Subsections 1.C.1 and 1.C.2 above, will be considered a serious breach of honor and may result in a denial of the student's application or if discovered after enrollment, dismissal from the University.

  D. Grade Point Computation

For purposes of admission, an applicant's scholastic achievement in secondary and post-secondary institutions shall be expressed by a grade-point average computed on a 4.00 system.

  E. Matriculated Students

A matriculated student is one who has been admitted into one of the University's schools or colleges to pursue a program of study that normally leads to a degree.

    1) Generally Admitted Student

A generally admitted undergraduate student is one who is competitively admitted to one of the University of Washington campuses. The student may seek admission to any program, major, or degree at that campus.

    2) Program-Specific Student

A program-specific undergraduate student is one who has been competitively admitted to a specific degree program and must choose from a limited number of courses specifically identified in his or her program. Admission is restricted to this program and does not qualify the student for admission to other degree programs of the University of Washington. To be admitted to other degree programs, the student must separately apply. The student shall be informed by the program of any additional restrictions related to his or her enrollment.

  F. Non-Matriculated Students

A non-matriculated student is one whose educational objective does not include a University of Washington degree. Permission to enroll as a non-matriculated student implies no commitment on the part of the University for subsequent admission as a matriculated student.

S-B 96, April 1966; S-B 127, December  1976; S-B 129, June 1977: all with Presidential approval; AI, October 3, 1983; S-B 169, February 2002; S-B 178, May 24, 2013: both with Presidential approval; RC, December 3, 2013; S-B 180, February 27, 2014 with Presidential approval.

2.  Admission to Undergraduate Standing

  A. Holistic Review

Undergraduate programs offered by the University lead to a bachelor's degree. Admission is competitive. In making admissions judgment, the University uses a holistic review process. This process considers such factors as high school grade-point average, courses taken, grade-point average in transferable college level course work, institution(s) attended, level of entry, scores on an acceptable admissions test when required, and personal factors such as school and community service, leadership, overcoming adversity, and family educational and socioeconomic background. The Faculty Council on Academic Standards shall periodically review and approve the holistic review process.

  B. Distribution of Enrollment

Admission to the University is competitive, which means there are more qualified applicants than can be admitted.

The Provost, therefore, in consultation with the Senate Committee on Planning and Budgeting (SCPB), shall determine the distribution of enrollment among freshmen, Washington community college transfer, other college transfer, and postbaccalaureate applicants, as well as the distribution of entrants between residents and non-residents of the state of Washington.

Consideration for admission is assured when the applicant fulfills the requirements in Subsections 2.B.1 or 2.B.2 below.

    1) Freshman or Transfer Admission

The University shall consider for admission any applicant who meets the following minimum standards:

      a) Completion of a college preparatory course of study to include the following high school credits*:
  • 4 high school credits of English;

  • 2 high school credits of a single foreign language;

  • 3 high school credits of mathematics: algebra, geometry, and preferably trigonometry (a fourth high school credit of mathematical analysis or calculus is recommended for students preparing for majors in the sciences or engineering);

  • 2 high school credits of science including one laboratory science course in biology, chemistry or physics;

  • 3 high school credits of social science;

  • 1/2 high school credit of the fine or performing arts; and

  • 1/2 high school credit of electives taken from the above areas.
         
          Total 15 high school credits of college preparatory course work.
       
*One high school credit represents a standard full year of high school course work.

      b) A scholastic and personal record that indicates the applicant is adequately prepared to complete a degree at the University of Washington.

      c) Submission of scores on an acceptable admission test such as the SAT or the ACT, unless the applicant has earned at least 40 reasonably distributed transferable quarter-credits after high school graduation.

    2) Transfer Agreement Admission

Students may also be admitted to the University under the terms of transfer agreements between the University and community colleges of the state of Washington, provided that they satisfy the mathematics and foreign language requirements in Subsection 2.B.1.a above or the equivalent college courses. Students must also satisfy the general education requirements of a qualifying academic Associate of Arts or Sciences degree.

  C. Additional Considerations

The University in its discretion may consider applicants for admission who do not meet the above requirements, but are able to submit additional evidence supportive of sufficient promise of benefiting from or contributing to the University's undergraduate programs. Admission test scores may be waived by the Office of Admissions when the applicant's high school and/or college scholastic records indicate a high probability of academic success.

  D. Review of Denial

Denied applicants may request an additional review of their admission files if they believe an error or omission has occurred. All supportive documentation should be filed with the initial application. Late documents will ordinarily not be considered after the initial decision has been made.

  E. Non-Matriculated Students Enrolled for Credit

Non-matriculated students may be enrolled for credit on a space available basis to pursue limited academic objectives, but they are not admitted to a degree program or to a department, school, or college of the University. Non-matriculated students subsequently admitted in matriculated status must complete at least 45 credits in matriculated status to qualify for a degree.

  F. Duplication of Credit

A student may not receive University credit for repetition of work at the same or at a more elementary level, if credit has been granted in an earlier course. This rule applies whether the earlier course was taken in high school or college, and whether, in the latter case, course numbers are or are not duplicated, except that when continuation of previous study is involved (e.g., foreign language), proper placement for credit in University courses shall be determined by the department that presents the subject.

  G. Out-of-State and International Students

The University recognizes the academic and educational benefits of a geographically diverse student body. In order that the University meet its primary obligation to residents of the state, the admissions requirements for out-of-state and international applicants are more restrictive than those of resident applicants. All successful international applicants shall have demonstrated English language competency.

HB, 1946; S-B 78, April 1958; S-B 81, May 1960; S-B 88, May 1962; S-B 127, December 1976; S-B 129, June 1977; S-B 132, March 1979; S-B 137, June 1981: all with Presidential approval; AI, August 1981; AI, October 3, 1983; S-B 150, March 9, 1990; S-B 169, February 2002; S-B 177, April 14, 2010: all with Presidential approval; RC, December 3, 2013.

3.  Admission to Postbaccalaureate Study in an Undergraduate College

  A. Priority for First Bachelor's Degree

The University gives undergraduate admission priority to applicants seeking a first bachelor's degree. However, a student holding a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution may be admitted to one of the undergraduate colleges as a postbaccalaureate student to pursue a program leading to a second bachelor's degree or another appropriate objective.

  B. Admission Criteria

An applicant's educational goals, scholastic record, and work experience are the primary criteria for admission. Approval of the relevant department and, ordinarily, a grade-point average of at least 2.50 in the junior and senior years of the undergraduate program are minimum requirements for admissions consideration.

  C. Postbaccalaureate Limitations

Postbaccalaureate students are not admitted to the Graduate School and ordinarily may not register for courses numbered 500 and above. Courses completed while in postbaccalaureate status normally may not be applied to an advanced degree in the Graduate School.

S-B 90, April 1963; S-B 96, April 1966; S-B 127, December 1976; S-B 129, June 1977: all with Presidential approval; AI, October 3, 1983; S-B 169, February 2002; S-B 177, April 14, 2010: both with Presidential approval; RC, December 3, 2013.

4.  Acceptance of Transfer Credit

  A. Accreditation of Transfer Institution

The University of Washington reserves the right to accept or reject credits earned at other collegiate institutions. In general, it is the University's policy to accept credits earned at institutions fully accredited by their respective regional accrediting associations, provided that such credits have been acquired through university-level courses appropriate to the curriculum for the student's degree at the University of Washington.

  B. Transfer Credit Limits

The University of Washington will accept in transfer toward a bachelor's degree no more than 90 lower-division credits. After a student has been admitted to a University major, additional lower-division transfer credit may be allowed when:
   
  • The student requests the credit transfer;

  • The credit transfer advances the student toward an academic degree; and

  • The transfer is approved by the student's academic unit.
  C. Credit by Examination

Special examination(s) as defined in Scholastic Regulations, Chapter 105, Credit by Examination, shall be required to determine the number of credits to be accepted toward the bachelor's degree for independent study, for work with private teachers, and for work done in unaccredited institutions, except as provided in Subsection 4.D below.

  D. Credit Validation by Other Means

Credits earned by a student at an unaccredited institution may be validated by means other than a written examination if the chair of the relevant department(s) so decides. Validation of credit without examinations is restricted and subject to the same provisions as validation by examination as defined in Scholastic Regulations, Chapter 105, Credit by Examination, Subsections 1.B, 1.C, 1.D, 1.E, 1.F, and 1.G. Validated credit will be accepted toward the bachelor's degree on the same basis as credits earned by examinations.

  E. Upper-Division Credits

Transfer credits shall be accepted for upper-division credit only when earned at an accredited four-year degree-granting institution.

  F. Armed Forces Training School Credits

Credit may be granted for courses completed in Armed Forces training schools on terms and subject to the limitations set forth in Scholastic Regulations, Chapter 108, Armed Forces Training School Credit.

  G. Maximum Accepted Credits

No more than 135 credits may be accepted in transfer for a bachelor's degree.

S-B 96, April 1966; S-B 127, December 1976; S-B 129, June 1977: all with Presidential approval; AI, October 3, 1983; S-B 169, February 2002; S-B 172, January 24, 2005; S-B 177, April 14, 2010: all with Presidential approval; RC, December 3, 2013.

5.  Admission to Graduate Standing

  A. Admission to Specific Graduate Program

In accordance with University policy, admission to graduate study in the University of Washington opens the opportunity to pursue programs leading to advanced degrees. The Graduate School is responsible for determining the requirements for admission to graduate study. Within the limits imposed on overall graduate enrollment in the University, admission to a specific graduate degree program is limited to the number of students for whom faculty, staff, and facilities can provide graduate instruction and research guidance of high quality. Each graduate student must be admitted into a specific graduate program; the Graduate School does not permit general graduate enrollment.

  B. Graduate School Admissions Process

Admission to the Graduate School is granted by the Dean of the Graduate School. Application for admission is made to the Office of Graduate Admissions. Each applicant must submit a completed University of Washington application form with appropriate fees and arrange for the receipt of official transcripts by the office from all previously attended colleges, universities, and institutes. Each department or other unit authorized to offer a graduate degree program maintains a graduate admissions committee consisting of not less than three graduate faculty members. The committee receives from the Office of Graduate Admissions all completed applications for admission to the unit. The admissions committee is responsible for the fair and complete evaluation of applicants and for recommending to the Dean of the Graduate School the names of applicants who are considered to be qualified for admission. The committee is expected to maintain files and to be able to demonstrate that full and fair consideration has been given to each applicant for admission.

  C. Applicant's Abilities

Priority for admission of applicants into a graduate degree program is based upon the applicant's apparent ability, as determined by the University, to complete the program expeditiously with a high level of achievement and also upon the applicant's promise for success in his or her subsequent career. In addition, Graduate School admission policy specifies the following:

    1) No practice may discriminate against an individual because of race, color, national origin, handicap, sex, age, religious preference or background, or status as disabled veteran or Vietnam era veteran.

    2) Sustained efforts shall be made to recruit qualified students who are members of groups that have been subject to discrimination or are underrepresented in certain disciplines.

    3) Race or ethnic background or sex may be a favorable consideration in admitting to a unit individuals from its pool of qualified applicants. Such individual consideration is relevant where it:
     
  • Reflects prior adverse discrimination;

  • Has contributed to former educational disadvantage;

  • Involves direct knowledge of special cultural patterns or meets special educational objectives consistent with University policy.
    4) All applicants to a degree-offering unit shall be processed through the same set of procedures to assure that a comparative evaluation is made and that all applicants are evaluated on their individual merits.

    5) Special attention is necessary to ensure that applicants who have a handicap that impairs sensory, manual, or speaking skills are not penalized by any test or criterion for admission that would not accurately reflect the applicant's aptitude or achievement level.

    6) A current statement of admission procedures used by each unit shall be on file in the Graduate School.

  D. Admission Factors Reviewed

In developing a pool of qualified applicants for admission to the Graduate School, the following factors may be taken into account by a degree-offering unit:

    1) Undergraduate grades, especially for subjects in or closely related to the field of the applicant's proposed graduate work (at least a "B" or "3.00" grade average is expected).

    2) The applicant's consistency in proceeding through an undergraduate degree program.

    3) Scores on the Graduate Record Examination Verbal, Mathematical, and Analytical Tests, and on the GRE Advanced Test or other tests related to the applicant's field and on other aptitude tests which may be required.

    4) Personal interviews of the applicant by the department admissions committee.

    5) The career objectives of the applicant and the extent to which the graduate degree program may be expected to prepare him or her for those objectives.

    6) Written and oral recommendations from persons who are qualified to evaluate the applicant's academic record and promise.

    7) The applicant's degree objectives, i.e., Master's degree, Doctoral Degree, or a Master's followed by a Doctoral degree.

    8) The applicant's prior work experience.

    9) The applicant's written statements. Weights given to these factors may vary among academic units.

  E. Admission Status

Admission to the Graduate School usually signifies admission into a program of graduate study leading to a Master's degree or the equivalent, or into post-graduate study. Admission does not imply acceptance of a graduate student into a program of study leading to a Doctoral degree. A student becomes a candidate for the Doctoral degree only on the completion of specific requirements intended to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the student's unit and the Graduate School the apparent ability of the student to progress satisfactorily through the Doctoral degree program.

  F. Admission As a Visiting Graduate Student

    1) Students who wish to enroll for a single summer session or a single quarter in the Graduate School at the University of Washington, and who intend thereafter to return to the graduate school in which they are carrying forward their program of studies for an advanced degree, may be admitted as visiting graduate students.

    2) Such students must have been officially admitted to another recognized graduate school and be in good standing and actively pursuing a graduate program at present or during the past ten years at that institution. They need not submit a full transcript of their credits, but must apply for admission, pay the admission application fee, and in addition ask the dean of their graduate school to certify as to their status on a special form titled "Visiting Graduate Student Certificate of Status." Admission to the University of Washington as a visiting graduate student does not guarantee admission to any particular course of study. Visiting graduate students will be permitted to register only in those courses for which they are judged to be eligible by a faculty adviser or the instructor in the course, and if space is available to accommodate their registration.

  G. Seniors as Prospective Graduate Students

University of Washington students who are within six credits of completing their undergraduate work and who otherwise meet the requirements for admission to the Graduate School may register the quarter just prior to admission to the Graduate School for as many as six credits in graduate courses in addition to their six credits of undergraduate work. This registration and these arrangements must receive prior approval by the Graduate School; however, students concerned will not be reclassified as graduates until the bachelor's degree has been granted and after their official admission to the Graduate School. Only under these circumstances may graduate work taken as an undergraduate be applied toward an advanced degree. Further registration for graduate work is contingent upon completion of the requirements for the bachelor's degree.

S-B 78, April 1958 with Presidential approval; GSM 3, March 1965; AI, May 1972; AI, October 3, 1983; SB-177, April 14, 2010 with Presidential approval; RC, December 3, 2013.


For related information, see:

  • Chapter 478-160 WAC, "Admission and Registration Procedures for the University of Washington."
  • Board of Regents Governance, Regent Policy No. 4, "Policy on Admission"