University of Washington Policy Directory

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*Formerly part of the University Handbook
Student Governance and Policies

Scholastic Regulations

Chapter 101


[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. A designated faculty body on each campus 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. 32, "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) First year applicants for admission shall be required to submit an application that includes an official transcript of their record in high school and each college or university attended.

    2) Transfer applicants and applicants for admission to post baccalaureate study must provide official transcripts of their records 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. 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 apply separately. The student shall be informed by the program of any additional restrictions related to the student's enrollment.

  F. Non-Matriculated Students

A nonmatriculated student is one whose educational objective does not include a University of Washington degree. Permission to enroll as a nonmatriculated 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; S-B 193, May 29, 2020; S-B 197, November 18, 2020; S-B 208, June 3, 2022: all 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, areas of academic interest, and personal factors such as school and community service, leadership, overcoming adversity, and family educational and socioeconomic background. The relative consideration of these factors may differ between freshman and transfer applicants and among Washington State residents, non-Washington State domestic residents, and international applicants. The designated faculty body shall periodically review and approve the holistic review process for its campus.

  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) First Year Admission

Students, who at the time of application to the University have not yet completed high school, who have not attended college after leaving high school (excluding summer term immediately following high school graduation), or who have completed fewer than 40 transferable college credits, are considered first-year applicants. The University shall consider for admission any first-year 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.

    2) Transfer Admission

      a) General Transfer Admission

Students who at the time of application to the University have completed 40 or more transferable college credits and have attended at least one term of college after leaving high school (excluding summer term immediately following high school graduation) are considered transfer applicants. The applicant must demonstrate a scholastic and personal record that indicates the applicant is adequately prepared to complete a degree at the University.

      b) Transfer Agreement Admission

Students also may be admitted to the University under the terms of transfer agreements between the University and community colleges of the state of Washington. Students also must 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.

  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. Non-Washington 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 non-Washington State domestic and international applicants are more restrictive than those of Washington State resident applicants and the criteria or consideration of criteria used for selection of non-Washington State domestic and international applicants may differ from those of Washington State residents. 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; S-B 184, March 1, 2017; S-B 193, May 29, 2020; S-B 208, June 3, 2022: all with Presidential approval.

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 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.

  B. Transfer Credit Limits

The University will accept in ransfer 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 managed by the Graduate School. Each academic unit authorized to offer a graduate degree program maintains a graduate admissions committee consisting normally of three or more graduate faculty members. 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 records demonstrating 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 subsequent career success. The Graduate School strongly supports diversity among graduate students in all programs. As permitted by applicable law, graduate programs should implement effective practices in recruitment, admission, and retention in support of diversity and inclusion for all members of the graduate community. Concerted effort should be made to foster an environment of respect in all aspects of graduate education. No practice may discriminate against an individual applying to a graduate program based on the categories outlined in Executive Order 31, "Nondiscrimination and Affirmative Action."

    1) All applicants to a graduate degree program 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.

    2) Special attention is necessary to ensure that applicants who have a disability that impairs sensory, motoric, or communication abilities are not penalized by any test or criterion for admission that would not accurately reflect the applicant's aptitude or achievement level.

  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 (GRE) General, Advanced, and/or Subject Test or other tests related to the applicant's field or aptitude 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 the applicant 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, Doctoral degree, or into post-graduate study. A student becomes a candidate for the Doctoral degree upon successful completion of the General Exam, 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. Practice Doctorate programs do not include candidacy status.

  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. Graduate Coursework Taken as an Undergraduate

With the approval of a student's graduate program and the Graduate School, up to 6 credits of 500-level coursework, taken as a Senior while an undergraduate at the University of Washington, may be applied towards graduate degree requirements. These credits must not have been applied towards undergraduate degree requirements.

Approved coordinated undergraduate-graduate degree programs may allow admitted students to count toward graduate degree requirements a defined amount of coursework that was completed as an undergraduate. In no case will this exceed 12 credits.

Only under the above two circumstances may 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; AI, February 9, 2015.

For related information, see:

  • Chapter 478-160 WAC, "Admission and Registration Procedures for the University of Washington."
  • Board of Regents Governance, Regent Policy No. 32, "Policy on Admission"