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Undergraduate Study

Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs

Dean and Vice Provost
Ed Taylor
220 Mary Gates Hall

The University of Washington established the Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs (UAA) in 1992 (as the Office of Undergraduate Education) in order to make undergraduate education a more visible and central part of the University's work and purpose. UAA offers opportunities and resources for students and their families, faculty members, and academic departments and programs. UAA's unique mission of ensuring excellence in undergraduate teaching and learning is critical to the University's commitment to providing students a rich academic experience.

Mary Gates Endowment for Students

The Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs administers the Mary Gates Endowment for Students research-training grant and leadership grant competitions. These grants are designed to help support the education of students involved in faculty research and a wide variety of leadership activities on campus and in the community.

Undergraduate Gateway Center

Undergraduate Advising

Students who do not choose a major when they enter the University are designated premajor students. An adviser in the Gateway Center assists them in designing a program of studies to meet general requirements and provides them with information about possible major fields of study. Advising also provides the following: assistance in exploring academic options; information about degree programs; pre-professional advising for such areas as medicine, dentistry, and law; options for students on academic probation; preliminary career counseling; and a wide range of information on registration, course offerings, degree requirements, and administrative procedures.

Freshman Interest Groups

A Freshman Interest Group (FIG) is a group of 20 to 25 new UW freshmen with similar academic interests who are enrolled in the same schedule of classes during their first quarter on campus. All FIGs include a schedule of courses which meet general education requirements and are suitable for students new to university studies. FIGs are a great registration option for students interested in joining a supportive and friendly learning community which helps them get off to a good start at the UW. In one of their shared courses, FIG students come together with an undergraduate peer instructor for a weekly seminar called General Studies 199: The University Community. This class introduces FIG students to various aspects of the UW community, including an exploration of University resources and opportunities, and academically related skill development.

Freshman Seminars

The Freshman Seminar Program offers first-year students access to small, discussion-oriented classes that many UW students may not experience until they are juniors or seniors. Distinguished UW faculty members teach these seminars on a topic of personal or professional interest. Freshman Seminars provide an intimate setting for engaging discussion between students and the professor. These seminars are particularly appropriate for students who want a first look at an unfamiliar field of study.

Internships and Volunteering

Internships and volunteer opportunities engage students in challenging experiences in the community and can help clarify values and life goals, assist in exploring career interests, and lay the foundation for a lifelong commitment to public service. Students who are interested in receiving information about volunteer opportunities and internships in the public sector (community-based organizations, government agencies, and educational institutions) can subscribe to an e-mail list.

New Student Programs

Orientation is the opportunity to get ready for life at the UW before classes actually begin. Incoming students come onto campus for one to three days and are introduced to campus life by student orientation leaders. Orientation offers students the opportunity to hear firsthand about the experiences of current students, as well as about strategies to help them make the most of their time at the UW. In addition, students register for classes, learn about different degree programs, make connections with other students, and begin to explore the wealth of campus resources and opportunities.

Pipeline Project

The Pipeline Project links undergraduate students with educational and service opportunities within the Seattle Public Schools. The Pipeline Project recruits, trains, and places students as volunteer tutors in the schools throughout the academic year. Working with the Carlson Center, Pipeline provides school-based service learning placements for a wide range of classes. Elementary, middle, and high school classrooms become a laboratory where UW students have the opportunity to work with younger students, applying classroom lessons to the tutoring or mentoring experience. Each quarter, Pipeline offers EDUC 401 seminars where students tutor or work in the schools from 2 1/2 to 5 hours per week as well as attend a bi-weekly seminar on current educational topics. Pipeline also offers students the opportunity to spend spring break in a rural community to work on literacy projects with local schoolchildren.

Undergraduate Research Program

The Undergraduate Research Program (URP) facilitates research experiences for undergraduates with UW faculty members in all the disciplines. URP staff assist students in planning for an undergraduate research experience, identifying faculty mentors and projects, defining research goals, presenting and publishing research findings, obtaining academic credit, and seeking funding for their research. URP maintains a listing of current UW research opportunities and other national programs and opportunities on the program Web site.


The Undergraduate Scholarship Office serves as a clearinghouse of information on merit-based scholarships for current UW students. Scholarship information and services are made available through the Undergraduate Scholarship Office Web site, a listserv, quarterly workshops, and individual advising appointments. The Office also serves as the nominating office for national scholarship competitions. For these awards, the Office organizes the campus process to identify and assist student applicants to prepare for national competitions.

Service Learning

Offered as an integral component of many UW courses, service learning provides a unique opportunity for students to combine course work with community service. In a service learning course, students can choose a pathway allowing for work in the community while engaging in specially designed academic course work. Service learning can provide an enriching perspective on course readings and assignments as students learn more about the subject, themselves, and the world.

Transfer and Returning Student Interest Groups

Transfer and Returning Student Interest Groups (TRIGs) create small learning communities to help incoming transfer and returning students navigate the University. Each TRIG brings a small number of students with similar interests together in one or two academic courses and a 1-credit seminar led by an experienced UW undergraduate. TRIGs are available for students who have chosen a major as well as for students who have yet to decide on a major.