Schedule an Advising Appointment   Email
MOBILE

Majors and Minors

Students may seek help in choosing majors and careers from academic advisers and from counselors at the Counseling Center and the Career Center. Students must declare majors by the time they reach 105 credits, although extensions are available for students who are making progress toward a reasonable goal. Many UW majors have competitive admission; others are not competitive but may require that certain courses be completed before a student can declare the major. After meeting any admission requirements, a student declares a major by processing a “Change of College/School and Major or Minor” form.

Requirements for an Academic Major in the College of Arts and Sciences

An academic major is an in-depth study of one discipline or subject. In the College of Arts and Sciences, a major consists of a minimum of 50 credits in one department or a closely related group of departments.

Admission requirements

Many majors at the University have admission requirements that must be completed before a student can declare the major. There are three types of admission:

  • Open admission-Open majors can be declared at any time. Some can be declared at the time the student applies to the University; others can be declared only after the student has enrolled. Some open majors allow students to declare the major only during certain times of the quarter.
  • Minimum admission requirements-Certain courses or a certain number of credits must be completed before the student can declare the major. The department can also require a minimum overall GPA or minimum grades in prerequisite courses. All students who meet the stated requirements are admitted to the major. There may be an application form, and there may be application deadlines.
  • Competitive admission-Completion of any stated prerequisites does not guarantee admission. There is always an application form and deadlines; some competitive majors admit students only once/year. Admission factors may include grades, test scores, portfolios, auditions, letters of recommendation, and/or interviews.

Admission requirements are determined by the department and must be approved by the Faculty Council on Academic Standards.

The admission requirements of all undergraduate majors are available in the General Catalog and in departments' home pages. For summaries of the admission requirements of majors, including identification of each major as open, minimum requirements, or competitive admission, see the charts of liberal arts, science/engineering, and professional majors.

All UW students are expected to declare a major by the time they have earned 105 credits. Students who are coded premajor (or prebusiness, etc.) and have completed 105 or more credits are not allowed to continue to register for courses. Such students must meet with an adviser to discuss their academic plans. If the adviser feels a student has a reasonable chance of admission to his/her intended major, the adviser will change the student's code to "extended premajor" for as long as the student needs to complete the admission requirements to the major. For more information, see the current edition of the Adviser's Guide.

Grade requirements

2.00 minimum GPA

In the College of Arts and Sciences, a grade-point average of at least 2.00 in the courses required for the major is required for graduation. "Required for the major" means all credits presented to fulfill major requirements, including any required courses from other departments. Note that this GPA need not include all courses in the major department, if some are not needed to fulfill the requirements of the major.

Some departments require a GPA higher than 2.00. Any policy requiring a GPA higher than 2.00 must be approved by the Faculty Council on Academic Standards.

A department may specify other GPA requirements for graduation. Any additional requirements must be approved by the Faculty Council on Academic Standards and must be clearly advertised by the department. Such additional requirements may include, for example:

  • a minimum grade in each course required by the major
  • a minimum grade or GPA for certain courses within the major
  • a minimum GPA for the required coursework in the major department itself (in cases where other supporting courses outside the department are also required)
  • a minimum GPA for all courses actually taken in the major department, when the student has presented more than the minimum number of departmental credits
Calculating the major GPA

In calculating the GPA in the major, the department has some flexibility in determining what grades to include. Most departments calculate the GPA using any combination of the minimum number of credits that would satisfy all categories of the major requirements, and exclude additional courses or grades (including 0.0 grades, whether or not the student has a later passing grade in the same course). That is, they use whatever calculation works to the advantage of the student. A department may establish a general policy of including all courses and/or grades. It may also consider petitions from students for variance from such a policy.

S/NS

As of autumn 1985 courses taken to satisfy any requirement, including the requirements of a major, may not be taken S/NS. A student who took a required course pass-fail at another school before first enrolling at the UW, however, may count the course toward major requirements.

If the requirements of a major in the College of Arts and Sciences exceed 50 credits, the department may allow courses taken S/NS to count toward requirements of the major, as long as at least 50 credits of major requirements are completed with numerical grades.

Repeated courses

Students are allowed to repeat a course only once. If a student repeats a course more than once, the grade for the additional repeat is not recorded on the transcript; it is shown as an "X" (or "CR" if it is the first passing grade in the course). If a student must repeat a course a second time to obtain a satisfactory grade in a major requirement, the grade will not be posted on the student's transcript but the department can view it at SRF100A. If the grade isn't visible there contact the Graduation and Academic Records Office, which can provide the grade.

Each department with admission requirements may determine its own policy on how it will treat repeated courses submitted as part of the admission requirements. Most departments follow the University policy, which is to count both the original grade and the grade in the first repeat. The department policy may be, however, to count only the most recent grade, or to average the two grades together.

Credit requirements

Credit maximum for major requirements

In the College of Arts and Sciences, no department may require in a major more than 70 credits from courses within the department. No more than 90 credits may be required from courses within and outside the department combined. Any exceptions to these restrictions must be granted by the Dean.

For language majors, the 70-credit maximum which the department may prescribe for courses within the major may exclude courses at the first-year level, or the first- and second-year levels, as determined by the department.

UW residence credits

A department may require (with the approval of the Faculty Council on Academic Standards) that a certain minimum number of credits required for the major must be taken at the UW.

Credit minimum outside the major department

In the College of Arts and Sciences, a student must complete at least 90 credits outside the major department. Supporting courses in other departments are included in the 90 credits outside the major department, even though they are required by the major.

A student may choose to take more than 90 credits in the major department, but to that extent will need more than the 180 credits to graduate so the credits outside the department will total 90.

MULTIPLE-MAJOR DEPARTMENTS: In multiple-major departments, where the several majors are for the most part mutually exclusive, courses in another major are acceptable as part of the required 90 credits outside the major. For example, FRENCH courses are outside of the Spanish major, JAPAN and ASIAN courses are outside the Chinese major, and so on. ART H courses are considered outside of ART, and vice versa.

INTERDISCIPLINARY MAJORS: In interdisciplinary majors, a student may not count toward the 180 credits more than 90 credits in one of the departments that make up the major. For example, an ACMS major may not count more than 90 credits of MATH-prefix courses toward the 180 credits.

Options, concentrations, and certificates

Options

Options are undergraduate academic programs that allow students to specialize within a major. An option must overlap with at least 50% of the credits of an existing major. If a department wishes to offer a program that overlaps less than 50% with an existing major, the department must submit a proposal for a new major.

An example of an option is the cinema studies option within the comparative literature major. A student majoring in comparative literature may complete either the comparative literature requirements or the cinema studies requirements.

Like majors, options are transcripted. For example, the cinema studies option is posted on the student's transcript at the time of graduation as "Comparative Literature: Cinema Studies."

Options must be approved by the department, the school or college, and the Faculty Council on Academic Standards.

Concentrations

Departments may create options that are not transcripted. Such untranscripted options can be referred to by the discipline's preferred term, such as concentration, track, or pathway, but should not be called options, either in the General Catalog or in handouts provided to students by the department. The term "option" is reserved for transcripted programs.

Untranscripted concentrations (etc.) must also be approved by the department, the school or college, and the Faculty Council on Academic Standards.

Certificates

Except for the Certificate of International Studies in Business, the UW does not officially recognize certificate programs for matriculated undergraduate students, which means that any such programs (except CISB) are not transcripted. A department may offer a certificate, but it should not be described in the General Catalog.

The UW offers a number of certificate programs through UW Extension, but these are not associated with a baccalaureate degree.

Cross-campus majors and minors

Students are restricted to majors on one campus

Students are allowed to declare a major (or majors) on only one UW campus. A student who wishes to complete majors on two campuses must first graduate with a major from one campus, then gain admission as a postbaccalaureate student to complete a major at the other campus.

Minors

A student may complete the requirements of a minor offered by another campus. A student may not actually declare a cross-campus minor, however, until the graduation application is filed. The student can declare the cross-campus minor at that time, and the minor will be awarded when the degree is granted.

Cross-campus enrollment

Students are allowed to enroll in courses at another UW campus only on a space-available basis, beginning the first day of each quarter. A number of restrictions apply; see Cross-Campus Enrollment.

Overlaps with general education requirements

English composition, additional writing, Q/SR, and foreign language

Courses required by a major may also be counted toward these requirements, if they appear on the appropriate lists.

Areas of Knowledge

Up to 15 credits in the major department may be counted toward the Areas of Knowledge requirement. Beyond this 15-credit restriction, courses outside the major department required by the major may be counted toward Areas of Knowledge to the extent that the major requirements exceed 50 credits. In multiple-major departments, courses outside the area of the student's major may count toward Areas of Knowledge without restriction. For example, a French major may count 15 credits of French and any number of credits of Spanish toward the Areas of Knowledge requirement.

Double majors

Students who complete two majors (or two degrees) are allowed to count credits in the second major toward the Areas of Knowledge requirement without restriction. The student chooses which major is the one with only 15 credits of overlap allowed. This policy applies to all doubles, including those in which the degrees are in two different colleges. For example, a student doubling in business administration and music may choose business as the major restricted to 15 credits of overlap with Areas of Knowledge, and then count any number of music credits toward Areas of Knowledge.

Double Majors and Double Degrees

Some colleges of the University, including Arts and Sciences, allow a student to receive a baccalaureate degree with two majors (a double major). It is also possible, in certain circumstances, to receive two baccalaureate degrees simultaneously (a "double degree").

Credits required

Double major

No additional credit is required for a double major.

Double degree

To earn two UW degrees, a student must complete 45 credits more than the number required for the degree that requires the fewer credits, regardless of whether the degrees are granted concurrently or at separate times, and regardless of the order in which the degrees are earned. Normally this means that two degrees require 225 credits, because at least one of the degrees almost always requires 180 credits.

If both degrees require more than 180 credits, the total required to earn both degrees is more than 225. For example, a student earning a B.S. in biochemistry (197 credits) and a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (225 credits) would have to present at least 242 credits (197 + 45).

Overlap allowed

Each department decides whether students including that department's major in a double major may overlap core requirements-that is, count one or more courses toward both majors. Overlap with supporting-course requirements, such as the chemistry required by a biology major, is always allowed.

Excess credits from the first degree

A postbaccalaureate student who presented more than the required number of credits for an earlier degree at the UW is allowed to count the excess credits toward the additional 45 required for a second degree. For example, a student who graduated from UW with a B.A. in political science with 185 credits would be allowed to earn a B.S. in Psychology by completing as few as 40 additional credits upon his/her return.

Matriculation credits required

To earn two UW degrees, simultaneous or sequential, a student must complete at least 90 credits as a UW matriculated student (45 for each degree). See the credit chart.

Residence credits required

To earn two UW degrees, simultaneous or sequential, a student must complete at least 90 UW residence credits (45 for each degree). See the credit chart.

When earning two simultaneous UW degrees, 45 of the student's final 60 credits must be UW residence credits; a maximum of 15 credits in the final 60 may be nonresidence credits. An additional 10 credits out-of-residence is possible by petition, as long as the student has completed at least 90 total UW residence credits. The student is not allowed 15 credits out-of-residence for each degree.

To return and earn a second UW degree, the student must be readmitted to the University and complete an additional 45 UW residence credits. Any excess credits from the first degree may be counted toward this requirement. At least 45 of the final 60 credits of the second degree must be completed in residence at the UW campus granting the degree.

For information on what kinds of credit count as residence credit, see the credit chart.

Conditions for double major vs. double degree

Before Spring 2010, students could not double major across colleges and could earn a double degree even if the two degree names were identical (e.g., a B.A. in English and a B.A. in Sociology). This changed in Spring 2010. The rules beginning Spring 2010 are:

  • Students will earn a double major when both majors lead to the same degree name (e.g., B.A., B.S., B.F.A.), even if the two majors are in different colleges or schools. For example, if a student completes the requirements for the B.A. degree with a major in American Ethnic Studies (College of Arts and Sciences) and the B.A. degree with a major in Architectural Studies (College of Built Environments), s/he will earn a single B.A. degree with a double major. Students do not have the option to earn a double degree when the two majors lead to the same degree name. See University Handbook, Volume 4, Part 3, Chapter 14, Section 2.I
  • Students will earn a double degree when the two majors lead to differently-named degrees (e.g., B.A. vs. B.S.). For example, if a student completes the requirements for the B.A. degree with a major in Geography and the B.S. degree with a major in Earth and Space Sciences, s/he will earn a double degree. Another example: if a student completes the requirements for the B.A. in Business Administration degree and the B.A. degree with a major in Political Science, s/he will earn a double degree. Although these are both Bachelors of Arts, the Business Administration major is a "named" degree and so does not have the same degree name as the Political Science degree. For more, see Degree Names below. See University Handbook Volume 4, Part 3, Chapter 14, Section 3

Degree names

Both majors of a double major must have the same degree name, and majors in a double degree must have different degree names. The College of Arts and Sciences offers over 70 majors but only four different degrees: Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Bachelor of Science (B.S.), Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.), and Bachelor of Music (B.M.). On the other hand, every major in the College of Engineering has a different degree name.

The easiest way to discern the degree name is to look for the word "degree" in the name. Everything to the left of the word "degree" is the degree name. For example:

  • In "Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Communication", the degree name is "Bachelor of Arts." This major can be combined with any other "Bachelor of Arts" major to form a double major.
  • In "Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration degree", the degree name is "Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration." This major cannot be part of a double major, but it could be part of a double degree. Degrees like this, with such specific names, are sometimes called named degrees.

Sometimes it's difficult to figure out the correct degree name because we are used to communicating in shorthand. The syntax for degree names is always correct in the UW Catalog pages, so I'd encourage you to use those pages as a reference.

All majors in the College of Arts & Sciences, the College of Education, the College of the Environment, the School of Public Health, and the School of Social Work are straight BA's, BS's, BFA's, or BM's. Therefore, any of these majors can be combined with majors with the same degree name (e.g., BA + BA; BS + BS) into a double major.

All majors in the Foster School of Business, the College of Engineering, the Information School, and the School of Nursing are named degrees; that is, the major is part of the degree name. Therefore, any of these majors, if combined with any other major on campus, must lead to a double degree.

All other Seattle campus colleges and schools (i.e., Built Environments, Medicine), and UW-Bothell and UW-Tacoma, have a mix of degree names.

Cross-campus doubles

Students are not allowed to double major or double degree if the programs are offered by two different UW campuses. Furthermore, students are allowed to declare a major (or majors) on only one UW campus at a time. A student who wishes to complete majors on two campuses must first graduate with a major from one campus, then gain admission as a postbaccalaureate student to complete the major at the other campus.

Doubling within one department

Multiple-major departments

Double majoring in the same department is allowed only in multi-major departments. For example, a French major may double with Spanish, even though both majors are within the Romance Languages Department.

B.A. and B.S. in one department

Whether a student is allowed to complete both the B.A. and B.S. programs in one department (e.g., psychology) is a decision made by the department involved. In general it is not allowed, although some departments allow a student with an earlier B.A. to return as a postbaccalaureate student to complete a B.S.

Double majoring between day and Evening Degree Program

Students may be able to complete a double major in which one major is a day major and one major is an evening major (i.e., offered by the Evening Degree Program). However, there are some specific rules regulating such degrees. These include:

  • In general, major requirements for a given program must be completed while the student is enrolled in that program. That is, requirements for the day major must be completed while the student is a day student, and requirements for the evening major must be completed while the student is an Evening Degree Program student.
  • Students can be enrolled in only one program at a time, either day or the evening major, and should complete one major before enrolling in the other program. Day students may simply change their major and become Evening Degree Program students if they have earned at least 75 credits and completed one full quarter at the UW as a day student. However, Evening Degree students must apply to the day program through the regular UW transfer admission process.
  • Students must earn a minimum of 45 credits while enrolled as an Evening Degree Program student in order to earn an evening major. That is, they cannot take the majority of the classes for their evening major while enrolled as a day student, and then transfer to the evening major for only a few credits.

Advisers working with students who want to double major in day and evening should direct their questions to the Director of Evening Degree Advising. Exceptions to the above rules will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Declaring a double major or double degree

A student who has been accepted by a second major should complete a new Change of College/School and Major or Minor form listing both majors under the new major and indicating both major codes. For example, a student can change from English to English and psychology. The student's file can be kept in either department or both departments.

General education requirements

When both of a student's majors or degrees are in the same college, the student must complete the general education requirements for that college.

When the majors/degrees are in different colleges, the student has to complete both sets of requirements. In most pairs of general education requirements, one set is a subset of the other. To the extent that the requirements do not overlap, the student must complete the requirements for both colleges. In many cases, the only difference will be the foreign language requirement in the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Education, and the School of Social Work.

Overlap with Areas of Knowledge

If at least one of the majors/degrees is in the College of Arts and Sciences, a student may count no more than 15 credits from one major department toward the Areas of Knowledge requirement. Courses from the second major may count toward the Areas of Knowledge requirement without restriction. The student chooses which major is the one with only 15 credits of overlap allowed. For example, a student doubling in business administration and music may choose business as the major restricted to 15 credits of overlap with Areas of Knowledge, and then count any number of music credits toward Areas of Knowledge. The adviser should note on the graduation application (see below) which major has the restricted overlap with Areas of Knowledge.

Honors

A student may complete a double major or double degree in which just one of the majors is honors, and may use the Honors Core Curriculum requirements for both. A student using Honors Core Curriculum for one major or degree does not have to meet the regular general education requirement for a second major or degree, or for any subsequent degree.

The honors major is identified on the student's transcript at graduation. In the case of a double major with English as the honors department, for example, the transcript will read, "Bachelor of Arts (English; Political Science), With Honors in English" or, "Bachelor of Arts (English; Political Science), With College Honors in English," depending on whether the student completes departmental honors or college honors. If the student completes the Honors Core Curriculum, but not Departmental Honors, s/he will earn Interdisciplinary Honors and the transcript will read, ""Bachelor of Arts (English; Political Science), With Interdisciplinary Honors"

Majors are listed on the diploma if with honors, but not otherwise, so the diploma of a student with this double major would read "Bachelor of Arts, With Honors in English" or "Bachelor of Arts, With College Honors in English," and Political Science would not be printed.

For more information, refer to the Office of the Registrar's site on graduation, commencement, and diplomas.

Application for graduation

Information about preparing graduation applications for students completed double majors or double degrees is available in the Adviser's Guide.

Double-major or double-degree graduation must be simultaneous

If a student is graduated in one major before s/he has completed the requirements of a second major, s/he must reapply to the University for admission as a postbaccalaureate student to complete the second major. For this reason, it is important that the graduation application clearly indicate that the student is doubling. The proposed graduation date must be the same on both applications. When the student's intention to complete a double major or double degree is clear, the student will not be graduated until the requirements of both majors are completed.

Transcripts and diplomas

A double major would read on the transcript, for example, "Bachelor of Arts (English; Political Science)" or "Bachelor of Arts (Political Science; English)."

A double degree would read on the transcript "Bachelor of Arts (English)" and "Bachelor of Science (Atmospheric Sciences)."

The student's major is not usually posted on the diploma, except in the case of honors (see above). Before Spring 2010, if a student completed two simultaneous degrees with the same name (e.g., Bachelor of Arts), however, the major was posted on each diploma to distinguish them.

For more information, refer to the Office of the Registrar's site on graduation, commencement, and diplomas.

Triple majors and triple degrees

Triple majors and degrees, and beyond, are also allowed. For a triple degree, the student must accumulate 90 credits beyond the number required for one degree. Each additional degree, in other words, requires 45 additional credits taken as a matriculated UW student. Otherwise, all the rules discussed above apply.

A student may also complete a double degree in which one or both of the degrees are double majors.

For more information, refer to the Office of the Registrar's site on graduation, commencement, and diplomas.

Satisfactory Progress

Matriculated students are expected to make satisfactory progress toward the attainment of a baccalaureate degree, which means they are expected to enter a major and graduate after completion of a reasonable number of credits. A student should declare a major by the time s/he has earned 105 credits, and graduate by the time s/he has earned 30 credits beyond the minimum number of credits required for the degree; since most UW baccalaureate degrees require 180 credits, most students are expected to graduate by the time they have earned 210 credits.

This AIF will discuss the monitoring and enforcement of the timing of students entering their major (i.e., "the 105-credit rule") and graduating (i.e., "the 210-credit rule").

The scholastic regulation pertaining to satisfactory progress can be found in the UW Policy Directory. On January 27, 2012 (and revised May 25, 2012), the Faculty Council on Academic Standards (FCAS) adopted a policy on satisfactory progress that clarifies the scholastic regulation; that policy can be found in the FCAS Issues pages. Finally, the UW Registrar's Office page on Registration Policies outlines the student-facing policy on satisfactory progress. Much of the language on these pages will be reiterated and discussed here, along with language from the implementation committee's report.

The 2012 policy

The University of Washington seeks to allow fair access to as many eligible applicants as possible each year while enabling students, who so choose, to have a four-year college experience beyond high school. Consequently, the University has set limits on the number of quarters and credits allocated for each student. A student may continue to enroll at the University of Washington until reaching both the quarter and credit limits.

Students admitted as freshmen, including those who have earned credit as part of the Running Start Program, may accrue as many credits as they wish, as long as they graduate within 12academic satisfactory progress quarters of college work while registered at the University. Transfer students are allowed 6 academic satisfactory progress quarters of college work while registered at the University if they have completed two or more years of college work. Transfer students who enter the University after completing one year of college work will be allowed 9 academic satisfactory progress quarters of college work while registered at the University of Washington. Summer quarters do not count in these limits.

Students who do not complete their degree requirements within the time frames specified above may continue to enroll through the quarter in which they reach 30 credits beyond the number of credits required for their degree. Students pursuing more than one degree may enroll through the quarter in which they reach 30 credits beyond the number of credits required for their concurrent degrees. After reaching these limits, students will no longer be permitted to register as continuing University of Washington students in the regular academic year (Autumn-Winter-Spring). Exceptions may be approved by the college awarding the degree.

Student Guide policy description:
The net result of the policy is that students will be allowed to continue at UW until they have completed 12 quarters and the maximum credits (i.e., 30 credits beyond the credits required for the first degree or concurrent degrees). The maximum credits include those earned at UW, transferred from other institutions, and earned through testing such as Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, Armed Forces Training School, and credit by examination.

Intent of the 2012 Policy

The policy is based on three beliefs:

  • Should they so choose, students are entitled to a four-year college experience beyond high school.
  • Students should generally be ready to graduate at the completion of four years (12 quarters) of college work.
  • Each student decides the academic content of their four-year college experience, is entitled to apply for any major for which they are prepared, and should have flexibility in reaching his/her goals.

What the student accomplishes in four years is determined by the goals and academic plan of the student along with program admission decisions. A student may graduate in less than four years using credits earned while in high school or at another higher education institution, during summer quarter, and/or by taking heavier credit loads. A student may complete multiple majors under this policy as long as the student can complete the credits for all majors within the quarter and credit limits.

The new policy is intended to guide academic progress decisions by always returning to the guiding beliefs listed above. Some expectations resulting from the revised policy are greater consistency in satisfactory progress implementation and clearer boundaries for student planning.

Who the 2012 policy applies to

The 2012 revised policy applies to new and continuing students at all UW campuses beginning Autumn 2012. The revised policy does not apply to students admitted as post-baccalaureates and students in fee-based programs.

However, the process for satisfactory progress notification emails, registration holds, and registration blocks will be in place for ALL students at all UW campuses beginning in Winter 2013. It is anticipated that the new policy and process will either benefit or represent no change to current students, but students eligible for the previous policy should talk to their adviser if they see a benefit to the previous policy.

Number of quarters at the UW

Freshmen

A student admitted as a freshman (i.e., using the freshman application) at UW-S is considered to have completed zero Academic satisfactory progress quarters no matter how many college credits they have earned before graduating from high school. All credits earned while in high school, whether through courses offered by colleges or test score evaluation, such as AP and IB tests, will be evaluated for transfer to UW and the credits added to the student's credit total. Thus, a student whose record shows 50 credits evaluated as transferable to UW will be classified as a sophomore, but will still have 12 Academic satisfactory progress quarters before the credit limit is imposed. However, the student may choose to complete degree requirements earlier and graduate with fewer than 12 Academic satisfactory progress quarters completed at UW.

Transfer students

For a student admitted as a transfer student (i.e., using the transfer application) the number of Academic satisfactory progress quarters transferred in is set based on the projected class level determined by Admissions from the students' completed and projected coursework reported on the admissions application. For an individual transfer student the number of Academic satisfactory progress quarters completed will be calculated as follows:

Projected Class Level upon Admission to UWYears of College Work CompletedAcademic satisfactory progress quarters Completed
Freshman (0-44 credits)00
Sophomore (45-89 credits)13
Junior or Senior (90 or more credits)26
What counts as a quarter?

The term academic satisfactory progress quarters is defined as quarters that occur during the academic year, specifically Autumn, Winter, and Spring quarters.

What does not count as a quarter?
  • Summer quarters, taken before or after matriculation, at the UW or other institutions, do not count as academic satisfactory progress quarters, with one exception: Summer quarters taken at other institutions before UW matriculation by students who then apply to the UW as transfer students do, in a sense, count as academic satisfactory progress quarters. This is because the starting number of completed academic satisfactory progress quarters for incoming transfer students is calculated based on completed and projected coursework reported on the admissions application, which could include summer quarter courses.
  • Quarters that a student enrolled but did not complete courses by either officially withdrawing from all courses during the quarter or being approved for a hardship withdrawal for a prior quarter do not count as academic satisfactory progress quarters.
  • Quarters that a student enrolled as a non-matriculated student do not count as academic satisfactory progress quarters.
  • Quarters taken at another institution after UW matriculation do not count as academic satisfactory progress quarters.

The number of quarters transferred in and the total quarters completed will appear on the unofficial transcript as shown below.

Satisfactory Progress Notifications

Notification to students about their status with respect to the satisfactory progress guidelines is an automated reporting process managed by UW-IT's Student Information Systems group. The notification process runs on the Monday of the 4th week of Autumn, Winter, and Spring quarters. The process automatically produces e-mail notices and places registration holds or blocks for selected students.

Changes from the notifications prior to Winter 2013 are:

  1. Use of transcripted (completed) credits for all notifications (in the old process, some of the notifications were triggered when the credits were in progress);
  2. Inclusion of completed quarters as an additional condition;
  3. Registration block (as opposed to a hold) at 210 credits or 30 more than required for graduation. The block allows students to register for Summer quarters but not for Autumn, Winter, or Spring quarters to align with the policy passed by FCAS.
  4. Graduation application on file will NOT prevent the block. Only a graduation plan approved by the college will prevent the block.

There are no changes to the notifications for 5th year students.

The table below shows all the notification categories. All conditions of a set of criteria must be met for the student to be sent a notice.

Process PriorityCategoryCriteriaHold or SPP block
BEFORE 1Undeclared 5th year / 30 credit
  • 30 or more transcripted credits
  • class = 5
  • major(1) = PBSTDY
Yes Hold reason: SPP30
1Undergrad / 210 credits (30 over min required for major) (SPP Reg Block Notice)
  • 30 or more transcripted credits over the minimum credits required to complete the major (1)
  • 12 or more quarters completed
  • class 1-4
  • no grad plan expiration yr/qtr or grad plan expiration is in the past
SPP block (hold not set)
2Undergrad / 165 credit (SPP Warning Notice)
  • 165 or more credits
  • 11 or more quarters completed
  • class 1-4
  • does not have a degree app on file for the current or future quarters
  • no grad plan expiration yr/qtr or grad plan expiration is in the past
HOLD Hold reason: SPP165
3Expired pre-major extension
  • class 1-4
  • major(1) is an extended pre-major:
  • current year/quarter > premajor extension year/quarter
HOLD Hold reason: SPPEXT
4Undergrad / 150 credit (SPP Early Warning Notice)
  • 150 or more transcripted credits
  • 10 or more quarters completed
  • class 1-4
  • does not have a degree app on file for the current or future quarters
  • no grad plan expiration yr/qtr or grad plan expiration is in the past
No
5Undergrad pre-major / 105 credit
  • 105 or more transcripted credits
  • 5 or more quarters completed
  • class 1-4
  • major(1) is a premajor and nothing is entered in major(2) and major(3).
HOLD Hold reason: SPP105
6Undergrad pre-major / 90 credit
  • 90 or more transcripted credits
  • 4 or more quarters completed
  • class 1-4
  • major(1) is a premajor and nothing is entered in major(2) and major(3)
No

The process applies to undergraduates, class level 1 through 4 at all 3 campuses. Students in fee-based programs are excluded from this process.

The process with processing priorities is represented in the flow chart below.

The "105-credit rule" notifications & monitoring

Students are expected to declare a major by the time they have earned 105 credits and completed 5 academic satisfactory progress quarters. Both conditions need to be met in order for the satisfactory progress rules to go into effect.

Warning

Students who have completed 90 or more credits and 4 or more academic satisfactory progress quarters will receive an email warning that they should plan to declare their major soon. No hold is placed at this point.

Registration Hold (SPP105)

Students who have completed 105 or more credits and 5 or more academic satisfactory progress quarters but have not declared a major will receive a registration hold and will not be allowed to register for the next quarter. Transfer students who enter with 105 or more credits are expected to declare a major before registering for their second quarter at the UW.

Premajor Extensions (EPRMJ)

Students who are not able to declare a major at that point must meet with an adviser. If the student is planning appropriately and pursuing a reasonable goal, an extension is granted for a specific number of quarters. Students who have not declared a major when the extension expires will receive a registration hold (SPPEXT) and must meet with an adviser again.

Most students granted premajor extensions are coded EPRMJ (Extended Premajor); others include EXPBA (Extended Pre Business Administration), EXPENG (Extended Pre Engineering), EXPNUR (Extended Pre Nursing), TXPRMJ (Extended Premajors - Tacoma Campus), and B XPRE (Extended Premajor - Bothell Campus). The quarter in which the extension expires must be indicated on a change-of-major form.

Extensions are granted through the quarter specified on the change-of-major form. Extension through winter quarter, for example, means that a hold will be placed on registration after the end of winter quarter. This means that a student whose premajor extension expires "winter" will be able to register for spring quarter. In fact (since we are allowing the student to register for spring quarter), the extension doesn't expire until the third week of spring quarter, to allow the student to drop and add courses at the beginning of the quarter.

The quarter in which a student's premajor extension expires appears on the EARS Overview tab and on the SRF310 screen.

The "210-credit rule" notifications & monitoring

A student is expected to graduate with no more than 30 credits over the minimum required for the degree; since most UW baccalaureate degrees require 180 credits, most students are expected to graduate by the time they have completed 210 credits and 12 academic satisfactory progress quarters. Both conditions need to be met in order for the satisfactory progress rules to go into effect.

Warning

Students who have completed 150 or more credits and 10 or more academic satisfactory progress quarters and who do not have a graduation application or graduation plan on file will receive an email warning that their credit limit is approaching and they should meet with their adviser and start planning for graduation.

Registration Hold (SPP165)

Students who have completed 165 or more credits and 11 or more academic satisfactory progress quarters and who do not have a graduation application or graduation plan on file will receive a registration hold, and must meet with their adviser and start planning for graduation. In order to remove the hold, the student must submit a graduation application or a graduation plan. Note that this hold occurs at approximately the same credit total as the previous 180-credit hold because the 180 credits were completed and in-progress credits while the 165 credits are completed credits only.

Students whose plans include multiple degrees or whose intended time at UW extends beyond the satisfactory progress limits should complete a graduation plan at this time. Graduation plans must be approved by the college(s) awarding the degree(s).

Registration Block (SPP Block)

Students who have completed 210 (or whatever 30 over the minimum required for the degree is) credits and 12 or more academic satisfactory progress quarters and who do not have a graduation plan on file or have an expired graduation plan will receive a registration block. A graduation application on file will not prevent the block. The block will allow them to register for summer quarters only, but not academic satisfactory progress quarters (e.g., Autumn, Winter, Spring). Students are told to meet with their adviser to prepare for graduation. Unless they successfully petition for an exception through their college, they will have to complete their studies through summer quarters and/or transfer credits.

Exceptions and Petitions

The revised policy states, "Exceptions that allow students to continue to enroll at UW beyond the satisfactory progress limits are rarely granted. Completing a minor, completing requirements for graduate or professional programs, or enrollment in an additional major or degree program is not grounds for an exception. However, circumstances beyond a student's control will be considered in granting exceptions." Circumstances beyond a student's control include institutional constraints, such as access to classes and transferability of courses, as well as personal circumstances.

Petitioning for an exception is a process defined by the college(s) that will award the degree(s). The college submits the notice of approved graduation plans for majors in the college to Graduation and Academic Records via e-mail using the following format.

Satisfactory Progress Holds

Subject: Sat Progress Holds—remove holds

Text of message:

REMOVE HOLD AND REGISTER GRADUATION PLAN EXPIRATION DATE:

List of students including Student No., Last name, First name, Major(s), Plan expiration quarter and year.

Note that if any of the students are completing a degree or major in a second college, the email must include a statement that all colleges involved have approved this plan and expiration date. Requests for multi-college students will not be processed without this statement.

Satisfactory Progress Blocks (must be submitted separately than hold removals)

Subject: Sat Progress Block—remove block

Text of message:

College has approved the removal of the satisfactory progress block for the following students. Enter Graduation Plan Expiration Date:

List of students including Student No., Last name, First name, Major(s), Plan expiration quarter and year.

Note that if any of the students are completing a degree or major in a second college, the email must include a statement that all colleges involved have approved this plan and expiration date. Requests for multi-college students will not be processed without this statement.

GARS enters the expiration information for the graduation plan in the student's record. Expiration dates are visible on the 610 screen in the SDB, and in the "Academics" section of the Overview tab in EARS.

Note: When a student graduation application is submitted, any graduation plan expiration dates are normally deleted to prevent students encountering difficulties with registration changes during their quarter of graduation. However, when a date is submitted as a block removal, an internal note will be made in the student record so the expiration date is not deleted.

Double majors and double degrees

Double majors and double degrees are not prohibited, if the student's program can be completed in a timely manner. As stated in the policy, students pursuing more than one degree may enroll through the quarter in which they reach 30 credits beyond the number of credits required for their concurrent degrees. Since the minimum number of credits required for a double degree is 225, this means a student seeking a double degree may continue to enroll through the quarter in which s/he reaches 255 credits.

In terms of email notifications, registration holds, and registration blocks: the automated tracking does not accommodate multiple majors/degrees. Thus, a student who intends to complete 2 or more degrees will receive notices as if s/he is completing only one degree. Exceptions to allow continuation to complete the credits required for multiple degrees is handled via graduation plans (setting the graduation plan expiration year/quarter to a quarter beyond the point a student has reached both quarter and credit limits).

Post-baccalaureate students

Students admitted as undeclared post-baccalaureate students are expected to declare a major by the time they have earned 30 credits past their last degree. If they do not, they will receive a registration hold. College advisers may grant extensions beyond the 30-credit limit. Extended post-baccalaureate students should be coded Extended Premajor, EPRMJ. (In other words, there is no separate code for extended post-baccalaureate students.)

There is currently no policy specific to post-baccalaureate students that monitors their satisfactory progress toward graduation, and there is no system of email notifications and registration holds/blocks. In terms of spirit, the more general satisfactory policy calling for students to "graduate after a reasonable number of credits" could be referenced. Also, the satisfactory progress scholastic regulation does require that "once a degree objective has been declared, [post-baccalaureate students] must make progress toward that degree as evidenced by the courses they have completed satisfactorily."

Part-time students

Students who regularly enroll for fewer than 15 credits per quarter, sometimes called part-time students, may not have earned the credits necessary to graduate by the time they complete their allowed quarters at UW. These students may continue to attend as long as their total credits do not exceed the limit in the policy, 210 credits for one degree and 255 credits for two degrees. For example, a student who enters as a freshman, with the intent of graduating with one degree, and completes 10 credits each quarter will earn 120 credits by the end of 12 quarters. The student may continue to enroll for as many quarters as it takes to complete the degree requirements and will not be considered to be beyond the satisfactory progress limits until earning 210 credits.

Prior satisfactory progress rules

The 2012 satisfactory progress policy, implemented in winter 2013, is the first one to acknowledge that double degrees require more credits (e.g., 225 minimum); the policy specifically states that students may enroll through the quarter in which they earn 30 credits more than the minimum required for their concurrent degrees (i.e., 255 credits).

Between spring 2003 and autumn 2012, the rule was similar except the hold was placed in the third week of the quarter for all students who would have completed 210 credits at the end of that quarter.

Prior to winter 2003, each spring quarter the Office of the Registrar sent departmental advisers a list of their declared majors who had earned over 210 credits. The adviser was to flag the names of any students whose registration should be held and return the list to the Registrar. The Registrar notified these students of their hold status, and suggested that they apply to graduate. If the adviser did not respond, the Registrar assumed that all the students on the list had the adviser's approval to continue. The 210-credit rule was seldom enforced, and usually only in cases where a student had become a serious drain on department resources.

College and department continuation policies

Many majors have a continuation policy; that is, a satisfactory progress policy for students completing the major. These policies must be approved by the Faculty Council on Academic Standards and should be stated in the General Catalog.

Financial aid policy

For a student to remain eligible for financial aid at UW s/he must maintain satisfactory academic progress as defined in the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy for Financial Aid. A student who the University decides is not making satisfactory progress is not eligible for financial aid. A student who is within the credit and quarter limits or who has an approved graduation plan to exceed those limits is considered to be making satisfactory progress under the general University policy, but may have reached the financial aid progress policy limits. A student who has a block imposed, as described under notifications, having exceeded both the quarter and credit limits is considered by the University to not be making satisfactory progress and as such is not eligible for financial aid in any quarter of attendance.

Excessive withdrawal

A few students register and withdraw for many sequential quarters, making little or no progress toward a degree. Students who have repeatedly withdrawn from the University are given an ultimatum by the Office of the Registrar that they must complete the classes they are registered for, or they will be subject to a hold on their registration. A student who has received this notification but continues to withdraw is placed on registration hold. If the student wishes to continue, s/he must meet with an adviser in UAA Advising. The student and adviser will discuss the student's academic plans and goals. If the student has declared a major, the department adviser will be contacted for additional information. The adviser then sends an email summarizing the student's situation to the Office of the Registrar, which makes the final decision whether or not to remove the hold.

Minors

Students are required to complete a major as part of the bachelor's degree program, but minors are optional. A student may complete one or more minors, or instead may use any elective credit to take a variety of courses across the curriculum. A student may earn up to three minors as part of each degree completed.

Admission requirements

There are no departmental admission requirements for UW-Seattle minors. Declaring a minor, however, is not a backdoor route toward entering a major. If a department has admission requirements for the major, a student must apply and meet those requirements even if s/he has already declared a minor in that field. UW-Bothell and UW-Tacoma minors may have admission requirements.

Declaring a minor

Students are eligible to declare a minor when:

  • the student has earned 45 credits, and
  • the student is declared in a major.

To declare a minor, the student must get a signature from his/her major adviser on the Change of College/School and Major or Minor form. If the student is in more than one major, s/he only needs one adviser signature, but the expectation is that that adviser will notify any other major advisers and the minor adviser upon signing. Students should be strongly encouraged to meet with the minor adviser as soon as possible.

Exception: Marine Biology. Students may declare the Marine Biology minor with any number of credits (or no credits) earned, without being declared in a major, and without an adviser's signature.

Postbaccalaureate students

A postbaccalaureate student may not declare a minor and may not be awarded a minor. A postbaccalaureate student could, of course, complete the requirements of a minor, but the minor would not be posted on the student's transcript.

Multiple minors

A student may be awarded up to three minors at the time the first bachelor's degree is awarded. A student completing two or more simultaneous bachelor's degrees may be awarded up to three minors for each degree. No minors may be awarded after the student completes his/her first bachelor's degree.

Credits

A minor must require at least 25 credits; most minors require 25-35 credits. In some cases, background requirements will increase the number of credits the student must actually complete.

Grades

Minimum grades in minor courses and minimum GPA across minor courses will vary across minors. When establishing minors, departments may request that a minimum 2.00 GPA is required for courses taken to complete a minor. Departments may also request to require a minimum grade in each course taken for the minor, and/or a minor GPA higher than 2.00, but such requests are subject to additional review by the Faculty Council on Academic Standards. If a course-grade minimum and GPA minimum are not specified, any passing numerical grade and minor GPA is acceptable. Courses taken S/NS may not be counted toward a minor.

Majors and minors

A student may not complete a major and a minor in the same program. In most cases (i.e., with the exception of Interdisciplinary Minors, below), there are no limits on the number of credits in a minor that may overlap with a student's major, and vice versa. For example, some religion courses may count toward the comparative history of ideas minor. A student who minors in comparative history of ideas and majors in comparative religion may count these courses toward both the minor and the major.

Interdisciplinary Minors

Interdisciplinary minors are minors that are composed of courses and content that come from more than one area of study. They were created because students are not allowed to minor in their major, but at times the content overlap between the major and an Interdisciplinary minor is unavoidable. To ensure that students are satisfying the intention of the rule disallowing a student to minor in their major, the Faculty Council on Academic Standards created the following additional guidelines to be used in the establishment of Interdisciplinary Minors:

  • Interdisciplinary minors must require that 60% of the coursework applied to the minor is taken outside of the student's major requirements. This means these classes may not apply both to the satisfying major requirements and interdisciplinary minor requirements. Note: These credits can count towards the 180 credits required for graduation
  • The minor should include some type of Capstone/Colloquium/Seminar/Cumulating experience

Majoring and minoring in different colleges

A student may have a major in one college and a minor in another. The student is required to complete the general education requirements of only the college offering the major.

Evening Degree Program

A student may have a major in the Evening Degree Program and a minor in the Seattle day program, or vice versa.

Cross-campus minors

A student at one UW campus may complete a minor at another UW campus. Cross-campus minors are declared via the Change of Major/Minor form, submitted to the student's home campus (not the campus offering the minor).

Minors and general education requirements

Courses in the minor may also count, as appropriate, toward foreign language, Q/SR, writing, and Areas of Knowledge requirements, without restriction. Also note that if the minor is in a school/college different from that of the major, the student must complete the general education requirements for the school/college of the major, but not the minor.

Minors for teacher certification

Minors recommended or required for teacher certification are completely different from the minors discussed here. Consult the College of Education for information about teaching minors.

Advising

The requirements of many minors are straightforward, and fulfilling them may not require that the student see the adviser in the department offering the minor. If there is any question about what course can be taken to complete a minor (for example, if the requirements for a minor refer to "approved" courses or say "see adviser for options") or if a student wishes to apply transfer X credits to a minor, the student should consult the adviser in the department offering the minor.

Graduation

The degree application

A DARS for any minor is attached to the GDARS. Any remaining requirements are noted on the GDARS in the Remaining Required Minor Credits/Courses section.

If the requirements for the minor are straightforward, the major department adviser will fill out the degree application for both the major and the minor. If there is any question, however, the student will need to consult the minor department adviser as well.

Uncompleted minors

If a student declared a minor but it does not appear on the graduation application, the Graduation and Academic Records Office will drop it. On the other hand, if a student does list a minor on the degree application, the student must complete that minor or drop it officially, or s/he will not graduate. This protects the student from being graduated when the actual intent is to continue on in order to complete the minor.

Adding minors after applying to graduate

A student who wants to add a minor after the graduation application has been submitted must see his/her adviser, who will update the application and notify the Graduation and Academic Records Office.

Certifying completion of a minor

Minors are posted on the student's transcript. A minor must be awarded at the same time the student's first bachelor's degree is awarded. This means:

  • A student who doesn't graduate cannot be awarded a minor.
  • A student can't earn a minor after graduation.

FCAS policy pertaining to minors

In December 2010, the Faculty Council on Academic Standards (FCAS) established a policy for new UW Seattle minors; Bothell and Tacoma both decided to follow the policy as well. From then forward, UW minors had to meet the following guidelines to be considered for approval:

  1. 25-35 credits.
  2. A minimum of 50% or 15 credits, whichever is greater, of 300/400 level courses.
  3. A student cannot receive a minor in their major (but note Interdisciplinary Minors, above)
  4. A minimum of 50% or 15 credits, whichever is greater, must be completed in residence at the UW campus granting the minor.
  5. Minors may request a minimum cumulative 2.0 GPA for courses applied to the minor; higher grade and GPA requirements are subject to additional review.
  6. Courses taken Satisfactory/Not Satisfactory will not be counted toward a minor.
  7. Students must declare a major and have completed a minimum of 45 credits before declaring a minor.
  8. Students must have the major advisor sign off on minor declaration paperwork in order to ensure that students meet university satisfactory progress requirements.