Schedule an Advising Appointment   Email
MOBILE

For Transfer Students

Transfer students come to the University well-prepared for what lies ahead. They understand the importance of time management, planning, communicating with professors, and effective study strategies. If you are transferring from Washington community colleges you are already accustomed to the pace of the quarter system. However, even with such excellent preparation, the UW does have a few surprising differences in store for new transfer students.

We don't expect you to know everything when you get here because you are here to learn. With a bit of tweaking, the learning skills that you have developed at other learning institutions, along with a commitment to take advantage of the services and resources available at the UW, will make your transition to the university a smooth process. This page provides information of interest to both prospective and admitted transfer students. 

Transfer Thursday

Every Thursday, people who want to transfer to the University of Washington are invited to come to campus to meet with an adviser, find out about the admission process, learn more about the UW's academic areas of study, and attend presentations on topics such as financial aid and housing.

If you are unable to come to campus on Thursdays, call our office to speak to an adviser in person. You can also email questions to advice@uw.edu. Admissions questions can be sent to askuwadm@uw.edu.

If you have already decided on a major, you are also welcome to contact a department adviser.

Note: Students already offered admission to the UW should sign up for an Advising & Orientation date rather than attending Transfer Thursday.

How it works

Bring your transcripts and discuss your academic plans one-on-one with an adviser. There are also one or more 30-minute group information sessions on the transfer admission process. In addition, a number of UW majors, preprofessional programs, and graduate programs offer information sessions on Thursday afternoons, so that prospective students can attend two or even three sessions in one trip to campus. 

Because so many UW offices are involved, the offerings each week vary. You can use the calendar information on this page to get the most out of your visit. Choose a date that offers the appropriate admission session, departmental information session, and drop-in advising hours that match your interests and questions.

After choosing a date for your visit, you're encouraged to register online.

Activities

Drop-in advising

General advising is offered from 2:30 to 4:00pm. Our advisers will work with you as you compare and contrast different majors, assess their admission requirements, and evaluate your interests in various areas.

The admission process

Nearly every prospective transfer student has questions about the admission process. In this 45-minute session, a representative of the UW Office of Admissions will cover core subject requirements, the personal statement, academic planning worksheets, and the comprehensive review process.

The Admission for Transfer Students session, which is offered every week, is intended for prospective transfer students who are U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or refugees.

The Admission for International Students session, which is offered many weeks during autumn and winter quarters, is appropriate for international applicants.

Because Running Start students use the freshman application, this session is not relevant to them; instead, they should check out the Office of Admissions information for freshmen page for admissions-related information.

Departmental information sessions

Before and after the Admission for Transfer Students session, you can find out about the majors and minors you're interested in by attending departmental information sessions.

If the major or program you're interested in does not offer an information session (or drop-in advising), you're encouraged to schedule an appointment with the department adviser.

Departmental drop-in advising

If you are fairly decided upon your major, we strongly encourage you to work directly with your academic department rather than a pre-major adviser. The departments in the calendar below offer drop-in hours for transfer students on most Thursdays.

If the major or program you're interested in does not offer drop-in advising (or a departmental information session), you're encouraged to schedule an appointment with the department adviser.

Connect with other UW offices

It's not all about academics! We know you may have questions about other aspects of life at the UW. Here are a few other UW offices that offer information sessions and/or drop-in hours on most Transfer Thursdays.

While you are here

Sample a UW class

As long as you're here on campus, why not find out what the classes are like? UW Admissions provides a list of classes that you are welcome to sit in on. No sign-ups, no permission, just go! Professors do ask that you arrive on time, stay for the whole class, and generally conduct yourself in a manner that will not disrupt the class. This list includes classes at various times throughout the week, but some are offered on Thursdays.

Visit the Center for Experiential Learning

The Center for Experiential Learning (EXP) is home to seven programs, each of which help UW undergraduates extend their learning beyond the classroom, and make the most of their undergraduate experience. EXP programs are open to all undergraduates, and help connect students to community-based learning, research, and scholarships. Visit the EXP website or go visit them in 120 Mary Gates Hall.

Take a campus tour

Transfer students are welcome to sign up for a guided tour of campus. Tours are conducted Monday through Saturday by the UW Admissions Office, in both the morning and the afternoon. The tours are free, but registration is required.

The Transfer Newsletter

The UW Transfer Newsletter is prepared three times a year for prospective transfer students to the UW, as well as for the advisers who advise them. It provides one handy location for learning about updates and changes to academic programs and scholarships at all three campuses.

Planning your visit

Choose the best day for your visit

Choose a day that offers the appropriate admission session, departmental information session(s), and/or drop-in advising for your interests and questions.

Bring unofficial copies of your transcripts

Bring copies of your records from colleges and universities you have attended previously. This paperwork will help you get accurate answers to your questions.

Parking and transportaton

Parking on and around the UW campus is limited and generally available only for a fee. Prospective students are encouraged to use public transportation if they can (you can find a bus route to campus at Metro Online) or to learn more about parking on campus by visiting the Commuter Services website.

Course planning before you transfer

Many students complete their first two years of college coursework at a community college, often earning an associate's degree along the way, and then transfer to the UW to complete a bachelor's degree. Community college students typically have several goals competing for their academic attention along the way, not the least of which are completing the requirements for the associate's degree, completing UW admission requirements, working toward UW general education requirements, and investigating UW majors and taking preliminary courses leading toward them.

When it comes to balancing these goals, there is no one answer as to which is most important. For some students, the associate's degree is of paramount importance, while others can take it or leave it. Some work diligently toward completing general education requirements while others focus almost exclusively on their major area. And obviously UW admission requirements are a must for students hoping to attend the UW.

Use the information below, and work closely with your community college advisers and UW advisers, to strike the right balance for your situation.

Planning for your major

One of the most important decisions you'll need to make at the UW is the selection of your major. Since we expect students to declare a major by the time they reach 105 credits, most transfer students need to be ready to declare their major soon after transfer. There are many things you can be doing now to help you make this decision and gain admission to your major.

You can find a lot of information on our site concerning undergraduate majors. Some UW majors have very competitive admission, so you will need to plan ahead and keep your options open. It's a good idea to develop a list of several potential majors that will work for you, including at least one or two that don't have competitive admission.

Many UW majors and professional programs offer information sessions. If you can come to campus, attending these sessions is a great way to get the basic information about the majors you're interested in. There will also be an opportunity to ask questions. To assist students making a special trip to campus we offer many of the information sessions on Thursday afternoons, so you may be able to attend two or three sessions in one trip. 

Many UW majors have email lists that they use to send out information about new courses, lectures, internship and job opportunities, changes in requirements, etc. Anyone with an email address can sign up. This is a great way to gain insight about the department that houses the major you are considering.

If you have specific questions about a UW major, you can contact the department adviser.

Here are more reasons why it is important that you begin preparation for your UW major as early as possible in your academic career.

Preparation for your major is an important factor in getting admitted to the UW

The Office of Admissions subjects each transfer application that meets minimum standards to a comprehensive review. This review assesses all students holistically on their academic performance and personal qualities or achievements. Preparation for intended major is one of the assessment areas specifically addressed in this review.

Some UW majors take four years to complete

For example, engineering majors take four years from the time you start calculus; foreign language majors take four years if you start at the beginning of a new language. There are many other examples. If you select one of these majors and don't start it until your junior year, you may need a total of six years of college to finish your bachelor's degree.

Many UW majors have admission requirements

Some majors admit students only once a year. Almost all of the admission requirements of these majors can be completed at Washington community colleges. Again, if you choose one of these majors and haven't started the coursework in your first two years, it may take you much longer to graduate than you had planned.

UW students are expected to be admitted to a major before they reach 105 credits

If you transfer in with 90 credits, you will have about one quarter to decide on a major. We will provide you with more time if necessary to complete the admission requirements of your chosen major, but we expect you to have given the matter some thought before your junior year. And, if your choice of major has competitive admission, you may not be admitted, and will need a plan for an alternate major. This is a lot to think about during your first quarter at the UW, when you will be making many other adjustments in your life as well.

Most students consider several potential majors before they find the subject they enjoy most. Give yourself time to do this by starting to investigate potential majors early on. Each quarter, one or two of your courses should be a subject you are considering as a major, or a requirement of your intended major.

Many subjects have required prerequisites

This is particularly true for science programs. For example, before you can take the organic chemistry (required for many biological and physical science majors), you must take a year of general chemistry, and before you can take the year of general chemistry you should be ready to start calculus. The first core course in the astronomy major (which is offered only once a year) requires a course in thermal physics, which in turn requires two quarters of calculus-based physics and a year of calculus. All of these foundational science courses can be taken at community colleges.

In addition many majors are sequential, meaning the courses must be taken in order, one per quarter, at least for the first several quarters. For example, if you major in math you can take only one math course each quarter until you finish a year of calculus. If you begin calculus early on, the other courses each quarter can be General Education requirements. If instead you transfer in with 90 credits of General Education requirements completed and then start your math courses, you have no requirements left to take along with the math. This is a serious problem if you are receiving a type of financial aid (such as veterans benefits) for which you must take 12 credits of requirements each quarter.

If you postpone courses that are normally taken in the freshman year, you may have difficulty registering in them at the UW

The UW is crowded, and getting registered for some courses can be difficult — especially gateway courses that a lot of students need. Plus, in your first quarter at the UW, you'll register after the continuing students. Many departments reserve spaces in courses for new transfer students, but if you haven't completed the basic course sequences for your major in your first two years, you may get even more behind if you can't take them right away at the UW.

Not all majors are available at the UW

To be sure you can major in the subject you want, decide on your major before you choose the college at which you plan to finish your undergraduate degree. If you know you want to finish at the UW, familiarize yourself with our list of majors.

Completing a major in two years

If you know you want to pursue an undergraduate degree at the UW, it is important that you familiarize yourself with the majors we offer. For students who begin preparing for their major early in their college career, it is possible to complete many UW majors within two years of transferring.

Transfer students who have completed most of the General Education requirements but have not completed recommended or required courses for admission to a major are unlikely to complete an undergraduate degree within two years of transferring. However, it is possible to complete some majors within two years without having completed major-specific courses beyond General Education if you begin working toward them in your first quarter, seek appropriate assistance, and follow the recommendations of advisers (e.g., to complete a 60-credit major in two years, you will likely have to take at least two classes in your major every quarter). See an adviser for more information.

Major-ready pathways

Once you have a pretty good idea of what you would like to major in when you come to the UW, consider talking to your community college adviser about whether there is a Major Ready Pathway (MRP) for that major. Although it doesn't guarantee admission to the major, taking the courses in an MRP helps to ensure that you will have met the minimum requirements for your major of choice once you enter the UW.

Planning for your General Education requirements

Whether or not you complete an associate's degree, you will most likely take a number of courses before you transfer that will count toward UW's general education requirements. Here are some important things to note when planning your courses prior to transfer.

Since all of the UW's colleges and schools have General Education requirements in excess of the UW's General Education requirements, students who enter with an associate degree have NOT automatically satisfied all of the General Education requirements for their degree program

Many courses required by a transfer associate degree will count toward your General Education requirements, but the degree itself does not automatically fulfill all General Education requirements. After you transfer to the UW, you will meet with an adviser who will determine how the courses you have already completed count toward the graduation requirements for the degree program(s) you are seeking. Almost all transfer students will have some requirements yet to be completed. This is entirely normal and expected. Students who start at the UW as freshmen are not expected, nor even encouraged, to complete their General Education requirements in their first two years. It is more important in your freshmen and sophomore years to decide on a major and begin completing its requirements, while taking some General Education courses.

General Education requirements are graduation requirements, not UW admission requirements

Whether or not you have completed UW's graduation requirements has no effect on your application for admission.

Plan your general education courses with your adviser

Talk to your adviser about integrating the courses required for your UW major with the requirements of the academic associate degree; you can often select courses that will count toward the requirements of both. For example, pre-business students should take two quarters of economics, which will count toward social sciences, and math, which will count toward natural sciences. If you need to take additional foreign language, it will typically count toward the humanities requirement in your associate degree (even though for most UW majors your first year foreign language courses will count toward your foreign language requirement instead).

Consider completing a full year of foreign language before transferring

Although the UW admission requirement is just two high school years of a foreign language, many UW students must take more foreign language in college to meet the UW's graduation requirements. UW's College of Arts and Sciences, College of Education, and School of Social Work, require completion of a foreign language through the third quarter with at least a 2.0 grade.

If possible, try to complete any sequences you started before you transfer

Because the organization of the material can vary from college to college, you may have trouble if you transfer in the middle of a sequence. Good examples of this are biology, chemistry, and math. To see how your sequences will transfer, use the UW Equivalency Guide for Washington Community and Technical Colleges.

Look at your UW unofficial transcript

The official transcripts you send to UW's Office of Admissions will be evaluated and the courses and credits translated into their UW equivalents. The evaluation is generally completed just before your Advising and Registration date, but once it is you can review the evaluation by looking at your Unofficial Transcript in MyUW.

X-credits

Courses that are transferrable but don't have an exact UW equivalent will be posted as "X" credit. For example, an 100-level political science course might be posted as POL S 1XX if the UW doesn't teach a course on exactly the same topic. An 300-level home economics course might be posted as UW 3XX because UW doesn't have a home economics department. Interdisciplinary courses are usually posted as UW 1XX.

X-credit courses can be counted toward requirements. In some departments this is done automatically. Since UW counts all political science courses as Individuals & Societies, for example, a POL S 1XX course will automatically count toward I&S. Other departments, for example psychology and philosophy, have courses that count toward different general education requirements depending on the topic of the course. If you are transferring a course in one of these departments from a Washington community college, it should be assigned the same designation that appears in the equivalency tables. If you are transferring such courses from another college, it will have to be evaluated by an adviser.

DARS

You can use UW's Degree Audit Reporting System (DARS) to see how the credits you have completed so far count toward a particular major. DARS is available in MyUW. Any X credits won't be assigned to general education areas until after you meet with an adviser, but you'll see how any other courses will count toward requirements.

Reviewing your transfer credits with an adviser

During your Advising & Orientation session you will meet with an adviser to go over your transfer credits. The adviser will determine how all your credits count toward requirements, so you know what requirements you have yet to fulfill.

For more detailed information on transferring credits please see the Office of Admissions.

The Direct Transfer Agreement

The Direct Transfer Agreement (DTA) is a statewide policy about transfer credit. The purpose of this voluntary statewide agreement is to facilitate the transfer of credit; it is not an admissions agreement. A qualifying DTA associate degree is generally defined as that degree awarded by a community college to students who have completed a transfer curriculum designed to fulfill most general education requirements for a baccalaureate degree program in Washington State. The approved DTA degree programs follow specific guidelines established by the Intercollege Relations Commission (ICRC), a commission of the Washington Council.

Because of the DTA, students entering one of several UW schools and colleges1 with an academic transfer (not vocational-technical) associate's degree from a Washington community college receive this benefit: transferable courses which your community college counted toward its general education requirement will be accepted toward Areas of Knowledge at UW in the equivalent Area (humanities=VLPA; social sciences=I&S; natural sciences=NW), even if they do not count that way for other students. The courses most often affected by the agreement are history, philosophy, and journalism courses. At the UW, almost all history and philosophy courses count toward Individuals and Societies (social sciences); however, at some community colleges, they count toward humanities (Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts). If you transferred any history, philosophy, or journalism courses, check Counting History, Philosophy, and Journalism Courses from Washington Community Colleges.

All Washington baccalaureate institutions, including the UW, have provisos that clarify how the DTA applies to students entering their institution. Please note the following:

  • The agreement does not apply to students who entered the UW before Autumn 1985.
  • To qualify for the agreement, you must complete all the coursework required for the associate's degree before matriculating at the UW.
  • Courses counted toward the UW's Language Skills (English composition and foreign language) requirement cannot also be counted toward Areas of Knowledge. In particular, students in the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Education, and the School of Social Work will have to count first-year foreign language courses toward the foreign language requirement rather than Areas of Knowledge.
  • You must meet the additional writing requirement (unless you started college before Autumn 1985). Many AA degrees require 10 credits of English composition, 5 of which can be counted toward the additional writing requirement if similar to UW courses allowed. Note that many community colleges count creative writing and verse writing as English composition, but the UW does not allow those courses toward either the English composition or additional writing requirement. (They do count toward VLPA at the UW — even if the community college did not allow them to count toward the humanities requirement of the Associate's degree.)
  • Most community colleges do not require a 20-20-20 general education plan; the number of credits required in each area may be a combination such as 15-15-15, or 20-20-15, etc. You must eventually complete the entire Areas of Knowledge plan required by your UW school or college.
  • If you do not meet the Areas of Knowledge requirement entirely with courses taken before transfer, you must select UW courses with the appropriate Area designations to complete the requirement. Many lower and upper division courses count toward the Areas of Knowledge, so most students do not find it difficult to complete this requirement.

The following UW schools and colleges honor the Transfer Associate Degree Agreement: College of Built Environments, College of Arts & Sciences, Business School, School of Medicine, School of Nursing, and School of Social Work.

Counting History, Philosophy, and Journalism courses from Washington community colleges toward UW's Areas of Knowledge requirement

At the University of Washington, the general-education breadth requirements (Areas of Knowledge) are divided somewhat differently from the traditional division into humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. Some courses that would count as humanities at many other schools, particularly in such disciplines as history, philosophy, and religion, are grouped with the social sciences into the Individuals and Societies category at the UW, rather than with the courses in the Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts category.

The Transfer Associate Degree Agreement

Transfer students who do not have an academic transfer associate's degree from a Washington community college must use their transfer courses according to the way that the UW divides the categories. However, because of an agreement that UW has with the community colleges, students who do have an academic transfer associate's degree from a Washington community college are allowed to count courses as VLPA, for example, if they were counted as humanities by the Washington community college that awarded the degree. For more on this, see the Transfer Associate Degree Agreement web page.

Courses that are listed under more than one Area of Knowledge

Some colleges (including the UW) may list a course under more than one Area of Knowledge. In such cases, the student chooses the Area in which s/he wishes to count the course. One course may not count simultaneously toward two Areas of Knowledge, although a student may split a course's credit between two areas. For example, UW counts PHIL 120 toward I&S or NW. A student who completes PHIL 120 at the UW may count it toward I&S, or toward NW, or count 3 credits of the course toward I&S and the other 2 credits toward NW.

History, Philosophy, and Journalism

History and philosophy courses make up most of the courses affected by the Transfer Associate Degree Agreement. Journalism courses are often counted toward requirements differently at community colleges than they are at the UW. For the convenience of students and advisers, the following list indicates how Washington community colleges count history, philosophy, and journalism courses toward general education requirements. Questions about any other courses may be directed to Undergraduate Advising. Course numbers below are the community college's numbers. If no numbers are listed, the note applies to all courses in the department. For example, at Big Bend Community College, all history courses count as I&S.

For newly-admitted transfer students

Congratulations! Welcome to the University of Washington. We know you have many questions about what you should do next and where you can get help. We want your transfer to the UW to be as smooth as possible.

Read the Welcome booklet

Read carefully everything in the Welcome packet you received with your offer of admission. It contains answers to many of your questions. Be sure to follow all the instructions in the booklet.

Visit the Checklist for New Students

The Checklist for New Students, combined with the prompts at the top of your student page in MyUW, will walk you through a host of important tasks that require your attention, including financial aid, housing, transcripts, and UW NetID basic services.

Plan your major

One of the most important decisions you'll need to make at the UW is the selection of your major. Since we expect students to declare a major by the time they reach 105 credits, most transfer students need to be ready to declare their major soon after transfer. There are many things you can be doing now to help you make this decision and gain admission to your major.

  • Our site lists all UW undergraduate majors and will help you compare the majors you're considering. Some UW majors have very competitive admission, so plan ahead and keep your options open. It's a very good idea to develop a list of several potential majors, including at least one or two that don't have competitive admission.
  • Many UW majors and professional programs offer information sessions. If you can come to campus, attending these sessions is a great way to get the basic information about the majors you're interested in. There will also be an opportunity to ask questions. To assist students making a special trip to campus we offer many of the information sessions on Thursday afternoons, so you may be able to attend two or three sessions in one trip. 
  • Many UW majors have email lists that they use to send out information about new courses, lectures, internship and job opportunities, changes in requirements, etc. Anyone with an email address can sign up. This is a great way to gain insight about the department that offers your major of interest.
  • If you have specific questions about a UW major, you can contact the department adviser.

Start thinking about classes

Before you come to campus to register for your first quarter, there is a lot of information on the UW website you can look over. In the Selecting Courses and Registration and Add/Drop sections of the Student Guide you can look at:

  • the Course Descriptions
  • the Time Schedule of courses for the upcoming quarter
  • Instructor Class Descriptions

With this information, you can start thinking about what courses you want to take in your first few quarters at the UW.

You can't actually register for classes, however, until your Advising & Orientation date. You won't be meeting with a UW adviser before that date to discuss your class schedule, for two reasons:

  • The evaluation of your transfer credits won't be completed until just before your Advising and Orientation date. We can't help you plan your first few quarters at the UW until we know how your previous courses have transferred.
  • Courses close as registration goes on. It can be very frustrating to put too much work into designing a perfect class schedule in June if you won't be registering for classes until August.

If you have questions about what to take at your current college in your final quarter(s) before transferring, you may want to drop in and talk to a UW adviser during one of our Transfer Thursdays. While you're on campus, you could attend other information sessions, take a campus tour, pick up handouts, etc. But detailed planning of your classes for your first quarter at the UW will have to wait until your Orientation date.

Look at your UW unofficial transcript

The official transcripts you send to UW's Office of Admissions will be evaluated and the courses and credits translated into their UW equivalents. The evaluation is generally completed just before your Advising and Registration date, but once it is you can review the evaluation by looking at your Unofficial Transcript in MyUW.

X-credits

Courses that are transferrable but don't have an exact UW equivalent will be posted as "X" credit. For example, an 100-level political science course might be posted as POL S 1XX if the UW doesn't teach a course on exactly the same topic. An 300-level home economics course might be posted as UW 3XX because UW doesn't have a home economics department. Interdisciplinary courses are usually posted as UW 1XX.

X-credit courses can be counted toward requirements. In some departments this is done automatically. Since UW counts all political science courses as Individuals & Societies, for example, a POL S 1XX course will automatically count toward I&S. Other departments, for example psychology and philosophy, have courses that count toward different general education requirements depending on the topic of the course. If you are transferring a course in one of these departments from a Washington community college, it should be assigned the same designation that appears in the equivalency tables. If you are transferring such courses from another college, it will have to be evaluated by an adviser.

DARS

You can use UW's Degree Audit Reporting System (DARS) to see how the credits you have completed so far count toward a particular major. DARS is available in MyUW. Any X credits won't be assigned to general education areas until after you meet with an adviser, but you'll see how any other courses will count toward requirements.

Reviewing your transfer credits with an adviser

During your Advising & Orientation session you will meet with an adviser to go over your transfer credits. The adviser will determine how all your credits count toward requirements, so you know what requirements you have yet to fulfill.

For more detailed information on transferring credits...

...please see the Office of Admissions' website on transfer credit policies.

Build a class schedule

Before you come to campus to register for your first quarter, there is a lot of information at the UW website you can look over. In the Selecting Courses and Registration and Add/Drop sections of the Student Guide you can look at:

  • the Course Descriptions
  • the Time Schedule of courses for the upcoming quarter
  • Instructor Class Descriptions

With this information, you can start thinking about what courses you want to take in your first few quarters at the UW.

You can't actually register for classes, however, until your Advising & Orientation date. You won't be meeting with a UW adviser before that date to discuss your class schedule, for two reasons:

  • The evaluation of your transfer credits won't be completed until just before your Advising and Orientation date. We can't help you plan your first few quarters at the UW until we know how your previous courses have transferred.
  • Courses close as registration goes on. It can be very frustrating to put too much work into designing a perfect class schedule in June if you won't be registering for classes until August.

If you have questions about what to take at your current college in your final quarter before transferring, you may want to visit our office and talk to an adviser during one of our Transfer Thursdays. While you're on campus, you can attend other information sessions, take a campus tour, pick up handouts, etc. But detailed planning of your classes for your first quarter at the UW should occur near your Orientation date.