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For Newly-Admitted Transfer Students

Congratulations! Welcome to the University of Washington! We want your transfer to the UW to be as smooth as possible. 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. However, even with such excellent preparation, the UW does have a few surprising differences in store for new transfer students. This page will help answer questions about what you should do next and where you can get help.

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 capacity-constrained 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 capacity-constrained 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.

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.


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.


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