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Department Updates

Changes often take place within the academic offerings of the UW. It is important for students who are preparing for transfer into a UW major to keep updated on the requirements. What might have been required at the time that students began their preparation at their previous college could have changed in the interim. If you have a question about a particular major, chances are that question is answered on the department website. If you're still confused about something, a quick email to an adviser can often clear up the mystery! 

New political science major application procedure at the UW

by Mark Weitzenkamp

Beginning Autumn 2014, students apply to the Political Science major via an online tool. Applications are due by the second Friday of Autumn, Winter, or Spring. The requirements for entry to the major have not changed--Political Science remains a minimum requirement major and students still need to take three introductory POL S courses with a grade of 2.00 or higher in each course (POL S 101, 201, 202, 203, 204, or 205) to declare. Students who complete the prerequisites successfully will be admitted. They then attend a New Major Information Session. We also strongly encourage them to meet with a POL S adviser individually to talk about their academic goals.

Since Political Science admits students to the major only after they have been admitted to the university, the change to the application procedure shouldn't affect admission to the major for transfer students. If they wish, students should be able to find some or all of the prerequisite courses at community colleges around the state, but they can also finish the prerequisites at UW in their first quarter or so. Incoming transfer students intending to apply to the major in their first quarter should make sure that their final grades and transcripts are sent to the UW as promptly as possible.

We welcome meeting with pre-majors, any students interested in studying political science are welcome to come in and talk with us. If you have any questions, you can reach the departmental advising office at polsadvc@uw.edu or (206) 543-1824.

Architecture and Architectural Design: TWO undergraduate major options

As of Autumn 2014, the Department of Architecture is now offering two undergraduate architecture majors. The Architectural Studies major has been renamed "Architectural Design" and our new major is called “Architecture”.

The new major in Architecture curriculum is based on small seminar-style classes and encourages students to build their coursework around areas of concentration, such as History and Theory; Sustainable Technologies; and Materials and Making. In the final year of the Architecture major, students work toward their final capstone research project due in the Spring. The Architecture major is a great option for students interested in exploring and understanding the built environment through the lenses of history, theory, materiality, craftsmanship, technology and sustainability. The small seminar class sizes, field trips, study abroad opportunities, and capstone requirement provide opportunities to work closely with faculty and fellow students. Students are expected to be curious, self-directed and eager to engage in informed discussions and research. Students gain advanced knowledge in their area of concentration as well as critical thinking, research and presentation skills. Students who major in Architecture can still apply to a professional M.Arch program 3+ year track or to other graduate design programs.

This year we admitted our first class of students into the Architecture major who are on track to graduate in Spring 2016. These students have a wide collection of interests, which include the integration of technology into residential housing design to create “smart” homes; investigating the factors and community processes that influence regional historic preservation projects; exploring the realms of sculpture and architecture; learning about the use of high-tech materials in creating environmentally sustainable buildings; and the role public spaces play in urban environments and plans to increase density. Over the next year and a half, these students will be taking courses, going on field trips, possibly studying abroad and engaging in a variety of activities that advance their understanding of their areas of concentration while being introduced to new areas and ways of thinking about the built environment.

The Architectural Design curriculum is studio-based and includes 6 design studio courses. It is a pre-professional degree that is intended to prepare students for advanced study in a 2+ year professional M.Arch program. Design studios are like laboratories where students explore design ideas utilizing research and representation methods, design reviews and critiques to advance ideas and concepts. Some representation methods students use include sketches, drawings, model building, and digital design programs. Students learn about structure and materials as well as site and cultural factors. They gain representation and presentation skills while exploring and becoming comfortable with the design investigation process. Students also have the opportunity to explore design through departmental study abroad programs.

Students admitted to the Architectural Design major also have the option of pursuing the Dual Degree in Architectural Design and Construction Management, which will take three years to complete the requirements for both programs and will require an application to the CM Department in April of the junior year:

Admissions and Prerequisites

Both the Architecture and Architectural Design majors have capacity-constrained application processes and prerequisites. Both require 71 credits of general education (Area of Knowledge) coursework, which can be taken at a community college, plus five prerequisite Architecture (ARCH) courses. The general education and prerequisite requirements for both undergraduate programs can be found as a curriculum pdf on our Department website:

We are recommending that students with questions about how their general education coursework taken at a Washington State Community College will transfer to the UW, use the Transfer Equivalency Guide as a tool.

The five ARCH prerequisite requirements include a year-long architectural history series as well as design drawing and representation courses. The architectural history prerequisites provide students with the verbal vocabulary and visual references to engage in meaningful discussions on architecture and design. The drawing and representation courses help students build the necessary skills to effectively communicate their 3-dimensional spatial ideas in a visual medium.

Both majors have five requirements but do share the following four requirements:

  • Arch 350-Arch. of Ancient World-UW autumn qtr only
  • Arch 200-Design and Representation 1-UW autumn qtr only
  • Arch 351-Roman, Gothic & Ren. Arch.-UW winter qtr only
  • Arch 352-History of Modern Arch.-UW spring qtr only

*The Architectural Design major also requires:

  • ARCH 201-Design and Representation II (Winter Qtr)

**The Architecture major does not require ARCH 201 but does require:

  • ARCH 231-Making and Craft (Spring Qtr)

Students studying at a community college within commuting distance of the UW Seattle, may want to consider satisfying these ARCH pre-requisite courses at the UW as a non-UW (non-matriculated) student. UW Educational Outreach’s Non-Degree Enrollment program allows non-matriculated students to take courses on a space-available basis.

In order to apply and be considered for the Architecture and Architectural Design majors, students must FIRST have a Transfer Application on file with UW Admissions.

The Departmental Application to the Architecture major includes an application form, transcripts, resume and an essay. Application to the Architectural Design major does require a design portfolio as well as an application form, transcripts, resume and an essay. The applications as well as tips for the Architectural Design application portfolio can be found on our website.

There is one application cycle each year. The application deadline for both the Architecture and the Architectural Design majors will be on the first day of Spring Quarter at 4:00 p.m.

Admission to the major is based on application material, grades, performance in the drawing classes, the architectural history coursework, and for the Architectural Design major a portfolio is required Those accepted into the undergraduate program typically are beginning their junior year and finish the remaining major requirements in two years (three years for the Dual Degree in CM).

We are happy to help you explore which program is the best fit for you at an upcoming Winter Quarter information session. Dates will be posted on our Departmental calendar shortly. We also invite you to explore our Department of Architecture blog to learn more about our faculty’s interests as well as the experiences our students are sharing as they are studying architecture in other parts of the world.

Two excellent additional sources of information on architectural education and the architecture profession in the U.S. can be found on the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture website and the ARCHCareers blog.