Schedule an Advising Appointment   Email

Common Terms

The University uses a lot of different terms to describe its operations, many of which may be new to you. This is a collection of the most common of them with a brief definition to help you get up to speed quickly.

A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M - N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W - X - Y - Z


Back to top
Academic warning

An undergraduate student whose GPA falls below 2.00 in his or her first quarter at the University receives an academic warning. If a cumulative GPA of at least 2.00 for courses earned in residence at the University is not achieved by the end of the next quarter, he or she is placed on academic probation.

Additional Writing

In addition to the required 5-credit English composition course, all UW students must complete 7-10 credits of additional writing. The exact additional-writing requirement depends on the college or school.

Admission deficiency

A student has an admission deficiency if s/he was admitted to the University even though s/he was lacking one or more of the high school units normally required for admission.

Students are expected to remove deficiencies within one calendar year of admission to the University. Students admitted with deficiencies will have such deficiencies posted to their permanent records upon admission, will not be allowed to graduate until the deficiencies are removed, and may have their registration cancelled if they do not remove deficiencies within the time allowed.

Advanced Placement

A program of courses offered in high school, followed by examinations. Most colleges award credit for specific scores. UW also offers advanced placement credit in certain subjects in certain circumstances.

Areas of Knowledge

The breadth requirement of the bachelor's degree. It is meant to ensure that you receive a liberal education rather than narrow, specialized training in only one field.

The Areas of Knowledge are made up of three Areas:

  • Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts
  • Individuals and Societies
  • The Natural World
Associate degrees (A.A., A.S.)

The Associate of Arts and other associate degrees are granted by community colleges. They usually represent two years of work in either a general education program that prepares you to continue on at a four-year college or university, or in a terminal vocational program such as Bookkeeping, Horticulture, or Culinary Arts. The UW does not grant associate degrees.


Back to top
Bachelor's degree

A bachelor's or baccalaureate degree is earned upon the completion of at least 180 college quarter credits. These credits must include the completion of an area of specialization called a major, coursework in certain basic skills, and the fulfillment of general education requirements. If you proceed at the pace of 15 credits per quarter, you will complete 180 credits in four years.

Board of Regents

The Board of Regents consists of a ten-member body, appointed by Washington's State Governor. The Board's function is to govern the University of Washington.


Back to top
Cancellation in effect

In the Time Schedule, some courses are marked Prerequisites (cancellation in effect). What does this mean?

For courses like this, if you have the prerequisite in progress when you register (e.g., you have MATH 120 in progress when you register for MATH 124), the computer checks at the end of the quarter to make sure you successfully completed the prerequisite. If not, your registration for the course is automatically cancelled (i.e., you're dropped from the course) and you're sent notification by email. Your seat then becomes available to other students. Courses with cancellation in effect usually require a minimum grade in the prerequisite; this grade is included in the prerequisite statement in the online Course Description.

The flipside of all this is that after the class is full, it is likely that seats will open up when other students are cancelled from the course. So if you haven't been able to get a seat, check on the cancellation days.

Capacity-constrained majors

Students must complete all minimum requirements to apply and must then compete with the entire applicant pool for a limited number of spaces. These majors often have application forms and application deadlines; some of them require standardized tests, recommendations, and/or interviews. 

Center for Learning and Undergraduate Enrichment (CLUE)

Each Sunday through Thursday evening during autumn, winter, and spring quarters, Mary Gates Hall becomes an undergraduate study center with writing labs, math and chemistry centers, and study groups for a variety of freshman courses; also open for limited hours during summer.


Your class is determined by the total number of college credits you have completed.

0-44 credits Freshman
45-89 credits Sophomore
90-134 credits Junior
135+ credits Senior

Initially, your class standing is based on an estimate of the number of transferable college credits you have. Your class standing will be updated early in your first quarter at the UW, by which time official transcripts including all your college credits should have been received and evaluated by the Office of Admissions.


Eleven schools and colleges at the UW offer undergraduate majors, including Arts and Sciences, Business, and Engineering. Many are in the College of Arts and Sciences. With the exception of pre-engineering students, most premajor students start off in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Common Book

Every incoming freshman participates in UW's Common Book program. Each year a university committee selects a book to be given to all incoming students. The shared reading experience provides an opportunity for students to create academic and social connections.

Computer labs

The largest computer lab on campus is on the second floor of Odegaard Undergraduate Library, with 400 computers. PCs, Macs, scanners, video editing, CD burners, and a large array of software are available, as well as specialized audio and team labs and a digital presentation rehearsal studio.

Additional computers are available in all of the libraries on campus.

Course Catalog

The UW Course Descriptions (sometimes called the Course Catalog) are listings of all the courses the UW offers. Only a portion of these courses are offered each quarter. The Course Description lists the title, number of credits, the general education requirements the class fulfills, a short description, and sometimes the instructor course descriptions and the quarters that class is typically offered.

Course Evaluation Catalog

You can use the Course Evaluation Catalog to find out the student ratings for the various instructors of a course you are planning to take. The Instructional Assessment System is used to collect and summarize student ratings of instruction, and is used in more than 8,000 courses annually at the University of Washington. The Course Evaluation Catalog is an online summary of these data.


If an instructor or department wishes to offer a course on a pass/no-pass basis only, the course is designated as 'credit/no credit only' (CR/NC only) in the Time Schedule. Since CR/NC is not a student option, the student does not request it when registering. CR/NC courses may be counted toward requirements and there is no limit on the number of CR/NC credits that can count toward a degree. Neither CR nor NC affects the student's grade-point average.


Credits are earned by completing courses. In general, one credit represents one hour in class per week and two hours of study per week. Many UW courses are 5 credits, and meet 5 hours per week. Most UW bachelor degrees require 180 credits. If a student takes 15 credits per quarter and attends three quarters per year, in four years they will have 180 credits.

Credit limits

Until the first day of class (that is, Period 3), you can register for only 19 credits. After that you can add additional credits up to a maximum of 30 credits per quarter.

Cross-campus enrollment

UW students and postbaccalaureate students (and graduate and professional students) may enroll in courses offered by any UW campus (Seattle, Bothell, or Tacoma) on a space-available basis. In order to be eligible to register cross-campus, students must have completed a minimum number of credits at their home campus. Students are limited to 15 credits per year and 45 credits total from cross-campus enrollment.


Back to top
Dean's List (Quarterly and Annual)

The Quarterly Dean's List includes the names of matriculated undergraduate students who have attained a quarterly GPA of 3.50 for at least 12 UW graded credits. A notation is made on your permanent academic record (your transcript).

The Annual Dean's List high-scholarship award is recorded on the academic transcript of students who have achieved a quarterly GPA of 3.50 in 12 or more UW graded credits each quarter for three quarters of the academic year (summer through spring).

Degree Audit Reporting System (DARS)

The Degree Audit Reporting System (DARS) produces a computer report of a student's progress toward degree completion in a specified major or toward the completion of minor requirements. Students can generate a DARS audit online from MyUW.


Diplomas are mailed to the address selected by the student on MyUW three to four months following graduation. The diploma lists the student's name, degree, and any applicable honors. Majors, minors, and concentrations/tracks are not listed on UW diplomas.

Disabillity Resources for Students (DRS)

Disabillity Resources for Students (DRS) is committed to ensuring equal access to the University facilities and academic programs for enrolled students who have a documented permanent or temporary physical, mental, or sensory disability.

To obtain DRS services:

  • Submit documentation of the diagnosed disability from a qualified treatment provider. Please contact DRS to discuss your specific disability and to inquire about the documentation needed in order to determine your eligibility for academic accommodations.
  • Set up an intake appointment with the DRS Counselor or Director to determine your specific needs.
Dismissal for low scholarship

An undergraduate student is placed on academic probation at the end of any quarter (except for the first quarter at the University, when an academic warning is issued) in which his or her cumulative GPA falls below 2.00. The student remains on probation until the cumulative GPA is raised to at least 2.00. If this requires more than one quarter's work, the student must maintain a quarterly GPA of at least 2.50 each succeeding quarter or the student is dropped for low scholarship.


Diversity is a term that encompasses human differences in race, gender, class, sexuality, religion, disability, age, nationality and ethnicity. At the University of Washington, we view knowledge and competencies related to diversity as central to your undergraduate education. In lieu of requiring a single course on diversity that all students take, departments across campus offer over 400 courses taught year-round that provide interesting opportunities to broaden and deepen your knowledge and understanding of the varied histories, societies, political structures, literatures, arts and cultures of the US and the world.

Majors in American Ethnic Studies, American Indian Studies, International Studies, and Women Studies offer in-depth study of diversity among different cultural and ethnic groups, along with understandings of race, gender, class and other aspects of diversity. Programs of study in anthropology; geography; and law, societies and justice also include significant attention to culture, power and difference in society.

The diversity minor is a 25-credit, interdisciplinary program that strengthens students' knowledge and understandings of critical aspects of diversity. Areas of emphasis include foundations of diversity; arts and culture; historical, global, and contemporary perspectives; and an applied experience, such as service learning or an internship.

Doctoral degrees (Ph.D., Ed.D.)

The Doctor of Philosophy degree represents from three to ten or more years of postgraduate education. Some doctoral programs require students to first complete a Master's degree; some don't. In a doctoral program, you'll complete a research project of several years' duration that makes a significant contribution to your field. The lengthy paper in which the research project is reported is called a dissertation or a thesis. The Ph.D. prepares you to teach at the university level and engage in continuing, independent research.

Double degree

If you complete the requirements of two majors, you will earn either a bachelor's degree with two majors ('double major') or two bachelor's degrees ('double degree'). Which of these you are awarded depends on the name of the degree(s)

You will earn a double degree when the two majors lead to differently-named degrees (e.g., B.A. vs. B.S.). For example, if you complete 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, you will earn a double degree. Another example: if you complete the requirements for the B.A. in Business Administration degree and the B.A. degree with a major in Political Science, you 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.

A double degree requires a minimum of 225 credits.

Double major

If you complete the requirements of two majors, you will earn either a bachelor's degree with two majors ('double major') or two bachelor's degrees ('double degree'). Which of these you are awarded depends on the name of the degree(s)

You 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 you complete 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), you will earn a single B.A. degree with a double major. You cannot earn a double degree when the two majors lead to the same degree name.

A double major requires a minimum of 180 credits.


Back to top
English Composition

Students in all UW schools and colleges must complete one 5-credit composition course in English Composition. You must receive at least a 2.0 grade in the course. The course may not be taken satisfactory/not satisfactory (S/NS).

Because the vast majority of college courses require some writing, you should plan to complete the English composition requirement during your freshman year.

Enrollment Summary

The Enrollment Summary lists the current number of seats available in all courses offered by a single department. For example, if you wanted to take a psychology course, but didn't know which ones were open and didn't want to click on each course individually, you could click on 'Enrollment Summary' and see the number of seats available in each psychology course.

One thing to note: the enrollment summaries for the larger departments (such as mathematics and English) may take as much as 30 seconds to appear, so be patient.

The link to the Enrollment Summary for each department is available near the top of that department's page in the Time Schedule.

Entry (add) codes

Courses marked with a '>' in front of the schedule line number in the Time Schedule require an entry code (sometimes called an add code) for registration.

Entry codes are used when there is a requirement for the course that for some reason can't be programmed into the computer, or when the department wants to talk to each student to make sure your background is appropriate for the course. The Time Schedule often tells you where to request an entry code. If the information isn't there, contact the department adviser or the instructor.

Entry codes are often required only in certain registration periods. The notation ENTRY CODE PD 3, for example, means that entry codes are required in Period 3, which is the first week of the quarter, but not in Periods 1 and 2 when most registration occurs. After the first week of the quarter, all courses require entry codes.

Evening Degree Program

The UW Evening Degree Program is designed for students who work or have other commitments during the day but want a UW degree.


Back to top
Foreign Language

In the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Social Work, and the College of Education, students must complete the third college quarter of a foreign language with a grade of at least 2.0, or place into the fourth college quarter.


Back to top
General Education Requirements

UW's general education requirements are similar to those of many community colleges and other four-year colleges and universities. By the time you graduate from the UW, you must complete a minimum of (actual requirements will vary depending on the college or school your major is in):

  • 5 credits of English composition
  • 7-10 credits of Additional Writing
  • 4-5 credits of Quantitative/Symbolic Reasoning
  • Foreign language through the first college year or equivalent (College of Arts and Sciences, School of Social Work, and College of Education only)
  • 10-20 credits of VLPA - Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts
  • 10-20 credits of I&S - Individuals and Societies
  • 10-20 credits of NW - Natural World
Grade Point Average (GPA)

You earn grade points for each graded course completed. Grade points are calculated by multiplying the number of credits by the grade earned.

5 credits x 3.4 grade = 17.0 grade points

This system allows a course with more credits to count more in your GPA than a course with fewer credits. A grade in a 5-credit course, for example, adds more grade points to your total than the same grade in a 2-credit course.

5 credits x 3.4 grade = 17.0 grade points
2 credits x 3.4 grade = 6.8 grade points

The grade-point average is calculated by dividing the total grade points by the number of credits attempted.

36.6 grade points divided by 15 credits = 2.44 GPA

See Computation of GPA for more information.


UW uses numerical grades, starting with 4.0 as the top grade and 0.0 as the lowest. It also has pass-fail options. See the Grading System.

Graduating Senior Registration Priority

Graduating Senior Registration Priority (GSP) is granted to qualifying students for their final two quarters at the UW. GSP students are eligible to register on the first day of Registration Period 1.


Back to top
Hardship Withdrawal

A student who must drop one or more courses after the Unrestricted Drop Period because an emergency situation has arisen may petition for a hardship withdrawal, recorded as an HW. Petitions for hardship withdrawals are available at the Office of the Registrar, 209 Schmitz, or may be downloaded from the web. The completed petition is returned to the Registrar and is reviewed by a Registrar's committee. Petitions should be filed promptly after the occurrence of the hardship.

Hardship withdrawals are granted for documented emergencies, such as an automobile accident or a severe illness, or other unusual or extenuating circumstances beyond the student's control.

Holds (Registration)

In several situations a student's attempt at registration may be blocked. If a student has a registration hold, there is a link from Web Registration where you can find out which office has placed the hold. Below are some of the more common reasons:

  • 105-CREDIT RULE: You must declare a major by the time you have earned 105 credits or a hold will be placed on your registration until you either: 1) declare a major, or 2) meet with an adviser and receive a premajor extension. You will be granted a premajor extension if your adviser decides that you are pursuing a reasonable goal, are taking appropriate courses and other steps toward your intended major, and have a good chance of gaining admission to the major. The hold is placed on when 105 or more credits have been completed. Transfer students who are admitted to the University with 105 or more credits are expected to declare a major before their second quarter at the UW, or obtain an extension from an adviser. For more information, visit the Registrar's website.
  • 180-CREDIT RULE: If you have not submitted a graduation application or graduated by the time you earn 180 credits, a hold will be placed on your registration until you and your department adviser submit either a graduation application or a petition outlining your plan to graduate within two quarters. In some cases, the plan must be approved by your college. For more information, visit the Registrar's website
  • STUDENT ACCOUNTS: If you owe money to the UW for tuition, late registration fees, etc., your registration will usually be blocked until the situation is resolved.
  • LIBRARY FINES: Return your library materials or pay the consequences!
  • DEPARTMENTS: Some departments will block your registration if you have neglected to return a lab key or other equipment.
  • IMMUNIZATION: All enrolled matriculated students, and all students living in UW residence halls or single-student apartments, are required to provide proof of measles (rubeola) immunity. Students will not be allowed to register for any classes until the Hall Health Primary Care Center confirms that they have satisfied this requirement.
Hyphenated courses

There are two types of hyphenated courses. In some hyphenated sequences, credit and grades are not granted until the hyphenated sequence is completed; in these sequences, a grade of 'N' is recorded for the first quarter. The N is erased and a grade entered in its place only upon completion of the sequence. In other hyphenated sequences, a grade is recorded for the first quarter and the student is not actually required to complete the second quarter.


Back to top

If a student completes almost all of a course but is not able to finish the required work by the end of the quarter, s/he may arrange with the instructor to take an incomplete in the course. In most cases, the student meets with the instructor to request the incomplete (the instructor may refuse), and together the student and instructor determine how the remaining work will be made up. An 'I' grade will appear on the grade report.

Normally, the remaining work for the course is completed before the end of the next quarter and the instructor submits a grade. In some instances, the instructor will ask a student to sit in on the class the following quarter in order to make up the incomplete. In such cases, the student should never reregister for the course. Instead, the instructor submits an incomplete removal form at the end of that quarter.

Incomplete makeups are added into the GPA for the quarter in which the 'I' was received, not the quarter in which the work is finished. The grade is posted next to the 'I,' which is not erased.

Individualized Studies Major

An Individualized Studies major is a special interdisciplinary major designed by an individual student. Each Individualized Studies program is unique.

A Individualized Studies program is not a random collection of courses. Instead, each Individualized Studies major is a carefully selected group of courses, all of which relate to a central theme. Because an Individualized Studies major cannot be too similar to any existing UW major, all Individualized Studies majors are interdisciplinary, drawing courses from two or more departments.

Individuals and Societies

One of the three Areas of Knowledge. A certain number of courses in this area must be completed to fulfill the General Education requirement; how many depends on the college or school your major is in.

This Area includes a wide variety of options for the study of human beings and societies. Courses focus on the history, development, and dynamics of human behavior, as well as social and cultural institutions and practices. Departments that offer such courses include American ethnic studies, anthropology, economics, geography, international studies, political science, psychology, sociology, and women studies. I&S includes, from departments such as history, philosophy, and religion, courses traditionally grouped with 'humanities' at other colleges.

Instructor Class Descriptions

A file of Instructor Class Descriptions is available online. These are prepared by individual instructors and follow a standard format. If there is a description on file for a course, there is a link to it from the online Course Descriptions entry for the course, and a link from the instructor's name in the online Time Schedule.

A number of departments also provide course descriptions on their home pages.

International Baccalaureate (IB)

The UW awards credit for IB scores of 5, 6, or 7 in many Higher Level exams. The credit and placement awards for IB exams can be found on the Admissions website.

International Students

International students are non-U.S. citizens who have no permanent immigration status in the U.S.; they usually are required to have a student visa. Students with permanent resident, immigrant, or refugee status in the U.S. are not considered international students for admission purposes.


Back to top
Low scholarship

Advisers in UAA Advising counsel students on academic warning and probation and those who have been dropped for low scholarship. Students in the EOP, SSS, or CAMP program meet with counselors in Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity Counseling Services. The College of Arts & Sciences Reinstatement Committee reviews the petitions of students requesting reinstatement to the College of Arts and Sciences. Other colleges and schools vary in their approach to students who have been dropped for low scholarship.


Back to top

One of the requirements of a UW bachelor's degree is a major, a subject you study in depth. Your major will make up one-third to one-half of your bachelor's degree. Some examples of majors are Biology, Psychology, Drama, and Chemical Engineering. The UW has more than 120 majors to choose from.

All majors require at least 50 credits in one department or a closely related group of departments. In the College of Arts and Sciences, you must have at least a 2.00 grade-point average in your major at the time of graduation. Some majors require a higher grade-point average.

Majors with prerequisites

Majors with prerequisites can be declared as soon as the prerequisites are completed. For example, before you can declare the Mathematics B.A. major, you must have completed MATH 124, 125, and 126, all with grades of at least 2.0.

Master's degrees (M.A., M.S.)

Master of Arts and Master of Science degrees usually represent one or two years of postgraduate education. To be eligible to enter a Master's degree program, you must first earn a Bachelor's degree.

An academic master's degree program consists of advanced academic coursework, usually in the same department as your undergraduate degree or in a related department. An academic master's program often consists of one year of advanced coursework and one or more years of research, culminating in a lengthy paper called a thesis.

A professional master's degree program consists of advanced coursework oriented toward a particular profession, such as public health or social work. Students from a wide range of majors are eligible to apply. Professional masters' programs usually do not require original research and a thesis.

Math 098

MATH 098, Intermediate Algebra, is a non-credit algebra review course. It's equivalent to the second year of high school algebra. MATH 098 isn't covered by your regular tuition; it requires a separate fee.

Minimum GPA

Students must present a minimum 2.00 GPA for courses taken in residence, including UW Extension credits that are counted as residence credit in order to graduate. Grades for transfer courses or for 'extension' courses as are not included.

Minimum majors

Requires students to complete satisfactorily a set of prerequisite courses with a minimum GPA. All students who meet the minimum requirements are admitted.


Minors offer you a way to explore a department or interdisciplinary theme with less commitment of time than a major. Where a major requires at least 50 credits, most minors require 25 to 35 credits. Minors are optional. You may complete one or more, or none at all.

You may earn up to three minors as part of each degree completed. Postbaccalaureate students (students who have already earned a bachelor's degree) may not be awarded a minor.

Mixed majors

Entry to the major may be either open, minimum, or capacity-constrained, depending on the concentration/option chosen.


The information students need to register for courses is available online from MyUW. From MyUW, students can access web registration and the Time Schedule, and can also obtain such information as their grades, current class schedule, and tuition balance. Students can reach MyUW from the UW homepage or the Student Guide. A UW NetID is required.


Back to top
Natural World

One of the three Areas of Knowledge. A certain number of courses in this area must be completed to fulfill the General Education requirement; how many depends on the college or school your major is in.

Courses in this Area focus on the disciplined, scientific study of the natural world. The Area can be divided into three broad categories: the mathematical sciences, the physical sciences, and the biological sciences. Departments that offer such courses include astronomy, biology, chemistry, fisheries, forest resources, geology, mathematics, and oceanography.

New Student Enrollment and Confirmation Fee (NSEOF)

Upon confirming intent to enroll in a degree program, new undergraduate students at the University of Washington Seattle campus are required to pay a $272 New Student Enrollment & Orientation Fee (NSEOF). The NSEOF funds a variety of academic support services including Advising & Orientation, Center for Learning and Undergraduate Enrichment (CLUE), and other transition services. The NSEOF is neither refundable nor transferable to another quarter or another student.

Nonmatriculated students

Nonmatriculated students are, traditionally, students interested only in attending classes and not in receiving a UW degree. Such students are not required to submit transcripts or test scores for admission. Currently, the UW Registration Office admits only the following categories of nonmatriculated students:

  • Students attending summer quarter only.
  • State employees, including UW faculty and staff, utilizing the tuition waiver available to state employees (at least half-time employment).

Persons interested in attending the UW as nonmatriculated students in quarters other than summer should contact UW Professional & Continuing Education (PCE). No formal admission procedures or academic credentials are required for registration in PCE courses. In addition to a number of popular non-credit certificate programs, PCE offers a variety of online learning courses.


Back to top
Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity Counseling Services

Students associated with the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), TRiO Student Support Services (SSS) and College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) can visit the Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity Counseling Services. It is staffed by a team of multi-ethnic counselors who work diligently to give students the best possible advising and counseling. Their advisers/counselors are generalists, and can work with students to choose and schedule classes, explore possible majors, and assist in the development of career goals. Their advisers/counselors also assist with financial aid, housing, and personal issues.

Office of the Deans

Every college within the UW is headed by a Dean. Each Dean works to provide leadership throughout the departments and offices within their college.

Open majors

Open majors can be declared at any time by any student in good standing (not on academic probation).


Some UW majors offer different options within the major. In some departments all students are in one option or another; in other departments the options are, well, optional. For example, all students majoring in Scandinavian Studies are in one of four options: Danish, Norwegian, Scandinavian Area Studies, or Swedish. Students majoring in Political Science, on the other hand, can choose whether or not they want to complete as part of their major the option in political economy, the option in international security, or to have no option. Options, if completed, are posted on your transcript along with the name of your major.


Back to top
Placement tests

In many instances, students cannot register for 100-level math and foreign-language courses until they have taken a placement test.

The Testing Center, 440 Schmitz Hall, offers placement tests for math, CHEM 145, and music theory, and placement and/or proficiency tests for several foreign languages. A list of the scheduled test dates, times, and fees, and information about the topics covered by the tests, are available online.

Postbaccalaureate degree

The postbaccalaureate program is designed for individuals who have a bachelor's degree or another advanced degree in a discipline other than what is required to apply directly to a master's program to which they now wish to gain admission.

Postbaccalaureate is a matriculated status, reserved for students who are working toward a second bachelor's degree, or preparing for entrance to graduate or professional school.

Premajor extension

Students who are not able to declare a major before accumulating 105 credits must meet with an adviser. If the adviser decides that the student is 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 must meet with an adviser again.

Undecided students are normally allowed only one or two quarters of extension to come to a decision.

Preprofessional Programs

Premedicine, predentistry, pre-veterinary medicine, and prelaw are not undergraduate majors at the University of Washington, but rather suggested programs of study that prepare you to apply to professional programs. Many professional programs prefer or require a bachelor's degree, so you should plan to complete an undergraduate major as well as the prerequisites of the professional program in which you are interested. In all cases, your choice of major does not affect your chances of admission to a professional program; choose a major in which you are interested, with coursework you enjoy.


A prerequisite is a course you must complete before you can take the course in question. Prerequisites are listed on the online Course Descriptions page.

Prerequisites (cancellation in effect)

For courses like this, if you have the prerequisite in progress when you register (e.g., you have MATH 120 in progress when you register for MATH 124), the computer checks at the end of the quarter to make sure you successfully completed the prerequisite. If not, your registration for the course is automatically cancelled (i.e., you're dropped from the course) and you're sent notification by email. Your seat then becomes available to other students. Courses with cancellation in effect usually require a minimum grade in the prerequisite; this grade is included in the prerequisite statement in the online Course Description.

The flipside of all this is that after the class is full, it is likely that seats will open up when other students are cancelled from the course. So if you haven't been able to get a seat, check on the cancellation days.


An undergraduate student is placed on academic probation at the end of any quarter (except for the first quarter at the University, when an academic warning is issued) in which his or her cumulative GPA falls below 2.00. The student remains on probation until the cumulative GPA is raised to at least 2.00. If this requires more than one quarter's work, the student must maintain a quarterly GPA of at least 2.50 each succeeding quarter or the student is dropped for low scholarship.

Professional & Continuing Education (PCE)

UW Professional & Continuing Education offers continuing education programs, online learning and other educational opportunities for working adults. They offers more than 100 certificate programs, hundreds of classroom-based and online learning classes, and various workshops and lectures. UW Extension attracts more than 27,000 enrollments each year.

Professional degrees (M.D., etc.)

Professional degree programs, usually three or four years in length, prepare students for professions such as medicine, dentistry, and law, and (at other universities) podiatry, optometry, and veterinary medicine. In most cases, prior completion of a bachelor's degree is required. Examples of degrees:

M.D. (Doctor of Medicine)
D.D.S. (Doctor of Dental Surgery)
Pharm.D. (Doctor of Pharmacy)
LL.B. (Legum Baccalaureus - law)
J.D. (Juris Doctor - law)
D.V.M. (Doctor of Veterinary Med)


The Office of the Provost strives to provide leadership and services to the University of Washington in academic programs, research, and faculty matters. The Deans and the Director of UW Libraries also report to the Provost.


Back to top
Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning

Courses satisfying this requirement focus on mathematical and statistical reasoning, or on formal and symbolic argument. The requirement is meant to help you learn to use numeric or symbolic methods to assess the relationships among ideas. This should allow you to judge information more critically.

All schools and colleges of the university require at least one Q/SR course. Some colleges allow any course from the Q/SR list; others require a particular course. Check General Education and Basic Skills Requirements of UW Schools and Colleges for the requirements of colleges you are considering.


Back to top

Registration is the process of signing up for courses each quarter. To attend full-time, a student should sign up for a schedule of courses that totals 12-18 credits. If the student is on financial aid, or is an international student, or a student athlete, they must register for at least 12 credits.

Registration Office

The Registration Office, 225 Schmitz Hall, is open weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Some registration transactions, such as registering for a course conflict, adding a course after the third week of the quarter, or auditing a course, can't be done on the Internet and must be completed in person at the Registration Office.

Registration Periods

Registration periods (abbreviated 'Pd.' or 'PD' in the Time Schedule) are used to control when certain groups of students can register for certain classes. Registration periods are numbered 1-3. Period 1 is the time when currently enrolled students register, Period 2 is the time when new students register, and Period 3 is the first week of classes. The dates for these periods each quarter can be found in the Academic Calendar in the online Student Guide.

For the most part, departments use registration periods either to allow declared majors to register for their classes before students outside the major, or to keep students from adding the course after the quarter has begun. If there is a registration period restriction on a class you want to take, make sure you understand it so you can get into the class as soon as you're eligible. What's very important to note is that restrictions are in effect only for the Period that is noted.


A student who has been dropped under low-scholarship rules is readmitted to the University only at the discretion of the dean of the school or college to which readmission is sought. A student readmitted after being dropped under these rules re-enters on academic probation. The student's GPA is the same as when dropped from the University, and the student may not use grades from other colleges or universities to raise his or her UW GPA. A readmitted student is dropped if he or she fails to attain either a 2.50 GPA for the following quarter's work or a cumulative UW GPA of 2.00 at the end of that quarter. The student is removed from probation at the end of the quarter in which a cumulative GPA of 2.00 or better is reached.

Repeating courses

A UW student is allowed to repeat a course once, with departmental permission. When you repeat a course, the course is recorded again on your transcript with the grade earned. The second grade doesn't replace the first grade, nor are the two grades averaged together. Both grades remain on your transcript, and both are calculated into your GPA. You don't earn credit for taking the course a second time unless the first grade was 0.0.

If you are allowed to repeat a course again (you need special permission to register for a course a third time), the grade earned is posted on your transcript but the grade isn't calculated into your GPA.

Residence Halls

Besides the convenience of living close to classes and campus resources, residence hall students have the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of social and educational programs, meet people from different cultures and backgrounds, make lifelong friends, have fun, and help influence the character of their living environment.

A student must be enrolled in at least one credit hour of courses to be eligible to live in the residence halls.

Residence requirements

To graduate with a baccalaureate degree, a student must complete at least 45 credits 'in residence' as a matriculated student at the UW. Residence credits are those offered in the quarterly Time Schedule, including Evening Degree Program courses. A matriculated student is a student formally admitted to the UW to pursue a degree.

Residency Status

RESIDENT means that you are classified as a Washington state resident and will be charged in-state tuition. NONRESIDENT means that you are not classified as a Washington state resident and will be charged out-of-state tuition.

If you are classified as a nonresident and you believe you qualify for resident status, you may apply for a change of status by completing the Residence Questionnaire. Additional information is available at the Washington State Residency website.

Returning former students

Returning former students are offered admission if they submit the Returning Student Re-enrollment Application (obtained not from Admissions but from the Registrar's Office or online) by the deadline for the quarter they wish to return. Students who have been dropped for low scholarship must first be reinstated by the appropriate college before being readmitted to the University. Students who have been away from the UW for two or more years will be required to submit a personal statement about their academic plans and meet with an adviser at UAA Advising before readmission.

Running Start

Running Start is a Washington state program that allows high school students in grades 11 and 12 to enroll in college courses at participating Washington colleges and/or universities.

The core subject requirements may be met with high school or college courses. The UW grants transfer credit for Running Start courses if they are college level academic courses and recorded on an official college transcript. All the usual transfer credit restrictions apply.


Back to top

A student who selects the Satisfactory/Not Satisfactory option for a course must do 2.0 work or above to receive an S and credit, while a 1.9 or lower receives an NS and no credit for the course. Neither affects the grade-point average. The instructor is not notified that a student is taking a course S/NS; the instructor submits a numerical grade as usual, which is converted by the Registrar into S or NS. This conversion happens several days after grades are initially posted, so students can see their numerical grade in MyUW for several days before it is removed and an S or NS posted.

Students may not count S/NS courses toward any graduation requirements, including basic skills, breadth, major, or minor requirements. S/NS courses may be counted only toward 'electives,' the free-choice courses needed to achieve the 180 credits required for graduation.

Schedule Finder

If you know which courses you want to take, the online Schedule Finder can help you choose the right sections of each class so that they don't overlap. Select the right quarter, then enter the department abbreviations and course numbers of the courses you want.

If you're already registered for one or more courses and you want to keep the sections you're already in, you can 'lock' those sections by entering the department, course number, and section letters, and the Schedule Finder will fit your other courses around your current course(s).

You can get to the Schedule Finder from the Registration page in MyUW. It goes live one week before Period 1 registration begins.

Student number

Your seven-digit student number is issued during the admission process. This number is yours alone, and will be your student number forever. If you order a UW transcript 30 years from now, you will be identified by your student number.

The first two digits of your student number are the year you were admitted to the UW. The third digit indicates the quarter you were admitted: 1 for summer quarter; 2 and 3 for autumn, 4 for winter, and 5 for spring. The rest of the digits are random.

So, for example, if your student number is 0332222, that means you were admitted to the UW in autumn quarter 2003.

Student-Athlete Academic Services (SAAS)

SAAS provides academic and logistical support to UW student-athletes. SAAS advisers, like those at Undergraduate Advising and the EOP Advising/Counseling Center, are generalists. Their goal is to provide student-athletes the support required to succeed academically and personally at the UW. In addition to advising, SAAS offers a summer Bridge program, access to tutoring and a learning specialist, a computer lab, and programs fostering career development and life skills.


Back to top
Tau Sigma

Tau Sigma is an honor society for students who have transferred to the UW. Joining Tau Sigma will enable you to meet other transfer students and participate in a number of service activities.


You should shop for your textbooks as early as possible before classes begin each quarter. By doing so you'll save time, find a better selection of money-saving used books, and experience fewer 'sold-out' situations. If you happen to buy a book by mistake, find you don't need a book, or drop a course, you can return it to the University Book Store. Their refund policy is clearly posted in the Textbooks, as well as on your receipt and online. Be careful not to make any marks in a new textbook until you're certain you'll be staying in the course.

Time Schedule

The UW Time Schedule lists credit classes offered at the University of Washington - Seattle. It is updated daily and is subject to change. You can get the up-to-the-minute status of any section by clicking on the five-digit Schedule Line Number.

You can search the Time Schedule for open sections of courses meeting General Education graduation requirements.

Transfer and Returning Student Interest Group (TRIG)

The Transfer and Returning Interest Group (TRIG) Program is designed to assist transfer student in their transition to the University of Washington. TRIGs will take into account transfer student's prior college experience, but will also show students how to navigate their new college and it's vast academic and social resources. TRIGs are only offered in the Fall.

Each student who enrolls in a TRIG, will also take General Studies 199: The University Community. This 2 credit class will be facilitated by an undergraduate Peer Instructor who was a transfer student as well. All TRIG students will meet in a smaller section with their Peer Instructor each week. Peer Instructors are selected in the Winter and trained in the Spring and Summer.

A TRIG may also consist of 1 or 2 departmental courses that students will register for as a cohort. For example, The Psychology TRIG looks like this:

  • Psych 209
  • Psych 202
  • Gen St 199

Trigs allow transfer students the opportunity to meet other students with the same academic interests, get connected with an academic department, get connected with the university community, and learn how to compliment their University experience both socially and academically.

Transfer Associate Degree Agreement

If you enter the UW with an academic transfer (not vocational-technical) associate's degree from a Washington community college, you receive this benefit: transferable courses which your community college counted toward its general education requirement will be accepted (in general) by the 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.

Transfer evaluations

The initial evaluation of credits transferred to the UW from other institutions is done by the Office of Admissions. Evaluations are not completed for postbaccalaureate or nonmatriculated students.

Transfer Guide

Also known as the Equivalency Guide for Washington Community and Technical Colleges. Official reference document describing how courses from a Washington State community or technical college will transfer to the University of Washington.

Transfer Thursday

Each Thursday afternoon, UAA Advising and many department advisers are open to prospective transfer students for drop-in advising. Bring your transcripts and discuss your academic plans with a UW adviser. The Office of Admissions offers a 30-minute group information session on transfer admission. 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. Check out the Transfer Thursday page for details.


Back to top
UAA Advising

At UAA Advising, you and an adviser can compare the requirements of different majors and professional programs. Advisers here are generalists, meaning they know a certain amount about every UW major, as well as most UW policies, programs, and services. In addition to helping you plan your course schedule for the next quarter, advisers can help you match your personal interests with opportunities in the University curriculum, talk with you about implications of your college education, and help you clarify your academic and personal goals. The advisers also provide pre-professional advising in a number of areas such as pre-medicine and pre-law.


Back to top
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts

One of the three Areas of Knowledge. A certain number of courses in this area must be completed to fulfill the General Education requirement; how many depends on which college or school your major is in.

Courses in this Area focus on the history, interpretation, criticism, and practice of the arts. The requirement is meant to help you develop a personal appreciation of the creative process. Examples of departments that offer such courses include art history, classics, dance, drama, English, music, and foreign languages. Most speech courses also count in this Area.


Back to top

W-courses count toward the Additional Writing requirement for most majors; some majors, like the majors in the College of Engineering, instead require specific courses to fulfill the Additional Writing requirement.

Students in majors in the College of Arts and Sciences must complete 10 credits of writing-intensive ('W') courses, in addition to a 5-credit English composition course. These may be additional courses from the English composition list, or courses designated in the quarterly Time Schedule with the comment 'WRITING.'


Withdrawal from a course during the third through the seventh weeks of the quarter (the Late Course Drop Period, one drop/year allowed) is called the Annual Drop, and is recorded as a 'W' with the week of the withdrawal also indicated; for example, 'W3.' The withdrawal does not affect GPA.

If a student drops all his/her courses (withdraws for the quarter) after the second week of the quarter, the courses are listed on the transcript each with a 'W' grade, and the date of the withdrawal is noted.

Course withdrawals made during Registration Periods 1, 2, 3, and the Unrestricted Drop Period are not recorded on the transcript. No withdrawals except hardship withdrawals (or complete withdrawal from the quarter) are allowed after the seventh week of the quarter.

WOIS, The Career Information System

A large online database of career information. Includes locations of educational programs in Washington state.


Back to top
X credits

Courses that are transferrable from other colleges and universities, but don't have a UW equivalent will be posted as 'X' credit. For example, an introductory political science course might be posted as POL S 1XX if the UW doesn't teach a course on exactly the same topic. An upper-division 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 I&S, 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.

X grades

A grade of 'X' is recorded if no grades is submitted by the instructor. Usually, X grades just mean that the instructor is late submitting grades for the entire class. Occasionally, an instructor will submit an X grade when s/he wishes to postpone submitting the grade for some reason. If you receive an X grade, you should check with the instructor.