Search | Directories | Reference Tools
UW Home > Discover UW > Student Guide > Degree Programs 

College of Engineering

College Overview

Michael B. Bragg
371 Loew

Associate Deans

Eve Riskin, Academic Affairs
Dawn Lehman, Infrastructure
Santosh Devasia, Research and Graduate Studies

Engineering is the science and art of applying scientific and mathematical principles, experience, judgment, and common sense to design devices and systems that benefit society. Engineers are fascinated by questions of how and why things work. They use their training in mathematics, physics, and chemistry to understand the physical world and develop creative solutions to society's complex needs. Engineers may be designers, planners, managers, analysts, researchers, consultants, sales specialists, and more. Engineering graduates have many career possibilities open to them.

The primary goal of College of Engineering educational programs is to prepare students for a professional career in engineering by providing the technical foundation required for success in industry, government, or academia. Other goals of the College are to instill within its students the highest ethical standards, the capability for lifelong learning, and a curiosity about the world. Excellence in undergraduate and graduate academic programs remains the College's highest priority.

For undergraduates, the College of Engineering offers a flexible curriculum that not only accommodates varied student needs, both in established departmental programs and interdisciplinary studies, but also culminates in a major and meaningful design experience. (See Interdisciplinary Engineering Studies Program for interdisciplinary undergraduate programs.)

For graduate students, the College of Engineering offers master's and doctoral programs in aeronautics and astronautics, bioengineering, chemical, civil and environmental, computer, electrical, human centered design and engineering, industrial and systems engineering, materials science, and mechanical engineering.

The College offers active educational and research programs, both departmental and interdisciplinary, at the graduate levels. (See Interengineering Graduate Program for interdisciplinary graduate programs.)

The College of Engineering has been a major unit of the University since 1899. The first engineering degrees were authorized in mining engineering and metallurgical engineering in 1898. Degrees were added for civil engineering (1901), electrical engineering (1902), mechanical engineering (1906), chemical engineering (1907), ceramic engineering (1919), aeronautical engineering (1929), bioengineering (1983), industrial engineering (1986), and computer engineering (1987). A degree program in technical communication was implemented in 1989. The new human centered design and engineering degree title replaced technical communication in 2009. In 2011, 2,229 upper-division undergraduate majors and 1,787 graduate students were enrolled in engineering programs taught by a faculty of 228 tenure track and 184 other engineering faculty members.

College Facilities

Teaching and research activities of the College are conducted in fourteen major campus buildings (and portions of others), which contain the College's offices, classrooms, and research and teaching laboratories. The Engineering Library, a branch of the University Libraries, provides outstanding collections of books, periodicals, technical reports, and patents of interest to engineers. Computers and terminals are available in all departments and through the Student Access and Computing Group (SACG).

Student Organizations and Activities

All major professional engineering societies have student chapters on campus, and all engineering students are encouraged to join the chapter that represents their field of interest. The UW Chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB) is a registered student-run organization of the University of Washington with members from many engineering as well as non-engineering backgrounds.

The College also has student chapters of the Society of Women Engineers, American Indian Science and Engineering Society, National Society of Black Engineers, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, and the Phi Sigma Rho engineering sorority. Students are encouraged to join the University-wide Science and Engineering Business Association (SEBA).

The honor society open to engineering students is Tau Beta Pi.

Students serve with faculty members on engineering policy committees which make recommendations concerning instructor evaluation, curriculum revisions, advising, grading systems, and other matters of interest to students and faculty.

Special Programs and Resources

Engineering Co-op and Internship Program

014 Loew, Box 352180

The Engineering Co-op and iIternship Program provides an opportunity for pre-engineering and engineering students to combine practical, full-time, on-the-job engineering experience with academic study before graduation. Students typically work full-time for three months or more and then return to full-time academic status upon completion of the co-op assignment. Some students work part-time while continuing coursework. In addition, students receive academic credit for the co-op experience. In several engineering departments, the credit earned can be applied toward degree requirements in the major. Advantages of participation include: assistance in deciding which field of engineering to follow, early experience in the industrial sector and industrial exposure that can help guide a student's remaining studies; additional income to help defray college expenses, relevance and motivation for study based on real engineering work, and work experience and employment contacts that may result in regular employment after graduation.

Information may be obtained from the Engineering Co-op and Internship Program office, College of Engineering, Box 352180 (014 Loew), or by visiting the Engineering Co-op and Internship program website.

Engineering Undergraduate Research Program

014 Loew, Box 352180

Educational Outreach

Fulfilling a commitment to lifelong learning, the College of Engineering is partnered with UW Professional and Continuing Education (UWPCE) to offer master's degree programs, certificate programs, courses, workshops, and conferences to respond to the professional development needs of practicing engineers and related technical professionals worldwide. Thousands of practicing engineers update their technical knowledge or pursue advanced degrees each year through UWPCE. The College of Engineering works with UW Educational Outreach's Education at a Distance for Growth and Excellence (EDGE) to provide multimedia and class capture services either in an EDGE classroom or at a remote location. Go to UWPCE website or go to EDGE website for more information.

Office of Research and Graduate Studies

376 Loew, Box 352180

The Office of Research and Graduate Studies promotes, stimulates, and coordinates faculty and graduate research in all fields of engineering. Its primary role is to encourage and develop interdisciplinary research programs and national research initiatives. The Office of Research and Graduate Studies also reviews grant and contract proposals, tracks awards, and provides information on funding opportunities. This office allocates limited matching funds to College units to increase the quality of research in the College of Engineering. The College currently has the following research programs or centers:

  • Bio-Sciences
    • Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering (CSNE) - An NSF-funded Engineering Research Center launched in July 2011 to advance the integration of technologies with human neural systems. The center brings together leaders in robotics, neuroscience, computer science, and other disciplines.
    • Genetically Engineered Materials Science and Engineering Center (GEMSEC) - Adapts techniques in molecular biology and genomics for developing new materials and systems.
    • Molecular Engineering & Sciences Institute (MolES) - Catalyzes translational research in the clean tech and biotech areas. The institute serves both as an intellectual accelerator to bring fresh approaches and ideas to societal grand challenges in sustainable energy and materials, and in medical therapeutics and diagnostics, and as a physical incubator where new interdisciplinary teams can come together in a shared space. Creates and coordinates new interdisciplinary education programs for undergraduate and graduate students in the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Engineering. The institute is located in the new Molecular Engineering and Sciences Building, a facility specially designed to promote collaborative molecular-scale research.
    • National ESCA Surface Analysis Center for Biomedical Problems (NESAC/BIO) - Develops and applies new surface analysis technologies for biomedical research.
  • Education and Learning
    • Center for Engineering Learning and Teaching (CELT) - Combines two missions: to conduct internationally recognized research in engineering learning and to promote teaching effectiveness in UW engineering classrooms.
  • Electronics and Computing
    • Center for Collaborative Technologies (CCT) - An effort funded by Microsoft Research to develop the ConferenceXP platform and apply the technologies to a wide range of educational and collaborative scenarios.
    • Center for Design of Analog-Digital Integrated Circuits (CDADIC) - One of the few research consortiums in the country that addresses problems associated with analog and mixed-signal research.
    • Intel Research Seattle - A collaboration among Intel and university researchers to explore new technologies (such as personal robotics and "Trustworthy Wireless") to support the ubiquitous computing environments of the future.
    • Turing Center - Investigates problems at the crossroads of natural language processing, data mining, web search, and the Semantic Web.
  • Energy
    • Bioenergy Program - Researches how to balance the technological, environmental, and social dimensions of a sustainable energy economy. (The full program name is Bioresource-Based Energy for Sustainable Societies.)
    • Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center (NNMREC) - A DOE-funded partnership between OSU and UW. UW is responsible for tidal energy issues. The role of the center is to close key gaps in understanding of marine energy and to inform the public, regulators, research institutions, and device and site developers.
    • Plasma Science and Innovation Center (PSI) - Develops predictive capability for emerging concept experiments, allowing new experiments in fusion science and in other areas of plasma science without actual construction.
  • Materials and Structures
    • Center for Intelligent Materials and Systems (CIMS) - A collaboration of botanists and engineers to advance the bio-inspired design of intelligent materials and systems.
    • Center of Excellence for Advanced Materials in Transport Aircraft Structures (AMTAS) - Seeks solutions to problems associated with existing, near- and long-term applications of composites and advanced materials for large transport commercial aircraft.
    • Institute of Advanced Materials and Technology (i-AMT) - Facilitates interdisciplinary research in photonics, electronics, and magnetic materials; materials for energy generation and storage; biomaterials for the bio-nano interface; and multifunctional composites.
  • Transportation
    • Pacific Northwest Transportation Consortium (PacTrans) - A multi-university, regional transportation center led by the University of Washington and funded by the US Department of Transportation. PacTrans focuses on safe and sustainable transportation in environments ranging from busy urban centers to remote mountainous terrain.
    • Washington State Transportation Center (TRAC) - A collaboration among Washington State University, the University of Washington, and the Washington State Department of Transportation to coordinate both state and commercial transportation research efforts and to develop research opportunities nationally and locally.
  • Other Centers Involving Engineering Faculty
    • Center for Materials and Devices for Information Technology Research (CMDITR) - Established by the National Science Foundation in 1987 to fund interdisciplinary research and education activities and encourage technology transfer.
    • Center for Process Analytical Chemistry (CPAC) - A consortium established at the UW in 1984 to develop and foster collaboration on new measurement approaches, including the miniaturization of traditional instrumentation and the development of new sensors and non-traditional instruments.
    • Microfabrication Laboratory (MFF) - Provides a wide range of fabrication and characterization capabilities in a user facility that is open to academic as well as industrial researchers and engineers, including advanced electron beam lithography, thin film processing, and wet and dry etching in a 15,000 square foot cleanroom.

For more information, see the Office of Research and Graduate Studies web page,

Interdisciplinary Engineering Studies Program

The College of Engineering directly administers non-departmental undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

The Interdisciplinary Engineering Studies (IES) Program is intended for students whose desired course of study does not fall within one of the traditional engineering departments. An interdisciplinary program combines coursework from at least one engineering department as well as other department(s) on campus (engineering or other) to allow students to create a program of study not available through the existing undergraduate degree programs. Although coursework may involve departments outside the College of Engineering, the major thrust must be in engineering.

Undergraduate Programs

Bachelor of Science in Engineering and Bachelor of Science

The IES Program offers a nonprofessional degree program leading to the Bachelor of Science (BS) and a professional degree program for the Bachelor of Science in Engineering (BSE).

Due to the uniqueness of each interdisciplinary student's program of studies, the BS and BSE degrees are not accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET. The experience requirement to obtain a professional engineering license is two years longer for a BSE graduate, except in surveying, than for a graduate of an accredited program. A BS graduate is not eligible for a professional engineering license.

Interdisciplinary students develop personal programs of study approved by a faculty adviser with similar interests. Contact Student Academic Services, email: or phone: (206) 543-1770, for information on established procedures and applications for entry into the BSE and BS programs. Entrance requirements and the continuation policy for participation in these programs are consistent with those of other departments in the College.

Bachelor of Science in Engineering

Admission to this program (usually after completion of 90 credits) is competitive with a minimum 2.80 GPA in technical courses required for entry. A minimum of 75 credits must be completed after entering the program before a BSE degree is awarded. Detailed information regarding the BSE degree can be obtained from an adviser in Student Academic Services (301 Loew).

Bachelor of Science

The nonprofessional Bachelor of Science degree provides greater flexibility than does the Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree. It can be an excellent base for subsequent professional studies in law, medicine, or business. It may also be the primary educational objective in such fields as technical writing, engineering sales, or environmental studies. Detailed requirements are available from the adviser in Student Academic Services (301 Loew).

Undergraduate Program

Engineering Adviser
301 Loew, Box 352180
(206) 543-1770

The College of Engineering provides curricula that offer a variety of educational experiences to its students. The curricula also facilitate transfer from community colleges and from other four-year colleges and universities.

Student Academic Services

301 Loew

Students are encouraged to contact Student Academic Services for program, course, or career information and discussion. The Student Academic Services advising office assists any student interested in planning the initial portion of an engineering degree program, and distributes information about prerequisites for application to all departments in the College.

For more information, visit the Student Academic Services website.

Financial Aid

The College offers financial assistance to undergraduates through industrial scholarships and loan funds. Scholarship information is available at the College of Engineering Student Academic Services office (301 Loew), and at the Office of Student Financial Aid (105 Schmitz). Most scholarships are given after a year or more in residence by the student.

Honors Program

The University Honors Program provides a special learning context for high-achieving students looking for a rigorous and enhanced educational experience. All departments in the College of Engineering participate in the UW Honors Program.

There are two types of Honors degrees available within the College of Engineering: College Honors and Departmental Honors. Students in either program are part of the University Honors Program.

College Honors

To be eligible for College Honors, students must be accepted to the University Honors Program in their freshman year. Additionally, students must be accepted into the departmental honors program (see information below on Departmental Honors) for their major, which usually occurs during the junior year. Students who complete both the Honors Core Curriculum (see the University Honors Program for more information) and the departmental honors requirements graduate "With College Honors in Name of Major".

Departmental Honors

Students who do not participate in or complete the Honors Core Curriculum but are admitted into and complete departmental honors requirements receive a degree "With Honors in Name of Major".

Admission Requirements: All engineering departments require students to have at least a 3.30 cumulative UW GPA to be eligible for departmental honors. Also, most departments require students to complete a specified number of departmental courses with a minimum departmental GPA.

Departmental honors requirements vary by major and are established by the individual departments. Most departments in the College of Engineering require 9 to 10 credits of Honors courses in the major and an Honors senior project or thesis.

International Study

Given the increased likelihood that engineering students will have overseas work experiences or do business with international clients and competitors, the College encourages students to study foreign languages in addition to their engineering coursework and to take advantage of opportunities for study at foreign universities either at the undergraduate or graduate level. The College has exchange agreements with approximately thirty universities in seventeen countries. Foreign-language courses at the third-quarter level or above (e.g., GERMAN 103) may be applied toward the VLPA general education requirement. For more information about international study, visit the College of Engineering International Studies website at Engineering students can also participate in the Global Engineering Education Exchange program (through the Center for Workforce Development, located in 101 Wilson Annex) for opportunities to study abroad. Through the UW Chapter of Engineers Without Borders (EWB), students work with disadvantaged communities worldwide in order to improve their quality of life through the implementation of environmentally sustainable, equitable, and economical engineering projects.


Students follow one of three pathways to gain admission:

  1. Direct-to-College: Freshman applicants indicate an engineering major as their first-choice on the University application. Students admitted through this pathway enter the UW with Engineering Undeclared status and usually place into an engineering major after completing freshman-level requirements. A majority of engineering students enter majors through this pathway. Students who select Computer Engineering as their first choice major on their UW application will instead be considered for Direct Placement into the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering Program. Computer Engineering is not part of Direct-to-College.
  2. Transfer Students: Apply to the UW by the published deadline. Submit an application to an engineering major. Quarters of admission vary by department. Admission is capacity constrained. See department websites for course requirements.
  3. Other Enrolled UW Students: Those not admitted through the Direct-to-College pathway may also apply for admission to engineering majors. Admission though this pathway is limited and is capacity constrained. See department websites for course requirements.

Direct-to College Admission

Freshmen admitted to the UW who indicate an engineering major as their preferred choice enter the UW with Engineering Undeclared status and must complete requirements prior to requesting placement into a specific engineering major. This is the standard admission pathway for engineering students entering the UW as freshmen. The deadline to submit a request for placement in an engineering major occurs annually on July 1. Students who select Computer Engineering as their first choice major on their UW application will instead be considered for Direct Placement into the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering Program. Computer Engineering is not part of Direct-to-College.

Students submit a ranked list of majors along with supporting materials. Since some majors are not able to take all students who request admission, students must identify alternative majors to ensure placement.

Capacity-constrained departments review students' academic records and supporting materials to determine priority for admission. Department priority and student department ranking are both used to determine final placement.

Students in good standing who do not meet the placement requirements by July 1 will be placed into a major on a conditional basis pending the completion of all placement requirements. Additional advising resources will be available to these students to support completion of placement requirements and degree course planning or advising on alternate major options outside of engineering.

Engineering Undeclared Placement Requirements

Engineering Undeclared students in good standing with respect to the continuation criteria described below may request placement into an engineering major after completion of minimum requirements as specified below:

  1. ENGR 101 (1)
  2. English composition
  3. MATH 124, MATH 125, MATH 126 (or MATH 134, MATH 135, MATH 136)
  4. CHEM 142 (or CHEM 143 or CHEM 145)
  5. PHYS 121
  6. One course from the list on this website. Students are encouraged to choose a course required for graduation in the majors they are considering. Students requesting placement to Chemical Engineering must take CHEM 152 (or CHEM 153 or CHEM 155) from this list and they are also strongly encouraged to take CHEM 162 (or CHEM 165). Students requesting placement to Industrial Engineering must take AMATH 301, CSE 142, or CSE 160 from this list.
  7. Minimum 2.0 grade in all courses used to satisfy placement requirements
  8. Minimum 2.50 cumulative GPA in courses used to satisfy placement requirements
  9. Minimum 12 credits as a matriculated UW student. Some departments require more credits. See department websites for details.

Continuation Policy for Engineering Undeclared Students

While the University has general regulations governing scholastic eligibility for continuation, the College of Engineering and the engineering departments have additional requirements in order to make the best use of limited facilities and resources. Criteria and procedures applied to Engineering Undeclared students for continuation in the College include:

  1. Complete at least one required mathematics, science, computer programming, or engineering course each quarter.
  2. Maintain minimum 2.50 GPA in mathematics, science, English composition, computer programming, and engineering courses completed after matriculation at the UW.
  3. Request placement into a major after completion of three quarters at the UW. Students in good standing who do not complete the placement requirements by July 1 after three quarters at the UW may request placement into a major on a conditional basis pending the completion of all placement requirements. Students who do not request placement after three quarters at the UW will be dropped from Engineering Undeclared status and transitioned to pre-major status. Students with conditional placement to a major who have not met all of the placement requirements after 6 quarters at UW (not including summer) will be dropped from Engineering Undeclared status and transitioned to pre-major status.

Review and Notification of Progress

Student progress is reviewed each quarter. Students whose performance fails to meet the standards outlined above receive a warning message recommending they meet with an engineering adviser. Students on warning status who fail to meet satisfactory progress requirements after one quarter are placed on probation; a hold is placed on their registration, and they must meet with a College of Engineering adviser. Students on probation who fail to meet satisfactory progress requirements after one quarter are dropped from Engineering Undeclared status. Such students may appeal for continuation as Engineering Undeclared students by writing the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, the letter to describe any extenuating circumstances and to include any additional relevant information.

Types of Programs

The College offers three basic programs leading to Bachelor of Science degrees:

Departmental Major: This program leads to a Bachelor of Science degree in a designated field of engineering (e.g., Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering). It is designed for students who intend to practice as professional engineers in a standard branch of engineering or who plan to undertake graduate study in that field. Application to a department or program at the upper-division level is made at the time lower-division requirements are satisfied. Currently enrollment limits imposed by faculty size and available laboratory/classroom space are such that entry into a specific department or program is usually competitive. In general, a student applicant must demonstrate scholastic aptitude, as evidenced by the attainment of grades averaging a minimum 2.50 or above (depending upon the program) in mathematics, the natural sciences, English composition, and other courses. A 2.50 GPA is a minimum only. In reality, the GPA of those offered admission is higher. The student is urged to plan ahead by learning the intended department or program requirements and particularly noting which requirements must be fulfilled by the time application is made.

Non-departmental Professional Program: This program leads to a Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree and is designed for students who have well defined, special educational objectives that departmental programs do not satisfy. Graduates can practice as professional engineers in newly developing fields, or they may embark on graduate study in these or allied fields (see Interdisciplinary Engineering Studies Program).

Nonprofessional Program: Leading to a Bachelor of Science degree, this program is intended for students who wish to have significant exposure to science and engineering courses, but do not plan to engage in professional engineering practice (see Interdisciplinary Engineering Studies Program).

Graduation Requirements

To graduate, students must meet or exceed the requirements of the University and their particular program or department. All program or departmental requirements are given in the specific section that describes that program or department.

All departments of the College have continuation policies that specify a minimum rate of progress as well as minimum academic-performance levels. These policies may be more restrictive than those generally applied by the University and may change with time. Information on current policy is available at the departmental offices.

Selecting courses that fulfill graduation requirements is the responsibility of each student. Students are urged to check carefully the course and credit requirements of the program in which they are enrolled.

Inter-engineering Graduate Programs

Master of Science in Engineering and Master of Science

The College offers graduate programs leading to the Master of Science in Engineering and Master of Science degrees, without designation of a specific major. For graduate degrees within specific majors, see the individual departmental listings.

The civil, mechanical, and chemical departments, and inter-engineering offer approved programs that lead to the Master of Science in Engineering degree. The civil department, inter-engineering, and the materials science and engineering department offer approved programs that lead to the Master of Science degree.

The Inter-engineering Master of Science in Engineering (MSE) and Master of Science (MS) program is intended for students whose desired course of study does not fall within one of the traditional engineering graduate programs. An inter-engineering program combines coursework from at least one graduate engineering department as well as other graduate department(s) on campus (engineering or other) to allow students to create a program of study not available through existing graduate degree programs. Applications and files of students entering the MS or MSE option are handled by the designated engineering department. Admission requires a statement describing the applicant's objectives. This statement should state why the student wants to enter the MS/MSE program rather than one of the traditional engineering graduate programs. Applicants to the MS/MSE program must have well-defined educational objectives which cannot be satisfied by established engineering programs.

Admission Requirements

MSE/MS applicants must have a bachelor's degree in engineering, mathematics, or science with a minimum 3.00 GPA in courses taken in the junior and senior years. Students entering without an accredited engineering undergraduate degree and seeking an MSE degree satisfy the minimum general requirements of the College of Engineering baccalaureate degree. Students complete the degree within two years; situations requiring longer must be approved by the student's faculty adviser.

Development of the Plan of Study: Before applying, the student consults a faculty member from each department in which the student intends to work, and identifies one to serve as the faculty adviser. Each student develops a plan of study and research that meets the general degree requirements (below) and satisfies the student's own program objectives. The program must include in-depth coursework from two or more departments and be approved by the faculty adviser(s). The proposed program becomes part of the student's application to the inter-engineering MSE/MS program.

Development of the Statement of Objectives: Students submit a one-page statement of study and career objectives for seeking this degree, explaining why the student wants to enter the MSE/MS program rather than a traditional engineering graduate program. Also, students should include any additional information, such as work experience, outside interests, and unusual circumstances, that may contribute to a better understanding of the student's record.

Degree Requirements

48 credits

Minimum 39 credits of coursework, with no more than 9 credits of engineering courses at the 400 level and at least 21 credits of engineering courses at the 500 level; also, at least 9 credits of thesis study/preparation.