Many students are undecided about their majors when they enter college — and many who have decided will change their minds more than once before they graduate. There is a lot to choose from at a university of this size, and there are many factors to think about as you consider potential majors.
What is a major?
A major is an extended study of one academic area, usually within one department of the University. Your major consists of at least 50 credits and makes up about one-third of your bachelor’s degree program.
Major admission categories
- Open Admission: Students in good academic standing are admitted at any time.
- Selective/Minimum Requirements Admission: Requires students to complete satisfactorily a set of prerequisite courses with a minimum GPA. All students who meet the minimum requirements are admitted.
- Capacity-Constrained Admission: Students must complete all of the minimum requirements to apply. Admission is not guaranteed because space is limited. These majors often have application forms and application deadlines; some of them require standardized tests, recommendations, and/or interviews.
Pre-Major (pre-science, pre-humanities, etc)
The vast majority of students enter UW as a pre-major (this includes pre-science, pre-humanities, etc.) This status simply means a student has not yet declared a major at UW. The type of pre-major a student is coded as correlates to what that student put on their UW application but does not impact a student’s choice of major later.
For example, if a student indicated Physics as their first choice major on their application then they would be coded as pre-science but could pursue a degree in Art History if they so choose.
Double Majors and Double Degrees
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.
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.
Satisfactory Progress Policy and Pre-Major Extensions
The University of Washington Satisfactory Progress Policy states that students are expected to declare a major by the time they have earned 105 credits and completed 5 quarters. Both conditions need to be met in order for the satisfactory progress rules to go into effect.