The University of Washington

Founded in 1861, the University of Washington has 48,000 students (32,500 undergraduate and 15,500 graduate/professional) and more than 2,000 full-time instructional faculty divided into 16 schools and colleges. The University's annual operating budget is over $8 billion (inclusive of the UW Medicine health care system), roughly 5% of which comes from the State.

Arial view of campus The University of Washington is one of the nation's premier research-intensive universities. For more than 40 years, UW has ranked annually among the top five institutions in federal research obligations. The UW faculty includes more than 175 members of the National Academies, 17 MacArthur Fellows, 6 winners of the National Medal of Science, and 7 Nobel Prize winners. Programs from across the campus are ranked among the best in their fields.


Computer Science & Engineering at UW

The Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering began as an inter-college graduate program in 1967. In 1975 an undergraduate program in Computer Science was added and departmental status was conferred. A second undergraduate program, in Computer Engineering, was added in 1989 when the department moved to the College of Engineering. A Professional Master's Program was added in 1996, and a combined Bachelors/Masters program was added in 2008. In 2017 - our 50th anniversary year - the University of Washington Board of Regents voted to create the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering, elevating our status within the university and linking us in perpetuity with the internationally renowned investor, philanthropist and computing pioneer.

Humanities quadrangle in spring The Allen School is widely regarded as among the most distinguished programs in the nation. We have roughly 100 full-time faculty, 130 technical and administrative staff members, over 600 graduate students (350 in the full-time PhD program, 200 in the Professional Masters Program, and 75 in the Bachelors/Masters program), and over 2000 undergraduate students (currently growing to award more than 600 Bachelors degrees per year). Allen School faculty are widely recognized as among the top in their fields. Forty-three current faculty members have won Presidential/NSF Young Investigator Awards or NSF CAREER Awards. Six faculty members are ONR Young Investigator Award recipients. Five - plus five former faculty - have held NSF Presidential Faculty Fellow or Presidential Early Career (PECASE) Awards. Twenty-nine have held Sloan Research Fellowships. Among current and emeritus senior faculty are nine Fulbright recipients, three Guggenheim recipients, twenty-two Fellows of the ACM, fifteen Fellows of the IEEE, two Fellows of the International Association for Pattern Recognition, five Fellows of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, three Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, four Fellows of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, three recipients of ACM or IEEE Field Awards, three MacArthur Fellows, four (plus one Adjunct) Allen Distinguished Investigators, and four (plus ten Adjunct/Affiliate) Members of the National Academies.

Drumheller fountain

Within the University, five faculty members have received the University of Washington Distinguished Teaching Award, two have received the University of Washington Marsha L. Landolt Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award, two have received the University of Washington Outstanding Public Service Award, one has received the David B. Thorud Leadership Award, one was named the University of Washington Annual Faculty Lecturer, and three have received the College of Engineering Faculty Achievement Award. In 1999, we received the inaugural UW Brotman Award for Instructional Excellence - in essence, a departmental distinguished teaching award (see our "Reflective Statement" here - as valid today as it was then). Twenty-one faculty members hold endowed positions.

We strive to maintain a highly effective graduate program, two strong undergraduate programs, and an open and inclusive culture with minimal partitioning either vertically (between faculty ranks or between faculty and students) or horizontally (between research areas).

Research Overview

We are active in most of the principal areas of computer science and computer engineering. Particular strengths include:

Cross-Campus Initiatives

Computer science plays a unique role in the modern university and the modern world. The Allen School has always embraced this role, and the University of Washington provides a particularly rich environment for multi-disciplinary collaboration.

In addition to a vast number of individual collaborations, the Allen School has played a leadership role in establishing a number of thriving multi-disciplinary centers, institutes, and programs, including:

The Graduate Program

Shilshole marina at sunset

Roughly 350 students are enrolled in the Allen School's full-time graduate program. We typically award 40 Ph.D. degrees each year. Our recent Ph.D. graduates have received offers from essentially every top academic program and industrial research laboratory, and many dozens of our recent graduates populate these strong programs.

In addition, we offer a Professional Masters Program that is designed for fully-employed professionals in the region's information technology industry. This program features a mix of distance learning and evening courses. It enrolls roughly 150 students from more than two dozen leading companies in the greater Seattle area, and grants an additional 45 Masters degrees per year.

UW also offers an interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in Computational Molecular Biology involving several departments in the biological and mathematical sciences, including the Allen School.

The Undergraduate Program

Red Square in the fall

The Allen School offers two Bachelors degrees: a Computer Science degree offered through the College of Arts & Sciences, and a Computer Engineering degree offered through the College of Engineering. There is a Data Science Specialization for those students majoring in Computer Science who are interested in developing a foundation in one of the fastest-growing areas of the field. The Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering is accredited by the EAC Accreditation Commission of ABET ( Together, our undergraduate program is growing to award 630+ degrees annually.

Our undergraduates are wonderfully strong, and interaction with the faculty is high. Undergraduate participation in research is common. Intensive capstone design courses are available each year. A majority of our undergraduates participate in one or more internships in Seattle's vibrant information technology sector, dramatically enhancing their education. While a number of our students choose to continue their education at one of the nation's top graduate institutions (or in our own combined Bachelors/Masters program), most transition to industry positions. The Allen School is among the top suppliers of students in the nation to leading high-tech firms such as Microsoft, Amazon, and Google. In addition, we are the leading supplier to many regional companies. Because Washington State has a vibrant computing industry, the vast majority of our graduates remain in-state.

Allen School undergraduates are widely honored within and beyond the University of Washington. Our students have received the Rhodes Scholarship, Goldwater Scholarship, Marshall Scholarship, Gates Cambridge Scholarship, and Google Anita Borg Scholarship. Within the University of Washington, they have received far more than their share of University Medals and Dean's Medals. We lead the nation in the number of students recognized in the Computing Research Association's Undergraduate Research Award competition.

Our introductory course sequence, CSE 121 / CSE 122 / CSE 123, has over 5,000 annual course enrollments from students across the campus. Despite significant recent growth, demand for our undergraduate program continues to exceed capacity. However, we have a broad range of upper-division courses for students majoring in other fields. We additionally participate in the Applied and Computational Mathematical Sciences program with our colleagues from Applied Mathematics, Mathematics, and Statistics.

The Puget Sound Region

The Puget Sound region is increasingly prominent as a national and international technology center. Key strengths of the University of Washington include medicine, biotechnology, the physical sciences, the marine and environmental sciences, and computing and allied areas of science and engineering.

Pike Place Market and Elliot Bay

Adjacent to the University of Washington are a number of major R&D facilities with which we have close ties, such as Microsoft Research, Google, Amazon, Adobe Labs, the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, the Institute for Systems Biology, and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Strong collaborations exist among these groups, with the Allen School playing a major role in the University and the region. Our annual Affiliates Meeting is a forum for interaction among 75 leadership companies from the region and the nation. Our professional Masters degree program and our colloquium series (broadcast on UWTV and live on the Internet) play significant roles in keeping the region's leading-edge workforce current. Working with UW Professional and Continuing Education, we endorse dozens of "Extension Certificate Programs" that generate many thousands of course enrollments annually.

Downtown Seattle and Mount Rainier

We are actively involved with regional leadership organizations such as the Washington Technology Industry Association and the Technology Alliance.

Seattle, consistently acclaimed as one of the most livable cities in the nation, is a terrific place to be. Seattle is a cosmopolitan city situated in the midst of the beauty and diversity of the Pacific Northwest. The University of Washington is located on Lake Washington, a few miles east of Puget Sound. The Cascade Mountains are one hour to the east; the Olympic Peninsula and Olympic Mountains are two hours to the west.

Our World-Class Facilities

Paul G. Allen Center for Computer Science and Engineering

In October 2003, we moved to the Paul G. Allen Center for Computer Science & Engineering. The Allen Center was a true public/private partnership, funded by the State of Washington, the University of Washington, and more than 250 friends and alumni. The six-story (plus basement) building increased our total space by a factor of 2.5, and our laboratory space by a factor of 3; it affords sweeping views of Lake Washington, the Cascade Mountains, Mount Rainier, and the Space Needle.

Bill & Melinda Gates Center for Computer Science & Engineering

In February 2019 we dedicated a second building, the Bill & Melinda Gates Center for Computer Science & Engineering. Located across the street from the Allen Center and designed by the same remarkable firm (Seattle's LMN Architects), the Gates Center doubles our space, with a particular focus on student capacity and the student experience.

The Allen Center, the Gates Center, and the creation of the Paul G. Allen School position us for a future even brighter than our past.