About Our Undergraduate Program

Students walk down steps of tree-lined Snohomish Lane outside of the Bill & Melinda Gates Center, with a peekaboo view of the Paul G. Allen Center in the background The UW’s Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering (CSE) serves over 1,500 undergraduates in our two majors, and many more through our introductory and non-major courses. Our labs and facilities offer a premier learning and gathering environment where you can work hard individually and with others interested in learning how computing technology can transform the world. The Allen School also serves as an entry point for students across the UW campus to explore the world of computing with courses designed to enable all students, regardless of major, to develop computational thinking and hands-on programming skills.

Information on expanded Direct to Major admission in Computer Science

CS or CE?

The Allen School offers two undergraduate majors: the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science (CS) and the Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering (CE). The CS degree is awarded through the College of Arts and Sciences. Compared with CE, it has broader liberal arts and general education requirements and offers more flexibility in its upper-division requirements. The CE degree is awarded through the College of Engineering and is accredited by ABET. CE's requirements place relatively greater emphasis on math and science, as well as computing hardware.

Students in both majors have some flexibility to tailor their course of study to their specific interests, and both degrees are appropriate for most employment opportunities. Review our detailed degree requirements to learn more about both programs.

Why study Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington?

Allen School students at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in ComputingThe Allen School is where future leaders learn to design technology that solves problems and improves lives. The Allen School is recognized as one of the top computing programs in the world: we have passionate faculty, exciting research, great job prospects for our students, and a supportive community.

Computers are the most flexible and powerful machines ever created. And while the field of computing constantly grows and changes, the core magic of CSE remains timeless: computer scientists and engineers educated at the University of Washington’s Paul G. Allen School build solutions that change the world.

What will you learn here?

CSE is a broad field, and our courses cover a wide range of subjects. Our students start with the basics in our popular introductory programming courses — no prior experience required! Then they learn the mathematical foundations of computing; get hands-on experience building software and hardware; and choose advanced courses such as human-computer interaction, computer graphics and animation, artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, data science, natural language processing, computer networking, computational biology, computer security and privacy, and much more.

Our courses range in size from 30 to 150 students, and they get increasingly collaborative and creative as you take more advanced courses. CSE is also highly interdisciplinary: with courses from more than 150 UW departments and schools to choose from, you will have ample opportunity to explore all of your interests!

Who will you learn from?

Our professors are great teachers who make student education their first priority, as well as world-class researchers at the forefront of their field. Our faculty regularly earn top scores in the College of Engineering’s student course evaluations, so you can be confident you will learn from the best. They also work with student researchers who want real experience creating new technology.

Two students in graduation caps and gowns onstage at the Allen School graduation celebrationWhat will you do when you graduate?

Tech industry: Most of our alumni work at tech companies in Washington after graduating, from large tech titans to the smallest startups. More than 100 companies attend our Autumn and Winter career fairs to recruit CSE majors. If you’re interested in working in tech, this is one of the best places to prepare!

Graduate school: Around 10% of our bachelor’s graduates enroll in our combined bachelor’s/master’s program before going into industry, while others go to Masters and Ph.D. programs at other top universities. Alumni also pursue graduate school and research in other areas, from business to biology.

Other careers: A Computer Science or Computer Engineering degree can take you many places! Our graduates work in education, the arts, law, and countless other areas. Whether you directly apply your technical skills in a position at a tech company, or contribute your knowledge of computing and creative problem-solving to a different industry, your Allen School education will prepare you to excel in a variety of careers and make a positive impact in the world.

Extracurricular Opportunities

A trio of students in Allen School t-shirts who serve as CSE Ambassadors pose at a STEM Night event for high school studentsThe Allen School offers a variety of exciting, and sometimes challenging, opportunities for undergraduate students to enhance their educational experience, through hands-on experiences and activities to develop their leadership skills. They work on research with professors, study abroad around the world, pursue internships at leading companies, mentor their peers, and teach younger students about computer science through our K-12 outreach programs.

Undergraduate Research

The Allen School encourages undergraduate majors to engage in research alongside faculty and graduate students to experience the excitement and the challenge of scientific discovery while receiving credit towards their degree.

TA Program

Becoming a teaching assistant (TA) is a rewarding way to share the knowledge you have gained with your fellow students while providing essential support for Allen School courses. Duties vary depending on the course and the instructor, but they may include conducting quiz section meetings, hosting exam review sessions, preparing course materials and assignments, and holding regular office hours for tutoring students.

Study Abroad

The Allen School offers direct exchanges with four partner universities: KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden; ETH Zurich and École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland; and Saarland University in Saarbrücken, Germany. These exchanges enable you to experience studying abroad while fulfilling CSE degree requirements. In addition, UW has hundreds of other options for studying abroad if you are interested in pursuing electives or general education requirements in another country.

Internships

All Allen School students are encouraged to pursue internships as a way to explore careers and gain valuable experience putting what they learn in the classroom into practice. There are a variety of resources available to help you connect with companies seeking interns, and CSE 301 offers the opportunity to earn credit for completing an internship.

Capstones

The Allen School's capstone courses are senior-level project courses that invite students to work in interdisciplinary teams to solve a substantial problem with knowledge gained from many areas in computer science and engineering. Students define the problem, design a solution, develop a prototype, and present their work. Computer Engineering majors are required to complete a capstone course in order to graduate; Computer Science majors are encouraged, but not mandated, to pursue a capstone course as a way to demonstrate what they have learned and tackle interesting problems in a setting that emulates what they will encounter in graduate school or industry employment.

Student Organizations

The Allen School has a multitude of student organizations that are organized and managed by current students. Membership for all of these groups are open to all Allen School students, and each organization hosts several events each year to help foster a close community amongst the student population.

  • Student Advisory Council: The Student Advisory Council serves as a collective voice of undergrad and masters' students in the Allen School. The Council aims to address key issues in the Allen School including but not limited to: student wellness, diversity, curriculum development, and opportunities to engage in social good.
  • ACM Student Chapter: The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) is an international society devoted to the advancement of scientific and educational computing. The UW student chapter, hosted by the CSE department, brings the motivation and spirit of this organization to campus and provides an atmosphere that encourages academic growth, departmental socializing, and open lines of communication between students and faculty.
  • ACM-W Student Chapter: The Association for Computing Machinery for Women (ACM-W) supports the recruitment and retention of women in computing fields, and showcases women leaders in computing. The CSE student chapter of ACM-W pursues multiple missions: to educate women about the field of computing, to engage women in exciting activities, to connect students with industry leaders, to promote the field of computing to younger students, and to support the activities of the ACM.
  • Minorities in Tech (MiT): Minorities in Tech supports underrepresented groups in the tech and industry and works to foster a more culturally inclusive CSE community. They are committed to creating an inclusive multicultural environment where differences are valued and respected.
  • GEN1: GEN1 aims to celebrate and support the Allen School’s vibrant and diverse first-generation community by providing resources and a community to ensure academic, professional, and personal success.
  • Q++: Q++ is a group at the University of Washington dedicated to providing support and community for LGBTQIA+ individuals within the Allen School community.