Upcoming Changes to Computer Science Admissions

The admissions process for current UW students and admitted freshmen described in this section applies through the 2018-19 academic year.

Beginning with the incoming freshman class of fall 2019, the Allen School is expanding its Direct to Major admission process to be the primary pathway for UW students into the Computer Science major. Visit our online guide to Direct to Major expansion to learn more.

Note: The upcoming expansion of Direct to Major admission does not impact the Computer Engineering major, which falls under the College of Engineering's Direct to College admission process, or transfer student admissions.

The University of Washington is a great place to study Computer Science, Computer Engineering, and many related technology fields! There is a wealth of relevant majors: Computer Science and Computer Engineering offered by the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering (we're glad you're here!), Informatics, Human Centered Design & Engineering, Applied & Computational Mathematical Sciences, Electrical Engineering, and more!

As you launch into your time at UW, it's important to recognize that many students discover a new academic passion during their first year - they indicate preference for one major on their UW application, but an exciting introductory course in another field causes them to reconsider. This is healthy! Students who come to UW intending to major in a field other than Computer Science or Computer Engineering sometimes take our introductory course, discover that they love the field and have a flair for it, and become our majors. Students who come to UW intending to major in Computer Science or Computer Engineering sometimes discover that another major - for example, Informatics or Human Centered Design & Engineering - is better suited to their interests. Don't feel constrained - explore the breadth and depth of the University of Washington!

As with many other programs at UW, the Paul G. Allen School is capacity-constrained: the number of interested students significantly exceeds the number of student places that are available. (We can't expand arbitrarily. Providing a world-class Computer Science or Computer Engineering education requires appropriate class sizes, laboratory facilities, faculty, etc.) UW students must apply for admission to our Computer Science or Computer Engineering majors through the College of Engineering online application process. Currently the Allen School is able to accommodate roughly one-third of UW students who apply.

Admission Pathways

Most students apply through the Regular Admission pathway after completing about one year of prerequisites at the UW, but we also offer Direct Admission from high school, Transfer Admission, and Non-Traditional Admission pathways. This section contains detailed information for each of the following:

  • Regular Admission: The standard process in which current UW students join the Allen School after completing all prerequisites at the UW. See a more detailed explanation below.
  • Direct to Major (aka Direct Admission) from for incoming freshmen: This highly selective process grants Computer Science admission to incoming freshmen, based on the standard UW Freshman Application. Note that Direct to Major admission for CS is similar to -- but different than -- Direct to College admission through the College of Engineering.
  • Transfer Admission: Transfer applicants are considered as part of the Regular Admission process. Transfer applicants are selected for admission based on the standard UW Transfer Application. You do not need to submit a separate application to the Allen School.
  • Non-Traditional Admission: This pathway is for strong current UW students who discover CSE late. See the Current UW students section for more details.

How Many We Admit

The Allen School currently admits roughly 490 students per year. This includes all four pathways, and both Computer Science and Computer Engineering. Because the UW admits more than 1,000 students per year who want to study Computer Science or Computer Engineering, admission is competitive.