Current UW Student Admission

picture of Gates Center

The current UW Student admission pathways is for students who complete prerequisites before applying to the major. Most often these students would be 'interest changers' - students who came to UW with another interest in mind and later developed a passion for computer science and computer engineering. UW students apply to both Computer Engineering and Computer Science through a joint online application for Autumn or Spring admission. Applicants who satisfy the minimum prerequisites below will be given thorough consideration by the Allen School Admission Committee. However, because demand exceeds capacity, the Allen School cannot offer admission to all applicants who meet these minimum qualifications.

Applicants must be enrolled at the UW Seattle campus.

In an effort to support prospective current UW students who are applying to the Allen School, we are excited to offer the following resources:

  • A Presentation for you to view that provides best practices and suggestions for how to write a strong personal statement for your application

Additional Questions & Support

If you would like to discuss course planning or have other admission questions, please attend Quick Questions to chat with an Allen School Academic Adviser (held Tu, W, & Th). Additionally, all prospective students are highly encouraged to attend a current UW student information session, held on the second Tuesday of each month via Zoom.

Please reach out to if you have any questions.

How to Apply

Key Dates & Deadlines

The Allen School accepts applications for students to start in both Autumn and Spring quarters, we do not have Winter or Summer admission cycles. Please note: the Allen School departmental application is typically open for about 2 weeks prior to the application deadlines.

Spring Admission

Autumn Admission

Allen School Application Deadline:

January 15* Extended to January 16 at 5:00 PM PST for Spring 2024

Allen School Application Deadline:

July 1st

Allen School admission decisions will be sent by February 15th.

Allen School admission decisions will be sent early August.

Information Sessions

We offer different types of information sessions to support prospective students applying through the current UW student admissions pathway. 

Dates for information sessions are posted on our information sessions webpage.

Application Requirements

Students interested in applying to Computer Science or Computer Engineering must complete at least 30 graded credits (not from AP/IB) and complete the prerequisites listed below by the time of application. Applicants must submit an online application through the application portal, write a personal statement, and fill out a work history section outlining their work & extracurricular involvement.

Computer Science Prerequisites

The Computer Science major is offered through the College of Arts & Sciences. Students applying to this major must complete the following requirements prior to the application deadline:

Computer Engineering Prerequisites

Computer Engineering is an ABET-accredited program offered through the College of Engineering. Students applying to the Computer Engineering major must complete the following requirements prior to the application deadline:

Advice & FAQs

How is the personal statement evaluated, and what should I discuss in my personal statement?

Our evaluations for all parts of the application are holistic, we consider the whole person, which comes out in the essay, versus just considering grades. We do not provide specific feedback on an applicant's personal statement. However, we provide below an overview of what we ask you to discuss in the personal statement:

    Please address all the required topics below. Your responses must be formatted in sections with these exact headings. The response under each heading should be no more than 250 words.

    1. Academic History & Major Choice (Required)

    • Tell us about your college career to date, describing your performance, educational path, and academic choices.
    • Share what led you to choose to study Computer Science or Computer Engineering.
    • Explain any situations that may have had a significant positive or negative impact on your academic progress or curricular choices. What happened, and what was the impact for you?

    2. Future Academic & Career Goals (Required)

    • Tell us about your future academic goals in college and your career and/or post-graduation plans.
    • How will the Allen School help you achieve your goals?
    • If you plan to pursue more than one major, tell us why both majors are important to you (if applicable).
    • If you will take more than 4 years to graduate, please briefly explain why and discuss your plan for graduating efficiently (if applicable).

    3. Commitment to Community (Required)

    • Tell us about any significant communities that you are actively involved with or have recently been a part of within the past two years, and your role in them.
    • Why are you involved in these communities?
    • How did these communities benefit from your involvement? Emphasize in particular any leadership roles or impact you have had in these communities.
    • What perspectives, skills, or insights will you bring to the Allen School community or future work as a result of your participation in these communities?

    4. Additional Elements (Optional)

    • Tell us about how any of your identities, perspectives, or life experiences would help you contribute to the Allen School community and the computing field. This could include but is not limited to: race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, gender identity, religion, sexual orientation, ability/disability, age, socioeconomic background, academic experience, and veteran status.
    • Describe any significant responsibilities you may have in addition to being a student (e.g. parenting responsibilities, work, familial responsibilities). What impact has this had on your college experience?
    • Provide any additional comments you would like to share with the committee.

What are some resources I can use to help me write a strong personal statement?

A good essay conveys important information clearly, but is still concise. Expect that writing your personal statement will take time: start thinking about your essay and writing drafts well before the application deadline.  Plan to have your essay reviewed by a mentor/teacher, parent or friend.

Here are some resources to consult to ensure you submit a statement of the highest quality.

What are my chances of admission?

There are always more qualified applicants than space available in our programs. Therefore, our process is competitive, and we must deny admission to some students with good academic records. We typically have space for approximately 25-35% of all students who apply however this number changes depending on increases in funding. It's also important to note that we do not admit differently between Computer Science and Computer Engineering, we consider all applications together and admit without taking specific major into account. The admit rate in 2020 was 28% (113 admitted/402 applied), in 2021 it was 30% (165 admitted/554 applied), in 2022 it was 30% (134 admitted /444 applied) and in 2023 it was 33% (165 admitted /495 applied)

All applications are reviewed by the Allen School Undergraduate Admission Committee, comprised of faculty and advisers. We use an evaluative, rather than a quantitative, process in our admission review. This means our decisions are based on more than simply which applicants have the highest grades. We do not tally up points; rather, we form an overall evaluation based on academic background and other factors, such as outside interests and activities, evidence of leadership and a sense of direction, and life experience. We do not expect all students to excel across the board, but achievement in relevant academic areas or evidence of overcoming hardships can strengthen an application.

What factors are considered in the review process?

Here are some points to keep in mind about the Allen School admission process:

  1. Our goal is to have as complete a picture as we can of your activities, experiences, and academic performance.
  2. In evaluating transcripts, we look not only at your grades, but at how many courses you have taken each quarter; circumstances (such as employment or activities) that may limit the number and types of courses taken, and the difficulty of each quarter as a whole (insofar as we have access to that information). For example, do you take balanced yet challenging course loads? Are you pursuing honors courses? Negative elements might include a pattern of repeating classes, multiple dropped, withdrawn, or S/NS courses, or selecting schedules with overlapping content.
  3. We look for breadth in prerequisite coursework as well as in general education classes. For instance, courses in English and Speech Communication can be important to our majors. Many of our upper-division courses demand presentation skills and an ability to communicate among team members. Also, your choice of courses gives us a glimpse of what interests you.
  4. Your personal statement is an opportunity for the committee to learn more about what is important to you and why computer science/engineering is of interest.

How are applications to the Allen School evaluated?

Allen School applications are reviewed by a committee of Allen School faculty and staff. We have a rubric that our faculty and staff are trained to follow to ensure that we are reviewing all applications consistently. Generally speaking, we evaluate two pieces of an application: the academic record (grades in prerequisite subject areas and overall grade trends) and the answers to the essay questions. While the rubric provides general guidelines for reviewers, we do have a method for flagging applications that don’t fit the rubric or have other information that needs to be captured during our discussion.

We know that students are curious about how we evaluate applications. Therefore we provide the rubric here for past cycles. You should, however, take note that using this to prepare for an upcoming cycle may not be in your best interest as this rubric is changed and updated every year. The new essay questions or evaluation materials are posted by Nov 15th each year.

Although we post the rubric publicly, please note that we do not conduct any pre-evaluations of a student's application. The best way to prepare an upcoming application is to (1) address all the essay questions thoughtfully, carefully, and substantively and (2) do your best academically in all your coursework. We also highly recommend that all prospective students attend an information session to learn more about the Allen School and our evaluation process. These information sessions are free and open to the public. You can find more about our information sessions online.

What should I do if I am not admitted?

Students applying to the Allen School should consider alternative degree options as well. UW offers many other excellent computing-related majors that are far more than "back-up" plans. Choose a major you enjoy and that will help further your personal, academic, and professional goals. Students in any major may take non-major Allen School courses to build technical skills.

For some students who are denied admission to the Allen School on their first application, applying a second time may make sense. Reapplying does not automatically improve your chance of admission. You must identify what specifically kept you from being competitive the first time, and resolve these issues. Note, however, that the primary reason most students are denied is that space is limited; the Allen School denies many very strong applicants and sometimes there is no specific issue.

For students who decide to reapply, here are some things to consider:

  • If your grades in a key area (math, science, English, or CSE) are below the range that is typically competitive for the Allen School, you might improve your application by taking more-advanced classes in the same area. If you have not maintained consistently strong grades across multiple quarters, evaluate the options you have to create stability and work hard at maintaining strong grades. If you tend to pay attention only to the courses that interest you at the expense of everything else, focus on taking a more balanced approach to your coursework.
  • Most students planning for a second application will take additional challenging courses in math, science, English, or computer science. Keep in mind that although it may seem appealing to take a non-major Allen School course, these classes do not count toward Allen School major requirements. Applicants should speak with an Allen School adviser before taking a non-major Allen School class.
  • Consider general requirements needed to graduate instead of just courses needed to apply. For example, finish your math and science courses, work towards a minor or another major, and complete your general education requirements.
  • Ask for feedback on your personal statement. You might ask friends or family if it captures the most interesting and important details of who you are. Be open to making changes. Also, address what has changed since your first application. Spend time proofreading. Remember that it is more important for us to hear what you are doing presently and hope to accomplish in the future, rather than details about the first time you sat in front of a computer or played your first video game.
  • If you have trouble taking tests or organizing your time, consider talking to a counselor at the Counseling Center about test-anxiety, test-taking tips, or time management.
  • If you would like to speak to an adviser, you can check out the Undergraduate Academic Affairs Advising in Mary Gates Hall.