Computer Engineering became part of the Allen School Direct to Major admission process in 2021

Effective for the freshmen class of 2021, applicants who select Computer Engineering as their first-choice major on their UW freshman application are considered for Direct to Major (DTM) admission into the Allen School instead of Direct to College (DTC) admission in the College of Engineering. Although computer engineering is an engineering degree, it is housed in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering. Aligning admissions for the computer engineering and computer science majors provides greater transparency to applicants who intend to pursue either or these majors.

All freshman applicants who meet UW admissions criteria and who select Computer Science or Computer Engineering as their first-choice major on their application will be considered for DTM admission in the Allen School. The UW Office of Admissions will offer Direct to Major admission based on a holistic review that includes established criteria and selection guidelines developed in partnership with the Allen School.

About Direct to Major Admission (DTM)

Criteria for DTM

The UW Office of Admissions selects students for Allen School DTM, based on criteria developed in partnership with the Allen School. The UW Office of Admissions prioritizes academically strong, motivated, and well-rounded students. It is important to note that Allen School DTM is designed primarily for Washington state resident students - approximately 15-20% of Washington resident applicants are offered admission to the Allen School directly as a freshman. Here is the Fall DTM admissions data broken down by residency (please note 2021 was the first year Computer Engineering and Computer Science were both admitted directly to the Allen School) : 


2021 DataApplications to UW Listing Computer Science or Computer Engineering as their first choice majorOffered Admission directly to Computer Science or Computer Engineering
WA Residents1732456
Domestic Non-Residents388799
International Students111743

*Data from UW Office of Admissions - generally updated on Nov 1st each year

The best academic preparation for computer science and computer engineering is taking the most rigorous curriculum offered at your high school. This includes advanced classes if available (Honors, AP, IB, etc.), especially in English, math, and science. Most students selected for DTM into the Allen School have taken science and math every year of high school, and most have taken calculus. It is not necessary to take computer programming in high school, or to have computer-related work experience. However, if you have access to computing opportunities, we encourage you to take them!

Application Process

There is no separate application for Allen School DTM. To be considered, students submit the UW Application for Freshman Admissions, and select Computer Science or Computer Engineering as their first choice of major. No additional materials are required. Applicants should follow the UW freshman application guidelines; you do not need to craft a computing-focused application. Applicants must meet all UW admissions deadlines and requirements as outlined on the UW Freshman Admissions website.

As stated above, the UW Office of Admissions selects students for Allen School DTM, based on criteria developed in partnership with the Allen School. 

Information Sessions & Appointments 

The Allen School offers information sessions for prospective high school students on the first Friday of every month from 3:30PM - 4:30PM Pacific Time. Dates and times are posted on our Information Sessions page.

High school students who are dual enrolled at a Washington State Community College as a Running Start student can also schedule a virtual appointment via zoom with our Diversity & Access team Recruiter.  

Meet with a Current Student

Prospective students can schedule a virtual appointment via zoom to meet with one of our Allen School ambassadors who are current students studying Computer Science or Computer Engineering. These meetings are intended for K-12 students to ask questions and learn more about the student experience.

You can also attend ambassador office hours, which are casual drop-in sessions with our ambassador team, on Mondays from 7:00PM - 8:00PM PT. You can join via zoom here!


What are the benefits of being a DTM student?

DTM offers many benefits to selected students including (but not limited to):

  • Guaranteed admission to Computer Science or Computer Engineering (no competitive application process later)
  • Participation in Allen School events and activities from your first day on campus 
  • More flexibility in planning your Allen School coursework over four years of college
  • More time to do internships and participate in research
  • Access to Allen School labs, facilities, and events
  • Connection to other Allen School students who share your academic interests 

How do I know if I am admitted to Allen School as a DTM student?

Allen School DTM decisions are sent at the same time as UW freshman admissions decisions, during the month of March. Your major will be listed on your acceptance materials. Students offered DTM Admission will see Computer Science or Computer Engineering listed as their major. Students who are not offered DTM will see Pre-major or Pre-science listed as their major. 

In March, the Allen School will also contact DTM students with information about our program. Everyone offered Allen School DTM will receive multiple emails from the Allen School. 

What happens if I am not offered admission through the DTM pathway (i.e. I see Pre-major or Pre-science listed as my major)?

Many applicants who select Computer Science or Computer Engineering on their UW application will be admitted to the UW but not offered DTM to the Allen School. We encourage students to be open-minded. Many students arrive at UW thinking they want to pursue one major, but develop a passion for another major during their freshman year. UW offers more than 180 majors, including a number of technology-related majors other than Computer Science and Computer Engineering, which are popular choices for many students and can be a great fit for your future plans.

However, if you are absolutely certain that you want to major in Computer Science or Computer Engineering and do not receive a DTM offer, you should strongly consider attending another university. 

Is there a minimum GPA to be competitive for DTM?

The Office of Admissions uses a holistic review process to make DTM decisions. Most students offered DTM have a high school GPA of 3.85-4.00 (unweighted). Remember that these numbers are only one factor in our selection process. Also note that hundreds of students with these high grades are not offered DTM; no GPA guarantees admission.

Do you expect students to have had programming experience in high school?

No, we do not expect freshman applicants to have any programming experience. We look for those students who demonstrate academic excellence and leadership. We look for students with strong academic motivation, who have excelled in math, science, English and other writing courses.

Can students in the Allen School pursue a double-major, double-degree, or minor?

Yes! One of the advantages of a large institution like the UW is the enormous number of academic options, and we encourage Allen School students to explore subjects outside the department. Many of our undergraduates pursue more than one major or degree and seek minors in other disciplines. Because Allen School DTM students can start our curriculum early, they often have more flexibility to plan for a second major or minor.

What if I am offered DTM but decide I would like to pursue a different major?

You can drop your Allen School major at any time if you decide it's not the right fit. We anticipate that DTM students, like all students at the University, will spend their first year or two exploring many options.