Many students enter the UW with an interest in computers. There are a variety of ways you can gain an understanding of how computers work, and several majors other than Computer Science and Computer Engineering can prepare you for employment in a field where computers are used.
For example, any engineering, science, or technical major integrates computing since computers are powerful tools for computation, design, modeling, and data manipulation. Or any major plus some computer coursework can satisfy a computing interest. For example, the Allen School offers a series of non-majors courses.
Below are specific suggestions of related major areas at the UW campuses in Seattle, Bothell and Tacoma and at other Washington state colleges and universities.
UW Seattle Campus
Majors with are capacity constrained: Students must complete all minimum requirements to apply and must then compete with the entire applicant pool for a limited number of spaces. These majors often have application forms and application deadlines; some of them require standardized tests, recommendations, and/or interviews.
- Applied and Computational Mathematical Sciences. ACMS is an inter-departmental program that combines higher math, computer science, probability and statistics, modeling, and applied math. Mathematics is used in a fundamental way in most fields of science and engineering, and its use is rapidly expanding in the social sciences and humanities, as well. Recent increases in computing power have made mathematical modeling, computer simulation, and statistical analysis more important than ever. This degree offers several pathways, combining higher math courses with courses in computer science, probability and statistics, modeling, and/or applied math.
Informatics. The Information School, also known as the iSchool, offers a Bachelor of Science in Informatics that prepares students to analyze, design, and develop information technologies for the good of people, organizations, and society. The degree is a balance between technical skills in building information systems, and social, ethical, design, and organizational perspectives on the role of technology in people's lives. Most Informatics students seek careers as software developers, data scientists, web developers, user experience designers, project manager, cybersecurity analysts or product managers.
Informatics Minor: If you love your major but want to know more about how to apply data, information and technology to solve problems in your chosen field, then the Informatics minor might be for you. The Informatics minor includes required components in data, design, policy and ethics, and code.
Human Centered Design & Engineering. Students in Human Centered Design & Engineering (HCDE) practice research, design, and engineering by focusing on the needs of people in their various contexts. HCDE's undergraduate and graduate degrees prepare students for leadership roles in user experience research and design, user interface design, human-computer interaction, computer-supported cooperative work, and related specializations. Beyond taking traditional classroom courses, students join directed research groups to work closely with faculty to enhance the knowledge base of this dynamic field. HCDE admits the majority of their students from the Direct to College Engineering placement process.
DXARTS (Minor). The Digital Arts and Experimental Media program creates opportunities for artists to pursue lines of inquiry within the scientific, technical and creative realms while discovering and documenting new areas of knowledge and practice in this emerging field. This inherently interdisciplinary curriculum requires all students to diversify their artistic practice across four major content areas (sound, video, 3D, and sensing and control systems) as well as compliment their study with relevant upper-division coursework selected from related fields (computer science, music, drama, dance, art, engineering, architecture, cinema studies, etc.). Students are positioned to pursue original creative and technical research.
Electrical and Computer Engineering. The Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering offered by the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE) prepares students to design and build hardware and software for a variety of devices that use electricity, electromagnetics, photonics and quantum phenomena, such as robots, smartphones, lasers, electric power, vehicle control, medical devices and more. While all Electrical Engineering students take courses that cover the full breadth of the discipline, it is possible to do an emphasis in computer architecture and hardware design. ECE admits the majority of students from the Direct to College Engineering placement process.
Geographic Information Systems. The Geography department at the UW offers a Geography degree with a concentration in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). A GIS degree gives its majors an understanding of the development, sources, and uses of geographic information. The GIS curriculum focuses on geographic system analysis, map sources and map error, urban transportation GIs analysis, and natural resources and environmental analysis.
Masters in Clinical Informatics and Patient Centered Technologies. Offered through the Evening Degree program, learn to manage and evaluate the use of information technology and informatics applications to improve patient care processes and outcomes. Explore IT tools used in clinical and community settings, and study how to design and test systems that enhance care.
Visual Communications Design and Interaction Design. The School of Art's Division of Design educates and trains designers to create and develop concepts that optimize the function, value, and appearance of communications, products and systems for the benefit of both industry and society. Within the Division of Design, there are three majors: Visual Communication Design, Industrial Design and Interaction Design.
- Data Science Options. A growing number of departments and majors offer a multi-course specialization in data science (called a degree option), coordinated by the campus-wide eScience Education Working Group.
UW Computing & Communications offers training courses in computing areas, including HTML, Word Processing, Spreadsheets, Databases, Desktop Publishing, etc.
UW Extension offers certificate programs in many computer-related areas as well as evening courses for credit and noncredit.
UW Bothell and Tacoma Campuses
- UW Bothell offers a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Computing and Software Systems, Computer Engineering, as well as a BA in Applied Computing and a Bachelor of Arts in Interactive Media Design. Bothell also offers a Graduate Certificate in Software Developement.
- UW Tacoma offers a Bachelor's of Science degree in Computing and Software Systems, Information Technology and Computer Engineering.
- Business at UW Seattle and Business at UW Tacoma. The Business programs at UW Seattle and UW Tacoma offer concentrations in Information Systems that address the use of information technologies in business and organizational environments. The programs focus on the use and design of information systems to meet an organization's tactical and strategic needs. The curriculum includes programming and database management, information system analysis and design.
Other Computing-Related Programs in Washington State
There are similar programs in the area which take transfer students, and we highly recommend that you apply to multiple programs if you're sure you want to study Computer Science or Computer Engineering. You should consider:
- University of Washington Bothell
- University of Washington Tacoma
- Bellevue College - Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
- Cascadia College - Bachelors of Applied Science in Mobile Application Development
- Central Washington University
- Eastern Washington University
- Evergreen State College
- Green River College - Bachelor of Applied Science in Software Development
- Gonzaga University
- Lake Washington Institute of Technology - Bachelor of Applied Science in Software Development
- North Seattle College - Applied Bachelor’s in Application Development
- Pacific Lutheran University
- Renton Technical College - Bachelor of Applied Science in Application Development
- Saint Martin’s University
- Seattle Pacific University
- Seattle University
- University of Puget Sound
- Walla Walla University
- Washington State University
- Washington State University @ TriCities
- Washington State University @ Vancouver
- Western Washington University
- Whitman College
- Whitworth University
- Complete list of all WA State Colleges and Universities
If you are NOT a current UW student and want to take courses as a non-degree student, please review the information concerning non-matriculated enrollment and contact UW Educational Outreach for non-degree enrollment.