For Prospective Undergraduate Students

Considering applying to the University of Washington to study English?

This information is for students who have not yet been admitted to the University of Washington. If you are already a UW student hoping to major in English, please see Applying to the English Major.

Admission to the University of Washington

Admission decisions are made by the UW's Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Students must first be admitted to the University of Washington before they can apply to the English major.

Admission information for freshmen, transfer students, and international students, and post baccalaureate students is available here: UW Seattle Day Programs.

Be sure to apply to the UW by the applicable deadlines, which, especially for freshmen and international students, can be more than nine months in advance of the start of school. You can reach the Office of Admissions at (206) 543-9686, or send e-mail through the contact form on the Admissions website.

Campus tours are available Monday through Friday on a set schedule.

The UW Office of Admissions offers information sessions weekly for prospective freshmen and weekly Transfer Thursday sessions for prospective transfer students.

Admission to the English major

The English Department accepts applications to the major only from matriculated UW students. We are not able to pre-admit, directly admit, or screen applicants who are not already matriculated/degree-seeking UW students. We do welcome you to apply once you have become a matriculated UW student and have completed English major prerequisite course ENGL 202.

We reserve spots for new transfer students in our prerequisite course ENGL 202 each quarter. Once new students have successfully completed this course, they may apply to the English major at the beginning of their second quarter at the UW. If you'll be transferring from a four-year college or university, please feel free to contact Humanities Academic Services Center at during your new student orientation about English course work you've completed elsewhere that may be applicable for departmental admission purposes. In general, however, there are very few equivalents to our prerequisite courses, so all new students should plan to take ENGL 202 during their first quarter at the UW.

The English major has two pathways: language and literature or creative writing.

Admission to language and literature is not competitive: any student who has completed prerequisite course ENGL 202  with a grade of at least 2.0,  who presents an overall GPA of at least 2.00, and who presents an English GPA of 2.50 for all English courses (UW and transfer) will be admitted.

Admission to the creative writing pathway is somewhat competitive, based overwhelmingly on the creative writing sample you submit with your application.

Even before you've been admitted to the UW, however, you are welcome to speak with a Humanities Academic Services adviser. We're happy to discuss your plans and your application with you.

Advice for prospective transfer students

I'll be applying to the UW as a transfer student. What courses does the Department of English recommend that I take before I transfer?

The Department of English resides in the College of Arts and Sciences, which has a foreign language requirement for graduation purposes. If you did not complete at least three years in high school of the same foreign language (e.g., three years of high school French is acceptable, but two years of French plus one year of Spanish won't suffice), then you'll be subject to the UW's requirement for foreign language. If possible, it is a very good idea to complete a year of college-level foreign language (two semesters or three quarters) with a grade of 2.0 or above ("C") in the final quarter or semester. This is especially true if your intended foreign language for graduation purposes is Spanish: it is extremely difficult for non freshmen to access 100-level Spanish courses at the UW during the regular academic year. There are other ways to satisfy this requirement, for example, you may be able to pass a proficiency exam in another language or establish yourself as a literate native speaker of a language other than English. For details, please consult the College of Arts and Sciences General Education Requirements.

If you are trying to plan ahead, you may also wish to complete some applicable natural sciences courses toward the fulfillment of the UW's distribution requirement, called the Areas of Knowledge. For details, please consult the College of Arts and Sciences General Education Requirements. If you'll be transferring from a Washington community college, you can check the UW Transfer Guide to see whether or not your science courses will transfer to the UW as Natural World courses toward the satisfaction of this requirement.

One thing we recommend that you avoid is taking too many English courses at the sophomore level. The English major at the UW allows no more than 10 credits (on the quarter system) in freshman- and sophomore-level English courses to apply toward the English major (beyond our prequisite courses, ENGL 202 and 297); the remaining English major credits must be taken at the junior and senior levels.

Prospective transfer students are also advised to review information on transfer planning from the UW Admissions Office.

Transferring courses from other schools

If you complete an approved English course through a Washington state community college, course equivalencies have already been established. See the Transfer Guide for more information.

Most English literature and writing courses taken at two- and four-year colleges and universities within in the U.S. will transfer to the UW if they are (a) taken from an accredited college or university, (b) college level, (c) not designed for non-native speakers of English seeking basic language instruction, (d) not courses that provided instruction in a particular religious doctrine, and (e) not considered vocational/technical courses. How these courses initially transfer is determined by UW Admissions.

If you believe that an English course you took elsewhere should have transferred to the UW, or should have transferred as a different kind of credit, please speak with a Humanities Academic Services adviser. We will need to see a copy of your transcript from the school where you took the course as well as a course syllabus. In some cases, we may ask you for course materials (assignments you completed, papers you wrote, etc.).

If you completed the English course outside the U.S., please be aware that

(a) the UW Admissions Office must first determine if the course was taken at an accredited/recognized college or university abroad and is eligible for transfer, and

(b) you will need to have a Humanities Academic Services adviser evaluate the course for transfer, and we will ask you for a copy of your transcript and a syllabus (and, sometimes, for course materials such as assignments you completed or papers you wrote), and

(c) the course must have been taken in one of these countries: Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, New Zealand, or Australia.

Unless English courses were taken in the U.S., Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, New Zealand, or Australia, they are not eligible for transfer as English literature or composition credit at the UW, even if the course was taught in English, was taught by a native speaker, etc.

The only possible exception to this policy is for Advanced Level (A-Level) certificates that students earned through British A-Level exams in international schools in countries such as India or Singapore that follow the British system.

Post baccalaureate admission

The University of Washington admits very few post baccalaureate students. Post baccalaureate admission is offered to students who are working toward a second bachelor’s degree or preparing for entrance to graduate or professional school. Only a small number of applicants are admitted every quarter as postbacs because the UW's primary commitment is to undergraduates who are completing a first bachelor’s degree.

Do I need to apply to the English Department before/when applying to the University?

No. In fact, the Department of English accepts applications only from matriculated University of Washington students. If you're a newly-admitted student, you'll want to meet with a Humanities Academic Services adviser during your new student orientation to enroll in the prerequisite course (ENGL 202) for your first quarter at the UW. If you believe you completed equivalent courses during the course of your first bachelor's degree, please feel free to contact a Humanities Academic Services adviser at to find out if you can be exempted from these prerequisites. In general, however, there are very few equivalents to our prerequisite courses, so all new students should plan to take ENGL 202  during their first quarter at the UW.

My post baccalaureate admission application says that I need a recommendation from the UW academic department that houses the major I'm interested in.

This statement is somewhat misleading. You actually do not need a recommendation from the English Department in order to apply for post baccalaureate admission. (In fact, it will be difficult for us to recommend you for admission if we don't know your academic history.) You should always feel free, however, to contact a Humanities Academic Services adviser to talk about your eligibility for the major. You can reach us by e-mail

On your post baccalaureate admission application, you should list English as your intended major. The UW Admissions Office will then send a referral form to our department, asking us if you're eligible for admission to the English major. We will give one of three answers:

  1. You're eligible, based on the prerequisite requirements for the major.
  2. You're not eligible at this time, but there is strong potential for your admission. (We will give this response if you have completed some English courses successfully, or if your English and/or cumulative GPAs make you a competitive applicant.)
  3. You're not eligible at this time. (We will give this response if you haven't taken English courses, or if your English or cumulative GPAs do not make you a competitive applicant.)

The admission decision is ultimately made by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, and not by the English Department. You may be admitted (or denied admission) to UW regardless of the response we provide in this admission referral.

Taking UW classes without being admitted

Students who have not applied --or not yet been admitted --to the University of Washington can still take UW courses. During the academic year (autumn, winter, and spring quarters), non matriculated/non degree students can sign up for regular day or evening courses on a standby basis. During summer quarter, non matriculated/non degree students may register in advance.

Non degree students may seek permission from faculty to sign up for classes in regular non matriculated status. The Department of English does not sponsor any Graduate Non Matriculated (GNM) students.

Pursuing secondary teaching endorsement requirements in English language arts

For non UW students planning to complete English language arts secondary teaching endorsement requirements in preparation for applying to the UW College of Education's Master in Teaching (MIT) Program:

Candidates to the UW Teacher Education Program who plan to pursue a master in teaching (MIT), or certificated teachers seeking to add an English language arts teaching endorsement, should meet with an English Department adviser to discuss course requirements and options for taking courses. More information is here:

Applicants to the Teacher Education Program
Certificated teachers seeking to add an endorsement

Seeking Humanities Academic Services advising

May I seek advice from a UW Humanities Academic Services adviser before I'm officially a UW student?

Absolutely! The best times to come by in person are during quarter breaks, but you are welcome at any time. We recommend that you avoid the first three weeks of the quarter, as these are very busy times when our office is crowded with UW students.