Last Updated on December 13, 2022 by Omoyeni Adeniyi
The University of Washington is one of the most prestigious schools in the State of Washington. It offers a lot of programs, including Applied Statistics, Aquatic Biology, Sociology & Criminology and many more. In this article, we will look at the acceptance rate for Computer Science majors since they are considered to be one of the challenging majors to get into their college.
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The MS degree in Computer Science offered by the University of Washington is a professional masters program developed for fully employed professionals looking to take their understanding of the field of computing to the next level. Being a professional degree, it is designed to accommodate its student’s working schedule and enables its students to get the best out of their studies while still remaining full-time professionals.
Below are some important courses you are most likely to encounter during the duration of this program:
- Natural Language Processing
- Parallel Computation
- Machine Learning/Data Mining
- Principles of Software Engineering
- Applied Algorithms
Eligibility and Application Requirements
The following are a list of requirements applicants must fulfil in order to successfully apply for this MS program at the University of Washington:
- Applicants must reside AND work in the Seattle area around the time of applicant.
- Applicants should also possess:
- A bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or other related fields.
- 2 or 3 letters of recommendation from reputable sources.
- Unofficial transcript of previous tertiary institutions attended.
- Statement of academic purpose.
- Acceptable GRE scores.
- Acceptable TOELF or IELTS scores.
Getting Into An Elite Computer Science (CS) School
There are several paths to admission to Computer Science programs and degrees at top schools. Universities administer different processes for admitting students into their CS programs. There are mainly four types of ways students are admitted:
Applying to the major at the school before you’re admitted to the university
Applying to the major after you’re already admitted and studying at the university
Declaring the major directly after you’re already admitted and studying at the university
Transferring majors after you’re already admitted and studying at the university
We will cover each of these paths in detail in this post.
Applying to CS Before You’re Admitted
At some universities, you apply directly to the Computer Science major when you are applying for admission to the school itself. The application will request supplemental materials, such as extra SAT Subject Test scores, extra essays, or a resume, in addition to your application to the university.
This is the case at, for example, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (UIUC) and University of California at Berkeley (UCB), for the Electrical Engineering & Computer Science major. When you are admitted to these schools, your major is already declared when you start your freshman year.
Carnegie Mellon University is slightly different in that when you apply for admission, you apply to the School of Computer Science (SCS), which houses three different majors. You are accepted into SCS, and you declare your major at the end of freshman year.
Universities that follow this application method ask students to display a strong math and science background, an interest in Computer Science, and extracurriculars both within and outside of the field. They, generally, also ask students to discuss their interests, experiences, and intentions with a Computer Science degree in an additional essay. Extracurriculars associated with Computer Science, like being on a robotics team, or having worked on projects like those in Juni’s curriculum, or achieving strong results in the USA Computing Olympiad, are helpful to have. They convey not only a keen interest in the field of software engineering but also important qualities like leadership skills and the ability to take initiative to pursue your interests. Extracurriculars outside CS also help demonstrate interpersonal skills, work ethic, and varied passions, as universities look to admit well-rounded students. You can view a sampling of some admitted student profiles below.
In today’s climate, admission to CS programs can be up to four times more competitive than simply being admitted to the school. Below is a comparison of the acceptance rates to a few top universities as a whole, versus to their CS program.
|Overall Admissions Rate
|CS Admissions Rate
|Carnegie Mellon University
|University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
|University of California at Berkeley
|University of Washington
|University of Texas – Austin
Admitted Student Profiles
Here are the profiles of high school seniors who were admitted into these Computer Science programs, as examples of academic and extracurricular resumes:
CMU SCS student
|High School GPA
|SAT Subject Tests
|Math II: 760, Chemistry: 790
|FIRST Robotics (an international high school robotics competition)Mu Alpha Theta (National Math Honor Society)Computer Science ClubNational Honor SocietySpanish Honor SocietyCivitas (a political discussion/ Model UN club)
|Awards & Honors
|National Merit ScholarNCWIT Women in Computing Regional WinnerFRC (FIRST Robotics Competition) St. Louis Regional Winner
CMU SCS student
|High School GPA
|SAT Subject Tests
|Math II: 800, Chemistry: 800, Physics: 800, English Literature: 760
|Bharatnatyam (an Indian classical dance form)Student Volunteer with Gift Your OrganSchool Choir LeaderModel UNVeena (an Indian string instrument)Carnatic Vocal Music
|Awards & Honors
|Semifinalist at Technovation 2016Pramerica Spirit of Community Award
UIUC Computer Science + Math student
|SAT Subject Tests
|Math II: 800, Physics: 800, Chemistry: 800
|Math TeamScholastic BowlQuiz BowlWYSE (Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering Program)
|Awards & Honors
|National Merit FinalistTop 300 on USA Physics OlympiadUSA Math Olympiad qualifierScience Olympiad State MedalistMathematics Department Award WinnerAP Scholar with Distinction
Applying to CS Once You’re Admitted
At some universities, students are accepted to the university as a whole and do not have a declared major as freshmen. Students then apply to the Computer Science major later in college, usually as sophomores. For example, at University of Washington (UW), students are admitted to UW as Pre-Science or Pre-Major students. They then apply to the Computer Science major as sophomores to the school of Computer Science & Engineering. To be considered for the Computer Science major students must have completed a set of courses and must submit a personal statement.
At North Carolina State University (NCSU), students are accepted with their majors as First Year Engineering – Computer Science Intent, First Year Engineering – Undecided, Exploratory Studies, or Undeclared. When students apply to the Computer Science major, their grades in a few particular classes are taken into account in order to make the decision. Engineering majors are automatically enrolled in some of these prerequisite classes, which makes it easier to get in to the Computer Science major. This method puts more weight on a student’s performance in their first year at college. Other universities like Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) and Harvard University also use this method to accept students into their Computer Science programs.
Declaring a CS Major Directly
At a handful of universities, do not have to apply to the Computer Science major in order to declare. Usually as sophomores, students can just simply declare the major, and as long as they complete the necessary coursework, they can graduate with a degree in computer science or computer engineering. At Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), freshmen enter undeclared and usually choose a major at the end of their first year. There are no prerequisites to declaring a major, but Computer Science students are advised to start required coursework in their first year, before they are formally declared. Similarly, at Stanford University, students are admitted to the university and then choose an advisor and declare their major sometime in their sophomore year.
Transferring into a CS Major
At most universities, students can change majors and transfer into another department. This usually happens when a student discovers that they are passionate about a field that is different from the one they initially intended to study. Universities understand that students’ interests can change, and they have systems in place to allow qualifying students to switch majors.
Depending on the university, this can be as simple as submitting a change of major form (for example, at Stanford), or an application process very similar to the process of applying to university as a high school senior (for example, at UIUC). Most universities require students to have a minimum GPA to be considered for a change of major to Computer Science. Some universities, such as CMU, require students to have taken a handful of prerequisite classes, in addition to having a GPA above a certain threshold (usually above a 3.2/4.0) and submitting a personal statement.
All universities look to admit students into their Computer Science departments who are passionate about the field and its applications. Personal statements are highly valued by most universities, as they are a chance for students to express who they are, what got them interested in CS, and how they intend to use their degree to further their passions. Regardless of the application method, a strong interest in Computer Science and activities that support this shine through. Having experience building projects is a great way to show that you are passionate about the field, and have taken the initiative to start learning.
At Juni, we offer online coding classes for kids, with group and one-on-one coaching for students to build projects in languages like Python and Java. Many of our older students go on to study Computer Science at the schools mentioned here. Get started with our Admissions Team today to see what class is best for your child..
Information for prospective Computer Science students offered Pre-Science Admission
This remainder of this page has information for prospective freshmen who are interested in majoring in Computer Science but who did not receive Direct Admission to the major. Students who hope to study Computer Engineering should refer to the Direct to College information on the College of Engineering website.
Interest in Computer Science is growing rapidly nationwide, including at the University of Washington. The Washington State Legislature has funded dramatic enrollment growth in the Paul G. Allen School in recent years, and support from the Legislature, UW, corporations, and individuals has funded construction of a second building that was completed in December 2018. Despite these significant strides, however, student demand for the Allen School continues to exceed capacity.
Admission to the Computer Science major takes place through three pathways: Direct Admission from high school, Transfer Admission, and Current UW Student Admissions.
Currently, the majority of our majors enter via Direct Admission, and 15-20% of our majors enter via Transfer Admission. While this leaves roughly 30% of our slots for Current UW students, we have significantly more applicants than we have student spaces, so admission to the Computer Science major is not assured. Current Student Admission is primarily intended for students who discover an interest in Computer Science after enrolling at UW.
Students who are admitted to the University of Washington but not offered Direct Admission to the Computer Science major need to weigh their options. Because the University of Washington is outstanding across-the-board, we encourage such students to consider choosing UW and pursuing a variety of relevant majors: Informatics, Applied & Computational Mathematical Sciences, Geographical Information Systems and others. Students who are 100% certain that they want to major in Computer Science and who are guaranteed a position in the major at a program elsewhere should consider whether that might be a better option for them.
Please review this page before contacting us with questions. When you contact us, please note that we have a strong preference for communicating directly with students, although parents are welcome to be CC’ed on emails, be on the phone line with their student, etc.
Why wasn’t I offered Direct Admission?
If you were not offered Direct Admission, it is not an indication of your ability to excel in this discipline. Instead, it is an indication of the small number of students to whom we currently are able to offer Direct Admission. For 2019, we will offer admission to approximately 280 WA Residents out of roughly 1000 WA resident applicants who listed Computer Science as their first-choice major were offered Direct Admission. These students had incredibly high grades, took the most rigorous curricula offered in their schools, showed meaningful extracurricular experiences, and submitted strong personal statements. There are many highly qualified students to whom we were unable to offer Direct Admission. (We make a small number of DA offers to out-of-state students, but the vast majority of DA offers go to Washington residents.)
I did not gain Direct Admission. What now?
As noted above, the majority of CS majors enter through Direct Admission, and 15-20% of our majors enter via Transfer Admission. This means that students coming to UW without a Direct Admission offer should design an academic program that prepares you for other majors. One option is to pair any other major with our non-major courses.
We have worked hard in recent years to increase the number of undergraduates that we are able to accommodate – an effort that has been successful, thanks in large part to investments by the Washington State Legislature and strong support from the University to expand our program. However, even as we grow, we will have to contend with capacity limitations for the foreseeable future. Our Current Student Admission pathway is currently at a 20-25% acceptance rate and that will likely go down again in the future.
Many students’ plans change in their first year or two of college. For example, students often 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 the best fit for their strengths and goals. Or, due to capacity constraints, students who initially intended to study one major will not be admitted to their top program of choice. Students in majors outside the Allen School can still enjoy access to our non-major courses, can serve as Allen School teaching assistants, and can participate in Allen School research.
Below is a sampling of other UW majors you may want to explore, based on your interest in our program. Please note that most of these majors are also capacity-constrained and some students may not be admitted to these alternative options. We encourage students to consider open or minimum-requirement majors among their options (see here for a list of all UW majors).
Applied Computational Mathematical Sciences
Applied Math (this is separate from ACMS)
Computational Finance & Risk Management
Geography (particularly the geographic information systems track)
Should I come to UW if I want to study CS and was not Direct Admitted to the Allen School?
Only if you are willing to pursue a concentration in CS through our non-major courses. There may be rare exceptions to consider (perhaps you have family commitments locally, or are tied to medical facilities here) If you feel you have extraordinary reasons for attending UW as a non-DA freshman intending on applying to CS you should speak with an Allen School adviser before committing to UW.
Traits of successful UW students
It is impossible to predict whether a prospective UW student will be admitted through our regular admission process (we get this question a lot). We can offer some general observations about students who are likely to succeed at UW, whether they gain entry to their top-choice major or pursue a different path:
Strong ability to manage time, self-regulate, and self-motivate
Ability to advocate for themselves
Personal initiative to ask for help and seek out resources
An openness to exploring alternative pathways to reach their goals
Ability to get along with people with diverse backgrounds and perspectives
A humble attitude (a 4.0 high school GPA does not typically predict a 4.0 UW GPA)
Willingness to listen to advice and feedback (Example: If an adviser tells you your planned fall quarter schedule is too intensive, please believe it!)
Highlights of the Allen School undergraduate program
World-class faculty who prioritize research and teaching
A supportive and inclusive learning environment (for example, we are a national leader in granting degrees to women)
Flexible degree requirements, allowing students time to pursue a double major or a minor
Meaningful and high-paying internship and full-time employment opportunities through our Industry Affiliates program, which hosts two recruiting fairs per year featuring startup and established companies seeking Allen School candidates
Extra support for students including: tutoring, résumé review sessions, technical interview coaching, Ph.D. admission prep, daily drop-in advising
Challenging and exciting courses in areas such as: virtual reality, machine learning, and data visualization
Paid opportunities for undergraduates to serve as teaching and research assistants
Other UW opportunities and resources
Students in the Allen School and other units on campus have many avenues for pursuing their interests in computer science and computer engineering outside of major coursework. Examples include:
The Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship provides several programs for budding entrepreneurs. One class even gives students thousands of dollars to create their own company! In addition, Startup Hall helps students brings their ideas to fruition through a unique public-private partnership.
DubHacks is a 24-hour hackathon open to students of all backgrounds that takes place on campus each fall.
UW’s Career & Internship Center hosts several huge career fairs and lots of career prep workshops. Most of the major tech companies are on campus frequently.
The eScience Institute is an interdisciplinary effort across campus dedicated to developing and applying advanced computational methods and tools to real-world problems in data-intensive discovery.
Many campus clubs are open to all majors and have a tech/engineering focus. For example, here are some clubs offered through the College of Engineering.
UW provides hundreds of study abroad programs, impactful service-learning opportunities, and cutting edge research positions.
Can I appeal to be reconsidered for CS Direct Admission?
If you believe that important information was missing from your application, students may appeal to be reconsidered with this new information. Please read UW appeal guidelines here. Admitted UW freshmen are eligible to appeal if they requested CS as their first choice of major. . If you appeal, we encourage you to continue planning as if your appeal will be denied while you wait for the decision.
Degrees & Awards
|Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
|Master of Science (MS)
Earning Your Degree
|Part-time study available?
|Evening/weekend programs available?
|Distance learning programs available?
|Terminal master’s degree available?
|Entrance Exam GRE General Test