Before You Apply

College Academic Distribution Requirements (CADR)

In accordance with Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) requirements and to ensure that students entering UW Bothell are adequately prepared to succeed in college, all First Year Student applicants are required to complete a minimum level of preparation in six subject areas through high school or college course work prior to entering the University.

Subject Requirements 

Almost all applicants will have satisfied these subject requirements through high school course work, which is generally defined as that completed in grades 9-12. Homeschool applicants please click here for more information about demonstrating CADR completion.

If CADR is not entirely satisfied through high school course work, college level course work may also be used. In general, five quarter credits (or three semester credits) at the college level equals one year of high-school study. For example, if you completed three years of English in high school, you can use one college English composition or literature course to bring your total to four years. A college course may be used to satisfy both an admission CADR requirement and a UW Bothell graduation requirement.

A passing grade must be received in all core subject requirements; this includes a Pass in a course taken on a Pass/Not Pass basis. However, if you are completing CADR through college course work you are strongly encouraged to choose a letter or numerical grade, because you may later want to apply the course(s) towards requirements for your major and/or University graduation requirements, for which grading restrictions pertain.


English: 4 Years

If taken in high school:

Four years of study are required, at least three of which must be in college-preparatory composition or literature.

  • One of the four years may be satisfied by courses in drama as literature, public speaking, debate, journalistic writing, business English, or English as a Second Language (ESL).
  • Courses that are generally not acceptable include those identified as remedial or applied (e.g., acting, basic English skills, developmental reading, library, newspaper staff, remedial English, review English, vocabulary, yearbook/annual).

NOTE: English courses taken in another country are considered equivalent to ESL unless taken in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, or the United States.

  • International Applicants: Four high school years of Composition and/or Literature courses in the student's native language will satisfy this requirement.

If made up through college course work:

College course work must be at the 100 level or higher. For the composition/literature component, generally any course with an English or Writing prefix is acceptable.

  • One of the four years may be satisfied by a college course in speech, drama as literature, journalistic writing, business English, ESL, or engineering/technical writing.
  • Courses such as developmental or speed reading, vocabulary, or remedial English are not acceptable.

Mathematics: 3 Years

If taken in high school:

Three years of study are required, at least at the level of algebra, geometry, and second-year algebra.

  • An algebra course completed in the last year of junior high school may partially satisfy the requirement if the second-year algebra is completed in secondary school.
  • Arithmetic, pre-algebra, business math, and statistics will not count toward the requirement.

If made up through college course work:

If your high school preparation in mathematics was insufficient, you must complete one of the courses listed below:

  • A course in intermediate algebra - The course must be completed with a grade of 'C' (2.0) or better, even though it does not transfer to the UW Bothell as college credit and the grade earned in the course is not used in computing the transfer GPA.
  • MATH 104 (Trigonometry) or its equivalent - The course must be completed with a grade of 'C' (2.0) or better.
  • MATH 107 (Mathematics: A Practical Art) or its equivalent - The course must be completed with a grade of 'C' (2.0) or better.
  • Mathematics courses with intermediate algebra as a prerequisite (This includes any higher-level math courses such as elementary functions, calculus, and beyond  (NOTE: Courses in statistics, logic, or computer science do NOT satisfy the mathematics requirement).

Social Studies: 3 Years

If taken in high school:

Three years of study are required in history or in any of the social sciences (e.g., anthropology, contemporary world problems, economics, geography, government, political science, psychology, sociology).

  • Credit for religion courses, consumer economics, student government, or community service will not count towards the requirement.

If made up through college course work:

Courses in the social sciences - e.g., anthropology, economics, ethnic studies, history, philosophy, political science, psychology, sociology -will count toward the requirement.


Science: 2 Years of Lab Science

If taken in high school:

A minimum of two years of lab science is required. One of the two years must be in an algebra-based science course.

If made up through college course work:

College level transferable science courses with a lab will count toward this requirement. At least one course must be completed in an algebra-based science course with a lab experience.    


World Languages: 2 Years

If taken in high school:

Two years of study are required. The two years must be completed in the same language.

  • The world language requirement will be considered satisfied for applicants who complete their education through the seventh grade in school(s) a) where English was not the language of instruction and b) in countries other than Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the  United Kingdom, and the United States.
  • International applicants who entered the U.S. education system prior to the seventh grade must satisfy the world language requirement.
  • Any natural language that has been formally studied may be used to satisfy this requirement, including American Sign Language (AMESLAN, the language of the deaf community), and languages no longer spoken, such as Latin and ancient Greek. However, neither computer 'languages' nor forms of deaf signing aside from AMESLAN are acceptable.
  • A world language course taken in the eighth grade may satisfy one year of the requirement if the second-year course is completed in high school

If made up through college course work:

For purposes of admission, each quarter of language in college is considered equivalent to one year in high school. Applicants who have never studied a world language will need to complete ten quarter credits of a single world language. However, an applicant who studied a world language for one year in high school needs to complete only the second five (5) quarter credits (e.g., FREN 102) or the second three (3) semester credits of a first-year language sequence in college. Of course, you may prefer to begin with 101 to refresh your memory.

If using an exam:

Students who have not completed high school or college course work in a world language can demonstrate their proficiency using test scores.

  • Advanced Placement [AP]: A score of 3, 4, or 5 on a College Board Advanced Placement world language exam will be awarded 5, 10, or 15 transfer college credits and satisfy the world language requirement.
  • International Baccalaureate [IB]: A score of 5, 6, or 7 on an International Baccalaureate Program Higher Level world language B exam will be awarded 5, 10, or 15 transfer college credits and satisfy the world language requirement.
  • UW Placement: Placement into the third quarter of a world language by a University of Washington Placement Exam satisfies the world language requirement. Contact the UW Seattle testing center for information about taking a world language placement exam. Please note that placement tests taken at other colleges will NOT satisfy the world language requirement.

Senior Year Math-Based Quantitative Course: 1 Year

If taken in high school:

One year of math-based quantitative course work is required in the senior year. Any of the following courses will meet this requirement if taken during 12th grade:

  • The third-year level of math, such as intermediate algebra (Algebra II)
  • The fourth-year level of math, such as pre-calculus, math analysis, or calculus
  • A math-based quantitative course (statistics)
  • An Algebra-based science course*

*Algebra based lab science may count towards both the lab science requirement and the quantitative requirement.

If made up through college course work:

College courses in math (e.g., pre-calculus) or algebra-based science will meet this requirement.


Fine, Visual, or Performing Arts: 1/2 Year

If taken in high school:

One-half (0.5) year or one trimester of study is required in the fine, visual, or performing arts, to be chosen from art appreciation, band, ceramics, choir, dance, dramatics performance and production, drawing, fiber arts, graphic arts, metal design, music appreciation, music theory, orchestra, painting, photography, print making, or sculpture. Courses generally not acceptable include architecture, color guard, creative writing, drafting, drill team, fashion design, world languages, interior design, sewing, speech, web design or graphics, woodworking, and  yearbook.

If made up through college course work:

Two quarter credits (or 2 semester credits) chosen from any of the following subjects will satisfy the requirement:

  • Art, art history, cinema/filmmaking, dance, music, or photography;
  • Any course in drama except drama as literature courses.

Courses in architecture are generally not acceptable, except for those in architectural history.


Electives in CADR Subjects 1/2 Year

If taken in high school:

One half (0.5) year of study is required. Academic electives are courses in any of the six subject areas (defined above) beyond the minimum number of years specified above.

If made up through college course work:

Three quarter credits (2 semester credits) chosen from the six subject areas described above count toward this requirement.