Academic Advising

For New Students

Information for New Students

This page covers some of the basic information every UW Bothell student needs to know about academic life: Registering for classes, grades, advising, and finances. There's also information about our First-Year Discovery Core series. Elsewhere in this section you can find a checklist for new students to help you keep track of all the important tasks and deadlines associated with your first quarter at the university.


MyUW is your personal gateway to the UW Bothell web resources you will use the most. Through this site you can get course information, email your professors, locate classrooms on a map, find and purchase textbooks and access course websites. Links to almost all of the resources in this section can be found on MyUW.

Time Schedule

Navigating the Time Schedule

The Time Schedule is the listing of course offerings each quarter. UW Bothell's Time Schedule is available only online; there is no printed version. Much of the information in the Time Schedule is also available through MyPlan.

The Time Schedule for a particular quarter is available about a month before Registration Period 1 (current student registration) begins.

The Time Schedule page will have a list of departments and schools to start. Click on a school to bring up a drop down menu with more specific headings. For courses offered in the selected quarter, click on "Schedule" next to the course heading. If a course isn't listed, it isn't being offered this quarter. Click "Description" for listings of all classes offered regardless of quarter.

Reading the Time Schedule

The colored title bar lists the abbreviation for the department (e.g., in the below sample, B CHEM = Bothell Chemistry); the course number (e.g., 143); the title (e.g., General Chemistry I), which is linked to the course description, including prerequisites; requirements this course fulfills (e.g., B CHEM 143 counts for the Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning); and whether the course has a prerequisite and/or has cancellation in effect (not seen in this sample).

Some UW Bothell courses are offered as combinations of lectures and quiz sections, which are small discussion groups. In the sample below, B CHEM 143 is a lecture class meeting MWF 10:15-11:35, with quiz section meetings at various times and locations on M or W. You choose only one of the quiz sections. To register for B CHEM 143, you'd need the schedule line number (SLN) for the lecture (e.g., 10802), and an SLN for one of the associated quiz sections (e.g., 22155, 22156, or 22157).

Some courses have more than one lecture offered. Lectures are always indicated by a single letter (e.g., in the sample above, "A"). Further lectures would proceed with B, C, etc.

Each lecture has its own quiz sections. Just as the quiz sections that go with lecture A are called AA, AB, AC, etc., the quiz sections that go with lecture B are called BA, BB, BC, etc. In choosing a lecture/quiz combination, you must choose a quiz section that begins with the same letter as the lecture. That is, you cannot have lecture A and quiz section BC.

It is important to note also that some courses like B CHEM 143 also require Lab sections in addition to their Lecture and Quiz sections. Other courses may have other restrictions, requirements or prerequisites. Details like this can be found by clicking on the SLN next to the course listing (circled in red below).

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Open/Closed courses

The sections of each course that are closed (full) are shaded out. This shading is updated only once each day, at midnight, so it might not be correct at the moment you are reading the Time Schedule. But it does give you an overall idea of how things are going. In the sample above, section BA is shaded out as closed.

For the Current Section Status of a course, click on the schedule line number (SLN). This takes you to more detailed information about the course and the "real-time" enrollment status. B CHEM 143 AA was closed when the Time Schedule was updated at midnight, but it may be that when you click on the SLN you will see that the course is now open. Similarly, a course that looks open may in fact now be closed, and you will see that if you click on the SLN.

If you are eager to get into a closed course or section, you may also sign up for Seat Availability Notifications. You can find the link for this by clicking on the SLN. If you do, you will be sent an email, text message or both when there is an opening in the class. These notifications go out to all students who have signed up for them, and the seat will be filled on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Registration Restrictions

UW courses often have restrictions on who can register for the course, and when. The restrictions are all listed in the Time Schedule. Some are visible in the regular listings, and some are visible only if you click on the schedule line number (SLN) and look at the detailed information. If there are any restrictions, there will be a "Restr" note in the first column, to the left of the SLN. For explanations, see Registration Restrictions.

These restrictions can range from "First-Years Only" to "IAS Majors Only" to "No NonMtrcs (non-matriculated students)." The system does not check your status, so you will need to check to see if you meet the restrictions of a course.

Courses that require an entry code (add code) have a ">" just to the left of the SLN.

Additional Information

There are built-in links to additional information about courses in the Time Schedule. Each course title is linked to the Course Description of the course, where you will find any prerequisites listed. If the instructor has prepared an Instructor Class Description, with more detailed information about the course, there will be a link from the instructor's name.

If you click on the schedule line number, in the Current Section Status there is a link to the textbooks required for the course.

How many courses should I take?

If you want to attend full-time, you should sign up for a schedule of courses that totals 12-17 credits. If you are on financial aid, or are an international student, you must register for at least 12 credits to be considered full-time.

What's a credit?

You earn credit by completing courses. In general, one credit represents one hour in class per week. Most UW Bothell bachelor degrees require 180 credits. If you take and successfully complete 15 credits per quarter and attend three quarters per year, in four years you will have earned 180 credits.

What does a normal course schedule look like?

For new students, a normal course load is usually three courses: two 5-credit courses, plus a third course that ranges from 2 credits to 5 credits. Examples of a few typical freshman schedules:

Schedule One

Schedule Two

Schedule Three

B CORE 104 (5)

B CORE 107 (5)

B WRIT 134 (5)

B CORE 110 (5)

B MATH 123 (5)

B CUSP 133 (2)

B CORE 107 (5)

B CHEM 143 (4)
B CHEM 144 (2)

B WRIT 134 (5)

Schedule 3 represents a student who wanted to start their Chemistry sequence. Since B CHEM 143/144 total 6 credits, the student will be registered for 16 credits. This may be a challenge, but it is common and manageable.

So 15 credits would be 15 hours of class each week. If I'm a full-time student, shouldn't I have 40 hours of class each week?

No, because college courses require much more study time than high school courses. In general, courses require two hours of homework for every hour of class. So, a 15-credit load should end up taking about 45 hours of time per week (15 hours of class time plus 30 hours of homework).

If classes last two hours, how much time do I have to get to the next class?

Classes at UW Bothell start and end at varying times throughout the day and are spaced out to allow 15 minutes to get to the next class if you're taking courses one right after another. Some classes meet for less than 2 hours - MWF classes and Quiz sections. Other classes meet for more than 2 hours - labs and classes that only meet once per week. You'll need to read the Time Schedule carefully.

It is smart to note the location of the classes, though, in the event you have to go from one end of campus to the other in 15 minutes.

How often do I register?

You register for each quarter you attend UW Bothell. There are three quarters in the academic year (autumn, winter, and spring), plus summer quarter if you wish to attend then as well. Courses last only one quarter (normally 10 weeks plus finals). You register for the next quarter about halfway through the current quarter; so, if you are starting school in Autumn, you'll register for Winter quarter about halfway through Autumn. Your registration date each quarter will appear in your MyUW. You can view the complete academic calendar here.
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Can I take any courses listed in the Course Descriptions?

No. Course Descriptions list all of the courses that are ever offered at UW Bothell. Only a subset of these courses are offered each quarter. Many course descriptions note the quarters a particular course is offered (A=Autumn, W=Winter, Sp=Spring, S=Summer).

Okay, can I take any courses listed in the Time Schedule?

Still no! You'll see in the Time Schedule that some classes have class standing restrictions (e.g., "Juniors and Seniors only"), major restrictions (e.g., "Biology majors only"), placement test requirements, or prior course requirements (i.e., "prerequisites").

Also, in general, first-year students take only courses numbered in the 100s and 200s. Courses numbered in the 300s and 400s are usually taken by sophomores, juniors, and seniors. This is not always true, though; ask an advisor if you want a second opinion about your course choices.

How do I decide which courses to take?

If you have a major identified, take a look at the Major Planning Worksheets and start working on prerequisites and required class sequences. This is especially crucial in the majors with long sequences, like science and engineering majors. If you have interest in several majors, take introductory courses to try them out. If you're not sure of your major, explore your interests by taking a course or two in possible majors of interest. If you're thinking at all about a science major, consider taking a math or introductory science course.

Also, work on general education requirements like English Composition, Writing courses, and the Areas of Knowledge.

If you think you have a schedule figured out but still have doubts, feel free to meet with one of the First Year and Pre-Major Program advisors to plan for the current quarter and beyond. If you are admitted to a major you should meet with a major advisor for course planning.

Will I need to take any placement tests?

Math: Unless you took the statewide placement test in high school, scored high enough on the Advancement Placement (AP) and/or International Baccalaureate (IB) test, or have college credit for math, you will need to take a math placement test if you plan to take most math courses.

Foreign Language: You only need to take a foreign language placement test if it's the language you took in high school; otherwise, in most cases, you can just sign up for the first class in the sequence. If you took foreign language courses via Running Start or College in the High School, you may need to contact the instructor for an add code.

English Composition: UW Bothell does not offer any general placement tests for English composition. All of the beginning English composition courses are at the same level; class topics vary by section.

I've heard that all the good courses are closed. How can I get the courses I want?

Well, sometimes you can't. In your first quarter at UW Bothell you are registering after all the continuing students, and some courses will be closed. Also, the later you register the fewer options you'll have. If you're a first-year entering in Autumn quarter, however, we offer loads of space in the courses first-years typically take: math, chemistry, English Composition, and a variety of introductory Discovery Core courses in subjects such as law, economics, and psychology.

Do I have to pay tuition when I sign up for classes?

Tuition isn't due until the third week of the quarter, so you can set your schedule and know exactly how much you owe by checking MyUW before paying. Tuition is the same for 10 to 18 credits, but other fees may apply, and there is an extra charge for credits beyond 18. Check the Tuition Rates website for details. 
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Buying Textbooks

There will be a link on your Registration screen in MyUW that reads “Display Textbooks.” This will generate a list of the required and optional textbooks for your courses at that point in time. You can then click on the icon for University Book Store to use the Price Comparison Tool to select new, used, rental, or digital books, or shop other online retailers conveniently. You can also determine which textbooks are required and optional by visiting a University Book Store in person. Textbooks are organized on the shelves by academic department and are labeled by course and section exactly as on your class schedule. When shopping for textbooks, be sure to bring your class schedule with you as sometimes different sections of the same course will use different books. Your schedule is also prominently displayed on your MyUW mobile page. You can also search for your textbooks online at It is best to go to classes first and read the course syllabus before buying books listed as “not required,” “optional,” or “do not buy in advance.” If you buy your books somewhere other than the Bookstore, check carefully to make sure you are buying the correct edition. While older editions may be less expensive, they may be missing important material, or otherwise be unsuitable for the course.


Will I get grades at UWB, just like in high school?

Yes, you'll earn grades, but the type may be different from what you're used to. For example, you may have received A, B, C grades in high school. UWB uses numerical grades, starting with 4.0 as the top grade and 0.0 the lowest. We also have pass-fail options. The following website describes the UW Bothell Grading System.

Is there a set standard for assigning grades at UWB?

No. Each professor determines what standards to use in a particular class. Some professors may give a 4.0 grade to all students they think have done excellent work in the class, even if that's a substantial percent of the entire class. Other professors grade on a bell curve, which means that more students end up with a grade in the middle, while a smaller percent receive either a very high or very low grade. The course syllabus, an outline of what's assigned and expected for the quarter, should be distributed the first week, and will include information on grading standards in the course.

How important are grades?

It depends on how you intend to use them. If your intended major is a competitive major, like Computer Science & Software Engineering, grades can be especially critical in processing your application. If you aren't sure whether or not your major is competitive, meet with an advisor. They can also help you assess your transcript and other factors to see how competitive your application would be.

If you plan to attend graduate or professional school, you'll need strong grades (among other things) to get into competitive programs.

What's a GPA?

Grade Point Average. If you take three 5-credit courses and earn a 3.6 in one, a 2.8 in one, and a 3.2 in the third, your GPA for that quarter will be 3.20. Grades are weighted by the number of credits in the course, so that a 2-credit course affects your GPA less than a 5-credit course. See our GPA Calculator for more information.

How often are grades given?

Grades that appear on your UWB record are given at the end of each quarter. Within the quarter, each professor may assign grades for papers, midterm exams, class participation, etc. The syllabus should show how various grades will be used to assign the final grade for the quarter. In one course, you may have a single final exam that determines your entire grade for the quarter, while in another course you could have weekly assignments or "quizzes" which, along with a midterm and a final exam, will add up to 100% of the final grade. 
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How will I find out what my grades are?

Your grades will appear in MyUW about a week after your final examinations. Some professors may post grades early, but no grades are final until the grading deadline.

Will I be dropped from UWB if my grades are too low?

If you maintain at least a 2.00 GPA, you won't be in danger of being dropped. Even if you don't do well your first quarter, you'll have two more quarters to improve before you're dropped from school. For further information about what happens if your GPA does fall below 2.00, see the Office of the Registrar's page on Low Scholarship.

Is there any way to avoid the constant pressure of grades?

There are two ways:

  • The first is internal. Instead of worrying incessantly about what grade you might get in a specific class, concentrate on learning the material and getting help if you need it. Also, in your first few quarters at UW Bothell you should make a real effort to discover what academic area interests you the most, instead of concentrating on what you think you need to do to get a job after college — or what your family thinks you need to do. In the long run, you'll be much more successful in college, and after college, if you discover what you're interested in and take classes related to that interest.

  • The second is external, tied to the UWB grading system. You can take a few courses on what we call the "Satisfactory/Not Satisfactory" (S/NS) grading option, and they will not be calculated into your GPA. Be sure to see an advisor before deciding on this option. You can't take any courses you want to count toward requirements this way, and only a limited number of S/NS credits may count toward a degree. Also, some graduate and professional schools don't look favorably on S/NS grades.

What kind of help can I get with my homework?

UWB offers many kinds of academic assistance, including the Writing and Communication Center, the Quantitative Skills Center and the Open Learning Lab.

Once I'm in a class, am I stuck with it no matter how hard it is or how far behind I get?

No. You can "drop" a class, but this should never be done lightly for several reasons. First, there may be other options (e.g., talk to the professor and/or TA; change to S/NS grading; ask for an Incomplete; petition for a hardship withdrawal, etc.). Second, you are restricted to one annual drop per year beginning the third week of the quarter. Third, there may be financial penalties if you go below full-time status. Fourth, although a drop or two will not affect your chances for graduate or professional school, if you make a habit of dropping classes you might have to explain it later. Before exercising this option, be sure to see an advisor and read over the Withdrawal Policy.

What happens if I can't finish the quarter for whatever reason?

You can withdraw for the quarter (unless the quarter is already over, which is too late). Dropping out for the quarter is not the same as dropping an individual class, and has different implications, so always discuss this option with an advisor. The advisor can help you plan how to withdraw from school with the fewest complications (such as failing grades) and also show you how to get back in as soon as you're ready to return. If you are withdrawing because of a hardship, you should consider petitioning for a hardship withdrawal.  
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How much does it cost to go to UW Bothell?

There's no definitive answer to this question. Variables include: whether you're a Washington State resident; how many credits you take each quarter; what courses you take (books and supplies are more costly for some courses than others); where you live while attending school; and your lifestyle. We'll discuss some of these factors below.

What is tuition?

Tuition is the basic amount the UW collects from you every quarter to help defray the costs of keeping the university going. Tuition itself varies, depending on whether you qualify for in-state rates (are a Washington state resident) and how many credits you take. Check the Tuition and Fees page for the most up-to-date information.

How do I know if I qualify for in-state rates?

If you've just been admitted, check MyUW to see if you are classified as a "resident" and thus eligible for in-state (lower) tuition rates. If you've lived in Washington state most of your life and/or your parents are Washington state residents and you are a dependent, you will most likely qualify for in-state rates.

If MyUW shows you as a non-resident, and you think you should qualify as a resident, look at the Washington State Residency website for more information.

Why does it cost so much more for non-residents?

Washington residents, and/or their parents, pay taxes that go toward supporting the costs of running UW Bothell (salaries, operating expenses, building maintenance, etc.). Non-residents pay the actual, estimated cost to the University of supporting you as a student.

Beyond tuition, are there any hidden fees?

They aren't exactly "hidden," but you may not be aware of other expenses associated with attending classes. For example, you will need books and supplies. To get an idea how much books will cost, go to the Time Schedule and select a past quarter. Find any course and click on the SLN, the hyperlinked five-digit number next to each class section. This takes you to detailed information about the course. Click on "Display Textbooks." The required textbooks will be listed, with their prices. Check several courses to get an idea of what the cost of textbooks will be; you may be surprised by how expensive college textbooks are. If you have courses in mind for your first quarter, you can go to that quarter's Time Schedule and check them out. Autumn quarter textbooks, however, sometimes aren't listed until late in the summer.

The cost of supplies you'll need for courses will vary. Supplies for an art class could be relatively expensive. For other classes you'll just need a spiral notebook for note-taking. Science lab classes usually require a fee, which should be listed in the Time Schedule and will be added to your tuition bill.

The technology fee, which goes toward providing high-tech access for all students, is included in the basic tuition rate.

Beyond that, you'll probably run up against some fees. For example, you'll pay $20 to drop a class after the deadline, $9 for an official transcript, a fine if you don't return library books on time, or $75 if you don't pay your tuition by the deadline. Most of these surprise fees can be avoided, though, if you meet deadlines and obligations on time. Check the Academic Calendar for updated deadlines.
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Any other surprises?

There are some "optional expenses." If you want student health insurance, for example, that's an extra charge.

If you sign up for more than 18 credits in a quarter, you'll be charged per credit beyond the basic tuition fee.

Is that all?

No. You'll also have living expenses. You can find estimated living expenses at our Annual Student Budget website, but the figures shown include so many variables that you'd be better off figuring out your own individual situation. Factors you need to consider include where you plan to live (at home, in the residence halls, in an apartment, in a single room in a private home); whether you're responsible just for your own expenses, or for others as well; whether you'll have commuting costs; and how extravagant a lifestyle you maintain. Sit down and draw up an estimate of how much you'll spend just to keep yourself going for the next year. Don't forget car expenses and insurance (if any), and whether you can rely on a bailout in case of emergency.

What if my likely income doesn't match my projected expenses?

You have four options:

  1. Revise your budget. What, if anything, are you willing to sacrifice, in order to cover your irreducible expenses? Maybe some things you've considered essential can be redirected to the "optional" category. College is expensive, no question about it. Unless you have unlimited resources to draw upon, you can't expect to live the same lifestyle while you're attending college that you would have if you weren't paying for tuition, books, and all the rest. Will you really need a car? Could you spend less on clothes or travel or dining out? This is only for four years, after all, and everyone expects a student to have a somewhat reduced lifestyle.
  2. Get a job. On-campus jobs in Student Affairs, etc. are plentiful. They are right at hand and don't eat up valuable time going to and from work.
  3. Go part time. You'll get more out of school if you attend full time and get totally involved in the university experience, but that isn't feasible if you have to work a lot of hours to make ends meet. In general, we strongly recommend that you take only two classes if you are planning on working more than twenty hours per week, and only one class if you plan to work full-time. You may want to meet with an advisor to discuss your options and planning.
  4. Take time off from school and return after you've improved your financial situation. Once you've attended UWB for at least one quarter you can take time off between quarters, if necessary. If you have to leave for a while to work or deal with personal problems you'll be allowed to return and resume your studies when you're ready. Note that this process is not simply a come-and-go policy and requires significant planning and paperwork. Be sure to talk with an advisor before taking time off, as you may be dropped if you go on leave without notifying the university.

One of the most frequent reasons that students get into academic difficulty is that they try to work too many hours while attending college. Under those circumstances, something is bound to suffer — your grades, your ability to stay alert at work, your health. And if your grades suffer too badly, you might damage your record to the point where it's no longer possible to gain admission to the major or postgraduate program that is your goal. Be realistic about what you can accomplish, and don't attempt to cut corners in your academic work. In the long run, it doesn't pay off. Remember, too, that advisors are always here to help you work through these decisions.

Will I end up with a huge debt?

Possibly. But in the long run, college pays off. On average, college graduates earn twice as much over a lifetime as their high school peers. Beyond that, your college education will add immeasurably to your enjoyment of life. You'll be better-informed, more interested, and more interesting — as an employee, spouse, parent, and citizen. It is important to apply for financial aid and scholarships prior to the deadline to maximize your funding options.

Who can I talk to more about finances?

Although academic advisors are always happy to discuss any issue with you, the advisors at the Financial Aid Office specialize in student financial issues.
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Discovery Core

Discovery Core is a seminar sequence that enables first-year students to begin fulfilling their UW General Education requirements. The three-quarter series introduces students to interdisciplinary inquiry, orients them to UW Bothell's culture, supports academic skills development, and builds a sense of belonging to peers and to the university. To learn more, visit the Discovery Core page.

Academic advising

Can I meet with an advisor before my Advising & Orientation session?

Not usually. During the summer most of our time is spent conducting Advising & Orientation (A&O) sessions. During your Advising & Orientation session there will be several presentations that cover the basic information you need to prepare for your first quarter. There will also be ample opportunities for you to ask questions. We try to give each person as much individual attention as possible, especially during registration labs, where you can register for your first quarter courses in the company of other students, with advisors on-hand to answer your questions. If you suspect that you'll be coming in with substantial credits from AP/IB, Running Start or College in the High School, it may be wise to set up an appointment before A&O, but it is not necessary.

Will my advisors during Advising & Orientation be my advisors for all four years?

Most of the advisors you'll meet during A&O are pre-major advisors. Most first-years start out meeting with the pre-major advisors and will transition to departmental advisors later on. As you start to narrow down your choice of majors, you will want to meet with the advisors for those majors for program planning and, in some cases, preparing your application for admission to the major. Once you declare a major, you will meet primarily with that department's adviser to plan your program of classes, discuss internship and research opportunities, and prepare for graduation.

Even after you declare your major you may return to the First Year and Pre-Major office for a variety of services, including pre-professional advising for programs such as medical school, veterinary school, and dental school. We can also help you if you find yourself in academic difficulty, and provide a valuable sounding board to help you shape your entire college experience since our advisors are generalists, and are not connected to any one particular major.

Can I go to professors for advice?

Absolutely!  Professors can be a wonderful resource for certain types of advice, and they make wonderful mentors. Many students develop a relationship with one or more professors and discuss their plans for the future with them. Also, admission to graduate and professional schools often requires getting recommendations from professors, so you should get to know at least a few of them individually. Professors are the best people to talk with about undergraduate research opportunities and preparing for graduate school, and they too can help you take advantage of the many opportunities on campus.

However, an academic advisor is a professional advisor whose full-time job is to help you navigate the University and make the most of the opportunities available to you.

How often am I required to meet with an advisor?

UW Bothell doesn't require that you meet regularly with an advisor. Some universities require that you obtain an advisor's approval before registering for classes each quarter, but UW Bothell does not. We do, however, require that all new first-year students meet with an advisor during their first quarter at the UW Bothell. Some students stop by with questions every few weeks; others find themselves comfortable navigating the University with relatively little assistance. Advisors are always available to provide whatever help you need. 
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