Academic Advising

For Transfer Students

For Transfer Students

Transfer students come to the University well prepared for what lies ahead. They understand the importance of time management, planning, communicating with professors, and effective study strategies. If you are transferring from Washington community colleges you are already accustomed to the pace of the quarter system. However, even with such excellent preparation, UW Bothell does have a few surprising differences in store for new transfer students.

We don't expect you to know everything when you get here because you are here to learn. With a bit of tweaking, the learning skills that you have developed at other learning institutions, along with a commitment to take advantage of the services and resources available at UW Bothell, will make your transition to the university a smooth process. This page provides information of interest to both prospective and admitted transfer students.

Course planning before you transfer

Many students complete their first two years of college coursework at a community college, often earning an associate's degree along the way, and then transfer to UW Bothell to complete a bachelor's degree. Community college students typically have several goals competing for their academic attention along the way, not the least of which are completing the requirements for the associate's degree, completing UW Bothell admission requirements, working toward UW Bothell  general education requirements, and investigating UW Bothell majors and taking preliminary courses leading toward them.

When it comes to balancing these goals, there is no one answer as to which is most important. For some students, the associate's degree is of paramount importance, while others work diligently toward completing general education requirements or focus almost exclusively on prerequisites for their major. UW Bothell admission requirements are a must for all students hoping to attend UW Bothell.

Use the information below, and work closely with your community college advisors and UW Bothell  admissions advisors, to strike the right balance for your situation. 
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Planning for your major

One of the most important decisions you'll need to make at UW Bothell is the selection of your major. Since we expect students to declare a major by the time they reach 105 credits, most transfer students need to be ready to declare their major soon after transfer. There are many things you can be doing now to help you make this decision and gain admission to your major.

You can find a lot of information on our site concerning undergraduate majors. Some UW Bothell majors have very competitive admission, so you will need to plan ahead and keep your options open. It's a good idea to develop a list of a few potential majors that will work for you, including at least one that has less competitive admission.

The Office of Admissions offers information sessions for many UW Bothell majors. If you can come to campus, attending these sessions is a great way to get the basic information about the majors you're interested in. There will also be an opportunity to ask questions.

Here are more reasons why it is important that you begin preparation for your UW Bothell major as early as possible in your academic career:

Preparation for your major is an important factor in getting admitted to UW Bothell

The Office of Admissions subjects each transfer application that meets minimum standards to a comprehensive review. This review assesses all students holistically on their academic performance and personal qualities or achievements. Preparation for intended major is one of the assessment areas specifically addressed in this review.

Some UW Bothell  majors take four years to complete

For example, engineering majors take four years from the time you start calculus; Biology majors take four years when science courses are initiated. There are many other examples. If you select one of these majors and don't start it until your junior year, you may need a total of six years of college to finish your bachelor's degree.

All UW Bothell majors have admission requirements

Some majors admit students only once a year. Almost all of the admission requirements of these majors can be completed at Washington community colleges. If you choose a major and haven't started the coursework in your first two years, it may take you much longer to graduate than you had planned.

UW Bothell students are expected to be admitted to a major before they reach 105 credits

If you transfer in with 90 or more credits, you will have about one quarter to decide on a major. We will provide you with more time if necessary to complete the admission requirements of your chosen major, but we expect you to have given the matter some thought before your junior year. And, if your choice of major has competitive admission, you may not be admitted, and will need a plan for an alternate major. This is a lot to think about during your first quarter at UW Bothell, when you will be making many other adjustments in your life as well.

Most students consider several potential majors before they find the subject they enjoy most. Give yourself time to do this by starting to investigate potential majors early on. Each quarter, one or two of your courses should be a subject you are considering as a major, or a requirement of your intended major. 
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Many subjects have required prerequisites

This is particularly true for business and science programs. For example, before you can take organic chemistry (required for many biological and physical science majors), you must take a year of general chemistry, and before you can take the year of general chemistry you should be ready to start calculus.  All of these foundational science courses can be taken at community colleges.

In addition, many majors are sequential, meaning the courses must be taken in order, one per quarter, at least for the first several quarters. For example, if you major in math you can take only one math course each quarter until you finish a year of calculus. If you begin calculus early on, the other courses each quarter can be General Education requirements. If instead you transfer in with 90 credits of General Education requirements completed and then start your math courses, you have no requirements left to take along with the math. This is a serious problem if you are receiving a type of financial aid (such as veterans benefits) for which you must take 12 credits of requirements each quarter.

If you postpone courses that are normally taken in the freshman year, you may have difficulty registering for them at UW Bothell

UW Bothell is a small and intimate campus, but we are still growing.  Registration for some courses can be difficult — especially gateway courses that a lot of students need. During your first quarter at UW Bothell, you'll register after the continuing students as continuing students receive first priority registration. If you haven't completed the basic course sequences for your major in your first two years, you graduation timeline may be delayed.

Not all majors are available at UW Bothell

To be sure you can major in the subject you want, decide on your major before you choose the college at which you plan to finish your undergraduate degree. If you know you want to finish at  UW Bothell, familiarize yourself with our list of majors.

Completing a major in two years

If you know you want to pursue an undergraduate degree at UW Bothell, it is important that you familiarize yourself with the majors we offer. For students who begin preparing for their major early in their college career, it is possible to complete many UW Bothell majors within two years of transferring.

Transfer students who have completed most of the General Education requirements but have not completed recommended or required courses for admission to a major are unlikely to complete an undergraduate degree within two years of transferring. However, it is possible to complete some majors within two years without having completed major-specific courses beyond General Education if you begin working toward them in your first quarter, seek appropriate assistance, and follow the recommendations of advisors (e.g., to complete a 60-credit major in two years, you will likely have to take at least two classes in your major every quarter). See an advisor for more information.

Major-ready pathways

Once you have a pretty good idea of what you would like to major in when you come to UW Bothell, consider talking to your community college advisor about whether there is a Major Ready Pathway (MRP) for that major. Although it doesn't guarantee admission to the major, taking the courses in an MRP helps to ensure that you will have met the minimum requirements for your major of choice once you enter UW Bothell. 
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Planning for your General Education requirements

Whether or not you complete an associate's degree, you will most likely take a number of courses before you transfer that will count toward UW Bothell's general education requirements. Here are some important things to note when planning your courses prior to transfer.

Since some of UW Bothell's schools have General Education requirements in excess of UW Bothell's General Education requirements, students who enter with an associate degree have NOT automatically satisfied all of the General Education requirements for their degree program

Many courses required by a transfer associate degree will count toward your General Education requirements, but the degree itself does not automatically fulfill all General Education requirements. After you transfer to UW Bothell, you will meet with an advisor who will determine how the courses you have already completed count toward the graduation requirements for the degree program(s) you are seeking. Almost all transfer students will have some requirements yet to be completed. This is entirely normal and expected. Students who start at UW Bothell as freshmen are not expected, nor even encouraged, to complete their General Education requirements in their first two years. It is more important in your freshman and sophomore years to decide on a major and begin completing its requirements while taking some General Education courses.

Plan your general education courses with your advisor

Talk to your advisor about integrating the courses required for your UW Bothell major with the requirements of the academic associate degree; you can often select courses that will count toward the requirements of both. For example, pre-business students should take two quarters of economics, which will count toward social sciences, and math, which will count toward natural sciences.

If possible, try to complete any sequences you started before you transfer

Because the organization of the material can vary from School to School, you may have trouble if you transfer in the middle of a sequence. Good examples of this are biology, chemistry, and math. To see how your sequences will transfer, use the UW Equivalency Guide for Washington Community and Technical Colleges.

Look at your UW unofficial transcript

The official transcripts you send to UW Bothell's Office of Admissions will be evaluated and the courses and credits translated into their UW equivalents. The evaluation is generally completed just before your Advising & Orientation date, but once it is you can review the evaluation by looking at your Unofficial Transcript in your MyUW account.


Courses that are transferrable but don't have an exact UW equivalent will be posted as "X" credit. For example, a 100-level political science course might be posted as POL S 1XX if the UW doesn't teach a course on exactly the same topic. A 300-level home economics course might be posted as UW 3XX because UW doesn't have a home economics department. Interdisciplinary courses are usually posted as UW 1XX.

X-credit courses can be counted toward requirements but you should verify with an advisor to have the courses evaluated for equivalencies.


You can use UW's Degree Audit Reporting System (DARS) to see how the credits you have completed so far count toward a particular major. DARS is available in MyUW. Any X credits won't be assigned to general education areas until after your transcripts have been reviewed by an admissions specialist, but you'll see how any other courses will count toward requirements.

Reviewing your transfer credits with an advisor

During your Advising & Orientation session you will meet with an advisor to go over your transfer credits. The advisor will determine how all your credits count toward requirements, so you know what requirements you have yet to fulfill.

For more detailed information on transferring credits please see the Office of Admissions.
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