Choosing your major/courses

The University offers over 6500 undergraduate courses — and you might take as few as 36 of them by the time you graduate. How can you make the best choices for your needs and interests?

Here are some specific things to consider and to prompt your thinking as you gain experience building a course schedule.

Still exploring?

  • If you are interested in several majors, take introductory courses in each of them.
  • Explore our Advising Guides. These guides are designed to help you reflect on your goals and interests, while navigating the various academic and co-curricular opportunities available to you.
  • Is this your first year at the UW? Consider a First-year Interest Group in Autumn quarter and/or a Collegium Seminar in Autumn, Winter, and Spring.
  • First-year students should prioritize English Composition courses.
  • First and second-year students should prioritize Additional Writing courses.

Interested in a particular major?

  • If you have a major identified, investigate the requirements and start working on prerequisites and required sequences. 
  • If you have a declared major, run a degree audit (DARS) and consult a departmental adviser to find out more about the requirements and opportunities for your major.
  • If you are interested in health carelaw, or another professional program that requires a number of specific courses for application (including dentistry and veterinary medicine), you may spend as many credits on this preparation as you do on your major. These credits, at least the ones that don't count toward your major or your general education requirements, will be electives.

Tools for searching for classes

How to Register for Classes

The Registration Office has resources ranging from registration prority, changing or dropping courses and registration policies and restrictions.   

Course Evaluation Catalog

You can use the Course Evaluation Catalog to find out the student ratings for the various instructors of a course you are planning to take. The Instructional Assessment System is used to collect and summarize student ratings of instruction, and is used in more than 8,000 courses annually at the UW. The Course Evaluation Catalog is an online summary of this information.    

General Education Requirement Course Search

This MyPlan tool allows you to search for all open courses that meet selected General Education Requirements. For example, if you want to take a Social Science (SSc) course, but don’t know exactly which one, you can search for all open Social Sciences courses between selected times and find out all your options.

Other ways to take classes

Summer Quarter

This is a voluntary optional quarter that you can use to fulfill electives, drill down into a difficult course in your major, or experience something unique like a Summer Language Intensive or field course. Academic advisers or Evening Degree advisers can help you determine if Summer Quarter is right for you.

Professional & Continuing Education

UW Professional & Continuing Education (PCE) offers a wide variety of credit and noncredit courses, many of which are available via online learning, allowing students to study at their own pace during hours that suit their lifestyles. Keep in mind that most online courses have a charge separate from normal tuition, and do not count for residence credit. PCE also offers more than 100 certificate programs and a variety of professional development programs and resources to K-12 educators throughout Washington.

UW-Bothell and UW-Tacoma

As a UW-Seattle student you can register for courses at UW-Bothell or UW-Tacoma on a space-available basis during Period 2 registration. There are limits on the number of cross-campus credits you can count toward your degree, and you can’t complete another campus’s major without applying and transferring to that campus (although you can complete a cross-campus minor). Both Tacoma and Bothell have programs that are not available at the Seattle campus.

Learn more about cross-campus registration

Community colleges

Many UW students take courses at local community colleges—particularly in the summer when they are at home. Many community college courses will also fulfill UW requirements. Consult an acaademic adviser, as there are limits on how many transfer credits you can count toward your UW degree, and restrictions on when they can be taken.