Frequently Asked Questions: Admissions

Q: How difficult is it to get in, and how competitive is the program?

A: Informatics has a competitive admission process and will admit approximately 210 students for an autumn 2017 start. For the past few years, the initial admit rate has been around 30 percent.

Q: Is there more than one application cycle?

A: No. The Informatics major admits students once a year for autumn term, with an application period between April 15 and June 15.

Q: Is there a minimum grade requirement for prerequisite courses?

A: Yes, each prerequisite course must be completed with a 2.0 or higher. We are not able to accept non-numeric grades, such as CR/NC or S/NS.

Q: What are the average grades in prerequisite courses and GPAs of admitted students?

A:  Data from 2016:

  • Average UW GPA (30 or more graded credits): 3.47
  • Range of UW GPA (30 or more graded credits): 2.81 to 3.96
  • Average CSE 142 (or equivalent) grade: 3.50
  • Range of CSE 142 (or equivalent) grades: 2.2 to 4.0
  • Average INFO 200 grade: 3.85
  • Range of INFO 200 grades: 3.3 to 4.0

Q: What is the ethnicity and gender breakdown for students in the Informatics program?

A: For the 2016 admissions process, admitted students self-identified as the following:
(Also provided is corresponding data for undergraduate enrollment at the UW.)

2016 Informatics Admitted Students 2016 UW Undergraduate Enrollment*
Ethnicity Percentage Ethnicity Percentage
African American 3% African American 2.7%
American Indian <1% American Indian / Alaska Native .4%
Asian American 48% Asian 24.9%
Caucasian 30% Caucasian 41.4%
Hawaiian / Pacific Islander 1% Hawaiian / Pacific Islander .5%
Hispanic American 3% Latino 7.7%
Other 1% Two or more races 7%
International 14% International 14.3%
  Not indicated 1.1%
2016 Informatics Admitted Students 2015 UW Undergrad Enrollment**
Gender Percentage Gender Percentage
Female 40% Female 52%
Male 60% Male 48%

Q: What can I do to increase my chances for admission?

A: Other than providing compelling information in your one-page application document, the most important criteria for admission is completion of the prerequisite courses (with grades at a 2.0 or higher).

Q: What does the committee evaluate when reviewing the application?

A: After screening applications for prerequisite course completion (see next question) and the minimum 2.0 grade requirements, the review will focus on your one-page application document and your transcript. The purpose of the document is for you to express why you want to learn what we teach in Informatics and what you want to do with that knowledge. Students are most successful at learning when they are intrinsically motivated to learn; this document helps us understand what's motivating you. Our review of your transcript will be holistic and qualitative. If you want, your document can help us better interpret your transcript.

The prompt is open-ended because each of you has different experiences, interests, and goals. Only you know which of those are relevant to your interest in Informatics. The open-ended document also allows you to express your voice more clearly because what you include and how you present it is your choice rather than ours. For example, some students might want to convey their extensive work experiences in writing, while others might want to focus on their ambitions or their curiosities visually. All of these are helpful ways for us to understand you as an individual.

Q: Is it required to have completed all the prerequisite courses prior to applying to the program?

A: Preference will be given to applicants who have completed all five prerequisite courses. However, the Informatics Admissions Committee understands that not all applicants are able to complete each course prior to applying. In particular, it can be difficult to get into INFO 200 or take a statistics course. Therefore, review and/or consideration of applicants who have not completed all prerequisite courses is at the discretion of the Informatics admissions committee.

Q: Will the committee be able to consider prerequisites that are in progress at the time of application?

A: The admissions committee will be able to consider courses that are in progress during spring quarter of the year of application. (We will wait for spring grades to post before reviewing the application.) However, we are not able to consider courses that are in progress during summer quarter, as grades for those courses will not be available until after the decisions have been made.

Q: When will I learn my admissions decision?

A: Admissions decisions are conveyed by email in late July.