In order to apply to the program, applicants who are current UW students or transfer students must complete an application and provide the information and materials listed below.
The Informatics program has two admissions cycles per year, spring and autumn.
- The application to start the program in Winter 2024 will open on Sept. 8, 2023, with a deadline of Oct. 6, 2023.
- The application to start the program in Autumn 2024 will open in March 2024, with a deadline of early April 2024.
- Transfer students should also complete a UW transfer application for the quarter they wish to enter the program.
Schools and Transcripts
Applicants are required to provide information about all schools where they have earned academic credit and are required to provide an unofficial transcript for each. Please include all schools even if the courses appear on your UW transcript.
Applicants will provide information about the prerequisite courses they took. They will be asked at which school they took the course, what term it was taken, and the course number. If they have taken more than one course that meets any prerequisite course requirement, it is recommended that they enter the course that has the highest grade.
In addition to providing information about prerequisite grades and academic history, applicants must submit an application essay of less than 700 words that responds to the following prompts.
Essay Prompts for the academic year 2023-2024 (Winter and Autumn) applications are below. Essay prompts change every year; be sure to address the correct year's prompts in your application!
The Informatics admissions committee believes that all students interested in information deserve to major in Informatics. However, meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission. Admission is capacity constrained because we have limited teaching capacity and space; thus we can only admit a portion of the students who apply. Applications are evaluated based upon the written essay (80% of the overall score), and a calculated average of grades in the prerequisite courses (20% of the overall score). The essay is evaluated based upon the 4 prompts below as well as the overall writing, all prompts are weighted equally.
Writing and Formatting Requirements:
We expect students to already be capable of writing clearly and coherently in English. Your response helps us evaluate that.
What we’re looking for: Clear communication is central to thriving in our courses, as most involve writing. Be sure to check your spelling. Do your best to avoid grammar errors, but note that we will not penalize you for them unless they significantly interfere with our ability to comprehend your writing.
You may include anything you want in your Application Essay, as long as it satisfies the following requirements:
- The structure of your essay is up to you as long as you address all 4 prompts.
- 700 Word Limit total for all prompts combined.
- Applicants will copy/paste their submission as plain text into a text box in the application. Be sure to test this before the deadline. This means that bold, italic, etc formatting will not be included.
- Do not include links to external information or websites. Additional information can not be considered, so such links will just use up the word count.
Prompt: Why Informatics?
Why Informatics? Why are you choosing to pursue an Informatics degree?
Consider: How have you engaged with the study, design, and development of information?
What we’re looking for: We’re looking for students who have demonstrated that they will be interested, engaged, and active in our program and what we teach.
Prompt: Collaboration Skills
What skills and experiences illustrate your ability to foster meaningful collaboration with your peers and contribute to the enrichment of this major and community? Describe specific instance(s) where your actions have demonstrated active engagement and a commitment to creating a collaborative learning environment either in or out of the classroom.
What we’re looking for: In the iSchool we strongly value collaboration and community. All our classes involve group work and collaborative efforts, which are integral to learning. Informatics students will thrive in this collaborative environment, and help empower others to thrive as well.
Prompt: Experiences with IDEAS
What experiences do you have with inclusion, diversity, equity, access, and/or sovereignty in relation to information? These might be the same experience with information you described above, or different ones. These experiences might include learning, volunteering, activism, community organizing, mentoring, teaching, or personal experiences with exclusion or oppression. We are especially interested in experiences in which you took action to address issues of fairness, bias, or exclusion, whether advocacy or self-advocacy, social or technical. You may want to consider the iSchool diversity statement when composing your response.
What we’re looking for: It’s important that Informatics majors are attentive to ways that people can be excluded and oppressed by information and information technology and in general. We’re seeking students who are committed to making information technology more just, equitable, and inclusive
Prompt: Goals After Graduation
How will pursuing an Informatics major impact your life, community, and/or world after graduation? How will the Informatics degree specifically support those intended impacts? Your goals may be specific or general, but you should be specific about how the Informatics program will support your post-graduation plan.
What we’re looking for: It is important that Informatics is actually well-positioned to support your goals, whatever they are. Informatics doesn’t support every goal.
Tips for Completing the Application
As you write, remember that the admissions committee is not looking for just one type of student: We need diversity of all kinds to promote critical learning about people, information and technology, so we need to know what makes you unique. The admissions committee will read your statement for evidence of all of the above. Since we read the statement for all four criteria, tell us your story clearly and coherently, potentially organizing your statement around the prompts above, to make it easier for us to assess each criterion (though it is okay if you find other creative ways of organizing your responses, since it might be that a single experience addresses multiple criteria). Remember to connect your experiences to the Informatics Major.
If you have any questions while working on the application, please contact the Admission team at email@example.com Do not wait until the due date to reach out to us if you do have questions!
Informatics AI Usage — ChatGPT or Generative AI Usage
ChatGPT and similar tools can be valuable in making your writing better and your thinking richer. But it cannot be used to replace writing and thinking.
During the application process, you will be asked "Did you use ChatGPT and/or similar tools in writing this essay? If so, please indicate how you used the tool(s)."
Enter prompt and/or some notes into ChatGPT; submit some version of what comes out, even with some modifications. This will be considered plagiarism.
- Use ChatGPT to find a better word (as you would a thesaurus)
- Use ChatGPT to assure your grammar is correct
- Use ChatGPT to find a better way to phrase an idea, a sentence or two
Note: Two-Application Limit
Applicants will be allowed to apply to the Informatics major a maximum of two times. For this reason, applicants are encouraged to be selective and apply only when they have fulfilled all the criteria and feel that they can present a strong application.
Freshman Direct Admission applications do not count toward the two-application limit.
Only applications that are complete and considered for admission are counted in the two attempts. Starting an application or submitting without all prerequisite courses completed will not count toward your two attempts.