In order to apply to the program, applicants who are current UW students or transfer students must complete an online 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 Autumn 2023 will open on March 8, 2023, and be due on April 3 at 5 p.m PT.
- The application to start the program in Winter 2024 will open in August 2023, with a deadline of late September 2023.
Schools and Transcripts
Applicants are required to provide information about all schools where they have earned academic credit and are required to provide a transcript for each.
Applicants who have taken a prerequisite course at a school that does not have a transfer agreement with the UW (typically these are schools outside the state of Washington) will be asked to provide a syllabus and/or course description for the class. These applicants will be contacted directly after the deadline passes or can email this information at any time to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applicants will provide information about the prerequisite courses. If the prerequisite course was taken at the UW, the student will select that option in the application. The system will automatically pull the course and grade information into your application. If more than one course was taken that will fulfill the prerequisite requirement, the system will automatically select the course with the highest grade.
Essay Prompts for the academic year 2023-2024 (Autumn and Winter) applications.
In addition to providing information about prerequisite grades and academic history, applicants must submit a statement of less than 700 words that responds to the following prompt.
The Informatics admissions committee believes that all students interested in information deserve to major in Informatics. However, because we have limited teaching capacity and space, we can only admit some of the students who apply. To make the best use of your time and our resources, we select students based on a written response, evaluated against the following five criteria, all weighted equally:
Why are you choosing to pursue an Informatics degree?
Consider: how have you engaged with the study, design and development of information?
What will you bring to this major and community?
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 have to teach.
Goals after graduation:
How will pursuing an Informatics major impact your life, community, and/or world after graduation? Consider your goals and how the Informatics degree will 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.
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
Tell us about the learning skills you have developed that will best help you to thrive in Informatics classes. Reflect on your academic journey and how that has prepared you to succeed in our program.
What we’re looking for: Informatics majors need the ability to thrive academically in subjects related to their goals. Informatics students are active, curious, and engaged as students, classmates, and teammates.
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 them for you unless they significantly interfere with our ability to comprehend your writing.
We’ll read your statement for evidence of all of the above. Since we read the statement for all five 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).
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, and so we need to know what makes you different. Therefore, focus on telling your personal story, not platitudes and generalities about data, information, or technology. These impersonal generalities only make it harder for us to understand you.
Note that many students will meet all of the criteria well, but not all of those students will be admitted. Demand for our program has been too high for us to meet with our current resources, and so that means declining many students, even students that meet all of our criteria. When students are indistinguishable based on the criteria above, they have equal (but still low) chances of being admitted.
Finally, remember that Informatics is not the only path to your ambitions. Our graduates pursue many different careers, and there are many different paths to those careers, most of which don’t involve Informatics. So as you think about your goals and how Informatics might support them, also think about how other majors might support them equally well or perhaps better. Most software developers worldwide, for example, don’t have computer science degrees, and most data scientists don’t have data science degrees. In fact, most people in the world don’t have Informatics degrees. Think broadly about how to achieve your learning goals.
You may include anything you want in your submission, as long as it satisfies the following requirements:
- Applicants will copy/paste their submission as plain text into a text box in the application. Be sure to test this before the deadline.
- You may include links for reference, but reviewers will not follow any of the links in your statement to complete their review. They will only read the text you submit.
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. (Specifically, applicants who have not completed all prerequisite courses should not apply to the program.)
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.
*Effective 2/1/2023: The exception listed below will end with the autumn 2023 application review. Applicants may request this exemption for autumn 2023 and must email email@example.com by March 24, 2023.*
*There is one exception to the two-application limit, intended to serve students who have nearly completed the Informatics degree requirements but have not yet been admitted to the program. If you have previously applied for admission twice and were not admitted, and you have completed enough required Informatics courses to be within 15 credits or fewer of completing the degree (in most cases this will be INFO 490/491 Capstone plus one additional required course), you can petition the Chair of Informatics Admissions to request a third review by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. In your email, clearly explain your circumstances, including information on the specific courses you are lacking, and the Chair will use your letter to decide whether to include you in the admissions process for a third and final time. Neither review nor admission is guaranteed through this process, and so it should not be part of your major planning.