A Comprehensive Guide to the University of Washington

Discover a thorough guide to the University of Washington: A Comprehensive Guide to the University of Washington. Uncover insights, FAQs, and valuable information in this detailed exploration of one of the top educational institutions.

A Comprehensive Guide to the University of Washington

Embark on a journey through the richness of academia with our comprehensive guide to the University of Washington. From its inception to the present day, we delve into the intricacies, offerings, and unique aspects that make this institution stand out.

University Overview

The University of Washington is a public institution that was founded in 1861. It has a total student population of 36,872 (Fall 2022), an urban setting, and a campus size of 634 acres. It uses a quarterly academic calendar. The University of Washington's ranking in the 2024 edition of Best Colleges is National Universities, #40. Its in-state tuition and fees are $12,643; out-of-state tuition and fees are $41,997.

Located just north of downtown Seattle, the University of Washington is one of the oldest public universities on the West Coast. It is also a top research institution that receives significant federal funding each year and hosts an annual undergraduate research symposium for students to present their work to the community. The university has a highly rated School of Medicine, College of Engineering and Michael G.

Foster School of Business. Known as a commuter school, the university does not require freshmen to live on campus but encourages students who do to conserve energy and recycle. Students can join one of more than 950 student organizations on campus, including about 70 sororities and fraternities. Nearly three-quarters of UW graduates remain in the state's graduate program.

UW's main campus in Seattle

In addition to UW's main campus in Seattle, the university has campuses in Bothell and Tacoma, Washington. The university was founded in Seattle in 1861, and the Bothell and Tacoma locations were established in 1990. All three UW campuses offer undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


Those looking for an honors program may consider UW's, which gives undergraduates a chance to take smaller classes, pursue special projects, and have more interaction with UW faculty members. Students can choose between interdisciplinary and departmental honors.

The former is focused more generally and the latter provides an opportunity for in-depth study within a specific field. Extra ambitious students can take both types of honours. Students can apply to the interdisciplinary honors program when they apply to UW or at the end of their freshman year. Students submit applications for departmental honors after they have chosen their major.


The UW's main campus is located in Seattle, on the shores of Union and Portage Bays with views of the Cascade Range to the east and the Olympic Mountains to the west. The site comprises 703 acres (2.84 km2) bounded N.E. 45th Street North, N.E. Pacific Street on the south, Montlake Boulevard N.E. on the east and 15th Avenue N.E. on the West.

Red Square is the heart of the campus, surrounded by notable buildings and works of art such as the Suzzallo Library, the Broken Obelisk, and the George Washington statue. It functions as a central hub for students and organizes various events every year. University Way, known locally as 'The Ave', is nearby and is the focus of most student life at the University.

1. North Campus

The North Campus features some of the UW's most recognized landscapes as well as landmarks that stretch from the signature University of Washington Quad just north of Red Square to N.E. 45th Street, and includes a number of the university's most historic academic, research, housing, parking, recreation and administrative buildings.

With UW's continued growth, administrators in late 2014 proposed a new multi-million dollar, multi-phase development plan to improve parts of North Campus, renovate and replace old student housing with new LEED-certified complexes, introduce new academic facilities and athletic fields. , open greenery and museums.

The UW Foster School of Business, School of Law, and the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, home to a significant number of exhibits including a 66-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus rex fossil skull—one of only 15 known in the world today and part of an ongoing excavation—are also located on the North Campus.

2. South Campus

South Campus occupies the land between Pacific Street and the Lake Washington Ship Canal. The land was formerly the site of the university's golf course, but was given away for the construction of a medical school building.

Today, the South Campus is home to UW Health and Life Sciences, including the UW Medical Center and Magnuson Health Sciences Center, as well as teaching and research sites in oceanography, bioengineering, biology, genomic sciences, hydraulics, and comparative medicine. .

3. East Campus

The East Campus area stretches east from Montlake Boulevard to Laurelhurst and is largely occupied by wetlands and the Huskies' athletic facilities and recreational fields, including Husky Stadium, Hec Edmundson Pavilion and Husky Ballpark.

The area directly north of the athletic facilities is home to UW's computer science and engineering programs, which include computer labs once used by Paul G. Allen and Bill Gates for their previous venture before founding Microsoft. In 2019, the Bill & Melinda Gates Center For Computer Science & Engineering opened on the East Campus.

The area northeast of the athletic facilities is occupied by components of the UW Botanical Gardens, such as the Union Bay Natural Area, the UW Farm, and the Center for Urban Horticulture. Further east is the Ceramic and Metal Arts Building and Laurel Village, which provides family housing for registered full-time students. East Campus is also the location of the UW light rail station.

4. West Campus

The West Campus consists of mostly modernist structures set on city streets and stretches between 15th Avenue and Interstate 5 from the Ship Canal to the N.E. 41st Street. It is home to the College of Built Environments, the School of Social Work, the Fishery Sciences Building, the UW Police Department, as well as many university apartments such as Stevens Court and Mercer Court and the Alder, Lander, Maple and Elm Hall residence halls. The U District station is also close to campus.

Organization and Administration

1. Management

University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce was selected by the Board of Regents, effective October 13, 2015. On November 12, 2015, the Board of Regents approved a five-year contract for Cauce, giving her an annual salary of $910,000. Cauce's compensation package includes an annual salary of $697,500, $150,000 annually in deferred compensation, an annual contribution of $50,500 to a retirement account and an annual car allowance of $12,000.

Prior to her appointment, she was interim president, filling the position vacated by previous president Michael K. Young when he was announced as the next president of Texas A&M University on February 3, 2015. Phyllis Wise, who served the UW as provost and executive vice president and as interim president for a year, was named chancellor of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in August 2011.


The university is governed by eleven regents, one of whom is a student and one a faculty member. Its most notable former regent is probably William H. Gates, Sr., father of Bill Gates. The undergraduate student government is the Associated Students of the University of Washington (ASUW) and the graduate student government is the Graduate and Professional Student Senate (GPSS).

2. Finance

In 2017, the university reported revenues of $4.893 billion and expenses of $5.666 billion, resulting in an operating loss of $774 million. This loss was offset by government subsidies of $342 million, investment income of $443 million, donations of $166 million, and other non-operating income of $185 million. The university's net position thus increased by USD 363 million in 2017.

3. Donors

The university is funded in part by donations from philanthropists, foundations and corporations, as well as individual donors. Bill Gates Sr. and his son Bill Gates, as well as Melinda French Gates and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, have an "incomparable" impact on the entire university.

As of 2020, the university's Honor Roll of Donors has recognized top contributors such as Bill Gates, Melinda Gates, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Microsoft, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the late Paul G. Allen. Other major donors include Amazon, AstraZeneca, Bayer, BlackRock, Boeing, Burroughs Wellcome Fund, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, China Medical Board, Eli Lilly and Company, Gilead Sciences, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Monsanto, Novartis, Open Philanthropy, Open Society Foundations, Pfizer, Rockefeller Foundation and Wellcome Trust.

4. Sustainability

Environmental sustainability has long been a major topic of the university's board of regents and presidents. In February 2006, the UW joined a partnership with Seattle City Light as part of their Green Up program, which ensures that all Seattle campus electricity is supplied and purchased from renewable sources. Then in 2010, UW President Emmert supported the university's efforts with a number of other universities across the US and signed the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment.

The UW created a Climate Action Team, as well as an Environmental Stewardship Advisory Committee (ESAC), which monitors the UW's greenhouse gas emissions and carbon footprint. Policies have been adopted with environmental stewardship in mind and institutional support has been provided to help with campus sustainability.

Overall, the University of Washington was one of several universities to receive the highest grade of "A-" on the Sustainable Endowments Institute's College Sustainability Report Card in 2011.


The university's admissions process is rated 91/99 by the Princeton Review and is classified as "more selective" by the U.S. News & World Report. For the Class of 2025 (enrolled in Fall 2021), UW received 48,840 applications and accepted 26,121 (53.5%). Of those admitted, 7,252 enrolled, a yield rate (percentage of admitted students who decide to study at the university) 27.8%. UW's freshman retention rate is 93%, with 84% graduating within six years.

Of the 19% of incoming freshmen who submitted SAT scores; the median 50% composite score was 1240–1450. Of the 8% of entering 2021 freshmen who submitted ACT scores; the median 50 percent composite score was between 29 and 34. In the 2020–2021 academic year, 24 freshmen were National Merit Scholars.

The university uses capstone courses, a gatekeeping process that requires most students to apply to an internal college or faculty. New applications are usually reviewed once or twice a year, and only a small number of students are accepted each time. The screening process is based on cumulative academic performance, letters of recommendation and extracurricular activities.

Student life

The University of Washington had a total enrollment of 47,571 as of fall 2019, making it the largest university on the West Coast by enrollment, despite its selective admissions process. It also boasts one of the most diverse student bodies in the US, with more than 50% of its undergraduate students identifying with minority groups.

1. Organization

  1. Registered groups: The University of Washington boasts more than 800 active Registered Student Organizations (RSOs), one of the largest networks of any university in the world. RSOs pursue a wide variety of interests on and off campus. Some of these areas of interest include academic focus groups, cultural exchanges, environmental activities, Greek life, political/social events, religious discussions, sports, international student meetings by country, and STEM-specific events.
  2. Student Government: The Associated Students of the University of Washington (ASUW) is one of two student governments at the University of Washington, the other being the Graduate and Professional Student Senate. It is funded and supported by student fees and provides services that directly and indirectly benefit them. ASUW employs more than 72 current University of Washington students, has more than 500 volunteers, and spends $1.03 million annually to provide services and activities to 43,000 students on campus.

2. Student activism

Throughout the 20th century, UW student activism centered around a variety of national and international concerns, from nuclear power to the Vietnam War and civil rights. In 1948, at the beginning of the McCarthyism era, students brought their activism to campus by protesting the firing of three UW professors accused of communist affiliation.

University support

  1. Housing: The university operates one of the largest campuses of any college in the world. Despite this, the growing number of teachers and students puts a strain on the regional supply of housing and transport facilities. Beginning in 2012, the UW began taking active measures to explore, plan, and enact a number of campus policies to manage annual growth. In addition to new buildings, parking lots and light rail stations, new buildings and renovations are planned for 2020. The plan includes construction of three six-story dormitories and two apartment complexes on the west side of campus near the existing Terry and Lander halls in Phase I, renovation of six existing dormitories in Phase II, and additional new construction in Phase III. The projects will bring a net gain of approximately 2,400 beds.
  2. Resources for people with disabilities: In addition to the University of Washington's Disability Resources for Students (DRS) office, there is also a campus-wide DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking and Technology) Center program that helps educational institutions fully integrate all students, including those with disabilities, into academic life. DO-IT includes various initiatives, such as the DO-IT Scholars Program, and provides information on the "one-size-fits-all" design of educational facilities for students of all levels of physical and mental ability. These design programs aim to reduce systemic barriers that might otherwise impede the performance of some students, and can also be applied to other professional organizations and conferences.


In conclusion, our journey through the "University of Washington: A Comprehensive Guide to the University of Washington" has uncovered a tapestry of history, academic excellence, vibrant campus life, and commitment to student success. From the roots of innovation to the dynamic city of Seattle, this guide encapsulates the essence of a university dedicated to shaping not just education but the future.

Whether you're a prospective student or simply curious, the University of Washington stands as a beacon of knowledge, inclusivity, and transformative experiences. Embark on your educational adventure with confidence, knowing the doors of opportunity at this esteemed institution are wide open.

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