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Undergraduate Major Admissions

Admission into the Physics Major is capacity constrained.  Completion of the minimum requirements described below does not guarantee admission.   Each application is evaluated holistically by the Undergraduate Admissions Committee.

Application Prerequisites

  • Completion (not in progress) of the following courses by the time of application.
    Course equivalents for transfer, AP, IB, etc., must be indicated on the UW transcript. Typical applicants will have earned a 2.6 or above in the below courses.



or 134



or 135






or above 3.5 in 114+117







  • Completion of a minimum of one physics lecture course (any course number, either at UW or elsewhere) within two quarters prior to application.
  • Current enrollment in a minimum of one physics lecture course with course number higher than 220 at time of application.

Application Materials

(Incomplete applications will not be reviewed)

  • Completion of online application form (includes contact information, information on first year math and physics, choice of degree option, links to upload next three items)
  • Unofficial UW transcript (pdf)
  • Graduation Plan (entered into MyPlan, then entire MyPlan submitted as a pdf)
  • Personal Statement (**see below).

Preapproval of the graduation plan is strongly recommended; admission may be provisional based on completion of Physics Student Services approved Graduation Plan by end of first quarter.  We understand that plans are not permanent and will change, but we want all applicants to be aware of academic planning.  Some entries may be “Elective” or “VLPA,” but all required courses for the selected degree option should be present in an appropriate quarter.
(Sample graduation plans can be found here)

Continuation Policy Addendum

All new majors who do not have a Physics Student Services approved graduation plan on file by the end of the quarter in which they are accepted will have a hold placed on their registration until their Graduation Plan is approved by Physics Student Services.

Admission Criteria

Admission is capacity constrained and based on a holistic review of application materials.

  • Academic Performance 
    This is measured by GPA, grades in courses required for admission, difficulty of other courses completed; frequency of incompletes, repeated courses, and withdrawals; relevant work and life experience.
  • Personal Statement (max 3000 characters).
    The statement should discuss reasons for choosing a Physics major and strategies for success in the major, including a discussion of lessons learned from previous successes and difficulties (in or out of the classroom) and plans for accessing support. It should also address how the chosen degree option and submitted graduation plan are suited to life and career goals.  If any admission materials or prerequisites are missing, students must address why their application should not be postponed.

How To Apply

Standard Admission

Quarter of Enrollment

Application Opens

Application Deadline



3rd Friday of Autumn Qtr, 5pm PDT



3RD Friday of Spring Qtr, 5pm PST

Transfer Admission

Only for transfer students who started at UW previous Autumn.

Quarter of Enrollment

Application Opens




3rd Friday of Winter Qtr, 5pm PST

SUBMIT ADMISSIONS APPLICATIONS HERE (Opens September 1st at 8:00 am)
To access the form, you will need to use the G-suite function of your UWNetID.  If you have not already activated UW G Suite, you may do so HERE.
Send an email to Physics Student Services if you are having trouble accessing the application form.

If you would like to learn more about the major and application process, please plan to attend a Physics Major Information Session.  Watch your email and posted signs for time and date.

We recognize that the extraordinary circumstances surrounding Winter through Summer 2020 may have impacted your grades and that you may  have elected to switch to S/NS for some of your courses. Please include a self assessment of your readiness for upper-division physics classes  that have these courses as a prerequisite and plans to address any deficiencies in your preparation.

Admission Decisions

Decisions are made within approximately one month of the application deadline, in time for registration the following quarter.  Applicants are notified of the decision via UW email.  If admitted, follow the directions in the email. If admitted and you do not accept the offer by the deadline stated in the email, you will not be admitted to the major and need to reapply.

Admitted applicants need to be registered and enrolled for the quarter immediately following the application decision. Students who are not enrolled for the quarter following admission will forfeit their admissions offer and will need to reapply in a future application cycle.

All applicants have the right to petition and appeal the department’s admission decision.
If you feel that important facts were overlooked by the committee, please submit a Physics Admission Decision Appeal request within two weeks of the date of the notification email to the Physics Student Services Office in PAB 139.  Only relevant information that was not submitted with your original application will be considered in your appeal request.  Students will be notified one week after the appeal deadline.

The University of Washington reaffirms its policy of equal opportunity regardless of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, disability, or status as a protected veteran in accordance with University policy and applicable federal and state statutes and regulations. The University of Washington is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, education and employment for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation in the application process contact the department at 206-543-6830 or the Disability Services Office at least ten days in advance at: 206.543.6450/V, 206.543.6452/TTY, 206.685.7264 (FAX), or e-mail at