University of Washington-Seattle Campus Top Questions

What are the academics like at your school?


Quality of teaching is decent. compared to schools like MIT its shit though. The price and selectivity of such schools really reflects the quality of teaching at those universities as a majority. Difficulty comes second to that. UW is pretty difficult if you are science/health/eng. major the curves are extremely competitive and everyone cares what they get. With a high prevalence of international students and a large asian population the curve its pretty demanding. I've really only had one great professor since i've been here and ironically he was the hardest but it was worth a lower grade just for his lectures despite the ridiculously hard tests. Get Phil Reid for chemistry if you can. he mainly teaches upper level but he taught a 152 class this year amazingly well.


Some professors I really felt judged me on my looks. Some I KNOW judged me on my looks. Some I will remember forever for their efforts in my individual success and some I have learned a lot from about life in general. Professors that show that they care and that put their passions on the table to show they want to be there with you and help you in your studies. Those are the professors I admired.


I like Management classes. Unique classes - Metadata and XML database.


I major in Poli Sci, and classes are huge. You have to work hard to distinguish yourself, even at the 300 level. One big caveat that no one told me until I got here: the TAs (grad students who assist the professors) decide your grades for the class! It is often more important to pay attention to the reputation of the TA you've enrolled with rather than the professor. Some TAs are great, reasonable, etc...some have very fixed ideas, and penalize those who disagree. Professors can seem intimidating when at the lectern, but once you meet them in their office hours, they are generally affable and approachable. Downright friendly, sometimes. In Political Science, I recommend taking classes on controversial subjects. Also, pay attention to the syllabus at the beginning of the quarter, will you have an 8-page paper due on the same day that you are taking an exam (this actually happened to me, but it was two 8-page papers on the same day as the exam)? If so, you might want to consider dropping one of the classes, for the sake of your sanity. The key to Poli Sci is to DO THE READINGS: that is how I managed to make it on the Dean's List each quarter while still having a non-academic life. Also, pick an elective that will throw your cum GPA up: for me, that was the Latin series. Above all, make sure you are taking something interesting that will make you want to go to class everyday (profs and TAs will punish absent students if they notice poor attendance by giving extra credit to students who are present, offering some hint for studying for an upcoming exam, etc.).


The larger lectures will feel less personal, but once you are in your major, you really get to know your professors and peers a lot better in the smaller classes. I have found UW students are very intelligent and really have a passion for the subjects they study. I have a few professor friends from the German department that I still keep in touch with even after the class was over-- I've even visited a few in Germany! I find that education is much more geared towards learning for its own sake, and you have to make a concious decision to choose the specific classes that will benefit your career later. The smaller departments/majors at UW are great because you get to know your peers extremely well and have regular study groups and gatherings rather than some of the larger majors that have too many people to really get to know.


Students are competitive. Most classes are graded on a curve, so you are competing against your class mates for the top grade, you are not competing against the professor. Most professors here will know your name, unless you are taking one of the large lecture classes (180+ students).


If you are in your first two years, taking your required classes, you will most likely end up sitting in auditorium with about 500 other students. Classes are a little hard to get into but you end up taking them...eventually. It's not just huge classes, there are also the very small, 15-20 student classes. You really get to know your professors in those types of classes. But, even with the big ones, you end up having to take quiz sections with like 20 other students, and those are a little more one on one. The most interesting class I have taken so far was a genocide class. I loved it! It was a little graphic, but I learned so much. It was a small class, and I got to know my professor. UW also offers Early Fall Start for incoming Freshmen, and thats just the month before regular classes start, all the freshmen involved get to take a class on campus, while living in the dorms. Its a good way to get to know campus, and figure out how to get around with out getting lost. I think depending on the department, UW really offers a way to think in a way that will work for future jobs. I am a double major (Latin American Studies and Spanish) and a double minor (Portuguese and Diversity), and what I have learned so far is something that I think about outside of the classroom setting. I think about racial issues, and the way in which these issues affect individuals. I really think UW prepares you, and teaches you to think critically, in and out of the classroom.


The classes tend to be big, and it's easy to go unnoticed. Although it's fun to get involved in the quiz sections, and get to know your TA. There are lots of interesting classes if thats what you're into. I took a focus group about music and dancing, and the end of the quarter project was a benefit show to support Guatemalan Textile workers. I also took a course on Religion and Existentialism. It was pretty neat, but you have to be wiling to devote your time to really doing the reading, and seriously thinking about them. Both of these classes fit perfectly towards one of my majors (Comparative History of Ideas). The other is Sociology, and it's something I'm really excited about. I think the University of Washington is for many different types of people. It's geared towards getting jobs for some, and for others it's focus is getting a really incredible education.


The academics at Washington are known to be superb, which is correct for the most part. Still, it is very difficult to learn with the large lecture classes for the introductory courses. I feel like it's hard to grasp my preferences when the classes are so impersonal and I do not have close access to the professor. If one takes the time to seek out professors or other help, then I have no doubt that one will be successful at UW. Otherwise, I think it is easy for people to feel lost and have no direction as a result of the large school population.


Professors in my studies, Architecture and Construction Management know my name, because they are smaller majors. Students become very close and study together outside of class and we are all really good friends. We have happy hours every friday with the entire department of Architecture and Urban Design & Planning. Professors and the public come and we have like 5 kegs, with a quarterly glass design competition! My two majors bring in companies every month or week and have interview sign ups for us, which is great and helpful, many other majors do not do that my friends tell me. Other majors though are huge and impersonal. Business and Comm. and others. they are such broad majors, unless you really know what you want to do with your degree.


If you're in the 300 student Chemistry class, chances are the professor will not know you, but after introductory courses, the classes shink to no more than 60, in most cases less than 30, and there are some TAs and professors who make a marked point to lean everyone's name.


Amazing opportunities. You can really take any class you want in any department, perfect for those who have no idea what they want to do.


The quality of academics at UW continue to surprise me. I find myself constantly impressed by my professor's credentials. While NYU was another school I was considering--well, I pretty much have ended up getting the NYU education considering two of my professors recently transferred from there.


Everyone is competitive. This is a great school and deserves the name of public Ivy.


Professors here do not know you by name, you are in large classrooms the first 2 years, some greater than 600 students, the advantage is you can blend and be an adult learner, the disadvantage is that you have to be a self-starter and be very motivated to do well because nobody is keeping track of your academics


Do professors know your name?: The entire organic chemistry dept. probably knows my name. My ochem1 final was quite memorable. I was asked to name two molecules and answered "Harold" and "Kumar". I got progressively creative after that. Tell us about your favorite class. Least favorite?: Favorite is Undergraduate research (OFF campus thank god). Least favorite is physics. How often do students study?: Enough to pass from what I've seen. Is class participation common?: Nope. Professors talk and students take in the information. It's a big school what did I expect? Do Washington students have intellectual conversations outside of class?: No. I try but there's just no interest. Unless you count which frat is having the better keg party "intellectual". Are students competitive?: Not really. What's the most unique class you've taken?: It's now called "intro to global health". A bunch of professionals in varied fields talk about their experiences out-of-country. Never the same week-to-week. Tell us about your major / department.: Ask someone else. I'm stuck doing so many prerequirements I haven't taken a class in my dept yet. I've been here a year and was as a community college for three years prior. Do you spend time with professors outside of class?: No but my physics prof does offer "lunch at the union building". One prof out of nine isn't bad I guess... How do you feel about Washington 's academic requirements?: Fine if you can learn by their system. I still haven't figured it out. Is the education at Washington geared toward getting a job, or learning for its own sake?: I'd say a mix of the two.


Being an EDGE student I thought that I would be pushed asside and nobody would really pay that much attention to what I did. I figured I could just float by unnoticed by the staff and professors. Actually this is not the case at all. The professors are great about delivering the same education to me as they do to every other student. I spend a lot of time with the professors outside of class due to my location and they are always very helpful on the phone and through e-mail.


The T.A.s are really nice and try to learn everyone's name by the first week. The professors, on the other hand, won't know you unless you come in for office hours. The nice thing is that professors and T.A.s are regularly available for help or discussion outside of class or via e-mail. In language classes, participation counts for a lot of the class work. In some of the big lecture classes, it's easy enough to skip class and just do the reading. It really depends on the class.


Beginning classes for freshman and sophomores are all very large. Many classes are between 200-500. Once you get into your major classes they range from 30-60. Students at UW are very competitive. Many classes in the Foster Business School are graded on a curve which sets students against each other. Professors are all very friendly and make time to meet with students outside of class. The business school is very geared towards getting a job and local companies spend lots of time recruiting students. Classes are hard though and require lots of time and effort.


Yes. Teachers are usually great here. There is a real dichotomy between classes quality. Instructors have office hours and you feel that they really need to get back to their research. After all, I think keeping their position means being published.


Professors are outstanding, and the curriculum is well rounded.


UW is known for its strong academic programs. Since it's such a large school, most introductory courses have several hundred people in them, which means you don't really interact with your teachers unless you go to their office hours (which they encourage). One of my favorite things about UW is the huge variety of courses that are offered. Last year I took a class on murder.


Yes, professors know my name. It would be feasible to get a letter of recommendation from some of them. I love all of my classes, but I'd say my favorite by far are my business core classes. Right now I'm taking Management of Organizations and I love that class. My professor is Dr. Rosemary Hall and she is SUCH a great professor! We always have class activities, games, debates, and movie days. I would be really sad if I missed a day of class because everyday its so fun. Students have intellectual conversations outside of class all the time, I find myself inspired everyday by things that I talk about with my colleagues (anything from class topics to philosophy and ideals). I am in the Business program with a concentration in Finance. I love my program, I feel like I'm learning important subjects that I will use throughout my career. My professors do a wonderful job at balancing our workloads over the course of the quarter so that we don't get too stressed out during finals or midterms (i.e. doing exams every 1/3 of the quarter).


Class participation is a substantial part of your grade so for those of you who are shy, shake it off. This is the real world and if you want to be heard you have to speak up! Once you do this the teahcer will definitely remember you by name and who knows they may be able to give you a recommendation.


Very competitive. Make sure you study hard and receive as many AP credits as you can. Running start is also another great idea. In college, if you are good at taking exams, you win.


The classes are HUGE soemtimes (biggest I've been in was 750 people), but the TA's are both numerous and great so it never feels overwhelming. Professors don't always know your name, but I've definitely been recognized in passing and greeted. But, the best part by far is that those awkward moments in high school when the teacher would ask "So what do you think about *blank*" and everyone would just sort of stare are gone. Most of the time professors don't have enough time to get around to everyone that has a question or comment in normal class periods.


As I said before the classes are big most of the time, but it does not bother me. The college of engineering is very competetive here which will help my future tremendously. The pre recs are pretty intense here but it is still shows I can work hard and I deserve my diploma.


The classes are too big for professors to know your name.


Depends on the department, it could be really hard or fairly easy. You just got to show up to lecture and turn in the homework to pass. You can find a group you like to work with on a group project. Some are slackers and won't do the work. They are useless. Leave them behind. My major is Computing and Software Systems at UW, Bothell. I also took a minor in Geography/Geographic Information Systems (GIS) at UW, Seattle. I had a great time at UW, Seattle and made some really great friends. Geography is a social science and doesn't care about GIS and technology even though it is changing our lives and the way we do things every day. If you are a lady there are women groups that will help you like Women in Science and Engineering group.


Professors know my name, because the class sizes are pretty moderate (but keep in mind that I transferred from community college and avoided all the crowded 101 classes.) I like all my classes about the same amount. They're all pretty challenging. Class participation varies depending on the situation. Academic requirements are right where they should be, but people should be required to take art. Education at Washington is both geared toward getting a job and learning for its own sake.


The professors make the effort to know your name. They put in extra time to ensure our success. These are qualities that you usually get at a small institution, but you get it here at UW.


It certainly depends on what your major is, what year you are, and what style of teaching you like, but if you raise your hand a lot and go to office hours, there's no reason why your professor wouldn't know your name. My favorite class was probably Psychology 101. The professor was funny and he made learning so interesting - and I'm normally not interested in that kind of thing. I also recommend taking classes that aren't surveys. That way you go in depth and learn more specifics about a subject. My least favorites were ESRM 100 and ART H 201, a combination of dull subject matter combined with monotone voices and professors that would rather be traveling the world or doing anything but helping out their students. I'd reccommend - they're usually pretty accurate. People study anywhere from a couple hours a day to forty hours a week. It depends on your classes and your personality. I definitely hear people having intellectual conversations in cafes - the coffee here sort of inspires us, I think. Students are competitive depending on their major - more science than liberal arts. I love my major - history - it makes me want to learn more. It also makes me more interested and knowledgable about things that are happening today. I generally don't go to office hours unless I have a specific question that can't be answered in or after class. The academic requirements here are pretty reasonable, although as a History major, I'd prefer a little less of the science/math requirement.


All the professors know and cared to learn my name within a few weeks. Favorite classes are defined by instructors, not topic: that would be Dr. Belinda Louie! Her funny and relevant stories helped us to relax and take things in stride. Most students like to participate and find that most professors are affirming and encouraging in their responses. I think the education at UWT is quite balanced between the getting a job priority and the learning for the sake of learning. Generally speaking, students I was with were not competitive; grades were not announced.


For the most part, if I participate in class, the professor will know my name, and besides that, professor's do a wonderful job, for the most part, at memorizing names during the first few weeks. Student's should study daily. I, for the most part have loved all of my classes, except for one which had a lousy professor. Depending on your major, students can be very competitive; in the Political Science department, for example, there is high competition. I would definitely say that the education I am getting at UW is geared toward getting me a job.


There are big lectures, as well as small classes. We get the best of both worlds. Academics are competitive, the UW is not an easy school to get into. Professors and T.A.'s are always easily accessable, and for large classes, there are weekly review sessions to help. Students have to fulfill certain requirements, but there is such a wide variety of classes that it's easy and usually interesting, because you get to decide your schedule.


Sciences are extremely competitive because of the prestige of the nursing, medical and dental schools.


I wish their were more test... having only a midterm and final can be a pain sometimes.


Since I am an English major, my classes tend to be very small (my thesis class this quarter, although not typical at the university) has nine people in it. In my experience, English majors tend to be the most likely to love their major and therefore bring it home with them, so to speak. Not too many engineers or biochem majors read that stuff in their spare, whereas if you are an English major and not reading for pleasure, you are in the wrong department.


Class size varies from around 3 students to around 700 students. The more you get into your major and your particular area of study, the smaller and more intimate the classes are (the largest classes are almost always survey-type classes). One of the most interesting classes is Biology 100 (a.k.a. Drugs for Thugs). It's amazing even for those people that aren't very good at science, and the teacher makes it interesting. Also, another popular class is Geology 101 (a.k.a. Rocks for Jocks). It's almost impossible to fail that class, and if you put in a good effort, you'll have fun and earn an excellent grade.


I'm extremely close with my professors, in fact, I'm eating dinner with one tonight! For most 100 & 200-level classes, it's a realistic expectation that you'll be in larger classes. Once you get into the upper-division classes, however, the class size shrinks to about 20-30. The Foster School of Business does a great job creating an intimate community within a large university. Classes are extremely small, and professors are genuinely interested in furthering your education and helping you find good jobs.


Humanities and arts are tolerated, but the values they cultivate come in conflict the institutional momentum. If you want top-notch scientific training, and don't mind being dehumanized and used, this isn't a bad place. Be aware however, despite the diversity of academics here, the different departments and colleges function as small waring kingdoms and do little to interact with each other and provide interdisciplinary access.


Out of the 15 classes i've taken so far, i've only slightly disliked one of my teachers. They're all great!! They all really care about the students, and even if you're in a huge lecture class of like 500 (which i've been in a few of), you still learn a ton! Two of my favorite classes so far have been Psych 101 and Com 202, which were both over 450 sudents. But both of my professors were so energetic and cool that it still felt personalized and i learned a lot. On the other hand, many of my classes have been less than 30 students, which is great, too, because you really get to know the professor and get to talk to them one on one. Some of the students here are competitive, but not really. Everyone I know wants to always do well in their classes, but no one is cut-throat or mean about it. All my friends encourage me to do well! I study kind of often, but it really depends on the class. Some are reading heavy, some really require paying attention in lecture, and some are a breeze. It really depends on what you take. Whatever your style is, though, it's easy to find a bunch of classes to match it. A lot of the way people here find out what classes to take is by word of mouth. It's commonly known that the class nicknamed "Rocks for Jocks" used to be easy, but then the professors realized people took it for an easy A, and so they made it harder. Also, it's common knowledge that Astronomy 150 is much easier than Astronomy 101.


UW is competitive, plain and simple. If you're interested in anything popular, prepare to get your ass kicked. With a large student body, comes a lot of people trying to fight their way for the same spot as you and, like I said before, a lot of really intelligent people go here. So if you're interested in anything related to architecture, engineering, business, or international studies, for example, you better be able to tough it out because it's not going to be easy. However, a benefit to being so large, despite the huge class sizes, is that there are so many options that a ton of other schools will never be able to provide. I know I said that it's competitive, but it's competitive for a reason--these specialized schools are top of the line and, for the most part, you will be able to get your money's worth. Although I am a European studies major and love languages, I would definitely take a language of some sort, classes are always small and i've rarely heard a complaint about a teacher. Most language teachers (especially beginning series) are usually graduate students, they are accessible and young, making it even better : ) Plus, languages are usually required for a lot of majors. Something that does suck about UW being a public school is the damn general ed requirements. Even though I hate everything relating to science, I still HAVE to take at least 20 natural world credits, which is STUPID and I hate it. I understand they are trying to expand your knowledge or that kind of crap, but why should I pay money for a class I hate? Because they're forcing me to? LAME.


University of Washington is a wonderful school which contains a lot of great majors, especially medicine. Indeed, by working not only with their ability but also heart, UW professors, staffs, students in medical field are always ardently researching medicine and helping patients.


yea the professors I met are all really nice. They don't really know people's name since there are about 200 peoples in a lecture sometimes. Most of the students study hard and care about their academic performance. I think UW has great Science and Engineering departments~!! There are so many really really cool students there, and the professors are so energetic and nice! I love the science and engineering departments here!! Also, the Jackson School of International Study is great! Hmm...however, if you are going to study business...I really don't reconmmend here...the business school here are so of "old style", and the resources are limited...the course design are too outmoded...and from my own prospective, people work there are not as nice as those in Science and Engineering deparments...


There are big lecture classes here. There is a lecture hall that can hold 700 people. But do not think that this is the norm. In the sciences you will normally get a lecture of 100-200 people, but you will spend much of your time in a quiz section with a class of 15-25 students. The teachers will learn your name if you take the initiative and decide to introduce yourself. I have had a class of three students. When you register, you can see how big the class is and you can choose the register for the smaller one. This is a school with lots of people wanting to do everything. There is competition, get ready for it.


The professors are great, they aren't inaccessible, most of them get to know you by name, and you can talk to them all one-on-one during office hours. I was warned that I would feel like a small fish in a big pond at UW, but that isn't the case at all.


Competition in many classes is high, especially if you'll be taking the same ones as pre-med and pre-engineering students. But once you make it past the big intro courses, you'll find your professors and TA's very helpful and engaging. And there are a lot of organizations like CLUE that are specifically taylored to helping floundering undergraduates. Your relationships with your professors will improve as you move into being an upperclassmen, since more of your classes will actually be taught by professors. Many departments have their own sophomore- or junior-year admittance processes, so once you've been accepted to the department the profs are much more open to you. I'm in a very small department (Chemical Engineering class size: 40-60), and all of the professors know us by name. They socialize with us often and most have open office hours. The faculty, and thus the classes they offer, are diverse. Student participation is encouraged, and generally you'll find plenty of people willing to step up and talk. Competition is usually high, but not overwhelmingly so. A good school should provide a good--but not impossible--challenge, and I think the UW does that very well.


In my graduate program (in the Information School), the professors do typically know my name and I can interact with them more than I could in the undergrad lecture courses, where there are a thousand students all taught by one post-doc candidate because all professors are busy doing research and have no interest or motivation in actually teaching. I mentioned artificial grade inflation before and want to reiterate that the academics are not nearly as rigorous as many other universities. If driven, as I am, to get 4.0s, the jump is much harder than getting 3.9s. You get what you put in, but you'll pass regardless.


Many of the profs are nice. Many are old. There is a veriety of different teachers which is nice. I have many who have accents. Some are hard to learn by but its doable.