Undergraduate Program Admission

We welcome your application! Before you apply, make sure you meet the department's minimum requirements and understand that meeting minimum requirements does not guarantee an offer of admission.

MSE admission pathways

How you enter the MSE undergraduate program depends on how you enter the UW, as outlined below.

Freshman applicants who meet UW admission criteria and who list any engineering department (or Engineering-undecided) as their first choice major on their application will automatically be considered for Direct to College admission.

Welcome to the College of Engineering at UW! After completing required courses, you will have multiple chances to apply for placement in MSE and other UW Engineering majors. The requirements for placement are as follows:

  • Complete at least one quarter as a full-time UW student to request placement.
  • Maintain a minimum 2.50 cumulative GPA.
  • Complete the following courses with grades of 2.0 or above in each course:
    MATH 124, 125, and 126 15 credits      
    CHEM 142, 152 10 credits
    PHYS 121 5 credits
    ENGL 131 or other composition course 5 credits
    MSE 170 is strongly recommended

If more students request the major than we can accommodate, we use a holistic review process that considers grades and personal statements to determine placement. If you have questions about Direct to College admission, the placement process, or advising for Engineering Undeclared Students, see the College of Engineering website

This is the only admission point to the B.S. MSE program for current UW students admitted to a major other than Engineering Undeclared (ENGRUD). Applicants have completed at least four quarters of equivalent college-level coursework and are on track to begin the department curriculum in the Autumn quarter of their Junior year. The application deadline is April 5.

Major application

The major application opens two weeks before the application deadline. Even when the application is not open, you can read the list of requirements and see the personal statement prompts by visiting the online application website in order to prepare.

Factors included in the admission decision are listed below in MSE selection process.

Application requirements

You must have completed at least 55 academic credits at the time of application including the required courses or equivalents listed in the table below. You are strongly encouraged to meet with the MSE Undergrad Adviser to discuss your plans. Note that admission is competitive and you must meet these requirements:

Prospective applicants should be aware that you need to complete the MSE Application Requriements no later than the by the application deadline date, and MSE Enrollment Requirements by no later than the beginning of Autumn quarter. To be on track to complete your degree on time, you are strongly advised to also have completed the courses under the Additional Courses list below.  As guidance, you can also consult the MSE B.S. Degree Requirements page to choose appropriate classes. See the department adviser if you have any questions.

Department Application Requirements

  • Cumulative UW GPA of 2.5 or higher
  • Grade of 2.0 or higher in each required course
  • Completed the following prerequisite courses or equivalents by the April 5th department application deadline:
    Subject Credits Course Equivalencies
    Calculus 15 MATH 124, 125, 126
    General Chemistry for Science and Engineering (2 quarters) 10 CHEM 142, 152
    Calculus-based Physics (1st and 2nd quarter) 10 PHYS 121, 122
    English Composition 5 ENGL 131 or other composition course

    Department Enrollment Requirements

    • Must be completed by the beginning of your Autumn quarter enrollment in MSE
    Subject Credits Course Equivalencies
    Differential Equations 3 MATH 307
    Fundamentals of Materials Science  4 MSE 170
    Computer Programming for Science and Engineering  4 Either AMATH 301 OR CSE 142

    Additional Courses to Complete Prior to Admission

    • To enable on-time graduation, you are strongly encouraged (but not required) to complete these courses prior to your MSE enrollment
    Subject Credits Course Equivalencies
    Statics 4 AA 210
    Mechanics of Materials  4 CEE 220
    Calculus-based Physics: 3rd quarter 5 PHYS 123
    Matrix Algebra 3 MATH 308


To be eligible to apply, transfer students must meet the same Application and Enrollment Requirements as listed above for Sophomores. However, transfer applicants without access to the Fundamentals of Materials Science course are still permitted to apply to the department.  If admitted, you will be required to complete the missing course in your first quarter of UW study.  You are strongly encouraged to contact the MSE undergraduate academic advisor as soon as possible to plan your transfer and ensure that you are ready to apply.  

Additional Courses to Complete Prior to Admission

Transfer students have a couple of additional courses on the list below that are not included on the UW Sophomore's list above.  Third quarter General Chemistry should be completed prior to transfer because most general chemistry sequences at other schools do not transfer properly to the UW unless the year-long sequence is completed.  Introductory Technical Writing is accessible to non-engineering majors at other schools, so should be completed.  Additionally, in order to receive transfer credit for MATH 126, that course, or another one you've taken, must include instruction in the Taylor Series.  Washington State Community College students can consult the UW Equivalency Guide to ensure you are taking the correct courses for transfer, or contact the MSE undergraduate academic advisor.

To enable on-time graduation, you are strongly encouraged (but not required) to complete these courses prior to your MSE enrollment

Subject Credits Course Equivalencies
Statics 4 AA 210
Mechanics of Materials  4 CEE 220
Calculus-based Physics: 3rd quarter 5 PHYS 123
Matrix Algebra 3 MATH 308
General Chemistry for Science and Engineering (3rd quarter)  5 CHEM 162
Introduction to Technical Writing 3 ENGR 231


Transferring in to MSE involves two separate admission processes. You must complete both by the deadlines below to be considered.

Application deadlines

  1. Apply to UW mid-December to February 15.
  2. Apply for MSE upper admission by April 5.

If you have questions about admission to the department after reading on this page, contact the MSE undergraduate adviser.


Nanoscience and Molecular Engineering (NME) option

Students are admitted to the MSE NME option by completing NME 220 in the Spring quarter of Sophomore year — as long as they have met MSE admission prerequisites and are admitted to the major. Indicate your interest in the option in your MSE departmental application and discuss your interests and background in your essay.

Learn more about the Nanoscience & Molecular Engineering Option for MSE undergrads.


The selection process

The MSE Undergraduate Program Committee will meet to review applications for admission. The committee reviews applications for Autumn Quarter only. Transfer student applicants will be reviewed by the same standards as students who have taken all their preparatory work at the University of Washington.

Selection is based on the following criteria:

  • Overall academic record of the student
  • Overall GPA and prerequisite GPA
  • Individual grades received in each required prerequisite course
  • Number of missing prerequisites
  • Number of repeated and withdrawn courses
  • Previous placement on warning or probation
  • Motivational factors as evidenced by previous internship or work experiences, science and engineering activities, the personal statement or other documented evidence

Appeals procedure

If you are denied admission to the MSE Department and want more information about the decision, you should first consult with the MSE academic counselor. Then you may request a review of the decision by writing a letter to the department chairperson citing your reasons for appeal. You must submit this letter within two weeks after notification of denial. The only basis for appeal is an error in the data considered by the MSE Undergraduate Program Committee. If you were denied admission because you submitted incomplete or inaccurate records, your appeal will not be considered. A department appeals committee will consider appeals and respond promptly.

ABET logo MSE's Bachelor of Science degree program is accredited by the ABET Engineering Accreditation Commission. Also see MSE's Program Educational Objectives and Student Learning Outcomes.


Direct to College admission assures incoming freshman students who are admitted into the College of Engineering that they can pursue an engineering degree at the UW. The changes took effect starting with the 2018 incoming freshman class.

Direct to College FAQ