University of Washington

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UW Extension
Seattle, Washington

Founded in 1861, the University of Washington (UW) is one of the oldest state-supported institutions of higher education on the Pacific coast. The University comprises three campuses: the Seattle campus, which is made up of seventeen schools and colleges offering educational opportunities to students ranging from first-year undergraduates through doctoral-level candidates; the Bothell campus; and the Tacoma campus.

The primary mission of the University of Washington is the preservation, advancement, and dissemination of knowledge. UW advances new knowledge through many forms of research, inquiry, and discussion. Accreditation is by the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges.

Distance Learning Program

The University of Washington offers twelve degree programs, twenty-five certificate programs, and hundreds of courses online, making it one of the leading public institutions in the online field. The UW online program has been rated among the top ten online learning education offerings available through U.S. universities. Distance learning courses at UW are developed by a team of online learning designers working with UW faculty members and academic departments. They create courses that are academically rigorous, suitable for a distance format, and convenient. Several courses have won the prestigious Helen Williams Award for Excellence in Collegiate Independent Study from the well-respected American Association for Collegiate Independent Study (AACIS) as well as awards from the University Continuing Education Association (UCEA). The distance learning program at UW has 4,074 students enrolled.

Delivery Media

Most programs rely on the Internet and e-mail to access instruction and to communicate with teachers and fellow students. Some classes start and finish at set times; others enable students to start according to their own schedule. Students can contact their instructors at any time with questions about the courses. Many courses use online discussion, and some courses incorporate chats into their curriculum.

Programs of Study

UW offers a Master in Strategic Planning for Critical Infrastructures degree program that was developed in partnership with the Washington National Guard for leaders who are responsible for ensuring the reliability and security of critical infrastructures and emergency services. This program was developed for officials in public and private infrastructure, emergency management, and homeland security.

Master's degrees in engineering are available through UW's Education at a Distance for Growth and Excellence (UW/EDGE), with five areas of specialization: aeronautics and astronautics, aerospace engineering, manufacturing engineering, materials science and engineering, and mechanical engineering.

The master's in construction engineering is designed for professionals in the heavy construction industry, combining courses in construction management and civil engineering.

The Master of Library and Information Science degree was established to meet the high demand for library and information professionals. Delivery of instruction is primarily Internet-based, with on-campus three-day residencies at the beginning of each quarter.

Twenty-five certificate programs are offered, with each requiring three to nine intensive courses. Certificate programs include Brain Research in Education, Business Foundations, C++ Programming, Construction Management, Curriculum Integration in Action, Data Resource Management, E-learning Design and Development, Facility Management, Gerontology, Heavy Construction Project Management, Infrastructure Construction, Internet Programming, Java 2 Programming, Object-Oriented Analysis and Design Using UML, Paralegal Studies, Project Management, Quantitative Construction Management, School Library Media Professional, Site Planning, Web Administration, Web Consultant for Small Business, Web Technology Essentials, and Writers' Program: Literary Fiction Writing and Nonfiction Writing.

More than 200 courses are available in architecture and urban planning, arts and sciences, business and management, computing, engineering and technology, education, health sciences, languages, and library and information science. The Open UW program at the UW offers twelve free noncredit classes.

Student Services

Academic advising is available via e-mail and telephone and, for those who are able to come to the campus, in person. Advisers can answer questions about prerequisites and course content. Students enrolled in online learning courses receive student numbers and have library checkout privileges at UW libraries. Distance learning students living outside the Seattle area may request specific library materials by mail. Technical support for courses is provided. Textbooks may be ordered online.

Credit Options

Credit earned by taking a distance learning course can be applied to an undergraduate degree or can help students prepare for UW admission. Online learning credits are not considered residence credits. It is not possible to earn an undergraduate degree from the University of Washington through online learning alone. However, nine master's degrees may be completed solely through online learning.


Most UW online learning courses are designed and taught by faculty members who teach the same courses on the UW campus. The instructors are familiar with student questions and needs. With the help of instructional designers, they have developed the appropriate methods and materials, interactive strategies, and online activities to help students achieve the course objectives in a distance learning format.


It is not necessary to be admitted to the University of Washington before taking distance learning courses. (There are prerequisites for some courses, and TOEFL scores are required for international students.) Certificate and graduate degree programs have an application process.

Tuition and Fees

All registrants pay a nonrefundable $30 registration fee. Fees for credit courses through distance learning are $176 per credit for undergraduate students and $387 per credit for Tier 1 graduate and graduate courses. Prices for graduate instruction vary by degree program.

Financial Aid

UW distance learning students are ineligible for the University's financial aid programs in most cases. For information about alternative funding, students should visit


Prospective students can register online for courses. Application forms for certificates and degree programs can be downloaded.


University of Washington Online Learning
4311 11th Avenue, NE
Seattle, Washington 98105-4608
Phone: 206-897-8936
800-506-1338 (toll-free)
E-mail: [email protected]
Web site:

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