University Graduation Requirements for the Baccalaureate Degree

In order to graduate with a bachelor's degree, a student must meet minimum general educational and basic skills requirements, in addition to completing the requirements of their academic program.  General Education requirements will be outlined within this section. Additional requirements for specific degree requirements are found online on the degree program's webpages, or within the general catalog in the academic program's section.

General Requirements

Minimum GPA

The student must present a minimum cumulative 2.00 GPA for all coursework taken in residence at the University of Washington Tacoma. The graduation grade point average is computed when the student has completed all work for the degree and includes only credits earned while in residence at the university. (Residence credits are UW credits earned through the campus granting the degree).

Total Credits Required to Graduate

A minimum of 180 college credits must be completed (with more required in some programs) and include academic credits in the following areas:
  • 15 credits in Writing to include 5 credits of English Composition (C) with a minimum 2.0 grade and 10 credits of Writing-Intensive (W) courses.
  • 5 credits of Quantitative/Symbolic Reasoning (QSR) coursework.
  • A minimum of 3 credits in Diversity (DIV) coursework: designated courses study diversity in the United States with focus on the sociocultural, political and economic diversity of human experience and help students develop an understanding of the complexities of living in increasingly diverse and interconnected societies. For students admitted as of Autumn 2014.
  • 40 additional credits in Areas of Knowledge (AoK) to include a minimum of 10 credits in each of three areas of study: Natural World (NW), Individuals and Society (I&S), and Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA).

World Language Requirement

Students who have not completed their world language requirement at the time of admission are required to complete college-level study through the 102 level in a single World Language (or two years in high school) either through sequential years in high school or through the second-quarter level of college coursework prior to applying for graduation.

Final Year Residency Requirement

Students are required to complete 45 of their final 60 credits as matriculated students in residence at UW Tacoma, which means that no more than a maximum of 15 of the final 60 credits may be non-resident credit. If a student takes more than 15 of the final 60 credits out of residence, the extra credits need not be counted against the limit of 15 if credits from the courses are not needed in any way to meet degree requirements.  Some degree programs may have stricter residency requirements, please check with your advisor. Fully online degree programs are exempt from this requirement.

The following are considered non-resident credit:

  • Online courses (including UW Tacoma courses)
  • Cross-campus courses taken at UW Seattle & UW Bothell
  • Credit from external sources (AP/IB credit, transfer coursework, by exam, Armed Forces Training School, etc.) 

Petitioning to seek an exception to the residency requirement: The student needs to submit a graduation petition two quarters in advance to their academic advisor. Petitions requesting approval of 16-25 non-resident credits will be reviewed by the department awarding the degree. Petitions requesting more than 25 credits will be reviewed by the Academic Policy & Curriculum Committee. The student will be notified by mail and UW email of the decision by the Office of the Registrar.  

A student would not need to submit a petition if some of the transferable credits earned at another school are considered elective credits and would not used towards fulfilling any degree requirements. For example, if a student has completed 185 credits, of which the last 20 credits were taken at another college or university, and at least 5 of those 20 credits include elective credits, the 5 credits would not be used towards meeting any degree requirements and the student would not need to fill out a petition.

Graduating with Honors

Students may be eligible to receive Baccalaureate honors (summa cum laude, magna cum laude, cum laude) or Faculty honors. More information about eligibility and requirements for each designation may be found on the Dean's List and Honors webpage. 

Graduating Under Earlier Catalogs

With School or Program approval, a student may choose to graduate under the current catalog or the catalog in effect at the time he or she entered the program from which he or she is to graduate.  University policy on use of earlier graduation requirements provides that if fewer than ten years have elapsed since a student's admission into the major program, she or he may choose to graduate under the requirements in effect at the time of admission, or under any subsequent requirements. If more than ten years have elapsed since admission to the major, the major program has the option of requiring the student to complete the current major requirements.

Exceptions to the rule regarding majors may be granted at the discretion of the department. If major requirements other than the current ones are being used, a note to that effect must be made on the degree application.

Waiver of Degree Requirements

To request a waiver of program/major requirements a student must submit a petition to their academic program.  Students should confer with their advisor before completing the petition. Review is done by the academic program faculty committee or director/dean, as procedures specific to each academic program dictate.

If the student is requesting to waive a university requirement, the petition will be submitted to their academic advisor for review by the Faculty Assembly's Academic Policy and Curriculum Committee.  Once a determination has been made  the student is contacted.

To ensure a determination is made in time for graduation, petitions should be submitted at least two quarters before the student's graduation date to allow time for committee review and student registration.

The decision of the Academic Policy and Curriculum committee is final.  An exception from a university graduation requirement becomes void at the end of two calendar years from the date the exemption was granted if all degree requirements have not been completed by that date.