Apply to the Economics Major

On this Page:

Updates & Announcements
Application Requirements
When to Apply
Admissions: By the Numbers
The Personal Statement
The Holistic Review
Tutoring Resources
Frequently Asked Questions
Information Sessions

Updates & Announcements

The Undergraduate Programs Application for the Autumn 2021 cycle is now accessible via UW Microsoft Office 365 Forms. Applicants will be prompted to submit PDF uploads of the personal statement, transcripts, and if applicable, an academic plan created via MyPlan. See details about each component below.

Registration for the Autumn 2021 RTW Exam is now open. This exam is scheduled for Friday, October 1st, 2021, from 4-4:50pm (Pacific Time). We will only have one session this for this cycle. Space is available to any eligible applicant. Students who register for the Autumn 2021 RTW will receive an email with additional information around 1-2 days prior to the exam date. You can sign up to take the RTW here, and see the RTW Exam website for details. Note: October 1 is the first Friday of the quarter (the RTW has historically been held on the 2nd Friday).  You can take the RTW on October 1 and still submit your application by the October 8 application deadline.

RTW registration closes at 5pm on Wednesday, September 29.  Late registration will *not* be accepted. 

Applications are due by 5:00pm on Friday, October 8th, 2021.

We aim to have application results sent to each applicant via email around the end of the quarter’s 5th week (prior to the registration period for the 2022 Winter Quarter).

Application Requirements

The following materials and criteria are required for a complete application to the Department of Economics:

  1. Admission to the University of Washington
    • Eligible applicants must be accepted and be currently-enrolled UW students with 45 credits completed. For more information about admission to the UW as a first-year student or transfer student, see here.
    • Prospective Transfer Students: Please see an explanation regarding how your transfer application to UW is considered at MyMajor, as well as a Transfer Planning Worksheet that you can use with your adviser. There is no "direct admission" to the Department of Economics as a transfer applicant to the UW.
  2. Completion of the Prerequisite Courses
    • Please check the prerequisite course requirements for each major:

    • These courses must be completed with a standard/numerical grade. Credits earned through Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), or Advanced Level (A-Level) exam scores are acceptable.
    • Prerequisite courses may not be in-progress. Courses must be completed before applying.
    • Each course may only be repeated one time each. The higher of the two grades may entered on the application, and will be considered.
    • "Extraordinary Circumstances Quarters" Note: As UW students have been uniquely impacted by the current global pandemic, certain academic quarters have been deemed “Extraordinary Circumstances Quarters” by the Office of the University Registrar. As a result, UW students have the option to change their original/numerical grade to the “S/NS Grading Option” for these quarters, and “S” grade designations can be counted toward degree requirements. Applicants to the Department of Economics may enter-in “S” as their grade for the “prerequisite” courses, when prompted on the application form. For details on this updated policy, see here.

  3. A completed Undergraduate Program Application
  4. Updated UW Transcript
    • Unofficial Transcripts may be saved as a PDF from the Academics tab of your MyUW. 
    • Official Transcripts are not required.
    • If you need additional help accessing your UW Unofficial Transcript, click here for detailed instructions.
  5. Transcripts from Transfer Institutions/Colleges/Universities (for Transfer & Running Start Students)
    • Please include a transcript from your other institution(s) in PDF format. Unofficial Transcripts are acceptable. Official transcripts are not required.
  6. Personal Statement
    • See the personal statement prompt below.  
  7. Completion of the ECON Reading Comprehension, Critical Thinking, & Writing Skills Exam (RTW Exam).
    • Please see RTW Exam website for details.
    • We advise students to take the RTW in the same admission cycle that they are applying.
    • Students applying from the Bachelor of Arts to the Bachelor of Science do not need to retake the RTW, and may have their previous RTW score considered, if preferred.
    • RTW scores will be reported directly to the Department of Economics. Students do not need to supply their RTW score on their applications.
    • Students receiving scores below 3 will not be admitted except in very rare/unique situations.  
  8. Academic Course Planning Worksheet or Printer-Friendly Version of MyPlan
    • For those planning to pursue a double major or double degree, please submit a PDF of your MyPlan, showing your quarterly plans as accurately as possible. We understand that plans are not permanent and can change, but we want all applicants to be well-aware of their academic plans, especially in regard to the UW's Satisfactory Progress Policies.
    • See here for instructions on how to create a PDF of your MyPlan.

When to Apply?

Admission Cycle Deadline For admission to ECON starting...
Autumn 2nd Friday, Autumn Quarter Subsequent Winter Quarter
Winter 2nd Friday, Winter Quarter Subsequent Spring Quarter
Spring 2nd Friday, Spring Quarter Subsequent Summer or Autumn Quarter
There is NO Summer Admission Cycle available during the Summer Quarter.

Applications are due no later than 5:00 p.m. on the second Friday of the quarter.

Applicants will be notified of their results by the end of the 5th week of that quarter/cycle, in time to register for the subsequent quarter.

You may refer to the UW Academic Calendar to identify when each quarter begins and when each "Second Friday" application deadline will be.

Admissions: By the Numbers

The Department of Economics is a capacity-constrained major. Meeting the basic criteria does not guarantee admission to the major.

Admission Cycle Number of Applications Received

Number of Admitted Applicants

Percentage of Applicants
Average Prerequisite*
GPA for Admits
Average Overall
GPA** for Admits

Average RTW Score for Admits
(1-6 scale)

Autumn 2018 222 115 52% 3.54 3.54 3.27
Winter 2019 247 119 48% 3.50 3.54 3.32
Spring 2019 228 110 48% 3.55 3.57 3.45
Autumn 2019 213 115 54% 3.57 3.58 3.30
Winter 2020 232 111 48% 3.51 3.56 3.59
Spring 2020 219 120 55% 3.53 3.59 3.40
Autumn 2020 251 110 44% 3.55 3.59 3.37
Winter 2021 243 124 51% 3.60 3.63 3.22
Spring 2021 228 116 51% 3.63 3.69 3.19

(These GPAs are averages, not cutoffs; roughly half of the students accepted to the major in Spring 2021, for example, had prerequisite and overall GPAs lower than 3.63 and 3.69, respectively. The admissions considerations are holistic. Please be aware that the admissions committee considers many factors when making its decisions, including cumulative GPA, prerequisite GPA, RTW score, the overall strength of the applicant’s academic background/transcript, and the quality of the applicant’s personal statement.)

*Prerequisite coursework included in this average are ECON 200, ECON 201, Statistics, and MATH 124 coursework. English Composition is omitted from this average.

**Average Overall GPA included in this average is a combined calculation of student applicants' UW GPA and any GPAs from transferred coursework.

The Personal Statement

Please submit a personal statement with your completed application. You may discuss some or all of the following that pertains to you:

  • Why are you interested in applying to the Department of Economics’ Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science program? What are your personal, educational, and/or career goals and how do you expect to further those by studying economics?

    • Describe an experience where your background, identity, or interests have helped to shape your educational goals.
    • If you have faced a hardship, setback, or challenge, how did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience? If the causes for the recent “extraordinary circumstances” quarters (Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Summer 2020, Autumn 2020, & Winter 2021) impacted your ability to succeed, please briefly describe.
    • If you are pursuing a double major or double degree, why are both academic programs important to you?
    • If you have previously applied to this program, what has improved since your previous application?

Maximum parameters: 

  • 1 single-sided page
  • typed & double-spaced
  • 12pt. Times New Roman font
  • 0.5” margins

There is no word limit, but the above parameters are required. Applicants will be prompted to upload a PDF file of their Personal Statement in the Undergraduate Application Form.

The Personal Statement is an important piece of your application. Please be sure to address the prompt(s), and adhere to the parameters.

UW has plenty of resources that can help you write a great personal statement:

The Holistic Review (i.e. How will my application be considered?)

In reviewing each application, a broad range of factors are taken into consideration. All aspects of the application are highly-considered -- Prerequisite course grades, overall academic performance, RTW exam results, and the personal statement. Each component of the application should complement each other, and showcase a student's interests and abilities toward studying economics as they earn their UW degree. For example, if a student mentions high enthusiasm in learning economics, then that enthusiasm should also be reflected in the student's grades in economics-related coursework, as well as their result on their RTW exam, etc.

For students with credits and transcripts from other institutions, it's important for us to see a student's progress through each academic term. This is why we request for each applicant to submit a transcript for each college-level institution attended. We are aware that a "transfer credits summary" typically appears on your UW transcript. However, this does not provide us with complete information about the transfer courses taken.

This holistic approach in reviewing applications to the Department of Economics allows our program to focus beyond just a few factors, and consider the applicant as a whole.

Tutoring Resources

There are a number a tutoring resources available at the UW for courses such as ECON 200, ECON 201, introductory statistics and calculus.

Frequently Asked Questions

Still have some questions? Please be sure to check out Frequently Asked Questions page.

Information Sessions

Interested students are also highly-encouraged to attend a Prospective Student Information Session for an in-depth look at the application & admissions process.

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