Graduation Requirements for the Baccalaureate Degree

Main page content

To graduate with a bachelor’s degree, a student must meet minimum general education and basic skills requirements in addition to the requirements of their academic program. This section outlines only the general education and basic skill requirements. Graduation requirements for the individual degree programs are explained in each program’s section in this catalog.

Students must earn a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0 for all work done in residence at the university. 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. UW Seattle credits are not considered residence credits.

Students must complete a minimum of 180 academic credits in the following areas:

General Education

No fewer than 40 credits of general education courses, to include a minimum of 10 credits in each of three areas of study: Natural World, Individuals and Society and Visual, Literary and Performing Arts


A minimum of 15 credits of writing to include 5 credits of English composition (with a minimum 2.0 grade) and 10 credits of writing-intensive courses


A minimum of 5 credits of Quantitative/Symbolic Reasoning course work

World Languages

College-level study in a single world language either through two sequential years in high school or through the second-quarter level (102) of college coursework prior to applying for graduation.


A minimum of 3 credits in Diversity coursework; designated courses study diversity in the United States with a 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.) 

Final-Year Residency Requirement

Students are required to complete 45 of their final 60 credits as matriculated students in residence at UW Tacoma. Some degree programs may have stricter residency requirements. 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.)

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 review by the Academic Policy & Curriculum Committee. See details in the “Waiver of Graduation Requirements” section. If an exception is granted, the student still must present a minimum of 45 credits taken in residence as a matriculated student to be awarded a UW degree.

Catalog for Graduation Requirements

With advisor approval, a student may choose to graduate under the requirements of either 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.

If the student graduates more than 10 years after enrolling in the program, the current catalog must be used for graduation purposes. Exceptions to this rule cannot be made without official approval by the academic program.

Waiver of University or Program Requirements for Graduation

To request a waiver of a university or program degree requirement 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 (e.g., residency or the minimum grade for composition), 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 must be submitted at least two quarters before the student’s graduation date to allow time for committee to review and registration.

The decision of the Academic Policy and Curriculum Committee is final. An exemption 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.