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Frequently Asked Questions

When does University College start?

University College starts the week before fall classes with community building activities and a reception for University College students and their families.This is an opportunity for you and your family to meet your classmates, Program Associate, and UC professor before classes officially begin.

Does University College continue into the spring semester?

All students in University College remain in their housing assignments and are invited to participate in Common Events for the full academic year. There are no formal academic requirements, but all students are invited to participate in Spring Research, a 1-credit research opportunity.

Do University College students take all of their courses together?

No. University College students only take their 19- student University College seminar together.While some University College students may end up in some of the same classes, most of your classmates in other classes will be first-year and upper-level students outside of University College.

Is the residence hall that houses University College only for University College students?

No. While your roommate and floor mates in Anderson Hall will all be University College students, residents of other floors are also first year students but not enrolled in University College.

Do I have to move out of my room midyear if I opt-out of spring research?

No. You may remain in the same room for the entire year and continue to participate in the Common Events for University College students.

Do I have to live on campus to participate in the University College?

Yes. The residence hall experience is an integral part of University College, and you cannot receive the full benefits of participation in UC if you are not living in the residence hall with your seminar classmates.

What is a Program Associate?

Program Associates (PAs) are carefully trained upper-class AU students who have taken the class to which they are assigned and have worked closely with the professor teaching the class.PAs attend the seminar class with students and work with professors to plan the experiential and co-curricular aspects of the seminar (Wednesday labs and other programming). PAs also live on the same floor as the students in the seminar and serve as mentors and resources for them.

What is the Wednesday lab portion of the program?

The Wednesday lab gives you the opportunity to experience the real-life application of ideas and concepts learned in class through supervised field experiences out in the city led by your program associate. Labs are held between 9:45 a.m. and 2:10 p.m. every Wednesday. Your academic advisor is aware of this and will help you plan your schedule accordingly.

Does it cost extra to participate in the University College?

There is no extra cost for University College itself.  While University College covers most expenses for Washington labs, students are expected to pay for metro fare. Also, each of the seminars carries one extra credit hour to account for the Wednesday lab time, which you will spend with your Program Associate and your classmates both out in the city and on campus engaged in class-related activities.  Please note:  ENVS-150 requires a lab fee ($75) and COMM-105 requires a materials fee ($50) which are charged to all students in those courses regardless of University College affiliation.

What are the advantages of participating in University College?  

Both current and former University College students report that the lasting bonds they have formed with their fellow classmates, Program Associates, and seminar professors proved to be invaluable in their transition to college life.  In addition, their academic experience was greatly enhanced by the small class size and the lab experience, which gave them an opportunity to meet and interact with Washington professionals in a way that that would not have been possible had they not been part of University College.

Will I get my first choice seminar? Am I guaranteed one of my choices?

We strive to create a diverse mix of students in each seminar with various interests, backgrounds, and qualities to produce a stronger living, learning, and laboratory experience. We do our best to honor one of your top five choices, but we also encourage you to keep an open mind. The good news is that all of our courses fulfill a general education requirement, so your UC seminar will count towards graduation requirements no matter which seminar you take. You will always be given the option to decline your place if you change your mind.

Can I still participate in the University College if I expect to receive credit for exams that I’ve taken in high school?

Yes, you may receive credit by exam and still participate in the UC. If you took IB, A Level, AP, or CAPE exams while in school, please visit for full details on AU exam policies, and please do not choose a seminar for which you may receive exam credit as indicated on the credit-by-exam table.