What you can earn


2-3 years

Credits earned




Time commitment


Upcoming deadline

April 15, 2024

Learning in and learning through community

The Education, Communities and Organizations (ECO) major believes learning happens everywhere— both in and out of classroom settings. Your ECO education will bridge a host of disciplines and culminate in a community-based capstone internship centered on learning and social justice.

Our program empowers you to understand and address complex issues, fostering positive change in diverse settings. You'll explore human development, equity studies, learning in diverse contexts and the dynamics of organizational change. You'll learn how to work with communities and organizations to achieve their goals effectively.

ECO students are interested in working with learners across all ages in a variety of community settings. Get ready for an exciting journey of growth, learning and transformation as you prepare for a career where your contributions will make a real difference in communities and organizations.

Apply for Winter 2025!

What you'll learn

Through ECO, you'll learn and do things that make a real difference:

  • Social Justice: Focus on socially just relationships and systemic transformations throughout your coursework and internship.
  • Understanding Communities: You'll learn about how social and cultural factors influence people, groups, and organizations.
  • Learning and Teaching: Discover how people learn in different situations, inside and outside schools, and how to apply this knowledge.
  • Community Connections: Find out how to identify what communities need and have to offer, which helps in research, policy, and practice.
  • Research Skills: Learn to evaluate research on education and human development critically, a valuable skill in various fields.
  • Creating Change: Understand how to work with communities to change public policies and how organizations operate.
  • Self-Reflection: Reflect on your own beliefs, values and biases to grow personally and professionally.
  • Cultural Awareness: Understand the complex cultural and institutional aspects of education to break down barriers affecting youth and communities.
  • Hands-On Experience: Gain practical knowledge and skills to excel in community and organizational settings.

After graduation

Students who graduate from ECO pursue careers in a plethora of professional fields:

  • Advocacy and outreach
  • Arts education and museums
  • Business, human resources and professional development
  • Coaching and sports management
  • Communications
  • Community development
  • Counseling and social services
  • Development and advancement
  • Environmental Education
  • Healthcare
  • Higher education and student affairs
  • Laws and policy
  • Elementary or secondary education*
  • Special education
  • Research
  • Youth development and after school programs

ECO graduates do not earn a teaching certificate. Learn more about  the college's Teacher Education Programs.

Let's connect

We're so excited that you're thinking about joining our undergrad program! Join our mailing list to learn about upcoming information sessions, deadlines, scholarships and more!

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Prefer a one-on-one experience? Prospective students can schedule an admissions advising appointment.


    The ECO major is composed of three complementary curricular components:

    • 26 credits of core courses: Study learning theory, human development, equity studies, organizational theory and community-based research and practice
    • 25 credits of elective courses: Explore diverse areas of study from teaching and learning to equity studies to dual language learners to coaching
    • 15 credit capstone internship and seminar: Apply your knowledge and practice your skills in a community-based organization

    Download degree requirements checklist

    Introduction course (3 credits)

    EDUC 280 - Introduction to Education, Communities and Organizations
    An introduction to the ECO program and major content areas: learning theory, human development, educational organizational theory, community-based methods, ecological theory and asset-based community development.  Students also explore the multitude of careers that utilize the skills of teaching and learning.  What is "education" and how can we support equitable teaching and learning in communities?

    Core courses (26 credits)

    EDUC 370 - Learning Within and Across Settings (5)
    Observe and evaluate the plethora of ways learning happens and how it is experienced across a variety of formal and informal learning environments, from classrooms to health clinics.  How is the dynamic and interdisciplinary process of learning and teaching connected across settings and people?

    EDUC 251 - Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity (5)
    Further your understanding of the challenges to establishing, educational equity and diversity.  How does knowing ourselves facilitating understanding and working with others?

    EDPSY 302/404/380 - Human Development course (5)
    Enroll in your choice of one human development class, each focusing on a different point in the life cycle: Childhood, adolescence, or adulthood.  How can we adjust the tools of teaching to be developmentally appropriate for our audience?

    EDUC 472 - Individuals, Groups, Organizations and Institutions (5)
    Understand the basic dynamics and processes of organizations, and how organizations interact with, and WITHIN, communities. How do organizations both facilitate and hinder change, especially toward social justice?

    EDUC 473 - Community-based Research and Practice (5)
    Develop an understanding of the principles and practices required for effective and equitable community-based research and practice. How can we re-envision the way we work, research and learn WITH communities in order to be more equitable partners?  Prerequisite: EDUC 251.

    EDUC 460 Education, Communities, and Organizations Capstone Internship Preparation (1)
    Prepares students to access and navigate the unique Education, Communities, and Organizations (ECO) major capstone internship placement process while building camaraderie as a cohort. Students reflect on their lived experiences in order to vision a meaningful and responsive community-engaged capstone internship experience.

    Capstone internship courses (15 credits)
    • EDUC 481 - Community - Based Capstone I (5)
      • Prerequisite: EDUC 251, 370, 472, and 473 
    • EDUC 482 - Community - Based Capstone II (5)
      • Prerequisite: EDUC 481
    • EDUC 483 - Community - Based Capstone III (5)
      • Prerequisite: EDUC 482. 

    By engaging in the priority projects of a community-based organization, you will apply your classroom knowledge to better understand the complexities of partnering with communities to meet their teaching and learning needs. Students intern for approximately 25 weeks, minimum 10 hours per week.

    Elective courses (25 credits)

    Students select electives based on individual learning goals. The ECO major requires 25 credits of elective courses. While the core courses help you develop skills and core competencies about working with communities and organizations, the elective courses allow you to gain a deeper set of skills and knowledge in focused areas.

    • Many undergraduate courses in the College of Education may be used to satisfy the electives requirement
    • UW students can refer to DARS for an updated list of approved electives.
    • The department may approve a maximum of 5 credits to satisfy ECO elective requirements from
      • Volunteer/service-learning/field experience coursework (e.g. Dream Project, Pipeline, Jumpstart, and GEN ST)
      • Education-related study abroad credits
    • Study abroad and field experience credits require departmental approval
    • No more than 5 field experience and study abroad credits may be applied to ECO electives.

    Once you've completed all core coursework, you will begin an internship that's spread across 3 quarters, for approximately 15 hrs/week. During this time you will also attend a weekly capstone seminar that supports your experience and builds your professional skills. 

    You will intern at one of our community partners which includes schools, government agencies and non-profit organizations that focus on:

    • Youth development
    • Advocacy
    • Policy
    • Community development
    • Higher education
    • Professional learning and development
    • Health, environmental or art education
    • Coaching
    • and more!


    Prospective students are welcome to schedule an admission advising appointment with our Lead Admissions & Outreach Adviser, Alejandra Baires-Ramirez, who can provide one-on-one support with:

    • Admissions process
    • Scholarships and financial aid
    • Transferring to UW

    Note: If appointments are completely booked, please schedule an admission advising appointment with Ramon Concepcion.

    UW prospective students who are ready to declare ECO as their major are welcome to schedule a virtual advising appointment with Keeyon M. Scott, Lead Academic Adviser. For more information, UW prospective students can also email ecoinfo@uw.edu.

    Current ECO majors are supported by Keeyon M. Scott.  Students who are declared ECO Major can schedule an in-person or virtual advising appointment or find drop-in and advising appointment scheduling information in the Canvas ECO Advising & Resource Center.   

    Admission requirements and process

      The ECO major admits undergrad students for autumn and winter quarters. Applications must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on the last day of the application period. Late applications are not accepted.

      • Autumn quarter applications are accepted March 1 through April 15
      • Winter quarter applications are accepted from September 1 through October 15
      • 45 completed credits at UW
        • Transfer credits are accepted but must be assessed by the UW Admissions office before applying
        • Credits in progress are counted toward the required 45.
      • 2.50 cumulative GPA (minimum)
      • Completion of the following courses before beginning the major*:
        •  EDUC 280- Introduction to Education, Communities and Organizations
          • 2.0 minimum grade
        • English Composition
          • 2.5 minimum grade

      *You may submit an application while enrolled in EDUC 280 and/or an English composition course. If all other criteria are met students, you will be conditionally admitted pending final course grade.

      Admission essay (all applicants):
      Write a response to the following three essay prompts. Each response must be 250 words or less. All materials submitted must be written and edited by the applicant, only.

      • Have you experienced, witnessed, or learned about injustices in your educational journey? Please describe. How will the ECO major help you understand these injustices?
      • The ECO major requires a year-long internship working with a community partner. How do you think this community-based learning will enhance your educational experience?
      • The ECO major helps to empower students and graduates to make positive changes in educational and community settings. What are some of the positive changes you would like to work towards in these settings?

      Unofficial transcripts (transfer students only):
      The application portal will require that you upload unofficial transcripts from previous or current colleges and universities. Transcripts sent to the UW admissions office are not a substitute for uploading unofficial transcripts.

      Current UW students

      1. Gather required materials
      2. Visit the online application form
      3. Complete all steps in application process and upload your materials
      4. Submit your application

      Applicants can expect to hear back about their application approximately 2-4 weeks after the application deadline closes.  Applicants will learn of their decision via email.

      We welcome transfer students to our program! As a transfer student, you will have some additional steps and required materials to your application process. 

      If you are interested in the ECO major, be sure to select the major on your UW Admissions application. We require EDUC 280 to be completed for a student to be fully-admitted to the major. Transfer students who select the ECO major on their UW Admissions application will have a seat in EDUC 280 held for them.

      Transfer students need to submit an unofficial transcript with their ECO application:

      • Include transcripts from all institutions you have previously attended
      • You must upload your transcript during the application process
      • Do not mail your transcript when you apply

      You will be submitting TWO applications: one to join the University of Washington and one to join the ECO program.

      1. Gather all required materials for UW admissions
      2. Gather all required materials for ECO.
      3. Connect with our Lead Admissions & Outreach Adviser to help you through the process

      Feel confident in the process by attending Transfer Thursday, an informational event run by the UW Office of Admissions. We also invite you to attend one of our weekly undergraduate majors and minor information sessions.

      After submitting your enrollment deposit to the university, admitted transfer students will attend the required Transfer Advising & Orientation hosted by UW First Year Programs. This is a chance for you to meet with an ECO adviser and create a plan to successfully complete the course and internship requirements.

      Costs and funding

        We are a tuition-based program. Estimated tuition rates are based on your residency:

        • Estimated cost for Washington state residents: $12,643 per year
        • Estimated cost for out-of-state students: $41,997 per year

        Estimates are subject to change due and may differ due to course load and summer quarter enrollment. Estimates include some fees such as building fee, technology fee, U-Pass, etc. Fees such as textbooks are not included.

        View the UW tuition dashboard →
        Visit the Office of Planning & Budgeting →

        It is highly recommended that students in the program complete the Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or Washington Application for State Financial Aid (WASFA) application. These applications are necessary for various forms of financial aid, including scholarships and loans.

        Through this one application, undergraduate students can apply for multiple scholarships worth between $900 - $5,000.

        Frequently asked questions

        How do I know if I have 45 quarterly credits

        We consider both in progress and completed credits. At the bottom of your current transcript you can see the amount of credits you currently have completed and in progress. Transfer credits are accepted and count towards the 45 required credits.

        Can you help me with my personal statement?

        Due to time constraints and fairness, advisers cannot review personal statements. If you have general questions about what is required in the personal statement, please attend a general information or “Ask an Undergrad Adviser” session.  We also encourage applicants to visit the Odegaard Writing & Research Center for additional support.

        If I don't get into ECO, can I reapply?

        Yes. If you are denied admission you will receive an email with an invitation to meet with an admissions adviser to go over your application.  During this meeting students can ask questions and work with the adviser on their next steps.

        Can I apply to both ECFS and ECO?

        Because students cannot major in both ECFS and ECO, we highly recommend applicants research each of the majors and determine which is the best fit for their goals and apply to only one major per application cycle.

        Can I take EDUC 280 at another school?

        No.  EDUC 280 can only be taken at UW Seattle.  There are no transfer courses that will meet this requirement.

        I can't get into EDUC 280. Can you help?

        Students interested in ECO must take EDUC 280. To be considered for a seat in this course you must fill out a seat request form.  If you have had difficulty securing a seat in the course, please attend a general information or an “Ask an Undergrad Adviser” session for tips and strategies for joining the course.

        Can I take an English composition course at another school?

        Yes.  Applicants may use an English composition course they took at a transfer school as long as they received a 2.0 or above.

        Can I take ECO courses online?

        The ECO major is a traditional on campus major. Majors should expect to attend the majority of their courses on campus Monday through Friday between the hours of 8am and 5pm.  We cannot accommodate individual schedules.  The College of Education does offer a fully online major.  For more information please visit the Early Care & Education page.

        How long with it take to graduate from ECO? Can I graduate early?

        Each individual student’s situation is different, however, it is important to be aware that the ECO major is a full two year major. It will take a minimum of 6 quarters to complete the ECO major. It is not possible to graduate from the major early.

        Will I graduate with a teaching certificate?

        No.  ECO majors do not receive a teaching credential when they complete their BA degree. Students who wish to teach can earn their credential, most likely through a Master in Teaching program, after they finish their undergraduate work. 

        I'm not currently in the ECO major. Which courses should I take?

        Many of the ECO major requirement courses are closed to nonmajors. Because of this we recommend that those not yet in the major focus on major electives which are open to nonmajors.  Occasionally our major courses will open up to non majors. To learn of seat openings in those courses, please sign up for NotifyUW. Please note, we cannot overload a course.  Please DO NOT contact instructors for seats. We do not keep waitlists or add codes.

        I'm a transfer student. Is there a special process for me?

        We encourage transfer students who are interested in the major note on their UW general transfer application that ECO is their intended major. This does not guarantee admission into the ECO major, but it does guarantee you a seat in EDUC 280, the ECO major’s prerequisite course.  Once admitted to the UW you will follow the same application process as current on campus students.

        Program Faculty

        Associate Teaching Professor
        Associate Professor
        Associate Professor
        Associate Teaching Professor
        Associate Professor

        Program Staff

        Lead Academic Adviser
        Program Coordinator
        Community Partner Liaison
        Undergraduate Programs Manager
        Lead Admissions & Outreach Adviser

        Alumni Profile

        Education, Communities and Organizations
        When I entered ECO, I was exposed to a network of community members who had expertise that I learned a lot from.