STARS - page top logo and photos

STARS Students

STARS Curriculum

STARS program curriculum

The STARS curriculum provides students with the foundational skills to become master students.

  • First-year courses ensure students receive the support they need to develop and hone effective study strategies and strengthen their preparation for core engineering prerequisites. Problem solving courses and supplemental workshops emphasize fundamental problem solving concepts applicable to prerequisites and courses in a student’s engineering or computer science major.
  • The second year includes supplemental instruction—with a focus on problem solving in physics and/or computer science, depending on the student’s major choice—and career and community-building activities.

STARS problem solving courses

Success in the initial mathematics, chemistry, physics, and computer science prerequisites are critical steps in pursuing an engineering or computer science degree. Unfortunately, many incoming first-year students enter UW lacking the preparation necessary for success in these courses. STARS problem solving courses focus on developing the strategies, habits of mind, and tenacity necessary for success in prerequisite courses. The first course in the sequence, ENGR 120: STARS Math Problem Solving, was designed by Dave Prince, director of the Engineering Academic Center for over 25 years and co-author of the precalculus textbook used at UW.

ENGR 197 workshops

To support student success in engineering and computer science fundamental courses, STARS requires supplemental workshops for the following prerequisites.

  • CHEM 142 and 152
  • MATH 124, 125, and 126
  • MATH 307 and 308
  • PHYS 121 and 122

Sample STARS curriculum

Autumn quarter

Winter quarter

Course Credits
ENGR 102 - STARS Seminar 1
ENGR 121 - STARS Chemistry Problem Solving 3
MATH 124 - Calculus I 5
ENGR 197 - Math 124 workshop 1
Additional course for general education requirements 3-5

Spring quarter

Course Credits
CHEM 142 - General Chemistry I 5
ENGR 197 - CHEM 142 Workshop 1
ENGR 102 - STARS Seminar 1
MATH 125 - Calculus II 5
ENGR 197 - MATH 125 Workshop 1
Seminar course in engineering department or additional course for general education requirements 1-3

In conjunction with completing STARS-required courses during the second year, students work with the academic adviser in their desired major to develop a plan for fulfilling any remaining prerequisites.

STARS students pursuing majors that require physics take the STARS Physics Problem Solving course in the winter quarter of the second year, followed by PHYS 121 in the spring. Students are required to complete the STARS Physics Problem Solving course before registering for PHYS 121.

Autumn quarter

Winter quarter

Course Credits
CSE 142 - Computer Programming I 4
CSE 190 - STARS CSE 142 Companion Course 2
ENGR 122 - STARS Physics Problem Solving 3
MATH 307 or additional course for general education requirements 3-5

Spring quarter

STARS funders


Join us in appreciation for support and current-year funding from these organizations:

Microsoft logo
National Science Foundation logo
Washington State Opportunity Scholarship logo


To become a sponsor of the STARS Program, contact Sharon Dana, 206-543-6908.