Our History

A century of continuum

From delivering correspondence courses by motorcycle to giving people who otherwise couldn’t afford it the chance to enroll in professional development opportunities, UW Continuum College has grown and evolved for more than 100 years, passing many milestones along the way. Explore Continuum’s decades of history and learn how we’ve become a bridge to education for our community. 

historical illustration of uw campus

1910s | 1920s | 1930s | 1940s | 1950s | 1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s | 2010s | 2020s | Next 


Progressive Democracy in Action

The year 1912 marked the formation of the University Extension, which evolved into what we know today as the University of Washington Continuum College. The college’s mission and vision reflected the sentiments of the Progressive Movement in America at the time: To make knowledge more accessible to citizens of the state and strengthen democracy by enabling people to analyze and express ideas in civic discourse.

Students could take courses in 22 subjects by mail or in-person during regular hours, evenings or Saturdays. Although only 48 students enrolled in the first three months, that number ballooned to 674 by 1917. Of the students enrolled, 286 had registered to take correspondence courses away from campus.

Later that year, the U.S. entered World War I, and the organization’s emphasis shifted to reflect the changes brought about by the war. Courses included an intensive evening course in military mathematics and correspondence courses in navigation.