Office of the University Registrar

Preferred Names

The University of Washington allows students to identify the name they would like to be called in classroom settings and when interacting with University personnel. This preferred name is used in a variety of applications.

Changing Your Preferred Name

Log into and follow the directions to set or change your preferred name with the University. You may choose a different first, middle, and/or last name as your preferred name.

If you change your preferred name after the first day of the quarter, then you must notify your professors and teaching assistants of the change to your preferred name.  The University will not notify them that you have provided or changed a preferred name, although they will be able to see your preferred name and your student identification number.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does the University use preferred names on non-legal documents?

The University of Washington values and honors diverse experiences and perspectives, strives to create a welcoming and respectful learning environment, to promote access, opportunity and justice for all. Referring to students by the name they wish to be called in classrooms and when interacting with University personnel supports a respectful learning environment.

What does a preferred name mean at the University of Washington?

The term “preferred name” refers to a name that an individual wishes to use that differs from their legal name on legal documents and/or differs from the name that is listed on a student’s original UW student record that has not been changed legally.

How do I provide the University with my preferred name?

Log into and follow the directions to set your preferred name with the University. You may choose a different first, middle, and/or last name as your preferred name.

Where will the preferred name appear?

The University will be expanding the use of preferred names over the course of the 2016-2017 academic year.

Beginning Autumn 2016:

  • UW Directory
  • Class lists
  • Photo class rosters
  • Student Data Base SRF305 screen used by University administrators
  • GradePage  (the tool for faculty to submit grades).

Beginning Winter 2017:

  • Canvas
  • MyPlan
  • MyGradProgram
  • EARS Advising tools
  • Panopto

The Husky Card Advisory Committee and Husky Card team are discussing the possibility of the preferred name appearing on the Husky Card.

What documents will not have preferred names?

Legal names, not preferred names, will appear on transcripts, diplomas, official student accounts and financial aid records, certification documents, student employment records, and immigration/SEVIS documents.

Where will my legal name be used?

Your legal name will be used in business processes and other activities that require use of a legal name. These include:

  • International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) Documentation
  • Student Financial Services Documentation
  • Financial Aid
  • Student Employment Records
  • Federal Requests for Information
  • National Student Clearinghouse
  • Transcripts
  • Academic Certifications
  • Diplomas

How do I change my legal name?

Please review the Name Change Policy at to learn how to formally change your legal name as a student at the University.

What is a legal name?

A legal name is the name that appears on your passport, driver’s license, birth certificate, or U.S. Social Security Card.

Do I have to use a preferred name?

No. Use of a preferred name is optional.

When will my preferred name go into effect?

You may provide the University with a preferred name or update your preferred name anytime at  It will take 24 business hours for the update to appear in the applications provisioned for preferred names.  You may change your preferred name at any time and more than once.

Why would someone want to use a preferred name?

The reasons for choosing a preferred name that may be different from a legally changed name are personal and different for each individual.

Students may have many reasons for asking to have their preferred names, over their legal names, displayed on non-legal documents:

  • Preferring to use a nickname or middle instead of their legal first name
  • Choosing a name that aligns with their gender identity
  • Desiring to use a “Western” or “Americanized” name rather than a name in another language
  • Wanting a preemptive name change while in the process of legal divorce proceedings

What are the terms and conditions of setting a preferred name at

When you set your preferred name, you agree that:

  • You have not set a preferred name with an intent to impersonate someone else, to deceive, or to defraud;
  • Hate speech, inappropriate language, or repeated frequent use of this feature may bar you from using this feature, at the University’s discretion;
  • Your preferred name may be used in any UW system.

Are there any preferred name restrictions?

Preferred names may not be used for purposes of fraud or misrepresentation. The University reserves the right to remove a preferred name if it contains inappropriate or offensive language.

Does a preferred first name affect my legal name?

No. Setting a preferred name does not change your legal name.

Who do I contact if I have more questions?

Please write to the Office of the University Registrar at