UW Graduate School

Understanding the Application Process

Types of Applicants

The Graduate School accepts applications from U.S. citizens, permanent residents (green card holders), immigrants and international applicantsUndocumented individuals are eligible for admission to any graduate program at the University of Washington. Graduate School admission requirements and application procedures are the same for all applicants regardless of citizenship and visa status.

See the UW non-discrimination policy

We are a safe and welcoming place for all. The president and provost affirm the University’s commitment “to providing a safe, secure and welcoming environment that protects the privacy and human rights of all members of our community.”

Types of Students

Applications are for the following three types of students. Graduate School admission requirements and application procedures are different for each student type.

  • Graduate students are working toward a master’s or doctoral degree. Students must be admitted as a graduate student in order to earn a degree.
  • Visiting graduate students plan to transfer a limited number of graduate credits to their home institution where they are actively pursuing a graduate degree.
  • Graduate non-matriculated (GNM) students are not currently seeking a degree but may apply a maximum of 12 graduate level credits toward degree requirements should they later be accepted into a graduate program. (Acceptance as a GNM student does not confer priority for later admission to a graduate program.) Students holding or expecting to hold F-1 or visitor visas are not eligible for GNM status.

Getting Started

Minimum Admission Requirements

Prospective graduate students must meet the following minimum requirements:

Degree:

  • Hold the minimum equivalent of a four-year baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university in the U.S.1 or its equivalent from a foreign institution2 or a Bologna bachelor’s degree with a minimum of 180 European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) credits.
  • Also acceptable: hold a Master’s degree, a doctoral degree (Ph.D., D.Phil.), or a professional degree (M.D., J.D., D.V.M., etc.) from a regionally accredited college or university in the U.S.1 or its equivalent from a foreign institution.2
  • All students confirming enrollment must provide a transcript and degree statement for verification.

GPA:

  • Have earned at least a 3.0 grade-point-average (on a 4 point scale) from a regionally accredited college or university in the U.S.1 or its equivalent from a foreign institution2 for the last 90 graded quarter credits or 60 graded semester credits.
  • Graduate programs may consider an applicant with a GPA below a 3.0. Graduate programs must submit an admission petition to the Dean of the Graduate School before an offer is made.
  • Some graduate programs will have additional admission requirements and may require a higher grade-point-average. These requirements can be found in the graduate program listing: select a graduate program.

English Proficiency:

  • Applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate English language proficiency. The most competitive applicants will demonstrate a higher level of English proficiency and will have attained the recommended score to satisfy the Graduate School’s English Language Proficiency (ELP) requirement.
  • An applicant who does not meet the minimum required score will not be considered admissible by the Graduate School. The Graduate School does not offer conditional admissions to students who have not yet met the minimum English Language Proficiency requirement.
  • Please note: some graduate programs may require a higher score than the Graduate School’s minimum or recommended scores. These requirements can be found in the graduate program listing: select a graduate program.
TOEFL iBT IELTS TOEFL pBT
Minimum Required Score
(ELP Required)
80 6.5 500
Recommended Score
(ELP Satisfied)
92 or higher 7.0 or higher 580 or higher
For additional ways to demonstrate English proficiency, read more:
    • Proficiency in English is required for graduate study at the University of Washington. Therefore, every applicant whose native language is not English must demonstrate English language proficiency.i
        Proficiency can be demonstrated in one of the following five ways:
      1. A bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree from a regionally accredited institution in the United States where English is the medium of instruction.
        .
      2. A bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree from an institution in Australia, the Bahamas, Canada, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, New Zealand, Singapore, Trinidad and Tobago, or the United Kingdom where English is the medium of instruction. While enrolled at the degree-granting school, the student must be in residence on campus.
        .
      3. Official documentation from the applicant’s undergraduate degree-granting institution (if the institution is in a country other than those listed in #2 above) verifying that all instruction is in English. A minimum of three years of enrollment at the undergraduate institution is required. Documentation must be presented to the Graduate School; credential service reports are not acceptable. Acceptable documentation must be one of the following:
        • Official or attested letter from the undergraduate college, university Registrar, or Controller of Examinations office.
        • Official transcripts, attested mark sheets or degree statements, are also accepted if English is stated as the medium of instruction.
          .
      4. An official letter stating successful completion of the UW Intensive English Program (IEP): University Track. The letter must be submitted to the Graduate School.
        .
      5. Official English Language Test Score (sent electronically to the University of Washington via testing center):

 

TOEFL iBT IELTSii TOEFL pBT
Minimum Required Score
(ELP Required)
80 6.5 500
Recommended Score
(ELP Satisfied)
92 or higher 7.0 or higher 580 or higher
                  • An applicant who does not meet the minimum required score will not be considered admissible by the Graduate School. The Graduate School does not offer conditional admissions to students who have not yet met the minimum English Language Proficiency (ELP) requirement.
                  • An applicant who has attained the recommended score has satisfied the Graduate School’s ELP requirement.
                  • An admitted applicant below the recommended score will be required to satisfactorily complete 1 to 3 UW Academic English Program (AEP)iii courses to fulfill the ELP requirement. Students enrolled in AEP courses will pay additional fees.
                    .

IMPORTANT:

iEach prospective graduate student indicates on his/her graduate application whether or not s/he is a native speaker of English.

ii Many UW graduate programs do not accept IELTS test scores. Please check the programs’ websites prior to scheduling a test exam to ensure your IELTS scores will be considered. The Graduate School is phasing out the usage of IELTS and will not accept scores with a test session date after May 31, 2017.

iiiInformation about how students are placed into AEP courses >

Citizenship and Visa Status

The Graduate School accepts applications from U.S. citizens, permanent residents (green card holders), immigrants and international applicants. Undocumented individuals are eligible for admission to any graduate program at the University of Washington. Graduate School admission requirements and application procedures are the same for all applicants regardless of citizenship and visa status.

students at whiteboardAs the 15th ranked* university in the world, we are attracting more and more bright and motivated international students. A diverse, global student body is essential for robust intellectual stimulation and true career readiness. —David L. Eaton, dean and vice provost of the Graduate School

*source

Once an international student planning to study on an F-1 or J-1 student visa has been admitted and has accepted their offer, they must provide documentation to show proof of adequate financial support.

Read more
  • International students must have a visa status that allows academic study at the UW. This status includes temporary U.S. visas such as F-1 student visas, J-1 exchange visitors, H-1 temporary worker, dependent visas or any other non-immigrant classifications. Students who will study on an F-1 or J-1 visa will be required to complete additional steps after confirming their intention to enroll before the Graduate School can process their visa paperwork.
  • Regarding F-2 dependent visa holders, a June 2015 US immigration rule permits dependents (F-2) of international students to engage in study at SEVP-certified schools in the U.S., as long as they are enrolled in part-time study. Although the F-2s can only study part-time, that part-time study can result in the attainment of a degree. However, the F-2 would not be eligible for any employment, including on-campus, CPT, or OPT. At the University of Washington Graduate School, if an F-2 wants to enroll in a full course of academic study (10 credit minimum), they must apply for and obtain approval to change their nonimmigrant classification to F-1 or J-1. For further information on this new rule, refer to the Department of Homeland Security website.

UW Admissions Procedures

Before you apply, you need to know that graduate admission procedures vary by institution. At the UW, graduate admissions is decentralized. So although the Graduate School works closely with graduate programs on technical, administrative and policy issues, individual graduate programs have a great deal of autonomy. Understanding the role of the Graduate School and the role of graduate programs will help you successfully navigate graduate admissions at the UW. It will also help you know who to contact when you have questions.

The role of the Graduate School in graduate admissions:

  • establish minimum admission requirements
  • support the online application for graduate study at the UW
  • process requests for I-20 and DS-2019 visa applications
  • verify degrees of applicants who accept an offer of admission
  • evaluate English proficiency requirement for non-native English speakers

The role of a graduate program in graduate admissions:

  • establish admission requirements for a degree program
  • set application deadlines
  • decide what application materials are required
  • review applications
  • make admission decisions
  • notify applicants of admission decisions

Now that you know more about graduate admissions at the UW, here are tips for getting started:

  • Review minimum admission requirements and basic information about applying
  • Research graduate programs. Select a graduate program and review admissions requirements, deadlines and application materials. Then visit the program’s website and contact the program if you have any questions.

Application Deadlines

Deadlines for each degree program are determined by the faculty of that graduate program. Deadlines can be found in the graduate program listing, select a graduate program.

After Applying

After you have submitted your application, you can check the status of your application on your Graduate Application Status Page. You get to this page by logging in as a returning applicant. Here is what you can expect after applying:

  • Admissions reviews can take up to four months. If a program does not indicate on the Graduate Application Status Page when decisions are made, you will need to contact the program for its timeline.
  • The graduate program will notify you of its decision either by email or by postal mail. The decision will also be reflected on your Graduate Application Status Page.
  • If you are offered admission, you will be instructed to accept or decline the offer of admission on your Graduate Application Status Page.
  • If you accept an offer of admission, next steps will appear on your Graduate Application Status Page. Next steps are things that you need to do before you enroll in classes at the UW. Foreign applicants who indicated that they would be requesting an I-20 or DS-2019 visa application will be given instructions.
  • If you decline an offer of admission, you will be asked to complete a short survey on your Graduate Application Status Page.

Explore Your Future Home

We also encourage you to familiarize yourself with some of the numerous programs and services available to University of Washington graduate students

Graduate School Resources

Other UW Resources

Questions?

student raising handMany of the most common questions we get are addressed in our Frequently Asked Questions pages. Please look through the appropriate FAQ page first; if your question is not addressed, please contact us at uwgrad@uw.edu or 206.685.2630.

Admissions FAQs International Applicant Information


1 Confirm that the U.S. institution is affiliated with one of the following regional academic associations via AACRAO: Middle State Association of Colleges and Schools (Middle States Commission on Higher Education as of 2013); Northwest Commission of Colleges and Universities; North Central Association of Colleges and Schools; New England Association Schools and Colleges; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools; Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

2 Accreditation for a foreign institution: The official recognition status of the degree granting institution is verified through the appropriate educational authority in a country, such as, the Ministry of Education or other governmental authority.