UW Graduate School

IPhD Application Procedures

Eligibility  | Deadline  |  Application Process  | Application Requirements  |  Review Process


Students may consider the IPhD Program if they have:

  1. Completed or are nearing completion of a Master’s degree.
  2. Have identified a research topic of sufficient scope that they cannot investigate it in a single UW established doctoral program.

Prospective applicants can find information on this page about application deadlines, how to begin the process, application requirements, and the application review process.

Application Deadline — March 1

Applications are due by March 1 each year for admission to the IPhD Program for autumn quarter start in the same year. Applications submitted after this date will not be considered.

Application Process

Applicants should contact the IPhD Coordinator by phone (206.543.6398) or email (IIPhD@uw.edu) to discuss the fit of their interdisciplinary research ideas and/or draft proposal for the IPhD Program. The applicant should then contact UW Graduate Faculty members from each program or department potentially involved in the applicant’s proposal and course of study, as well as a Graduate Faculty member who is willing to chair the student’s Supervisory Committee. In meeting with these graduate faculty, the student and faculty should determine whether the proposed research idea and course of study is appropriate for the IPhD Program as opposed to an established UW doctoral program.

If the faculty members agree that the IPhD Program is viable and one faculty member agrees to chair the student’s Supervisory Committee, the applicant may propose a Supervisory Committee with a faculty member as Chair, and ask the other faculty members to join the Supervisory Committee. The proposed committee must include the following faculty members:

  • At least three, but usually not more than five, Graduate Faculty members who represent the applicant’s fields of interest. Two graduate faculty members must be from two different departments/units that offer a Ph.D.
  • A Supervisory Chair or Co-Chair who is a Graduate Faculty member and is from a University unit that offers a Ph.D.
  • An additional faculty member who is a member of the Graduate Faculty who will serve as a Graduate School Representative (GSR), selected together by the student and the chair (after the student is admitted to the IPhD program).

For additional information regarding Supervisory Committees, refer to Graduate School Memorandum 13.

Application Requirements

The following lists documents to be submitted via the online application portal.

  • A completed Individual Ph.D. Program Application Form.
  • An 8–10 page (single-spaced) proposal that includes the following:
    • A statement of purpose with a brief overview of your academic and professional background, and description of your motivation for pursuing doctoral studies.
    • A detailed dissertation plan that includes the following:
      • Your research question.
      • The scope and objectives of your proposed program of study and research.
      • The relevant theoretical/conceptual frameworks.
      • The methodologies to be used in answering your research question.
      • The theoretical significance and/or practical importance of your proposed research.
      • The justification of the research program’s interdisciplinary nature.
      • The identification of potential funding sources to support the study.
  • A proposed program of study that lists, by field, courses completed and courses still to be completed, and includes comments on the nature and relevance of preparatory work already completed and in progress AND a tentative schedule for completing the program of study activities.
  • One copy of your transcripts from colleges or universities attended.
  • A statement indicating to which other University of Washington Ph.D. programs you have applied and results of the applications.
  • Education Testing Service record of Verbal, Quantitative and Analytical Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores (scores submitted should not be older than 10 years).
  • biographical sketch from the Chair of your proposed Supervisory Committee, including previous experience in supervising Ph.D. students.
  • Recommendation letters from the Chair and each member of your proposed Supervisory Committee (the online application portal will give you the opportunity to enter their names and emails, and the Graduate School will email them a request asking them for their recommendations).
  • Two additional letters of personal recommendation (maximum) may be requested if you wish by submitting two additional names and email addresses in the online portal.
  • Your resume.

Review Process

The IPhD Group (the faculty Group charged with oversight of the IPhD) reviews applications once a year. The Graduate School requests evaluations of applications from graduate program directors in related units. The IPhD Group evaluates the application, conducts interviews with the applicant, and recommends whether the applicant should be admitted to the IPhD Program. Decisions on admission are made by May 31 and communicated to the applicant soon thereafter.

Application decisions are final with no appeal procedures available; however, a rejected application can be revised and resubmitted another year.