Understanding the Application Process

This page is an overview of the University of Washington’s graduate application process. The University of Washington sincerely appreciates your interest.

Table of Contents

Types of Applicants | Types of Students | Minimum Admissions Requirements | Visa Status | UW Admissions Procedures | After Applying | Questions?

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.) International students seeking admission to a GNM program will not be eligible to receive an F-1 visa I-20 or the J-1 DS-2019 from the University of Washington.

Minimum Admissions Requirements

Prospective graduate students must meet the following minimum requirements:


  • Hold the minimum equivalent of a four-year baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university in the U.S. or its equivalent from an accredited foreign institution 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. or its equivalent from an accredited foreign institution.
  • After accepting an offer: all students confirming enrollment must provide an official (sealed) transcript and degree statement (with date of award & title of degree awarded) for verification to Graduate Enrollment Management Services (GEMS). For more information, see Official Transcripts Requirements. Students who submit an official transcript to their admitting department are still required to submit an additional transcript to GEMS upon enrollment.


  • Have at least a 3.0 cumulative grade-point-average on a 4 point scale (or equivalent measures of performance if a graduate of an institution with no grading system; or equivalent grade-point-average from an accredited foreign institution) for those credits earned at the regionally accredited institution awarding the bachelor’s degree OR at least a 3.0 grade-point-average (on a 4 point scale) for the last 90 graded quarter credits or 60 graded semester credits.
  • Also acceptable: have earned at least a cumulative 3.0 grade-point-average (on a 4 point scale) from an accredited institution for a Master’s, graduate doctoral degree, or professional doctoral degree.
  • 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 and receive approval before an offer is made. For the complete policy, refer to Policy 3.1: Graduate Admissions.
  • 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:

  • Demonstration of English proficiency is required of all non-native English speakers.
  • Applicants who do not meet the minimum required score will not be considered for admission. We do not offer conditional admission.
  • Admitted students with scores in the 80 -91 range will be required to take additional English classes during their graduate studies. Review English Language Proficiency requirements (ELP).
  • Some graduate programs may require a higher score beyond the minimum required score. Additionally, some programs may not accept MyBest Scores. Please check with graduate programs to confirm their requirements: select a graduate program.
Minimum Required Score
(ELP Required)
80 80 105 6.5
Recommended Score
(ELP Satisfied)
92 or higher 92 or higher 120 or higher 7.0 or higher

For additional ways to demonstrate English proficiency, see Policy 3.2.

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.

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 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:

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
  • ensure applicants meet minimum requirements established by the Graduate School
  • 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.

Submitted Application Materials

Application materials, once submitted as part of your application, become the property of the University of Washington Graduate School. Materials will not be returned and copies will not be provided for applicants nor released to other institutions. Please keep a copy for your records.

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


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Many 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

US Accreditation:
Confirm that the U.S. institution is affiliated with one of the following regional academic associations via World Higher Education Database  or association website: Middle State Association of Colleges and Schools (Middle States Commission on Higher Education as of 2013); Northwest Commission of Colleges and Universities (formerly Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges); Higher Learning Commission (formerly North Central Association of Colleges and Schools); New England Commission of Higher Education; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools; Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

Foreign Accreditation: 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.

The World Higher Education Database is a search engine that provides information about higher education systems worldwide, including degrees offered, school contact information, affiliations, and accreditation. The database is maintained by the International Association of Universities.

Last Revised: April 2023