First-Generation Graduate Students – UW Graduate School Skip to content

First-Generation Graduate Students

Following the U.S. Department of Education, the University of Washington defines a first-generation college student as an individual neither of whose parents earned a Bachelor’s degree. This extends to first-generation graduate students.

Within the Graduate School’s office of Graduate Student Affairs, we would like to offer a more expansive definition at the graduate level following peers institutions.

A first-generation graduate student can include:

  • An individual who is in the first generation of their family to earn a Bachelor’s degree
  • An individual who is in the first generation of their family to enter graduate school
  • An individual who is in the first generation of their family to enter graduate school in the United States
  • An individual who never received access to the knowledge of navigating graduate school, even if they have a family member who earned a graduate degree

The Graduate School is dedicated to supporting first-generation graduate students with innovative programming that amplifies their diverse voices and builds community at the University of Washington. If you’re a first-gen grad student, we are thrilled that you are here and are proud to be able to support you in making the most of your graduate experience!

In collaboration with university partners and our student advisory board, The Graduate School promotes inter-campus resources and develops programming to achieve the following goals:

  • Create visibility. Each campus has posted online profiles and digital stories of graduate students, faculty, staff, campus leaders, and alumni who identify as first-generation.
  • Reduce stigma. We promote and host quarterly academic, professional, and community events that center the strengths and diverse experiences of first-generation graduate students.
  • Foster a sense of belonging. We create spaces of connection and community, by convening graduate students who identify as first-gen at our receptions and workshops.
  • Develop sustainable and supportive programming. We are eager to grow our programs on all three campuses and look forward to hearing your ideas.

Student Advisory Board

The First-Generation Graduate Student Advisory Board (FGSAB) is comprised of first-generation graduate students from across the disciplines. Members meet quarterly to discuss programming that supports the community-building needs of the first-generation graduate student community on the Seattle campus.


For current offerings, visit this page.



Send questions to the office of Graduate Student Affairs in The Graduate School: