UW Graduate School

Memo 3: Graduate Admission

Admission to graduate study at the University of Washington provides opportunities for study leading to master’s, educational specialist, and doctoral degrees. The Graduate School is responsible for determining the minimum requirements for admission. These admissions requirements are based on the Washington Student Achievement Council Admissions Standards Policy. Departments may have additional or more stringent requirements. The basic objective of the admission policy of the Graduate School is to admit those students deemed best able to contribute to and benefit from the educational programs and opportunities offered at the University.

Enrollment in a specific graduate degree program is limited to the number of students for whom faculty, staff, and facilities can provide high quality graduate instruction and research guidance. Each graduate student must be admitted into a specific graduate program; the Graduate School does not permit general graduate enrollment.

Qualifications

A prospective graduate student must have one of the following:

  1. A baccalaureate degree from a nationally recognized postsecondary institution with institutional accreditation from the following approved accreditation agencies or equivalent for international institutions: Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Higher Learning Commission (HLC), Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) or WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) college or university. The prospective student must have at least a 3.0 grade-point-average on a 4 point scale (or equivalent measures of performance if a graduate of an institution with no grading system) for those credits earned at the 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.
    Note: Students may have earned credits used towards a bachelor’s degree from multiple institutions. The 3.0 GPA requirement only requires that the cumulative GPA be reviewed from the degree granting institution. If a student’s cumulative GPA from the degree granting institution is lower than a 3.0 and the student has credits earned from multiple institutions, the student’s GPA may automatically be recalculated to include additional transcripts. If this recalculation results in a 3.0, the student has met the minimum GPA requirement. If this recalculation does not result in a 3.0, programs can petition the Graduate School for the student to be admitted using Alternate Standards.
  2. One of the following: a master’s degree, a graduate doctoral degree, or any of the following professional doctoral degrees: Doctor of Dentistry (D.D.S.), Doctor of Law (J.D.), Doctor of Medicine (M.D.), Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.), Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.). The degree must be from a regionally accredited college or university in the U.S. or its equivalent from a foreign institution, and the prospective student must have at least a 3.0 grade-point-average (on a 4 point scale) calculated from the total cumulative credits.
  3. A Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) degree earned at a Washington community or technical community college. Bachelor of Applied Science degrees are evaluated on a case-by-case basis by the graduate or professional degree program or department for admissions. The prospective student must have either: at least a 3.0 grade-point-average (on a 4 point scale) calculated from the total cumulative credits; or at least a 3.0 grade-point-average (on a 4 point scale) for the last 90 graded quarter credits.

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 proficiency. No exceptions for this English proficiency requirement will be granted. See Graduate School Memorandum 8.

The Graduate School does not require Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores for admission; however, graduate programs may require GRE scores or any other tests related to the applicant’s field for use in the admission review process.

Alternate Standards

Alternates to GPA Requirements

Programs can petition the Graduate School to admit students who do not meet the minimum GPA requirements under Alternate Admission Standards.  Programs petitioning under Alternate Admissions Standards must collect, review and provide to the Graduate School evidence that the student meets a minimum two of the following requirements:

  1. Satisfactory scores on the GRE, GMAT, or other approved test.
  2. An analytical essay written by the student which demonstrates critical thinking skills.
  3. A statement of intent written by the student demonstrating a level of knowledge and intellectual maturity appropriate to the proposed field of graduate study.
  4. Evidence of successful graduate coursework in the intended field of study or in a closely related field.
  5. Evidence of professional success in a field relevant to the proposed area of study.
  6. An admissions interview either in-person or via phone or web.

Note: An analytical essay typically is focused on a student’s academic pursuits and interest, while a statement of intent includes information about a student’s personal journey.

Alternates to an Earned Bachelor’s Degree

Programs can petition the Graduate School to admit students who do not have a bachelor’s degree from a nationally recognized postsecondary institution with institutional accreditation, but who have significant professional experience. Programs petitioning under Alternate Admissions Standards must collect, review and provide to the Graduate School evidence that the student meets the following requirements:

  1. Evidence of professional success in a field relevant to the proposed area of study

    And

  2. A minimum of two of the following:
    • A transcript showing 100 level course work or higher with the achievement of a 3.0 grade point average for at least 90 quarter hours or 60 semester hours.
    • Evidence of successful graduate coursework in the intended field of study or in a closely related field.
    • Satisfactory scores on the GRE, GMAT, or other approved test.
    • An analytical essay written by the student which demonstrates critical thinking skills.
    • A statement of intent written by the student demonstrating a level of knowledge and intellectual maturity appropriate to the proposed field of graduate study.
    • An admissions interview either in-person or via phone or web.

Admission Procedure

Application for admission is made simultaneously to the Graduate School and to the graduate program. Each department or other unit authorized to offer a graduate degree program maintains a Graduate Admissions Committee that must include at least three graduate faculty members. This Committee is responsible for the fair and complete evaluation of applicants and is expected to maintain files and to be able to demonstrate that full and fair consideration has been given to each applicant. Students meeting the Graduate School admissions requirements are admitted into programs of study by the Graduate Admissions Committee in the department offering the program. It is the responsibility of each department to ensure that students have met the Graduate School admissions requirements prior to offering admissions. Each department shall inform the Graduate School regarding students granted admissions and students denied admissions.

The Graduate School and each Graduate Admission Committee shall be guided by the following:

  1. Priority for admission of applicants into a graduate degree program is based upon the applicant’s apparent ability, as determined by the University, to complete the program with a high level of achievement.
  2. No practice may discriminate against an individual because of race, color, creed, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, disability, or status as a disabled veteran or Vietnam era veteran.
  3. Sustained efforts shall be made to recruit qualified applicants who are members of groups that are underrepresented in certain disciplines.
  4. All applicants to a degree-offering unit shall be processed through the same set of procedures to assure that all applicants are evaluated on their individual merits.
  5. Tests and criteria for admission should relate to the actual requirements of the graduate program. Reasonable accommodation for testing conditions may be made to compensate for relevant disabilities.
  6. Additional factors may be used in developing a pool of qualified applicants for admission to the Graduate School. Weights given these and other factors may vary among graduate degree programs. No factor will confer admission on an academically unqualified applicant. These factors include, but are not limited to, the following:
    • Grades earned, especially for subjects in or closely related to the field of the applicant’s proposed graduate work.
    • Scores on the Graduate Record Examination Verbal, Quantitative, and Analytical Tests, on the GRE Advanced Test, on other tests related to the applicant’s field, and on other aptitude tests which may be required.
    • Personal interviews of the applicant by the Department Admissions Committee.
    • The career objectives of the applicant and the extent to which the graduate degree program may be expected to prepare him or her for those objectives.
    • Written and oral recommendations from persons who are qualified to evaluate the applicant’s academic record and promise.
    • The applicant’s degree objective, i.e. Master’s degree, Doctoral degree, or a Master’s followed by a Doctoral degree.
    • Activities or accomplishments; educational goals; prior employment experience; living experiences, such as growing up in a disadvantaged or unusual environment; special talents.
    • Academic accomplishments in light of the applicant’s life experiences and special circumstances. These experiences and circumstances may include, but are not limited to disabilities; low family income; first generation to attend college; need to work during college; disadvantaged social or educational environment; difficult personal and family situation or circumstances; and refugee status or veteran status.

References

Other Graduate School Memoranda, particularly numbers 8, 10, and 37. Graduate School Memoranda 9, 13, 16 and 19 provide information relevant to students in the later stages of graduate study.


Revised: August 2011, March 2019; March 2022; April 2022