Ph.D. Admissions Contact

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The online application process for the Allen School’s Computer Science & Engineering Ph.D. program opens annually on Sep 1. Applications are accepted for admission for autumn quarter only. The deadline for both international and U.S. students is Dec 15, or the next following business day, if the 15th falls on a weekend.

Admission decisions are announced by mid-February. Students must accept/decline offers by Apr 15.


Thank you for your interest in pursuing your Ph.D. at the Allen School. Admission to our Ph.D. program is competitive. Each year, we receive applications from approximately 2,500 prospective graduate students, from around the globe, for roughly 50 positions. The Allen School hosts its annual Grad Visit Days in March for applicants who have received an offer of admission. This event provides an opportunity for applicants to meet with faculty, get to know their prospective colleagues, and experience the Seattle area’s quality of life.

Underrepresented Communities

The University of Washington and the Allen School reaffirm their policy of equal opportunity regardless of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, disability, or status as a disabled veteran or Vietnam era veteran in accordance with University policy and applicable federal and state statutes and regulations. We encourage applications from women, students with disabilities and minority candidates. Learn more about the Paul G. Allen School's commitment to Diversity & Inclusion

The Allen School welcomes, and is committed to working with, undocumented students. You are welcome to reach out to us if you have questions or concerns. Leadership Without Borders is a division of UW focused on the UW undocumented community. They are eager to offer whatever assistance with or without a collaboration with our program.

Admission Highlights

The Graduate School provides detailed guidance on their Application FAQs page. If you can't find an answer to your question here, then that would be the next place to check. If you are still unable to find an answer to your questions, please reach out to us at grad-admissions (at) cs (dot) washington (dot) edu. We will do our best to answer your question or help point you in the right direction.

The Allen School does not keep a waiting list. Decisions made by the Admissions Committee are final. Because applicants to our program are also applying to other programs, we expect that a certain number of our offers will be declined. To account for this, we offer admission to more applicants than we expect to accept our offer. This ensures that we fill our open spaces without needing to use a waiting list.

A common question the Allen school receives from Ph.D. applicants is, "How Can I Improve my Application?". Below you will find a small collection of links to advice that is often shared amongst graduate students. These links are the personal experiences of the authors, and the Allen School is offering them only to share perspectives.

Prepatory Courses & Programs


The UW Graduate School offers a prepratory course (GRDSCH200) to juniors, seniors and non-matriculated post-BACC students from all majors and disciplines. Students taking the course apply to a wide range of schools and programs located all around the world. The course is Credit/No-credit and lasts for 10 weeks. The GRDSCH200 website describes the course as:

The course seeks to engage students in determining the right “fit” for their individual graduate education goals through three primary objectives:
  • Investigation: What is your desire to attend graduate school?
    • What you need to know about the graduate school experience
  • Revelation: What do graduate school admission committees actually expect
    • Demystify the process
    • Personal statements, resumes/CVs and letters of recommendation
  • Preparation: How does investigation and revelation lead to finding a “good fit,” and how do you chart a course of action?
    • Why do you want to go? When do you want to go? Where do you want to go?
    • What do you want to do? How can you do it?
Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program
First generation students often face additional challenges when considering graduate-level education. There is a nationa-wide program in the US that offers an immersive experience to assist these students with applying and preparing for graduate school called McNair Scholar. The McNair Scholars Program is a federal TRIO program funded at 151 institutions across the United States and Puerto Rico by the U.S. Department of Education. Students who participate in the McNair Scholar program are awarded funding, and many Universities within the US will waiver application fees. Visit the Council for Opportunity in Education's McNair website for more information on funding and a list of students who have participated in the program.

The UW Graduate School offers application fee waivers to U.S. residents who demonstrate financial need. The process for requesting a fee waiver from the UW Graduate School is available on their application page. The Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering is unable to offer a traditional fee waiver. Instead the Allen School offers to use School funds to pre-pay the application fee of applicants who participate in approved programs.

Applicants who participate in the GEM Fellowship Program are eligible for the application fee pre-payment program. Additionally, applicants who participate in groups/programs which focus on outreach as it relates to preparing students for computer science research careers may also be eligible. The list below outlines some of these programs, and you can email grad-admissions@cs for inquiries about additional programs that you think may qualify.

In order to request pre-payment of the application fee, the applicant must first complete all required components of the application. Prior to submitting, email grad-admissions (at) cs (dot) washington (dot) edu with the following information at least seven (7) calendar days ahead of the application deadline (approximately December 6th):

Full Name
UW Graduate School Application ID Number
Proof of Program Participation
A PDF document using the following syntax for the file name: "Your name-date of application-conference or program name" (Les Sessoms-Nov 17 2020-GraceHopperConference). You may use your registration confirmation email, conference check-in confirmation, or other official document.

Application Pre-payment Approved Organizations + Conferences

The Allen School guarantees funding for all Ph.D. students who enroll in our program. This funding covers a monthly salary, tuition waiver, health insurance, and a quarterly public transit pass. If you are admitted to the program you will be asked to indicate on an online form that you will be relying on funding from the Allen School. You do not need to submit any financial information (such as bank statements), unless you fit specific criteria as an international student. International students should refer to the Graduate School's webpage on Admitted International Students for more information.


Many students are funded by a graduate assistantship. In exchange for 20 hours of work per week, Research/Teaching Assistants receive: (figures are current as of the 2020-2021 academic year)

  • Tuition waiver of all but approximately $327 per quarter in fees
  • Monthly stipend of $3,187 for beginning students
  • Health insurance (100% of premium for student, 65% of premium for dependents)


There are two major categories of fellowships: those that students can apply for directly, and those to which students must be nominated by faculty. Most students will be more interested in the first category, since these are the fellowships that they can actively seek for themselves. The Graduate School Fellowships Page

Prospective students are welcome to review our Research & Innovation page. Each research area has its own information page which is updated with the faculty, postdoctoral researchers, graduate students, and staff involved in research. You may also wish to review these pages in order to learn about ongoing research projects. The Paul G. Allen School does not expect applicants to have previous interactions with our faculty, nor do they need to know who they want to spend their Ph.D.-life working with. All new students are assigned a temporary faculty advisor based on availability, potential research match, funding, and several other factors. This initial temporary designation is intentional in order to encourage the exploration of different advisors and research areas. A permanent advising relationship is expected to be formalized prior to the qualifying evaluation, typically about two years into the program.

The University of Washington offers several benefits and leave options to graduate students in research, teaching, and graduate assistantship positions. Academic student employees (ASE) positions have work benefits defined by the ASE Contract. This contract is the result of a collective bargaining process between the Union of Academic Student Employees (UAW Local 4121), and the University of Washington.

Graduate Appointee Insurance Program (GAIP): ASEs receive health insurance coverage that covers medical, vision, and dental. You can read the UW HR summary here.

Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML): ASEs are eligible for paid medical and family leave after completing four calendar quarters of employment at the standard 50% appointment. PFML requests need to be the result of a “qualifying event.” You can read more about UW HR’s policy here.

Leave of Absence: The UW Graduate School has additional policies that allow graduate students to officially enter On-Leave status.. Students often use this option if they need a break for reasons not covered by the PFML policy. Students are eligible for this option after completing their first quarter of instruction. You can read more about the Graduate School’s On-Leave Policy here.

There may be additional policies for students using F-1 and J-1 visas so please contact the International Student Services office if you use one of these. There are also potential implications for your funding packages, so always consult your primary investigator (PI) and academic advisors before requesting On-Leave status.