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 July 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 or decline offers by Apr 15.

The Graduate School maintains our application portal, and has provided a great FAQ regarding submissions and requirements. Please do contact them with any technical questions. The University of Washington Graduate School supports, advances and champions graduate education throughout the UW and to the general public.

At the UW, The Graduate School is responsible for processing applications, granting degrees, and ensuring compliance with the University’s policies for all advanced UW degree programs, with the exception of the M.D., D.D.S., J.D. and Pharm.D. Serving approximately 14,000 graduate students, the Graduate School also offers a range of opportunities so students can develop the leadership, communication and personal skills needed for a rewarding life and academic, research or professional career.

All International Students should review the International Applicant Information provided by the Graduate School.

Please be sure to review the Admitted International Graduate Students page as it will help clarify what will be expected, and therefore you'll have enough time to plan how to get everything done.

As of the Autumn 2023 application cycle, GRE scores are no longer allowed. GRE scores will not be reviewed by the Allen School, even if they are submitted to the University of Washington.

The University of Washington Graduate School requirement is a 3.0, and an applicant's prior GPA isn't necessarily something the admissions committee takes into consideration. Faculty are much more focused on the cumulative GPA for each degree earned, as well as the grades in computer science related-fields and other related coursework. The average GPA of admitted students has historically been 3.8. You can enter the grade reported on your transcript, or otherwise estimate, as there is no penalty for an incorrect answer. We will review all applications as long as they have a self-reported score. Additionally, the Allen School is fairly flexible when it comes to self-reporting GPAs from schools that do not use a 4.0 grading system. This last 90 graded quarter credits/60 graded semester credits GPA requirement is meant to capture the GPA for your most recent two years of study from a baccalaureate degree. Try to calculate your GPA across these last 90/60 credits as accurately as possible; however, if it's easier, you can just enter the cumulative GPA for your most recent graduate degree, instead.

The Allen School expects that most entering graduate students will have a solid background in software development, data structures, discrete math, automata theory, programming systems, computer systems and organization (e.g., see CSE courses 311, 331, 332, 351) and advanced knowledge of one or more computing topics. However, we welcome applications from students who may lack a portion of this background but show exceptional promise, and we accept a small number of such students each year.

That said, the method of acquiring these skills/knowledge does not have to be conventional, and students from all degree backgrounds are accepted. Every year we admit at least a small number of students who have a degree outside of STEM.

English Language Proficency is determined according to Memo 8 from the Graduate School.
Our program accepts the following methods by which non-native English speakers may meet this requirement:

    Having earned a degree in the United States or another country specified in Memo 8 in which English was the language of instruction Enclosing documentation from the undergraduate degree-granting institution that English was the language of instruction Providing official, valid scores from one of the English language proficiency exams listed below. Scores must be submitted to UW electronically and matched to the application in order for this requirement to be met.
  TOEFL iBT TOEFL MyBest Duolingo Academic IELTS
Minimum Score to Apply
(ELP Not Satisfied)
80 80 105 6.5
ELP Satisfied
92 or higher 92 or higher 120 or higher 7.0 or higher

Graduate students who work as TAs have additional requirements under Memo 15, including meeting the English Language Proficency requirement above. You do not need to meet these additional requirements in order to apply. Ph.D. students are required to TA for at least two quarters to graduate, either by satisfying the testing requirements, passing an appeal interview, or taking 1-3 UW Academic English Program courses.

The Allen School has only a full-time Ph.D. program with an integrated master's degree. We do not have a separate, full-time master's program as some other universities do. Admission is based on an applicant's potential to do research in computer science and to complete the Ph.D. Students can earn a master's degree at the time of qualifying evaluations, which determines whether a student should proceed to writing their dissertation. All applications are considered by the faculty admissions committee for the Ph.D. program only.

If you are interested in a Master's degree then the UW Bothell and UW Tacoma campuses both offer full-time master's programs.

We also have the pleasure of offering a Professional Master's Degree program to current industry professionals. The program requires applicants to have 2 years of industry experience before they are eligible. This Master's degree is the same official Master's that comes with our integrated Ph.D. program.

Students with an RA, TA, or Fellowship are required to be full-time in the PhD program. As such, satisfactory progress is expected to be consistent with a full-time focus on research and education work. Classes are taught during typical business hours, as are the research group meetings students need to participate in. In addition, there are concerns about privacy and proprietary information when navigating between an academic institution and a business. We do understand that money is an important factor in deciding what to do next. That is why we offer guaranteed funding for our admitted students.

Yes, you can apply to more than one (1) Ph.D. program at the University of Washington. You will need to submit two or more applications, depending on the number of programs you are applying to, and you will have to pay an separate application fee for each. Test scores and transcripts can be shared across departments, but Statements of Purpose, Letters of Recommendation, C.V.s, and so forth, will all have to be submitted to each department.

At this time, the University of Washington's application portal is not compatible with Interfolio. On the Allen School Required Materials page, there is information on how letters of recommendation are accepted through the portal. You may mail us letters of recommendation, if you must, but submissions via the application portal are preferred. Even if the letters are submitted in paper form, the recommenders' contact information needs to be entered into the online application; otherwise, there will be no place to upload the scanned copies.

Anyone is welcome to apply to the Paul G. Allen School, though transferring from another institution can be challenging. There is no formal transfer program, so it is likely you will have to repeat classes. We do have a course waiver appeal that admitted students can use in order to waive them out of certain course requirements. Each course is decided on an individual basis, and there is no guarantee that faculty evaluators will agree courses are similar enough. Most of the time when a student transfer into our Ph.D. program from another, they have to start all over again.

The Allen School tends not to offer admission to applicants who are seeking a second doctoral degree. There is no standardization across courses, and little incentive for standards to be developed, because of the flexibility of independent research. That is why it is important to choose to apply to the graduate schools that are right for you, and not just casting a wide-net and hoping for the best.

You may ask whomever you please to write your letters of recommendation, especially if they know you and your work well. However, keep in mind that we are looking for students who have an aptitude for (or experience in) conducting research in an academic setting and therefore we rely on faculty familiar with Ph.D. programs, research, and students. Choose your letter writers accordingly. Be sure to give them plenty of notice. Also choose recommenders who you know are going to write strong, individualized letters for you.

As of the Autumn 2023 application cycle, GRE scores are no longer allowed. GRE scores will not be reviewed by the Allen School, even if they are submitted to the University of Washington. The faculty has found that the GRE is not an appropriate metric in assessing who has potential to be a successful researcher.

Thank you for asking this important question. There are many unique attributes we offer in terms of faculty, research, and culture: We have nationally and internationally recognized faculty who are pushing the boundaries of core and emerging areas of our field; we have a national reputation for outstanding student mentoring, and our faculty and graduate students enjoy collegial and supportive working relationships; we provide a complete, high-quality curriculum along with leading-edge research opportunities; we offer a robust lineup of topical colloquia and distinguished lectures featuring established leaders and rising stars in the field; and we provide a welcoming and inclusive environment for international students, women, and other underrepresented groups.

Most graduates of the Allen School's Ph.D. program find employment in academic institutions (research/teaching or teaching), research labs (industry and academic), post-docs, start-ups and industry.

Do you need to update your application? You can return to your UW application profile and upload unofficial transcripts, grade reports, and test scores. There is also the option to withdraw requests to letter writers, or send an official letter of recommendation request to a new recommender.

The Allen School graduate advising team offers one (1) courtesy update of your CV/resume and statement of purpose (inclusive). If you would like to note a new paper publications or acceptance, you may send one sentence to the contact email in the sidebar requesting it be added as a comment to your application.

Please be aware that admissions decisions are communicated by mid-February, so all materials should be submitted by January 1st in order to have time for full consideration. The Allen School Ph.D. program receives over 2500 applications and is committed to a holistic review process. Sometimes it is simply not possible to return to applications after they have received their initial assessment. The admission committee cannot offer any additional extensions.