Virtual Information Sessions

These sessions will provide an overview of the Allen School's Ph.D. application process and incorporate information about graduate student life and experiences with the aid of a panel of graduate students doing Q & A. 


Ph.D. Application Timeline

  • Application Opens: Sept 1
  • Application Deadline: Dec 16
  • Decisions Released: Mid-Feb
  • Grad Visit Days: Mid-March
  • Response Deadline: April 15
  • Study Begins: Mid-Sept

General Program Questions

Ph.D. Eligibility and Application Questions

Ph.D. Program Questions

International Students

General Program Questions

Do you have a master's program?

The Allen School does not offer a standalone, full-time master’s program; rather, the part-time, evening Professional Master's Program is the only MS program available. The PMP is a coursework-based program designed for fully-employed software developers residing in the Seattle area at the time of application. To be considered for admission, an applicant must have a minimum of two years of full-time, post-degree professional software development experience in which their job tasks involve at least 50% hands-on programming.

We recommend that students looking to complete graduate studies and research at the Allen School (UW-Seattle) consider applying to the Computer Science & Engineering Ph.D program, which awards an MS degree as you earn the doctorate. Otherwise, the other UW computer science master's programs are the MS in Computer Science & Software Engineering at UW-Bothell and the MS in Computer Science and Systems at UW-Tacoma. A recent addition to UW-Tacoma is the PhD in Computer Science and Systems. All three (3) campuses operate under different academic policies so you will need to contact the departments directly for more information.

Do you have a part-time Ph.D. program? Can I pursue the PhD part-time while working?

No, we do not. 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. Courses, seminars, and research meetings are typically scheduled to occur on campus during standard business hours. A full-time PhD program may often exceed a standard 40-hour work week between your own academic commitments and your work as a teaching or research assistant. This is usually incompatible with full-time employment.

Do you have a remote or online Ph.D. program?

No, we do not. Our Ph.D. program is offered in-person, including the coursework and research you will perform as a student.

Who does the Ph.D. program target?

The Ph.D. program targets exceptional students with demonstrated research potential and a career goal of academic or industrial research at a top tier institution. This is not a ideal program for bolstering an already-existing career in software engineering.

How does the full-time Ph.D. differ from the part-time PMP program?

The full-time Ph.D. program benefits students who want to follow our faculty into academic or industrial research, while the PMP takes our faculty’s cutting-edge research into the classroom for students to apply to their products and projects in the workplace. Please note that the UW Computer Science and Engineering department does not offer a terminal full-time master’s degree program; the PMP is the only standalone MS in Computer Science program available at UW Seattle.

How can I contact you for more information about the Ph.D. program?

Email the Ph.D. advising team at grad-advising [at] cs [dot] washington [dot] edu. We welcome questions from prospective students who would like to further explore how their backgrounds might fit with the goals of the program. We are happy to meet individually with students for questions not covered by our admissions pages!

Eligibility and Application Questions

Is the GRE required?

GRE scores are no longer required or accepted for the Ph.D. program. GRE scores will not be reviewed or considered by the Allen School, even if they are submitted to the University of Washington. Other graduate programs at the University of Washington may still require the GRE.

What is the application deadline?

December 15, with students expected to enroll in the following autumn. The Allen School only holds one doctoral program admissions cycle each year.

How do I apply to the Ph.D. program?

The Ph.D. Program application process is fully-electronic and takes place in the UW Graduate School application. Our How to Apply page offers a step-by-step guide and additional information concerning each application component.

What are my chances of being admitted into the Ph.D. program?

Admission to the Ph.D. program is extremely competitive. In 2023, we saw over 3,000 applications and send offers to 150 students. The average GPA of admits is 3.8, though GPA is not a major factor in admissions.

Competitive students will be able to demonstrate their research potential through their application materials, supported by letters of recommendation that reinforce this information. We utilize holistic admissions processes and look to the whole history of the student, including access to research opportunities (or lack thereof).

Ph.D. Program Questions

Are students fully funded? How much will this cost?

The Allen School provides every student accepted to our Ph.D. program with 3 years of guaranteed financial support in the form of teaching and research assistantships or fellowships.

In exchange for 20 hours of work per week, research and teaching assistants receive:

  • Tuition waiver of all but approximately $250 per quarter in fees.
  • Monthly stipend to cover living expenses
  • Health insurance (100% of premium for student, 65% of premium for dependents)
There are two types of fellowships: those that students can apply for directly, and those that require a faculty nomination. At the application stage, students are more likely to be interested in the first category. Learn more at the Graduate School Fellowship page.

How long will it take me to complete the degree?

The average time to completion is about 6 years. Students will take longer or shorter depending on progress to milestones, research track record, and desired outcome post-Ph.D.

If I have taken graduate coursework in computer science elsewhere, can I transfer credit to the Ph.D. Program?

The Allen School doesn't formally transfer credits from prior degrees into the Ph.D. program. That said, we allow students to waive up to two of the seven required courses based on prior graduate level coursework taken. You can learn more on our course waivers page.

Do I need to secure a faculty advisor before applying?

Applicants are given the opportunity to indicate up to 3 interest areas from our research areas of expertise. If you are confident that you'd like to work with any particular faculty member(s), you may indicate their name(s) in the supplemental question. This question is optional but is strongly encouraged to make sure your application is reviewed by the appropriate reviewers during the admissions process. For a list of faculty and a description of their research, see our faculty directory. You do not need to contact faculty prior to applying, nor is it expected.

What benefits do I receive as an Academic Student Employee (ASE)?

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 take a leave of absence. 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.

Are fee waivers available?

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. Additionally, the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering offers to pre-pay the application fee of applicants who participate in approved programs which focus on outreach as it relates to preparing students for computer science research careers. The list below outlines some of these programs. Contact grad-admissions@cs for inquiries about any additional programs which 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

International Students

I am a non-native speaker of English. How can I meet the English language proficiency requirement? (TOEFL/IELTS/Duolingo)

Graduate Policy 3.2 covers the methods one can meet the English language proficiency for non-native speakers of English:

  • A bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree from a regionally accredited institution located in the United States and where English is the medium of instruction.
  • A bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree from an institution in Australia, the Bahamas, Canada, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, or the United Kingdom and where English is the medium of instruction. While enrolled at the degree-granting school, the student must be in residence on campus.
  • Official documentation from the applicant’s undergraduate degree-granting institution (if the institution is in a country other than those listed in #2 above) verifying that all instruction is in English. A minimum of three years of enrollment at the undergraduate institution is required. Documentation must be presented to the Graduate School; credential service reports are not acceptable. Acceptable documentation must be one of the following:
    • Official or attested letter from the undergraduate college, university Registrar, or Controller of Examinations office.
    • Official transcripts, attested mark sheets or degree statements, are also accepted if English is stated as the medium of instruction.
  • Official English Language Test Score (sent electronically to the University of Washington via testing center). Note: Graduate programs may require a higher minimum scores for admission than the scores listed below:
 TOEFL iBT TOEFL MyBestDuolingoAcademic IELTS
Minimum Score to Apply
(ELP Not Satisfied)
ELP Satisfied92 or higher92 or higher120 or higher7.0 or higher

Graduate students who work as TAs have additional requirements under Graduate Policy 5.2, 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 passing ENGL 105: English for International Teaching Assistants (ITAs).

What types of visa does the Allen School provide?

The Allen School is able to support students with F-1 or J-1 visas. You can read more about visa information at the International Student Services website explaining visas.

Does the UW accept 3 year Bachelor's degrees?

We are only able to accept a 3-year 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.