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.

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, graduate programs are managed at the program level, including admission decisions and degree requirements.

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.

University of Washington graduate programs are among the best in the nation – and the world – and our graduate students are our most valuable assets. The Graduate School is here to ensure that our students experience a supportive, collaborative environment and earn more than a degree.

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









The Basics

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.

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.

All accepted students are guaranteed full support for a minimum of 3 years through research assistantships, teaching assistantships, and departmental/external fellowships. Funding after the initial 3 years is usually available and is contingent on satisfactory academic progress and availability of funds. No student in good standing is unsupported in our program and all who graduate are funded until the completion of the Ph.D.

Please refer to our Ph.D. student handbook for details on funding.

Prospective students are welcome to review our Research & Innovation page. There you will find information on the may Areas of Expertise at the UW-Seattle Campus. Each area has its own information page which is updated with the faculty, postdocs, graduate students, and staff involved in research. Graduate students and Postdocs are more likely to respond to a prospective student's inquiries, while faculty often are not. It is, in part, this reason that the Paul G. Allen School takes a different approach to the advisor/student relationship. We do 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 grads are assigned a temporary faculty advisor based on availability, potential, funding, and several other factors. The student and advisor do not have to become "permanent" fixtures in each other's career until after the student's Qualifying examination.

If you are interested in finding out how to improve your application for a certain field or advisor, you are better-off contacting graduate students as they can be more frank with their recent experience of the process, and give more relevant advice than faculty and staff.

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.

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 offers to pre-pay the application fee for applicants who participate in the GEM Fellowship Program. In order to request pre-payment of the fee, the applicant must first complete all required components of the application. Prior to submitting, email grad-admissions@cs.washington.edu with the following information at least seven (7) calendar days ahead of the application deadline:

  • Full Name
  • UW Graduate School Application ID Number
  • Proof of Program Participation

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.

There are a few situations that allow for you to do so. If you are:

then it is possible to take graduate courses in our program. The Paul G. Allen School does not accept Graduate Non-matriculated students.

In order to request enrollment into one of our courses, should you be in the above classifications, you will need to fill out an enrollment petition. The petition is updated every quarter, so be sure you are submitting your petition when the title reflects the correct term. This petition is only for 500-level classes, and you are not guaranteed a space because you petitioned. Your request will be forwarded to the course instructors, who will then determine who is issued an add code. You may not receive an add code for several reasons, including but not limited to, lack of seating in the class, instructor preference to keep their course to UW Ph.D. student, or not having background skill suitable for the course. We try to send out add codes the first week of the term, so please be patient. Current CSE Ph.D. students are given priority in our course offerings.

Advance Data Science Option

The Allen School offers an Advanced Data Science option that provides students an opportunity to build and use advanced data science tools. The goal of this program, which leads to an official university degree option listed on your transcript, is to move beyond the foundations of the field to provide an advanced education to students who are interested in pushing the state-of-the-art in data science method. Students will have the opportunity to interact with students enrolled in a similar option in a range of fields, including Genome Sciences, Statistics, Oceanography, Astronomy, and more. Visit our Advanced Data Science Option page for more details.

Computational Molecular Biology Certificate

The Allen School participates in a partnership between the University of Washington and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center to offer this program, which provides an opportunity for students to engage in interdisciplinary research at the intersection of biology and computer science. The certificate program includes core coursework in genomics coupled with a variety of elective offerings, a 10-week lab rotation, a weekly seminar series, and a capstone project. Visit the CMB website for a complete list of program requirements, prerequisites, and application instructions.

Pre-application

In response to current restrictions created by the COVID-19 health crisis, the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering will temporarily waive the Graduate Records Examination (GRE) requirement for Ph.D. admissions during the 2020-21 academic year. For the Ph.D. program this means that reporting GRE scores will be optional for those applying to start in Autumn 2021.

Yes, you can apply, although you must have at least a four-year bachelor’s degree to be eligible. In addition, you must satisfy all admission requirements outlined by the UW Graduate School. Furthermore, we expect most entering graduate students to have a solid academic background in computer science.

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 insitution 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 admited students.

We expect most entering graduate students to have a solid academic background in computer science, though we do not require applicants to have a degree in computing. Annually, the Allen School receives over 2,000 applications from around the world, with a goal of an entering cohort of 40-50 students. The average GPA of admitted students has historically been 3.8 with GRE scores in the top 85% in each section. Quantitatively our applicants are very similar; What is going to help someone stand out is their engagement with independent research and their greater community. Applicants need to write a strong Statement of Purpose and be sure to have recommendation letters that can describe their potential to do independent research. Critical thinking and an ability to collaborate are equally as important as academic excellence.

The UW Graduate School requires a minimum 3.0 GPA in the last two years at the time of application, while the Allen School does not have a GPA cutoff. We also do not have a minimum GRE requirement.

The Allen School admits once a year for the Ph.D. program. The application due date is December 15th, or the following Monday if the 15th falls on a weekend. The application fee should be paid, your statement of purpose and resume/CV should be submitted, and you should have submitted your letter writer's contact information.

For the admission review process, we use self-reported test scores to determine your eligibility. That means official test scores from ETS do not need to arrive before the application deadline. We also accept self-reported GPAs and will use unofficial transcripts for the purposes of the application evaluation. You may return to your application profile at any time to update your transcripts or self-reported grades. We will accept letters of recommendation until our decisions go out, but any letters submitted after January 1st become less likely to be reviewed.

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.

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.

International Applicants

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

COVID-19 English Proficiency policies now include:
  • Applicants must have a minimum Duolingo English Test score of 105 for admission. Graduate programs may require a higher score, but may not petition a score below 105.
  • The Duolingo English Test cannot be used for Academic English Language Program (AEP) course placement. Students admitted with the Duolingo English Test will be required to take all sections of the UW AEP Placement Exam. Students who will receive a Teaching Assistantship will also be required to take the Versant in accordance with Memo 15.
  • Applicants can immediately request their official test scores be sent to University of Washington Graduate Admissions (Bothell, Seattle, Tacoma). We have updated the COVID-19 Graduate Admissions FAQs and posted a notice on Memo 8: Graduate School English Language Proficiency Requirements.
  • The Graduate School has also been accepting the TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition, available everywhere that TOEFL ibT is normally available with the exception of Mainland China and Iran.

You are considered to be an international student if you are not a citizen or a permanent resident of the U.S. If you are in the process of becoming a permanent U.S. resident, you MUST follow the guidelines for international students until you have received your Green Card.

Yes, all international applicants are required to take the TOEFL. There is a minimum score in order to be qualified to apply, and a minimum score in speaking to meet our TA requirements. On our Required Materials page we attempt to covers the English Language Proficiency required at the University of Washington. When you are applying, you only need to submit self-reported scores. Official scores are not required until you are offered a spot at the Allen School. Your application will be reviewed as long as there are self-reported scores.

The Allen School Graduate team will be unable to determine if you meet the English Language Proficiency before you have submitted your application. Therefore, please contact The Graduate School with any questions about exemptions.

The IELTS is not accepted by The Graduate School. In 2020 applications now display the TOEFL MyBest scores.

Applicants requesting a student visa must meet the University of Washington's financial ability requirement. The financial ability requirement is met by showing proof of readily accessible and adequate funding to cover living expenses, tuition and other campus fees for the first year of study. Stocks, bonds or proof of property ownership are not acceptable financial resources.

You do not need to submit any financial information (such as bank statements). 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.

OK, I applied; Now what?

The Graduate School has some impressive work over 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.

Re-enter your application and check the 'status of materials' section as well as the 'status of letters'. You will not find the status of admission information in your online application until after we have completed our review process and notified all applicants of the decisions. Look for an email from the Allen School around early to mid-February.