Apply online

All PhD application materials are submitted electronically through the online application portal and must be received by December 15th at 11:59pm, Pacific Time. We recommend leaving yourself enough time to completely navigate the submission process (e.g., 1 hour). There is only one admission cycle each year. Decisions come out in late February with students expected to enroll in the following autumn quarter.

Application Materials

The information below describes the materials required for your application to the Ph.D. Program in Computer Science. All materials are submitted electronically and prospective students are encouraged to review the program’s eligibility requirements for computing background carefully before applying.

The GRE is not required and any scores received will not be used for evaluation. There is no benefit to providing GRE scores during the application process as any scores that are received will not be referenced during application reviews.

Application checklist

In order for your application to the PhD program to be considered complete, the following materials must be provided. Please upload documents in PDF format:

  • Profile Information
  • Academic history
  • Research Interests and Faculty
  • Recommendation letters
  • Resume or CV
  • Personal statement
  • Proof of English proficiency
  • Application fee
  • Submit application

Create your applicant profile and start your application

The application for graduate study at UW is hosted by the UW Graduate School. Create an application account and fill out your applicant profile. Complete the "Profile Information," "Contact Information," and "Ethnicity Information."

Under "Program Selection," select ‘Graduate’ for your application type and select Computer Science & Engineering - PhD as your program. Then, under "Program Requirements," select your desired entry quarter and year. The rest of the application will not appear until you have completed this section as well as the "Academic History" section.

Academic history

Applicants should carefully review the UW Graduate School's minimum admission requirements for baccalaureate degrees. In general, applicants must hold a 4-year degree or its foreign equivalent.

Report each higher education institution you have attended and your dates of attendance. For each school, upload unofficial copies of your transcript and report your cumulative and major GPA. For support converting international GPAs to the 4-point scale, you may use Scholaro's free calculator.

Official transcripts are not required during the application process; you will only have to submit official documents to the UW Graduate School if you accept an admission offer. At that time, you should provide your documents according to the Graduate School's official transcript requirements.

Research Interests & Faculty Advising

Applicants are given the opportunity to indicate up to 3 interest areas 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.

Recommendation letters

Three letters are required from all applicants.

The best folks to write letters of recommendation are those people who can speak to your demonstrated research potential with specific details about the work you've done. They are usually academic supervisors, but can come from any source. It is not recommended to use personal references that can't speak to your demonstrated research potential.

When you designate someone as a recommender, the application system will automatically send them an email with a link to follow to upload their letter. The email will indicate the application deadline of your desired entry quarter and specify that letters need to be received by that date.

Resume or CV

Upload a current copy of your CV that provides detailed descriptions of your research accomplishments and other technical skills. There are no requirements for length or formatting; you may be as descriptive as you would like and may utilize more than one page.

Personal statement

The purpose of the personal statement (sometimes referred to as a statement of purpose, or "the essay") is to provide a narrative of your approach to the PhD program. This is also where applicants can share particular strengths that might not appear in their other application materials, or where they can provide context for any aspects of their academic or professional backgrounds that they feel might be of concern.

Please craft your statement around the following prompt:

Submit a personal statement of that includes: a) how you became interested in doing research, b) a relevant project or research experience that shows your technical knowledge and skill, and c) your plans for the future in computer science. You may wish to include information about what you feel are the strengths of your application, such as special interests and abilities, or give explanations for what you feel are any weaknesses in your academic record. If you have background that might particularly contribute to the intellectual and social enrichment of the program, please describe it. Examples include unique educational or cultural opportunities (or lack of them), social and economic disadvantages that you may have had to overcome, and interesting or unusual influences on your intellectual development.

Proof of English proficiency

All applicants who are non-native speakers of English must enclose proof of their English proficiency in their applications. For official policy information, please review Graduate Policy 3.2: English Language Proficiency Requirements. Admission offers cannot be sent without proof of English proficiency being enclosed in the application.

The Graduate School accepts the methods below by which an applicant may demonstrate their proficiency:

  1. Having earned a degree in the United States in which English was the language of instruction; or, having earned a degree in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, or certain other countries specified in Policy 3.2 and where English was the language of instruction.
  2. Documentation from your undergraduate degree-granting institution, if outside the US or one of the countries specified in Policy 3.2, verifying that all instruction is in English (for example, transcript notation or attested document issued by the institution).
  3. Official, valid English language proficiency test scores sent electronically to UW through your testing center showing that a minimum score was earned. Scores are valid for two years from test date. The PhD Program accepts the following:
    • TOEFL scores showing a minimum total score or MyBest score of 92 or higher. UW's ETS institution code is 4854.
    • Academic IELTS scores showing a total score of 7.0 or higher. Applicants using IELTS test scores must submit official scores electronically via the IELTS system (E-TRF), using the University of Washington’s organization ID 365.
    • Duolingo English Test scores showing a minimum total score of 120 or higher. Duolingo scores must be sent to "University of Washington Graduate Admissions (Bothell, Seattle, Tacoma)" through the applicant's Duolingo English Test account. See: How do I send my Duolingo English Test results to institutions?

Application fee

The UW Graduate School administers the online application portal and collects an $85, non-refundable application fee for all graduate program applications to UW. The last page of the PhD program application directs you to the TouchNet payment portal; after paying you will be directed back to the Graduate School application system to submit your application to the PhD Program.

Both steps - making payment and then submitting the application - must be completed in order for your application to be finalized and viewable to application reviewers.

Application fee waivers are available from the UW Graduate School to some domestic students who demonstrate financial need. The PhD does not offer fee waivers at the program/department level.

The Allen School also offers to pay your fees if you are a member of one of several different professional groups. You can find out more information here.

Submit your application

After paying your application fee in the TouchNet payment portal, return to the application system to finalize and submit your application to the PhD program.

Both steps - making payment and then submitting the application - must be completed in order for your application to be finalized and viewable to application reviewers.

After You Apply

Applicants will be notified of the outcome of their applications in mid-February via an email to the address associated with their application account.

Admitted Students

Students who accept their admission offer will receive further instructions regarding their matriculation process, course registration, and orientation to the PhD program. Some required steps for matriculating students include:

  • Providing of vaccination against various infectious diseases, according to UW's tri-campus immunization requirement
  • Sending official transcripts to the UW Graduate School
  • Completing an online Title IX student course titled Husky Prevention & Response


At any time, feel free to contact us at grad-advising [at] cs [dot] washington [dot] edu with questions.