PhD

Frequently Asked Questions: Admissions

Q: Approximately how long will the Ph.D. program take to complete?

A: The program is designed to be completed full-time in approximately 5 years. The coursework component takes approximately 2 years (full-time), and the time to complete the dissertation, while it varies with individuals, might typically take 2-3 additional years.

Q: Is a master's degree required?

A: Having a master's degree is not required to be eligible to apply to the Ph.D. program.

Q: What kind of financial assistance is available?

A: All Ph.D. applicants admitted to the iSchool are considered for funding, regardless of citizenship. The majority of this funding comes in the form of Graduate Student Appointments. Graduate Appointees receive a monthly stipend, tuition waiver, and health care insurance in return for approximately 20 hours of work per week. Some doctoral students receive Research Assistantships with individual faculty members, while others receive fellowships available to specific populations.

U.S. citizens and eligible permanent residents who require financial assistance are also encouraged to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). International applicants are not eligible to submit the FAFSA.

Q: Is it possible to start the Ph.D. program in a different quarter?

A: No. The Ph.D. program admits students once a year for autumn quarter only.

Q: Is the GRE required?

A: Yes. When taking the GRE, use the Education Testing Service (ETS) institution code 4854 (University of Washington). Applicants with an earned doctorate (Ph.D., MD, JD, etc.) are not required to submit GRE scores.

Q: May I use the GMAT instead of the GRE?

A: No. We do not accept the Graduate Management Aptitude Test (GMAT) scores for our Ph.D. program.

Q: I am an international applicant. Do I have to submit TOEFL scores?

A: Proficiency in English is required for graduate study at the University of Washington. Therefore, every applicant whose native language is not English (regardless of citizenship) must demonstrate proficiency with the English language. The most common way to fulfill this requirement is to submit official TOEFL scores. The ETS report code is 4854.

Additional ways to fulfill the English language proficiency requirement are outlined in UW Graduate School Memo 8. The Ph.D. admissions committee will accept any form of documentation listed, except the IELTS. The Ph.D. admissions committee will not accept the IELTS to fulfill the UW English language proficiency requirement.

Q: When can I expect to hear about my admission status?

A: The Ph.D. admission committee will begin to review applications soon after the deadline. We generally notify applicants of their admission decision by mid-February.

Q: What are the factors considered by the admissions committee when making decisions? 

A: Being admitted to the Ph.D. program is a highly individual process. The main consideration is making sure that we have a faculty member who can serve as your mentor and help you through your research and dissertation. iSchool faculty work in a wide variety of disciplines and have varying expectations for work experience, academic history and standardized test scores.

The best thing that you can do is to contact members of our faculty directly to determine if they are doing similar research to yours and are taking on students. We encourage prospective students to review our faculty guide and experts list. When contacting faculty members, you may want to provide information about your research interests and educational goals.

The admissions committee will consider your GRE score and GPA as part of your entire application. There are no minimum test score or GPA requirements.

Q: What are the minimum GPA and/or GRE requirements for admission?

A: There are no minimum GPA or score requirements. However, depending on your area of research, some faculty may rely more heavily on this data in their selection process.

Q: Is preference given to applicants who have an academic background in information science or related fields (library science, information management or computer science)?

A: We routinely admit students from a wide variety of academic backgrounds whose research interests lead them seek a degree in information science.

Q: Can you share data about the current Ph.D. students?

A: See Ph.D. class profile information.