Ph.D. Admissions FAQ
Q: How do I connect with potential faculty advisors?
A: Many of our successful applicants are admitted after having conversations directly with our faculty. Applicants are strongly encouraged to review faculty profiles and reach out to those who have interests similar to yours. Your cold emails will be warmly and enthusiastically received, so don't be shy!
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 type of academic backgrounds do your students come from?
A: As our faculty engage in research from a variety of different disciplines, we admit Ph.D. students with a wide range of undergraduate degrees. Check out the class profile for more information.
Q: What kind of financial assistance is available?
A: All Ph.D. students admitted to the iSchool receive guaranteed funding for at least 4 years (12 quarters). 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 Ph.D. in Information Science offered online?
A: The Ph.D. in Information Science is only offered as a residential program. Many of the research and funding opportunities associated with the program rely heavily on engaging with students and iSchool research centers.
Q: Can I pursue a Ph.D. in Information Science part-time?
A: The first two years of the program are intended to be completed full-time. After students complete their general exam in their third year and turn their attention to the dissertation proposal, it is possible for a student’s course schedule to become more flexible.
Q: Is the GRE required?
A: GRE scores are optional. However, applicants with a lower GPA are encouraged to submit official GRE scores if it is necessary to enter a low GPA petition with the Graduate School. Having submitted official GRE scores may be beneficial and support the petition.
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, use department code 99.
Additional ways to fulfill the English language proficiency requirement are outlined in UW Graduate School Memo 8.
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 early 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 list of faculty advisors and the Research Areas part of our website. When contacting faculty members, you may want to provide information about your research interests and educational goals.
The admissions committee will consider your GPA as part of your entire application. There are no minimum GPA requirements established by the Information School.
Q: What are the minimum GPA and/or GRE requirements for admission?
A: The GRE is optional, and there are no minimum score requirements.
Note: The UW Graduate School has a minimum GPA requirement. As detailed on their website, individual programs may consider qualified applicants with a GPA below a 3.0. Applicants with a lower GPA may want to provide additional information in the Extenuating Circumstances part of the application and are encouraged to submit official GRE scores. If it is necessary to enter a low GPA petition with the Graduate School, having submitted official GRE scores may be beneficial and support the petition. When reporting scores, please use ETS report code 4854.
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.