Future Students

PhD Admission FAQs

How competitive is PhD admission? 
Admission is highly competitive. The department accepts about 20% of our applicant pool each year.

When is the next admissions deadline?
There is only one application deadline annually. The next application deadline is December 15, 2017 to begin in Autumn 2018. 

Is the application deadline flexible?
The December 15 deadline is a hard deadline and is not flexible. Applications are due at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time (right before the date becomes December 16). All materials (including unofficial transcripts and recommendations) must be received by this deadline in order to be considered.

What is the recommended GRE score?
While a minimum GRE score is not required, successful applicants demonstrate highly competitive scores.

I applied to the PhD program last year and was not accepted. Could you use my application from last year?
No, we do not have access to materials submitted in other years and you are considered a new applicant. Please submit new application materials (including recent transcripts and new recommendations) in order to be considered.

I submitted my application but forgot to add something to my CV/Resume or Personal Statement. Could I request to make a change?
Unfortunately, after an application has been submitted, it is not possible to submit additional materials or request to have documents updated or replaced. Please double-check all documents and only upload final versions into the online application.

When may I expect to hear an admissions decision?
All applicants who applied in the current admissions cycle will receive an email outlining being accepted, declined, or waitlisted by mid-february.

Does the department offer funding/tuition support?

  • The department makes every effort possible to match your financial need with support from the department. However, an offer of admission is independent of a funding offer.
  • In general, first year students may be offered a teaching assistantship or research assistantship.
    See more about Financial Support »

I am an international student. Is a TOEFL score required?
Yes, a TOEFL score is required for all international students. This requirement is only waived if the applicant holds a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree from a regionally accredited institution in the United States or from an institution in Australia, the Bahamas, Canada, Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand, Singapore, Trinidad and Tobago, or the United Kingdom. Scores must be no more than two years old.
See more about TOEFL requirements »

I am an international student. Could you tell me whether my test scores have arrived?
It may take several weeks for TOEFL scores to show as being "received" by the University of Washington. After applying, please be patient and periodically log-in to your application profile to check the status of the scores. For specific questions about test scores, please email uwgrad@uw.edu.

Where can I find additional information for international applicants, including visa requirements?
Please read the information located on the Graduate School website for answers to your questions. The department of Human Centered Design & Engineering is not able to answer questions about visas.

How will I know whether my transcripts have been received?

  • You are responsible for ensuring that the University of Washington has received your transcripts by the December 15 application deadline.
  • To check the status of transcripts, please log-in to your application status page.
  • Remember, only unofficial transcripts are needed for application review. If you receive an offer of admission, you must then submit official transcripts for review.
    For specific questions about transcripts, please email uwgrad@uw.edu.

I understand three recommendations are required. Is it possible to submit a fourth recommendation?
In fairness to all applicants, only three recommendations may be submitted. Any additional recommendations will not be reviewed.

I am writing a student recommendation and get an error message while uploading my letter. Do you have any suggestions?
Yes, sometimes the online system has bugs with Firefox or Chrome browsers. If this occurs, please try again using Internet Explorer.

How will I know if my recommenders have submitted their letters of recommendation?
Once you have submitted your application, you can check the status of your recommendation letters by logging into your application status page. It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure recommendations are received by the December 15 deadline. Late recommendations cannot be accepted.

How can I learn more about faculty research?
Take a look at issues of Explorations: HCDE Faculty Research Review or the HCDE Seminar Series to become familiar with the work of individual faculty members. For questions about specific research projects, please contact faculty members directly.

I'm interested in both the PhD in Human Centered Design & Engineering and another program at the University of Washington. Is it possible to apply to both programs and then make a decision?
Yes, the University of Washington allows you to apply to more than one program simultaneously. There is no penalty for doing this since every department evaluates applications independently.

Do you allow deferrals of admission?
We do not permit deferrals of admission into the PhD program. Individuals who are admitted but cannot attend starting the following fall are permitted to apply for a subsequent academic cycle.  

How can I learn more about applying to the University of Washington Graduate School?
Please see the Graduate School's Frequently Asked Questions page.