Ph.D. Program Admission
Application deadline: January 6
Applications must be submitted through the UW Graduate School Online Application. The application process is summarized below.
Previous academic preparation
An undergraduate or master's degree in materials science and engineering, or in a relevant field of study such as another engineering major, physics or chemistry, is required.
Minimum GPA and exam scores
The University of Washington Graduate School requires an applicant to have a minimum 3.0 GPA to be considered eligible for admission. Beyond this, our department does not maintain a fixed minimum. However, admission to our department is competitive. Over the past five years, the average GPA for admitted students was 3.7.
Proficiency in English is required for graduate study at the University of Washington. Most international students are required to complete the TOEFL and earn a minimum overall score of 92 for admission consideration. Read further details regarding English proficiency requirements.
When to apply
Applications open in the fall. Deadline: January 6.
How to apply
You must submit the following materials in order for your application to be complete:
- UW Graduate School Electronic Application
We only require transcripts from institutions where you received (or will receive) a degree. Please do not mail official paper transcripts. These will only be requested if an offer of admission is made.
Transcripts should be attached to your electronic application. A scan of an official transcript is strongly preferred. However, an unofficial transcript or "academic history" generated by an online student portal is acceptable. Electronic transcripts must clearly show the institution's name, the student's name, a list of all courses taken and all grades received, and the title and date of any degrees conferred. Electronic transcripts must be in PDF format.
- Statement of purpose
A statement of purpose should convey information not available on your transcripts or resume. It should be approximately one page in length and offer a clear overview of your reasons for pursuing this graduate degree, your previous preparation, your research experience and interests, and your plans for seeing this degree through to completion. Other relevant information may also be included.
Optional: A document or additional page can be included that provides information about unique experiences or publications that will help prepare for graduate education.
- Three letters of recommendation
Letters from academic references are preferred, but relevant professional references are also acceptable. Strong letters will be substantive, specific, and will address (1) an applicant's technical experience and research ability, (2) the applicant's likelihood of success in graduate-level studies, and (3) the relevance/appropriateness of the MSE program for the applicant's future goals.
- Professors and research group interests
Submit a document listing one to three professors or research groups that would be of interest to you, if admitted to the Ph.D. program. Describe why you find these professors to be of interest (optional).
- English proficiency
English language exams may be required by the Graduate School for applicants who do not hold a degree from a U.S. institution. Read further details regarding English proficiency requirements.
Teaching Assistantships (TAs) will only be offered to international candidates who meet additional English language conditions outlined in UW Graduate School's Memo 15.
Optional: GRE scores
GRE scores may be submitted, but they are not required. Institution Code: 4854. The admissions committee will only review GRE scores if they cannot make a decision based on the required documents.
The department does not review any applications until after the deadline has passed. You can monitor the status of your application by logging in to the application system. If we have any questions or concerns regarding your application, we will contact you.
The department strives to provide decisions within 8-10 weeks of the application deadline. However, the actual date of notification will vary depending on factors such as the size of the applicant pool. You will be notified via email when a final decision has been made.
Optional concentration: Clean Energy Institute DIRECT Program
Through DIRECT, MSE graduate students can receive data science training, practice applying new tools and skills in a project-based learning environment, and gain experience working with industry and academic partners on a team-based capstone project. DIRECT trainees who complete the program will be credentialed and equipped for career options that require data science training. Learn more about the Clean Energy Institute DIRECT Program »
If you hold an appropriate undergraduate degree from an accredited university, you are eligible to apply to the Ph.D. program. If you are admitted as a full-time, on-campus student, you will be eligible for a visa, issued through the UW Graduate School, subject to certain restrictions and requirements.
When preparing your application, be certain to provide legible, fully translated copies of your undergraduate transcripts.
View the 2020 Info session
The graduate adviser, program directors, graduate faculty and students discuss the master's and Ph.D. programs. Learn about faculty research, the application process, the student experience, and more.