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The Graduate School

G-1 Communications Building
Box 353770
Seattle, Washington 98195-3770

Phone: 206.543.5900
Fax: 206.685.3234

Frequently Asked Questions

International Students

Q: Am I an international applicant?
Q. Does my foreign degree qualify me to apply to your Graduate School?
Q. How long will Graduate Enrollment Management Services (GEMS) keep my admission file?
Q. What should I do if I need to defer my application for one year?
Q. What is required when sending my international transcripts?
Q. Do you require TOEFL, IELTS or any other English examination?
Q. Do you require the GRE test?
Q. Where can I get information about tuition and living costs to come to your school?

Q: Am I an international applicant?

You are an international applicant if you are NOT U.S. citizen, immigrant or green card holder. International students must have a visa status that allows academic study at the University of Washington. International applicants include students who hold U.S. visas, such as F-1, J-1 Exchange Visitors, H-1, dependent visas or any other non-immigrant classifications.

Q: Does my foreign degree qualify me to apply to your Graduate School?

The official assessment and academic preparation of international students must be done by the Graduate School. The evaluation of an overseas degree is based on the following:

  • The characteristics of a national system of education in the home country
  • The type of institution attended
  • The field of study and level of studies completed
  • Official accreditation/recognition status of school

Since there are no U.S. federal guidelines on admission, each institution determines its own policy on prior degrees.

At the University of Washington, you must have at least a baccalaureate degree equivalent to a regionally accredited U.S. institution to apply for admission to this Graduate School.

Q. How long will Graduate Enrollment Management Services (GEMS) keep my admission file?

GEMS will keep your file for one academic year only. If you would like your admission file retained for another year, please email uwgrad@u.washington.edu.

Q. What should I do if I need to defer my application for one year?

If you have been recommended for admission by your graduate program, you are allowed to defer your application once during the academic year. Contact your graduate program directly and have them send a petition via our admissions system to the Graduate School requesting the deferral.

Q: What is required when sending my international transcripts?

You are required to send official international transcripts to the Graduate School after you have accepted an offer of admission. Mailing addresses and instructions will be provided on your Graduate Application Status page.

Send international transcripts with degree statement, including date of graduation and title of academic degree awarded. All coursework with grades issued for each year completed must be submitted for proper evaluation. All international records are considered official if they have been certified or attested and must be submitted in the original language accompanied by an official English translation. Translations must be literal, complete versions of original records, and the documents must be translated by a university, a government official, or an official translation service. You cannot do your own translation. 

The Graduate School accepts the following documentation of international credentials and degree certificates:

  • Original academic credentials issued by the registrar of the institution attended, bearing the original raised or colored seal of the institution and the signature of your institution's registrar or academic official.
  • Photocopies of international academic credentials that have been attested or verified as true copies of the original by a responsible official of the institution attended or by an educational representative of the country's government or embassy. Academic credentials must bear the verifying official's signature and stamp.
  • Photocopies of academic credentials that have been certified by a recognized international education organization—such as the U.S. Educational Foundation, AMIDEAST, LASPAU, the Institute for International Education-(IIE), Education USA, U.S. Educational Foundation in India (USEFI), Fulbright agency or American Translators Association located in the U.S. (Note: Faxed or photocopies certified by a U.S. notary public are not official.)

In some circumstances, we will accept exact copies duly certified as such by the Registrar of a regionally accredited institution in the United States previously attended by the applicant. Such copies must be sent directly from the U.S. institution in a sealed envelope.

Q. Do you require TOEFL, IELTS or any other English examination?

Proficiency in English is required for graduate study at the University of Washington. Therefore, every applicant whose native language is not English must demonstrate English proficiency.  No waivers of this English proficiency requirement may be given. See Graduate School Memo #8  and English proficiency tests comparison tables for the University's policy.

TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)
When requesting official TOEFL scores from ETS, use institution code 4854 for the University of Washington. TOEFL scores are valid for two years from the test date.

IELTS (International English Language Testing System)
The University of Washington only accepts scores submitted electronically by the IELTS test center. No paper Test Report Forms will be accepted. All IELTS test centers can report scores electronically. You must request from the center where you took the test that your scores be sent electronically using the IELTS system (E-TRF) to the following address: University of Washington - Data Management Services, United States of America, Box 355850, Seattle, WA 98105. If you have already taken the IELTS, you can go to http://www.ielts.org/test_centre_search/search_results.aspx for the email address of the IELTS Administrator to make your request. No institution code is required. Allow a minimum of 13 working days for reporting test results. IELTS scores are valid for two years from the test date.

Conditions of appointment for TA's who are not U.S. citizens

Applicants who intend to apply for a teaching assistantship or an appointment that does not specify whether duties are for teaching or research is required to meet three conditions of the TA appointment who are not native speakers of English.

  1. Meet English language proficiency requirements or complete English language courses
  2. Meet spoken English proficiency requirements
  3. Participate in the Teaching Assistant Program at the Center for Instructional Development and Research (CIDR)

See Graduate School Memo #15 for the University's policy.

Q: Do you require the GRE test?

Most but not all graduate programs require a submission of the general GRE scores.  Please check departmental requirements carefully to determine what, if any, test scores are required. When requesting official GRE scores from ETS, use institution code 4854 for the University of Washington. GRE scores are valid for five years from the test date.