UW Bioengineering MS and PhD Admission FAQs

General Information

  1. What makes a strong candidate?
  2. How many classes would I take?
  3. Will I receive financial support as a graduate student?
  4. I want to work in a certain lab/with a specific professor. How do I get a position in a lab and do I contact the professor directly?
  5. Where can I learn more about job opportunities in the Department of Bioengineering or on the UW Campus?
  6. Can I apply for a Research Assistantship or Teaching Assistantship as a Master’s Applicant?

Applying

  1. What are the deadlines for your graduate programs?
  2. Are there prerequisite courses?
  3. Do I need to have a BS in bioengineering to apply to your program?
  4. I do not have an engineering, mathematics, or science background as you mentioned above. Can I still get into your program?
  5. Do I have to have a MS degree to apply to the PhD program?
  6. Is there a minimum GPA and GRE score?
  7. Do I have to take the GRE?
  8. Do I have to take the TOEFL?
  9. What are the required application materials?
  10. Do I need to send paper copies of my GRE and/or TOEFL?
  11. Whom do I ask for recommendations?
  12. I applied for the wrong quarter/year and already submitted my application – will my application be considered for the quarter/year for which I meant to apply?
  13. I applied as a Domestic applicant but I’m actually an International applicant OR I applied as an International Applicant but I’m actually an International applicant. Will my application be considered?
  14. My application to the PhD program has been denied. Can I apply and be reconsidered for the MS program?
  15. Has UW Bioengineering Received My Official GRE, English Language Proficiency Exam Score, and/or Letters of Recommendation?
  16. Does UW Bioengineering require the GRE subject test?
  17. What is an “unofficial transcript”?
  18. What is an “official transcript”?
  19. Does UW Bioengineering require official transcripts?
  20. Do letters of recommendation have to be submitted by the deadline?
  21. Do I have to include community college transcripts in my application if my courses transferred to my undergraduate or former graduate institution?
  22. What do I write in the Grants and Fellowship section of the application?
  23. (International Applicants) Do I have to complete the Financial Availability Form?
  24. Do you offer application fee waivers?

After Applying

  1. When and how will I be notified of the admission decision?
  2. What do I do if I haven’t heard yet from UW?
  3. When is UW Bioengineering’s Interview Weekend?
  4. I want to work in a certain lab/with a specific professor. How do I get a position in a lab and do I contact the professor directly?
  5. Can I work with affiliate faculty if I’m accepted into the Department of Bioengineering?
  6. Can Emeritus/Retired Faculty or Faculty Lecturers mentor graduate students?

General information

  1. What makes a strong candidate?
    Students who have evidence of strong research skills (at least one year, wet and dry lab experience preferred), excellent academic performance, and research interests aligned with our faculty are excellent candidates.
  2. How many classes would I take?
    Our classroom requirements are minimal to encourage swift transition into a research lab. Our MS program requires 26 quarter credits and our PhD requires 33 quarter credits that can generally be completed within the first year.
  3. Will I receive financial support as a graduate student?
    Funding is specified in the offer letter. With rare exception, international and domestic PhD students are funded for the first 2‐3 quarters by the department and thereafter by the student’s PI. PhD students are given a monthly stipend, tuition coverage, and insurance benefits (medical/dental/vision), assuming satisfactory progress toward the degree. MS students are not financially supported in this program. All students are responsible for minimal quarterly fees.
  4. I want to work in a certain lab/with a specific professor. How do I get a position in a lab and do I contact the professor directly?
    To get a position in a lab, you must first apply to the Department of Bioengineering through the online application (individual faculty do not decide the admission outcomes of Bioengineering MS or PhD candidates).
    Review this frequently asked questions page, and begin by filling out an UW Graduate School application. Although you are encouraged to learn more about faculty on our website or via individual e‐mails or phone call inquiries, please note that faculty will not make any lab space guarantees for individual applicants until the applicant has received formal offer from the Department’s Admissions Committee.
  5. Where can I learn more about job opportunities in the Department of Bioengineering or on the UW Campus?
    If you are an International student, please contact the International Student Services Office.
    Visit the UW Bioengineering jobs page to learn about other employment opportunities.
  6. Can I apply for a Research Assistantship or Teaching Assistantship as a Master’s Applicant?
    MS students are 100% responsible for paying for their tuition and benefits. MS students are welcome to apply for TA-ships and RA-ships in Bioengineering and other Departments; however, these appointments are extremely competitive and oftentimes PhD students have priority.For financial aid as a MS student, please visit the following:
    https://www.washington.edu/students/osfa/graduate/
    http://commons.lib.washington.edu/services/gfis
    https://uwhires.admin.washington.edu/eng/candidates/default.cfm?szLocationID=88  Category: Academic Student Employee
    For PhD’s, the Department pays tuition, benefits (medical, dental, and vision) and a monthly salary.  The Department provides two quarters of rotation funding. Once a student commits to a lab, the faculty mentor pays for the student through graduation, pending the student’s satisfactory progress toward his/her degree. The PhD student also must complete a 1-quarter TA-ship prior to graduation. The Department provides the student’s funding during the one-quarter TA-ship.

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Applying

International candidates, please visit the Graduate School’s Frequently Asked Questions page.

  1. What are the deadlines for your graduate programs?
    MS and PhD in Bioengineering: December 2, 11:59 pm (Pacific Time, USA)(NOTE: The deadline has been extended due to the Thanksgiving holiday) for domestic and international applicants. Late or incomplete applications will not be accepted.
  2. Are there prerequisite courses?
    No. However, exposure to most of the following content is recommended:
          Algebra, linear algebra, trigonometry

         Ordinary differential equations
         Signal analysis
         Probability theory and statistics
         Programming
         Electrical engineering and physics
         Chemistry (inorganic, organic, biochemistry)
         Material science
         Rate processes and mathematics
         Cellular biology
  3. Do I need to have a BS in bioengineering to apply to your program?
    No. If you have a broad education and a bachelor’s degree in engineering, mathematics, the physical or life sciences, you may find a home here. We actively seek individuals with degrees in bioengineering, chemical engineering, chemistry, physics, biology, computer science, electrical engineering and related disciplines. We pick the best applicants from a wide array of backgrounds.
  4. I do not have an engineering, mathematics, or science background as you mentioned above. Can I still get into your program?
    This will be determined on a case‐by‐case basis based on the following criteria: experience in science or engineering labs, exposure to math, science and engineering course content, and a strong personal statement and strong letters of recommendation.
  5. Do I have to have a MS degree to apply to the PhD program?
    No. The minimum degree requirement for our PhD program is a bachelor’s degree.
  6. Is there a minimum GPA and GRE score?
    The department does not have a minimum score requirement, but we can tell you our average GRE scores for the Bioengineering MS/PhD programs. This changes yearly, but for 2013 our PhD averages were: GPA: 3.74 (on a 4.0 scale); GRE Quantitative: 90%; Verbal: 84%; and Analytical: 66%. Our MS averages were: GPA: 3.51 (on a 4.0 scale); GRE Quantitative: 75%; Verbal: 90%; and Analytical: 62%.
  7. Do I have to take the GRE?
    The only way the GRE requirement can be waived is if you have previously earned a PhD.
  8. Do I have to take the TOEFL?
    Please refer to the UW Graduate School Memo 8.
  9. What are the required application materials?
    Please refer the instructions on how to submit an application on our Graduate Admissions page.
  10. Do I need to send paper copies of my GRE and/or TOEFL?
    No, GRE and TOEFL scores need to be sent electronically, directly from ETS to University code: 4854. A Department code should no longer be required, but if it is you can enter:
          TOEFLiBT: 99
          GRE (paper‐based centers): 19448  GRE electronic department code: 1603
    In addition to the 6‐week process to have your scores sent to the correct department at the University of Washington, it also takes at least 24 hours for your electronic GRE scores to be matched to your SUBMITTED Graduate School Application. To ensure that your official GRE scores are matched before the deadline, it is best to submit your application at least 48 hours before the deadline.
  11. Whom do I ask for recommendations?
    Typically, mentors who have seen you in a lab environment, as a researcher, and can speak to your research experience, content and progress will provide your strongest recommendations.
  12. I applied for the wrong quarter/year and already submitted my application – will my application be considered for the quarter/year for which I meant to apply?
    If you wish to be considered for the quarter/year you meant to apply for, you must resubmit a new application by the deadline, and then contact the department to have your other application withdrawn. The department cannot transfer materials from one application to the other on your behalf. If you select the wrong quarter/year but have not yet submitted your application, it is possible for you to change the quarter and year in your application, yourself, before submitting the application to the Graduate School.
  13. I applied as a Domestic applicant but I’m actually an International applicant OR I applied as an International Applicant but I’m actually an International applicant. Will my application be considered?
    If you wish to be considered by the deadline you must resubmit a new application and then contact the department to have your other application withdrawn. The department cannot transfer  materials from one application to the other on your behalf.
  14. My application to the PhD program has been denied. Can I apply and be reconsidered for the MS program?
    Applicants who apply to the PhD and MS program have the same deadline and are evaluated with the exact same application standards. Unless an applicant has filled out applications for both the PhD and the MS program (which is strongly discouraged) it is not possible to be reconsidered for a different program after the application has been denied. You are encouraged to contact Graduate Academic Counselor Dorian Varga, discuss what would make you a stronger candidate, and reapply.
  15. Has UW Bioengineering Received My Official GRE, English Language Proficiency Exam Score, and/or Letters of Recommendation?
    To check the status of these documents, please log back into your application prior to contacting the UW Department of Bioengineering. If your official GRE and English Language Proficiency Scores have been received you will see a “check mark” next to your “TESTS” category of your application. If your letter(s) of recommendation has/have been received, you will see “RECEIVED” next to the name of your recommender(s). Please note, it takes 48 hours for scores and letters of recommendation to match with an application after the application has been successfully submitted.
  16. Does UW Bioengineering require the GRE subject test?
    No the GRE subject test is not required
  17. What is an “unofficial transcript”?
    An unofficial transcript is any transcript that you have received or have uploaded from your former institution. The UW Bioengineering requires unofficial transcripts to be uploaded directly into a candidate’s application by the deadline.
  18.  What is an “official transcript”?
    The University of Washington defines an official transcript as a transcript that is sent directly to the Graduate School from your former institution. If you are an international student who is unable to access official transcript copies, but you do have an official transcript at home, the Graduate School will only accept this copy if it is hand delivered to the Graduate School at the time it is requested.
    Official transcripts are only required after a student has been made an offer to the Department of Bioengineering. The Department and the Graduate School will provide instructions regarding which transcript(s) to send directly to the Graduate School from the former institution. Candidates can access this information by logging back into their applications once an offer has been made.
  19. Does UW Bioengineering require official transcripts?
    For the initial review process, only unofficial transcripts are required.
  20. Do letters of recommendation have to be submitted by the deadline?
    All application materials, with the exception of the official GRE, must be uploaded directly into the application prior to the deadline in order for the application to be considered complete. Self-reported GRE scores are acceptable for the December 2 deadline (NOTE: The deadline has been extended due to the Thanksgiving holiday). Official GRE scores must be uploaded correctly into the application by January 1, 2014 (11:59 PM PST). Letters of recommendation are also required to be submitted by the deadline. No late or incomplete applications will be considered. Out of fairness to all of our applicants, and to our admissions committee who is working to a very tight review schedule, we cannot make any exceptions to this policy.
  21. Do I have to include community college transcripts in my application if my courses transferred to my undergraduate or former graduate institution?
    If your courses AND  their GPA’s and credit information are recorded on your undergraduate institution unofficial transcript, you do not need to provide unofficial transcripts from the other institutions you attended. However, if one or more of these criteria are missing from your undergrad transcript, then you will need to provide unofficial transcripts from the community college.
  22. What do I write in the Grants and Fellowship section of the application?
    If you did not apply for any grants or fellowships for your graduate studies, please respond: “N/A” or “not applicable”
    If you are in the process of applying for grants or fellowship, please respond: I am in the process of applying for X, Y, and Z
    If you have received a fellowship or grant for your graduate studies, please respond with the name and also attach any associated documentation with additional information about the award
  23. (International Applicants) Do I have to complete the Financial Availability Form?
    Please do not submit this request until you have received an offer and decided that you will be attending the University of Washington.
    The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) mandates that all schools verify that students requesting an I-20 or DS-2019 show proof of readily accessible and adequate financial resources for themselves and any dependents they declare without resorting to unauthorized employment.
    Please see this document for more information.
  24. Do you offer application fee waivers?
    Application fee waivers are available for McNair fellows and Posse scholars, in addition to students who indicate financial need and have filed a FAFSA. To apply for the application fee waiver, please submit your application no less than 1 week prior to the deadline, as it takes several days for your request to process. Fee waiver requests are reviewed by the Graduate School every day M-F, but not on the weekend.
    Toward the end of the application, there is a drop down option (or a box you can select) where you can select an “apply for application fee waiver” option.

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After applying

  1. When and how will I be notified of the admission decision?
    MS and PhD in Bioengineering: UW starts sending out notifications (via e‐mail and/or through the online application profile) to students as early as January and all the way through the middle of March.
  2. What do I do if I haven’t heard yet from UW?
    The review of completed MS and PhD in Bioengineering applications starts in December and continues through early March. Interviews for selected applicants will occur at the end of March; students who are selected will be notified well in advance.
    All communications will take place via e‐mail and also via the online application profile page. All admissions decisions will be made by April 15. If you are waiting to hear, keep checking the e‐mail account you submitted with your online application and also log back into your application profile.
    If you still have not heard from UW by April 15th, please call 206‐616‐2423 or contact the Graduate Academic Counselor.
  3. When is UW Bioengineering’s Interview Weekend?
    If the department asks you to attend Interview Weekend, you will be notified of the dates via e‐mail. Typically, Interview Weekend takes place in the later part of March.
  4. I want to work in a certain lab/with a specific professor. How do I get a position in a lab and do I contact the professor directly?
    To get a position in a lab, you must first apply to the Department through the online application and then you must be approved by the Admissions Committee. Individual Bioengineering faculty members do NOT decide the admission outcome of students. Review this frequently asked questions page, and begin by filling out an UW Graduate School application. Although you are encouraged to learn more about faculty on our website or via individual e‐mails or phone call inquiries, please note that faculty will not make any lab space guarantees for individual applicants until the applicant has received formal offer from the Department’s Admissions Committee.
  5. Can I work with affiliate faculty if I’m accepted into the Department of Bioengineering?
    With the exception of select affiliate faculty (please contact the Graduate Academic Counselor Dorian Varga for more information), students’ primary advisors must be core or adjunct faculty.
    In addition, if you have a core or adjunct primary advisor in place, if your primary advisor approves, then it is possible for you to be co‐advised by an affiliate faculty member.
  6. Can Emeritus/Retired Faculty or Faculty Lecturers mentor graduate students?
    For our most up‐to‐date list of faculty who are approved to mentor graduate students, please visit our research themes page. When you click on your research theme of interest, you will see a list of core, adjunct, and affiliate faculty (if applicable) who are approved to mentor graduate students.

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