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PhD Application from a UW Epidemiology MS or MPH Program

Students currently completing a master's program in Epidemiology at the University of Washington who wish to continue on to the PhD program, must apply to the Epidemiology Admissions Committee. 

Although "internal applicants" are given special consideration for admission to the PhD, passing the Doctoral Preliminary Examination does not guarantee admission into the PhD program. 

Students who have received only a failing grade on the doctoral preliminary examination will not be considered for the PhD program.


December 1 of 2nd year of MS/MPH:. Receipt of all application materials.

Week after Autumn quarter ends: Unofficial UW transcript from MyUW.

August 1 after 2nd year of MS/MPH. If you pass the Preliminary Exam at the end of your second year, then all of the application materials listed below, including references, are due by August 1, if there is room in the PhD program.

The Admissions Committee prefers to receive applications in December of the student's second year, so that they can be considered along with applications from outside the Department, but may review applications received by August 1, if room.


Upload the following items to the ‘Epi Internal Applications’ Catalyst dropbox.

  • A new statement of purpose including a discussion of your current master’s thesis research in about a paragraph (including topic or title, aims, progress, and preliminary findings if any). You should have thought carefully about and done some background research into potential areas of research for the PhD. Discuss potential topics in your statement. Also describe how a PhD will contribute to your career goals. The application will be strengthened to the extent that you have identified a faculty member willing to chair your dissertation. The Statement is limited to 2 single spaced pages. Use a 12-point font.
  • New Curriculum Vitae
  • Master’s thesis abstract, if you’ve already written one
  • Two current letters of support from faculty and/or research supervisors who know your work well. At least one letter must be from a faculty member familiar with your master's thesis. A third letter from an epidemiology faculty member who has agreed to chair your dissertation committee will strengthen your application.  All letters should be uploaded directly by the recommender to the ‘Epi Internal Applications’ Catalyst dropbox.
  • Your Doctoral Preliminary Examination score will be considered if you have taken the exam. You are not required to take the Prelim, but it is strongly preferred. (See Below.)

Although the Preliminary Exam is not required for admission to the Ph.D. program, it is strongly recommended. Taking the Prelim at the end of the first year will give the Admissions Committee another piece of information, and will also help you complete the PhD in a timely manner, by allowing you to repeat the exam at the end of the second year if you do not pass the first time. However, if after preparing throughout your year and attending the review sessions, you do not feel ready to take the exam, consider waiting until your second year in conjunction with advice from appropriate faculty.  

  • GRE test scores are required from postdoctoral applicants if you have not previously submitted them, and you have not taken and passed the Preliminary Exam.
  • It is NOT necessary to apply online to the UW Graduate School, unless you have let your admission lapse through not being registered or officially on leave. If you are not sure, you should check your current status through MyUW.
  • If your admission to the Graduate School has lapsed, you must apply on-line following the directions for UW Direct application. However, you do not need to re-submit prior institution transcripts, prior test scores, or the Epidemiology Application form mentioned here. You should follow the directions above concerning the content of the statement of purpose and references. You will have to pay the application fee or obtain an approved fee waiver, which requires at least seven calendar days to review prior to application submission. The on-line application is at https://www.grad.washington.edu/applForAdmiss/, but it is important to read the directions above first.

IF ADMITTED, you must complete your MS or MPH degree unless you hold a US doctorate.  All requirements for the master's degree must be completed prior to undertaking the doctoral General Examination. You may form your doctoral committee prior to MS or MPH completion. If you hold a US doctorate and decide not to complete an Epidemiology MS/PhD, you must notify the Epidemiology Student Academic Services to petition the Graduate School to change your degree goal in advance of the desired quarter. Timely notification can reduce your tuition if you are an MPH student.

Epidemiology Application Form
Questions? Contact the Epidemiology Student Academic Services at epi@uw.edu.

This page was last updated on October 30, 2015