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Graduate students in our program have made a series of videos on this YouTube channel to help prospective students navigate the admissions process (please see the bottom of this page for specific video links).

The deadline for applying is December 1st for the following September.  We begin a new cohort once per year each autumn.

All materials are submitted online through the University of Washington Graduate School application: No paper materials will be accepted.  Materials needed for the application include:

  1. Unofficial transcripts (if you are admitted, you will need to provide official transcripts).
  2. Curriculum Vitae or Resume (limit 2 pages) including: (i) current position or activities; (ii) professional experience, with positions, approximate dates, duties and names of supervisors; (iii) honors awarded or scholarships; (iv) special skills; (v) publications and research presentations.
  3. A Research Statement that in a combined total of 300 words addresses the following questions.  Please enumerate your answers:
    1. Describe your research interests.
    2. How is the UW a good fit for your research interests?
    3. Describe how the interdisciplinary and diverse environment at the UW would support your success.
  4. A Personal Statement of one (1) single-spaced page that describes the trajectory that led you to apply to a PhD program in Biology.  This may include your personal history and experiences (e.g., non-research related professional activities, cultural or socioeconomic background, or other factors).  Please be sure to address your previous research experience as well as future goals. In addition, in the Department of Biology, we continue to strive for an inclusive and welcoming departmental culture that recognizes and encourages individual differences, that fosters the constructive expression of ideas, and that promotes shared values such as intellectual curiosity, creativity, collegiality, and sense of mission. Please describe how you would contribute to the departmental efforts in diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  5. List of three (3) Biology faculty of interest to you.  A list of Biology faculty can be found on our website.  It is strongly recommended that you contact faculty of interest prior to applying.
  6. Names and contact information for three (3) references who can speak to your experience and interest in biological research and work ethic. Your references will be contacted directly via e-mail by the UW Graduate School to request a letter of recommendation. Letters of recommendation are due by the application deadline, December 1st.
  7. TOEFL scores (if applicable).  **As of 6/2/2020 the Graduate School is temporarily accepting official test scores for both the Duolingo English Test and the TOEFL ITP Plus For China to assist international students with remote testing options. Visit the Graduate School's website at for more information on English language requirements.  Official scores must be received by the December 1 deadline. 

*GRE scores are not required for the Biology PhD application.


For International Applicants


Should you apply?

Typically, entering students have completed an undergraduate biology or related program that includes college level courses in chemistry, physics, and mathematics. The Department also welcomes applications from promising students with less traditional backgrounds. Most entering students have substantial prior research experience and a record of high academic achievement.

While it is not required, we strongly recommend that you contact several faculty in your areas of interest to inquire further about their research and your potential fit within their lab. This process demonstrates your interest in the program, in addition to helping you assess whether UW Biology is a good choice for you before applying. Even if you are not focused on a specific lab, we advise that you reach out to several faculty of potential interest beforehand. Browse our faculty by research interest here. Learn more about contacting faculty regarding your potential interest in their lab by watching a video by our current Biology PhD students: How do I contact a potential Ph.D. advisor?

Minimum Requirements for Admission

  • Baccalaureate (BA or BS) degree from a college or university in the United States or equivalent (may be pending at time of application)
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0
  • Submission of TOEFL scores (if required) that meet the Graduate School's minimum requirements

For additional questions, please contact the Graduate Program Manager at

Non-Discrimation Policy

All qualified applicants to the Biology graduate program, for the Biology undergraduate major, or for employment as a UW employee in Biology (faculty, staff, postdoc, ASE, or hourly/student hourly position) will receive consideration without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, age, protected veteran or disabled status, or genetic information.

The Graduate and Postdoc Program Committee, the Undergraduate Admissions Committee, and all search committees will review this policy before beginning deliberations and reviewing applications for admissions or employment.

Video Links

Here are some videos made by UW Biology graduate students that might be helpful to you in navigating both the decision about whether/where to apply and how to apply:

Date last changed Jan 5th, 2021 @ 13:49:13 PST