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Ph.D. in Chemistry Application Instructions

Autumn 2021 Application Information for 2022-2023

Thank you for your interest in pursuing doctoral studies in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Washington. Below you will find information regarding application deadlines and requirements. Please explore our website to learn more about our graduate program and areas of faculty research. We look forward to receiving your application!

1. Application Requirements

  • Online Application Deadline: December 1, 2021.
  • Applications must include all required documentation. As the Chemistry Graduate Admissions Committee will begin reviewing applications and making offers of admission as early as December 2, 2021, you are strongly encouraged to submit all required documentation by the application deadline.
  • Applicants must complete the UW Graduate School online application form.

2. Educational Background Requirements

Educational background should be equivalent to that of an undergraduate major in one of the natural sciences or engineering.

Applicants will automatically be considered for Teaching or Research Assistantships in the Department of Chemistry, and there is no separate application for these positions.

English language proficiency is required for graduate study at the University of Washington. Every applicant whose native language is not English must demonstrate sufficient English language proficiency through one of the accepted methods outlined in Memo 8: Graduate School English Language Proficiency Requirements.

Memo 8 also includes the minimum accepted test scores for admission to the UW Chemistry Graduate Program:

  • TOEFL iBT: 92*
  • (A score of ≥26 on the speaking section is required in order to be exempt from further English testing. Applicants with a TOEFL iBT speak score in the range of 22–25 are also encouraged to apply if they have an exceptionally strong academic record).
  • Duolingo: minimum score 120*
  • Applicants who use the Duolingo test will be required to undergo further testing to meet the spoken English requirement for Teaching Assistants who are not native speakers of English.
  • IELTS: 7.0* or higher. Demonstrate spoken English proficiency with a test score of at least 7.0 on the speaking section of the IELTS.
  • GRE: GRE scores will not be accepted and will not be used as a factor for admission into the UW Chemistry Ph.D. program for the 2022-2023 academic year.
  • *Please note: TOEFL iBT, IELTS and Duolingo test scores are only valid for two years and must be valid on the date that your UW application is submitted.

3. Application Process & Fees

Apply online for admittance to the Chemistry PhD program. Upload all of the required materials via the application website as early as possible, and prior to the application deadline. These materials should include all of the items listed below under Required Documentation.

The non-refundable $85 application fee must be paid by credit card when you submit your application. Students with demonstrated financial need are encouraged to apply for a fee waiver. International applicants expecting a J-1 or F-1 visa are not eligible for application fee waivers.

Visit the UW Graduate School admissions website for information about the admissions process, including an overview of the admissions process and information specific to international students.

4. Required Documentation

Submit all of the following application materials electronically via the Graduate School online application website prior to the December 1, 2020 deadline. No materials should be sent via postal mail as the Department of Chemistry and the University of Washington Graduate School do not accept paper submissions for this program.

  1. One unofficial transcript from each college and/or university attended for credit (uploaded via the online application website). NOTE: Students who accept admission must submit official transcripts, which will be compared to unofficial transcripts submitted during the application process.
  2. Three letters of recommendation, coordinated through and uploaded by writers to the online application website. Hard copy letters are discouraged; if your recommender prefers to send a paper copy then s/he should include the recommendation cover form with the letter of recommendation.
  3. Please provide a statement of purpose that includes the following elements:
    • (i) an introduction to yourself, your interests, and motivations,
    • (ii) a summary of your undergraduate career and other academic training experiences,
    • (iii) a description of your laboratory experience, research experience, outreach, leadership activities, and/or scholarly engagement outside of coursework and their impact on your current motivations, aspirations, and scientific interests, and
    • (iv) an explanation of why you would like to pursue a PhD in Chemistry at the UW. Please also include three faculty members in our department that are most aligned with your interests and a brief explanation for your choices. All of these elements can be discussed in any order within your statement of purpose, and you are welcome to include additional information.

      You will be evaluated for your potential to contribute to research at the UW (based on your research experience, relevant work experience, creativity in problem solving, aptitude for planning/organization, scholarly engagement outside of coursework) and your persistence in and commitment to educational success (based on indices of leadership, recognition of achievements, extracurricular activities, and educational/cultural/geographic background).
      The "Statement of Purpose" is also a good place to explain any items of concern that we may see in your application materials.  For example, if you received poor grades at some point during your academic studies due to extenuating circumstances,  providing an explanation here would be appropriate.
      The total length of the Statement of Purpose should be approximately 1 to 2 pages.

  4. Resume or Vitae
  5. For international applicants who are not English exempt: Official TOEFL iBT test score (University of Washington institution code: 4854).


Your application will not be considered complete until items 1-5 listed above have been submitted.


All application materials should be submitted electronically. The Department of Chemistry and the UW Graduate School do not accept paper submissions for this program.

You will be notified of the Chemistry Graduate Admissions Committee’s decision no later than the end of March.

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