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Future students

How to apply

The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Washington welcomes applications for both master’s and Ph.D. programs.

Deadline  Statement of purpose  Letters of recommendation  Transcripts  GPA  GRE  Additional items for PhD  TOEFL  Application rubric  Graduate funding


The majority of graduate students are admitted annually, in autumn quarter, although a few online programs welcome new students on a quarterly basis. For graduate students admitted in autumn quarter, preference is given to applications for admission and financial support that are received by December 15, 11:59pm Pacific Standard Time. Applications received after the deadline are considered on a space available basis. 

Applicants may check the status of their application by logging into their online application and checking the status page. Applications will not be reviewed unless they are complete.

Deadline Applicants Notes
December 15 Priority deadline for students applying to research tracks (PhD and MS Thesis), and PMP students who want decisions by March 15. Applicants by this deadline would be eligible for an invitation to departmental visitation events.
May 1 For Professional Master's Program students only and final deadline for international applicants not already in the United States. Individuals would receive an admissions decision by June 15.
September 1 Final deadline for Domestic Professional Master's Program students on a space available basis. Before submitting an application please contact to inquire about the possibility of applying.

Application process

Applications for the program are submitted through the UW Graduate School’s online application. Please do not submit any materials directly to UW CEE as they will not be reviewed. The online application requires a non-refundable $85 application fee. When completing the online application, you will be asked to submit the following items:

Statement of purpose

In the UW Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering we are looking to admit graduate students who are passionate about learning and exploring the use and application of engineering for the betterment of global society. We encourage prospective applicants to explore the research opportunities in the department and contact the faculty they are interested in working with before they submit an application if they are interested in a research track position. We welcome applicants who have varied cultural, educational, and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Please answer each of the following questions in your statement of purpose. These responses can be broken out separately or addressed in a single essay. Please save and submit as a single document.

  1. Why are you seeking a graduate degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Washington? What knowledge and skills do you hope to achieve from the graduate program that will be useful to your long-term career goals? We are looking for evidence that you are passionate about the field and also why a graduate degree from CEE will help you to achieve your goals.
  2. The graduate student experience and life in general can involve a range of challenges. Describe an example of how you have shown resilience and/or perseverance in the pursuit of your academic goals or in your personal life and how you have grown as a result.
  3. What do you expect to be challenging about graduate school? What strategies would you use to manage these challenges?
  4. (research interest only) What research topics interest you, and why are you interested in completing a research project during your graduate studies?  If you have research experience, tell us about your most successful or interesting research and which qualities helped facilitate this. If you have had limited research experience, please explain what has made you more interested in research. Which CEE faculty members’ research are you most interested in and why? A list of CEE faculty members can be found here. Please indicate at least three CEE faculty you would be interested in doing research with.
    • Which CEE faculty members’ research are you most interested in and why? A list of CEE faculty members can be found here. Please indicate at least three CEE faculty you would be interested in doing research with.
  5. (Optional) If you have a background that might particularly contribute to the enrichment of the program, please describe it. Examples include unique educational or cultural opportunities (or lack of them), social and economic disadvantages that you may have had to overcome, and interesting or unusual influences on your intellectual development.


  6. (Optional) Please add anything you would like to say in support of your application or anything that puts your application in a broader context that is not addressed by the questions above.

Letters of recommendation

Two letters are required for master's applicants, three for Ph.D. applicants. Letters must be submitted via the online application system. After entering email addresses for your letter writers into the online form, an automatic email will direct them to a secure Web site to upload their letter. It is recommended to submit email addresses early, to give recommenders ample time to submit letters. At least one letter should be from a faculty member at the last school you attended as a full-time student (unless you have been out of school for more than five years). Substitutions for faculty recommendations may include work associates or supervisors, or others who can comment on your academic potential for graduate work.


Submit unofficial transcripts (PDF format) with the online application. Before uploading, please make sure your transcript is legible, otherwise the review committee will not be able to review your application. The file size limit is 2 megabytes. If you are offered admission by the department, the Graduate School will require an official final degree transcript prior to registration. The department does not require an official transcript.


Applicants must enter their GPA for the past two years of study (or 90 quarter credits or 60 semester credits), based on a 4.0 scale. If your previous institution did not grade on a 4.0 scale you will need to convert it. For information on computing and converting an international GPA, please refer to the following documents:

Official GRE scores

No longer accepted for applications.

Additional items for Ph.D. applicants

  • Resume
    A resumé is required for Ph.D. applicants; optional for master’s applicants.
  • Writing sample
    Ph.D. applicants may submit a writing sample, however it is not required.

English proficiency : Required for international applicants

Applicants whose native language is not English must submit official test scores, which must be less than two years old. Ask the testing company to send official test scores directly to the University of Washington Graduate Admissions Office, institution code 4854. The minimum score required by the Graduate School is 92 for TOEFL, 120 for Duolingo and 7.0 for IELTS. Applicants admitted with a score below the minimum will be required to take English as a Second Language (ESL) classes. For details on the English language proficiency requirements, review the English Language Proficiency Requirements.

You will be asked to self-report your scores on the online application. If you have not yet taken an exam, enter the date you are scheduled to take the exam. Official scores should be received by the university before the December 15 application deadline.

Note: A bachelor's, master's or Ph.D. degree from the U.S. will fulfill the English proficiency requirement. International students who were enrolled in a bachelor’s program where all instruction was in English (documentation required) would not be required to provide English proficiency test scores.

Application rubric

Applicant’s to CEE graduate programs will be evaluated on the following criteria.

  • Academic Preparation - Courses that prepare them for this program and their research interests (could be chemistry, physics, math, computer science, engineering, etc.). The applicant’s undergraduate institution and resources that were available to the student are taken into account.
  • Research Experience - Has research experience and articulates the connection to motivation to pursue this degree. Is able to put research experience into a broader context of both the field and the applicant’s career trajectories. (Not required for PMP applicants)
  • Motivation, Resilience, and Perseverance - Evidence of passion and curiosity for the field/learning in general. Clearly stated motivation and objectives for joining our department’s graduate program.  Evidence that the student is self-driven and a self-advocate. Willingness to question their own work/results/performance.
  • Contributions to diversity, equity, and inclusivity - Potential contribution to our department’s JEDI initiative
  • Practical and leadership Experience - Relevance of the practical and/or leadership experience to the field of application.
  • Program fit and long term goals - How well does the program and department fit with the applicant’s stated goals for after the program. This can include specific alignment with research groups or faculty, interest in specific coursework, etc.

Applying for graduate student funding

Funding from the department is typically awarded in the form of Research and Teaching Assistantships, or fellowships. All graduate applicants are considered for financial aid from the department if that request is indicated in the Financial Aid section of the online application. No separate application is required.