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Ph.D. Admissions - International Applicants

Admission Requirements for International Applicants

Like US applicants, international applicants to the Ph.D. program must meet basic Graduate School requirements including:

1. A 3.0 undergraduate GPA or higher over the most recent two years of study
2. A baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution

In addition, applicants should demonstrate familiarity with the academic field of Feminist Studies at the undergraduate level. Meeting these minimum standards does not ensure admission, however. Students who have earned an M.A. from another institution may apply for our Ph.D. program, but an M.A. is not required for admission to the Ph.D. program.

GWSS does not have a stand alone Master's degree program. "The MA degree can be earned ONLY within a PhD program as a thesis or non-thesis degree." 

GWSS no longer requires the GRE (Graduate Record Examination): The department has determined that GRE scores are far less helpful in evaluating candidates for the Feminist Studies PhD program than writing samples, statements of purpose, and recommendation letters. In recognition of the cost and accessibility of the exam as factors that potentially limit the diversity of our applicant pool, we no longer require GRE scores as part of our application process.

Applicants will be evaluated on the following criteria:

1.  A Statement of Purpose. Describe your academic background and preparation for advanced study in Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies and the areas of scholarly focus you want to develop through graduate training. This statement should address your motivation for seeking an interdisciplinary doctoral degree in Feminist Studies at the University of Washington; your research interests and questions; and your long-term goals in pursuing a graduate degree. The statement of purpose should be 2-3 double-spaced pages (500-750 words).

2.  Writing sample. A sample of your writing helps us discern your capacity to write, develop a line of inquiry, analyze research materials, and communicate ideas. Appropriate samples include seminar or course papers, or an excerpt from an undergraduate or Master’s thesis. If you submit a thesis excerpt, please attach a cover sheet with an abstract of the longer work and a brief explanation of why you have selected this particular section. The writing sample should be original, individual, not co-authored work and should be no more than 25 double-spaced pages including a bibliography. Please do not submit take-home exam essays.

3.  Three (3) letters of recommendation are required. One (1) letter may be from a non-academic reference who can address the applicant's academic skills. **You will be asked to provide the names and email addresses of your three recommendations as part of the online application process. Your recommenders will then be contacted and asked to fill out the recommendation online. The content of the letter is at your referee's discretion.** 

4.  International transcripts with degree statement, Upload PDF or Word formatted (jpeg pasted into a word document) versions of transcripts from all institutions you attained a baccalaureate or higher degree as part of the on-line application. If you are currently working toward your baccalaureate degree, you should upload transcripts from the institution that will award the degree. If you are offered admission it will be made contingent upon receiving an official transcript from all institutions in which you received a baccalaureate, or higher, degree.  You do not need to request transcripts to be sent at this time if you have successfully uploaded a digital copy of an official or unofficial copy.

5.  TOEFL scores. Use 4854 as the "institution code" and you do not need a department code.

6.  Intended Research Focus. Please summarize your intended research focus, as elaborated upon in your statement of purpose, in 40 words or less.

7.  Match with Scholarly Interest of Faculty. List the names of up to three core faculty members in the Department of Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies as potential mentors whose expertise and interests most closely match your own proposed research. Please check individual faculty websites for their current availability. Emeritus (retired) faculty do not generally serve as advisors.

Also included on the application is an optional Diversity Statement. Consistent with the University of Washington’s commitment to graduate excellence through diversity and to fostering an inclusive intellectual community, the Department of Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies actively seeks and welcomes students from diverse backgrounds, through the constitution of our faculty, research supported, and courses offered. This optional statement provides a space for you to reflect upon your personal history, family background, and educational, cultural, or economic challenges or opportunities. Please describe the ways these experiences have influenced the development of your scholarly interests and future goals. The diversity statement should be 1-2 double-spaced pages (250-500 words).

Application Procedure

You will submit application materials to the Graduate School via the electronic application system.


Incoming students are typically offered a twelve-quarter funding package comprised of a combination of department-based research and teaching assistant-ships and University-wide fellowship funding secured through the department, subject to satisfactory performance which is reviewed annually.

In order to be considered for a Teaching Assistantship, international applicants must achieve a score of 580 (TOEFL) or 237 (TOEFLC) or greater on the International TOEFL (or 90 or greater on the Michigan Language Test) and a score of 55 or greater on the International Test of Spoken English (TSE) or 230 or better on the Speaking Proficiency English Assessment Kit (SPEAK) administered by the University of Washington.


Graduate Funding Information Service (GFIS)

The GFIS manager is always available to meet one-on-one with students if they schedule an appointment. 
The Graduate Funding Information Service (GFIS) works with current and admitted UW graduate students. GFIS helps students identify and use different resources to locate funding opportunities for graduate school-related expenses including tuition, research, and conference and research travel. In conjunction with the University of Washington's Graduate School, GFIS hosts a series of workshops throughout the year. Students can also seek answers to their questions during drop-in advising hours, can schedule individual appointments, or can request information by email. In addition, GFIS maintains a subject guide that lists different funding resources by category and a blog that informs students about fellowships, grants, employment opportunities, and upcoming GFIS events. As time allows, GFIS also works with individual departments to design discipline-specific workshops and resources for their graduate students.

UW Libraries Graduate Student Funding Resources
Students can search for funding in various databases and guides.

International Student Services: International UW Graduate Students
The links below and more can be found on the ISS website.

This website contains over 52,000 awards and scholarship for international graduate students that are studying in the U.S. In order to start searching, you will need to create a free account.

Unigo is an organization that provides students with access to well organized details on thousands of funding opportunities for college and graduate studies.