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Graduate Program: MS Overview & Completion Requirements

It is the student's responsibility to ensure that all MS requirements are met.

  • The UW Graduate School and the Biost Department each have a separate set MS completion requirements. Both sets of requirements must be met. Please take the time to carefully review the information below to ensure you are able to complete both sets of requirements. If you have concerns about meeting any of the requirements, please contact the GPA.


  • Your thesis advisor will also serve as the Chair of your thesis committee.
  • Start by talking to your academic advisor and members of the faculty. Review faculty research interests (CVs are posted on the department website), talk with instructors, RA supervisors, faculty before/after Department Seminar and fellow students. Also, attend working groups and take reading credits (Independent Study) with the faculty with whom you may wish to do your thesis. You may also consult with the Graduate Program Director.
  • Students must e-mail the GPA the name of their thesis advisor BEFORE signing up for BIOST 700. This e-mail must copy the academic advisor and the thesis advisor.


Chair and the majority of the committee must be from the Biostatistics Faculty except by petition. See Supervisory Committee for Graduate Students to ensure that your Supervisory Committee meets Biost Department and UW Graduate School requirements.

  • CHAIR(S) - Your thesis advisor will serve as the Chair of your thesis committee. A Chair must be able and willing to assume principal responsibility for advising the student. The Chair should have adequate time available for this work and should expect to be accessible to the student. Also, the Chair must be a member of the Graduate Faculty with an endorsement to chair from the program offering the student's degree. Co-Chairs may be appointed when two Graduate Faculty members serve with equal importance on a student's supervisory committee and equally share the responsibility for the student's progress. Emeritus, affiliate or adjunct faculty may serve as a Chair if they meet the above conditions.
  • COMMITTEE - As soon as you have identified a thesis topic, work with your advisor/Chair to identify at least one committee member. Note: If your committee has two members, both will be designated as readers for your thesis. If your committee has three or more members, you will need to identify two (or more) committee members to serve as readers of your thesis.
  • READERS - Your thesis chair must serve as one of your readers. Let the GPA know your proposed committee and topic as soon as you have identified them. Note: Your committee must be reviewed by the Graduate Program Director to ensure it meets Departmental requirements.


It is the student's responsibility to ensure that all required steps for both the Graduate School and the Biost Graduate Program are met. The Graduate Program and faculty advisor(s) are not responsible for students completing their requirements. Be sure you meet both of the two sets of requirements: Biost MS Degree Requirements AND Grad School MS Thesis Requirements.

  • TRANSCRIPT AUDIT - At the beginning of the quarter before you plan to be finished with the thesis (normally the last quarter of your second year) contact the GPA and request an audit (review) of your transcript to be sure you have met all of the Biost Department and UW Graduate School requirements for graduation.
  • THESIS - See Graduate School website for the most up-to-date instructions, requirements, and deadlines. You MUST follow these carefully.
  • APPLY TO GRADUATE - You must apply to graduate during the first seven weeks of that quarter. To do so, use the Graduate School website Master’s degree request form.
    • Note: You may apply to graduate between weeks 7 and 9, but you will be charged a $250 late fee.
    • COMMITTEE APPROVAL - When your thesis is finished and has been read by your committee members. You must ensure that your committee indicates approval of your thesis AND graduation to the GPA no later than 4:00 p.m. on the last day of the quarter, so that the GPA may recommend your graduation to the Graduate School. See below for more details about this step.
  • To graduate you must meet the Graduate School requirements AND ensure that the GPA receives the following items:
    • COMMITTEE APPROVAL - the signed approval form OR e-mail. If email is used it must: 1) be sent directly to GPA/SSC (no forwards), 2) include a statement indicating the committee member approves your thesis and graduation for that quarter and 3) include signature lines (full name, title, address, etc.)
    • Completed GOODBYE form
    • Copy of your most current CV
    • E-mail verification from Sandra Coke that your student webpage is disabled (click here for instructions)
    • E-mail verification from Alex MacKenzie that your keys and HSB ID cards have been returned
    • Copy of thesis - a hard-bound copy is required for the department's permanent collection. Note: You may submit a copy of the receipt showing that a hard-bound copy has been paid for and will be sent directly to: Curriculum Coordinator, Department of Biostatistics, Box 35-7232, HSB, Room H-655, Seattle, WA 98195-7232. Binding usually takes one month. Call 206-543-9630 for more information.
  • IMPORTANT: The GPA cannot recommend you for graduation until these items have been received. It is your responsibility to be sure that the GPA has received these items.

  • If you miss the end of the quarter deadline, you have two options:
    • a) Graduate Degree Late Fee: this option is intended for students who need to make only MINOR corrections. You must be sure to meet the Graduate School requirements and deadlines listed here:

      b) Students with SUBSTANTIAL changes, or those who do not feel four weeks is enough time to complete the thesis submission process, must register for the next quarter (two credits minimum, if self-supported or ten credits if supported by a 50% RA/TA).

      For either option: A new MS degree request form must be filed, and new email approvals must be obtained from members of your committee.