Admissions FAQ

Application questions

General
Prerequisites
GRE and TOEFL test scores, recommendation letters, and GPA
Other materials

Contacting the department

General program questions

Application questions

How can I be a competitive applicant? What are my chances of being admitted?

Please see our minimum requirements and criteria to be considered a competitive applicant. Generally, our competitive applicants are very strong in all components of their application, including grades, test scores, statement of purpose, and recommendation letters. Most competitive applicants have additional advanced math courses beyond the listed prerequisites, as well as a quantitative GRE score above 90%. Note, however, every year we decline admission to many highly qualified applicants due to the competitiveness of the applicant pool and number of available spots. As such, we are unable to respond to requests to estimate an applicant's chance of being admitted to our program. 

What is your applicant acceptance rate?

We receive approximately 300 applications each year; about 2/3 for the PhD program and the remainder for the masters programs. Acceptance numbers for each degree program vary each year depending on the applicant pool and availability of space and resources, but has been about 15% of all applications. 

Can I apply to more than one program? Are PhD applicants considered for the MS?

Please see the General Requirements section of our Application Instructions page.

I'm not sure if I have enough courses or credits to meet the prerequisites.

See our section on multivariate calculus/accelerated/AP courses and missing prerequisites on our Admissions Requirements page.

Where can I take courses to fulfill the prerequisites? When should I take them?

See our missing prerequisites section on our Admissions Requirements page. Due to the large number of local and online institutions that offer math courses, we do not maintain a list of recommended institutions or courses besides the mentioned probability course. To be a competitive applicant, the majority should be completed prior to applying, and any missing prerequisite should be in the process of being completed while you are applying. These cannot be completed after starting the program.

Can the GRE or TOEFL be waived due to prior degrees or work experience? If I will be graduating with a U.S. degree, do I need to take the TOEFL?

We require GRE scores for all applicants regardless of background, including those with doctorates.

We also require TOEFL scores for all international applicants, including those with doctorates, except for international applicants with U.S./English-based degrees or those who will graduate with such a degree prior to entering the program - see the Admissions Requirements page for details. Applicants should also refer to the Application Instructions page on how to enter or waive the self-report TOEFL scores on the application.

Can my test scores or recommendation letters arrive after the deadline?

No. These must be received by the deadline in order for the application to be considered. We begin our review immediately after the deadline. Be sure to review our application instructions and required steps to follow after you apply.

Is my application complete? What should I do if my application status page indicates that my test scores aren't received?

Please review our application instructions and required steps to follow after you apply.

I'm an international student and my GPA is not on a 4.0 scale. What should I enter for the GPA?

Please see our application instructions

Can I update my statement of purpose, personal statement, or CV after I submit them?

No, these submitted materials cannot be updated. Please be sure to review our application instructions.

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Contacting the department

May I visit the department and meet with an adviser or faculty member? May I speak with current students?

Due to our small staff and time constraints, we regret that we are unable to accommodate individual visits to provide general advising or tours for prospective applicants prior to admission. Admitted PhD applicants will be invited to participate in a two-day visit in late February, and admitted MS and MPH applicants may also arrange an independent visit in the spring. To learn more about our program, faculty, and students in the meantime, see our Faculty Interests and Profiles pages in addition to our Become a Student section.

Should I select a supervisor before applying? Should I contact faculty about this?

No. Applicants are not expected to have a supervisor selected before applying. All students are assigned academic advisors when they start the program, and PhD students with research assistantships will be assigned an RA supervisor. Students will have the opportunity to work with various faculty through independent studies and select their thesis or dissertation advisor. Applicants should not contact faculty to inquire whether they can be accepted as their mentee. Applicants are selected for admission by our admissions committee only.

How may I contact you with questions?

If you have general questions about the graduate program or the admissions process that are not answered on our website, the best method to contact us is by email. If you have program-specific questions regarding our master's programs, please indicate which program you are interested in (MS Thesis, MS Capstone, MPH).

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General program questions

Do you accept graduate-level transfer credits from other U.S. institutions?

No. However, we do offer a placement exam for newly-admitted students who believe they can pass the first-year theory coursework (Statistical Inference, taught at the UW as STAT 512 and 513), and a few other required courses may be waived at the discretion of the Graduate Program.

May I enroll part time?

Due to the rigor of our program, part-time study is discouraged. The PhD program requires full-time enrollment. For master’s programs, some exceptions have been made for students involved in other complementary training. If admitted, plans must be discussed with the Graduate Program Director for approval. Part-time study may extend the program completion time by two to three times due to the timing of our courses which are only offered once a year. UW employees interested in utilizing tuition exemption should note that the exemption does not cover thesis or other independent study credits for the MS Thesis program, nor any part of the MS Capstone program.

Can any portion of the program be completed online?

Our degree programs are fully residential except the MS Capstone program's Data Science pathway has an option to take the second year courses online. Individuals interested in distance learning may consider the Certificate in Applied Biostatistics offered by UW Professional and Continuing Education (PCE). Please contact PCE for questions regarding this certificate.

Is there a fast-track from the MS to PhD if a student shows promise?

MS students have the opportunity to apply to the PhD program depending on their performance on a theory exam they take the summer after their first year courses as well as grades in the courses. If they apply and are accepted, students may begin second year PhD coursework in their second year.

Can students tailor their program to their needs?

MS Thesis, PhD, and MPH students will have the opportunity to take electives to support their specific research interests. MS Capstone students will take courses based on their selected pathway.

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