Admission Requirements

Admission to our programs is competitive, especially to our PhD program. Applicants are evaluated based on the entire application package. Every year we receive approximately 340 MS applications and 230 PhD applications and offer admission to approximately 60 MS applicants and 15 PhD applicants. Below are minimum prerequisites for admission and criteria to be considered a competitive applicant.

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Math and Statistics Prerequisites

Our program is mathematically rigorous and a strong quantitative background is essential to succeed in our program.

Minimum math requirements

All applicants to the MS and PhD program should have the equivalent of approximately 30 or more quarter credits in mathematics and statistics, which must include:

  • Approximately three semesters or four quarters of calculus, which must include multivariate calculus
  • One course in linear algebra
  • One course in probability theory (calculus based)
  • A probability-based course in mathematical statistics is highly encouraged, though not required.

UW course equivalents that meet these requirements

University of Washington courses which are approximate equivalents to these requirements are:

  • First-year calculus; MATH 124-125-126
  • Advanced multivariable calculus: MATH 224
  • Linear algebra: MATH 208
  • Probability: MATH/STAT 394 and/or 395

The UW Department of Math course catalog gives descriptions of these courses. This information may help you determine whether your background is sufficient to meet our prerequisites. For additional information, please contact our staff at




Requirements for Specific Degree Programs


MS and PhD

Applicants to the MS and PhD program should have a bachelor’s degree or higher. Most students enter with a major in mathematics, statistics, bioinformatics, or computational biology; however, we also accept applicants with backgrounds in other fields if necessary math and statistics prerequisites below are fulfilled. We often have applicants from engineering, psychology, or financial/business backgrounds. Strong applicants will have solid quantitative skills. 



UW Graduate School Minimum Requirements

Important: When you apply to a UW Biostatistics graduate program, you are also formally applying to the University of Washington Graduate School. Although all acceptance decisions are made within the Biostatistics department, the UW Graduate School also has minimum admission requirements for all UW graduate programs.



Pursuing Concurrent Degrees

If you are a UW student interested in pursuing a second/concurrent degree, please consult with your current degree program to determine the feasibility, division and sharing of credits, and timeline for pursuing a concurrent degree. See the UW Graduate School's policy on concurrent degrees.



Test Scores and GPA



  • GRE general test scores are optional for all applicants to the MS and PhD programs, regardless of prior degrees or other background. In the past, most competitive applicants had:
    • Quantitative score in the 90th percentile
    • Analytic score above the 50th percentile
    • Verbal score above the 70th percentile
  • Test scores are valid for five years. If you choose to submit a GRE score, the score must be valid on the date you submit your application. 


Proof of English language proficiency for international applicants

  • English language proficiency for international applicants must be demonstrated with one of the tests accepted by The Graduate School as outlined in Policy 3.2, unless:

    • You have a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree from a regionally accredited institution in the United States or from an institution in Australia, the Bahamas, Canada, Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand, Singapore, Trinidad and Tobago, or the United Kingdom; OR from an institution from another country that can provide verification that all instruction is in English.

    • You are currently working on such a degree and will earn it prior to enrolling in our program.

  • See details about English proficiency requirements. Questions regarding this requirement may be directed to the UW Graduate School.

  • While our department does not have minimum score requirements, most competitive applicants will have:

    • TOEFL total score ≥ 100
    • TOEFL speaking score ≥ 23
  • Test scores are valid for two years and must be valid on the date the application is submitted.


While our department does not have minimum GPA requirements besides the 3.0 GPA required by the graduate school, competitive applicants typically have an undergraduate GPA ≥ 3.5, with mostly as in Math/Statistics coursework.