The doctoral degree is by nature and tradition the highest certificate of membership in the academic community. As such, it is meant to indicate the presence of superior qualities of mind and intellectual interests and of high attainment in Speech and Hearing Sciences. It is not conferred merely as a certificate for a prescribed course of study and research, no matter how long or how faithfully pursued.

Prior to submitting an application, students should review the UW Graduate School Admissions Requirements. Candidates for the Ph.D. program must meet the following entrance requirements.

1. Citizenship & Visa Status

The Graduate School and the Department accept applications from U.S. citizens, permanent residents (green card holders), immigrants and international applicants. Graduate School admission requirements and application procedures are the same for all applicants regardless of residency, citizenship and visa status.

International students must have a visa status that allows academic study at the UW. This status includes temporary U.S. visas such as F-1 student visas, J-1 exchange visitors, H-1 temporary worker, dependent visas or any other non-immigrant classifications. Students who will study on an F-1 or J-1 visa will be required to complete additional steps after confirming their intention to enroll before the Graduate School can process their visa paperwork. Consult the Graduate School Admissions website to find out more about minimum eligibility requirements and required materials for international applicants.

Please note, in order for students to be considered state residents for tuition purposes, they first must be able to prove that they are U.S. citizens, have U.S. permanent resident cards, or have a qualifying visa (A, E, G, H1, I, K or L). For questions concerning how to establish residency in Washington State, please contact the Residence Classification Office at 206-543-5932, or visit the UW Residency Office Website.

2. Bachelors’ Degree

All applicants must have at least a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university in the U.S. or its equivalent from a foreign institution.

3. Identified Mentor

Applicants MUST have an identified professorial faculty mentor at the University of Washington with whom they will study in order to apply to the Ph.D. program. Before applying, applicants must contact this proposed mentor(s) directly to discuss their research interests and secure the mentor’s support for their application. Any application submitted without the official support of a faculty mentor will not be reviewed.

Typically the applicant’s mentor has a primary appointment in the Department of Speech & Hearing Sciences. If the proposed mentor has a primary appointment in another UW department, the applicant must also identify a faculty member with a primary appointment in Speech & Hearing Sciences who is willing to serve as academic advisor.

The best times to contact faculty about Ph.D. applications and mentorship are Autumn quarter (September – November) and Spring quarter (March – early June) quarters. Most faculty are not available during Summer quarter (mid June – August).

4. National Criminal Background Check

All graduate students in Speech and Hearing Sciences are required to complete and successfully pass a national criminal background check as a condition of admission. Instructions are provided to new students and the background check must be completed within 30 days of accepting the department’s offer of admission. The background check fee is paid directly to the department’s vendor, Verified Credentials. When considering individuals for admission, conviction/criminal history records are reviewed as they relate to the content and nature of the curriculum and the safety and security of clients and the public. Should the background check provide evidence of a positive criminal history or raise any areas of concern related to a student’s participation in a graduate program, he/she will be contacted by a representative of the Speech & Hearing Sciences Department.

5. Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

Applicants are required to submit scores earned within the last five years from the General Test portion of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) which is administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). The General Test of the GRE measures verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and writing skills. The test is available year round in a computer-based format. Advance registration is required and students should plan ahead in order for scores to be reported in a timely manner. We recommend that applicants take the test no later than November 1st to ensure scores are reported by the application deadline.

There is no minimum score required. If you take the GRE more than once, you may report the scores of your “best” exam, but you can’t pick-and-choose scores across exams. Applicants are asked to self-report scores on their application and must also submit an official GRE score report to the University of Washington (score report code 4854). Those who have taken the test in the past or on multiple occasions should inquire early to be sure scores are reported properly and in a timely manner.

Effective August 1, 2011, ETS has changed the GRE test. The department and University will continue to accept GRE scores from the "old" format (taken prior to 8/1/11) as long as the scores are earned within the last 5 years. Anyone taking the GRE on or after August 1, 2011 will submit GRE scores from the new test format.

To obtain score reports, contact Educational Testing Service, Princeton, NJ 08541-6000, telephone 1-800-537-3160 or by email at The GRE website is at

6. English Language Proficiency

All applicants to the doctoral program whose native language is not English must demonstrate English language proficiency. No waivers of this requirement can be granted. The Department of Speech & Hearing Sciences follows Graduate School policies and guidelines for admission of individuals who are nonnative speakers of English.  Applicants should review the UW Graduate School's Understanding the Application Process, which outlines each of the three required minimum admission requirements for Degree, GPA, and English Proficiency. 

To be admitted to the department’s graduate program, all nonnative English speakers are required demonstrate English language proficiency as outlined in UW Graduate School Memo 8. In conjunction with UW Graduate School policy, any applicant who submits English proficiency test scores below the minimum scores required, may only be admitted to the program provisionally and only with department approval. In such cases, the provisionally admitted student will also be required to take and complete designated English language courses through UW Academic English Language Program starting the first quarter they enter the program. In conjunction with UW Graduate School policy, the department will accept TOEFL iBT® Superscores, also known as MyBest™ Scores.

Applicants should also review UW Graduate School Memo 15 and note that English proficiency requirements for students who work as teaching assistants (TAs) are more extensive than those for admission. Because the Department has limited options for the support of PhD students, the likelihood that a student will be able to work as a TA is an important factor in the admissions process.

7. Minimum Grade Point Average (GPA)

To be considered for admission, applicants are required to have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 (B) during the last 90 quarter or 60 semester credit hours of study.