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.

ALERT: We no longer require GRE scores as part of our PhD program admissions process. The GRE test score requirement has been permanently eliminated from our admissions application.

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. 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 the UW 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 Ph.D. program, all nonnative English speakers are required demonstrate English language proficiency as outlined in UW Graduate School Memo 8. Please note, to be admitted the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences requires applicants to meet the UW Graduate School's recommended scores. The department will not admit applicants with scores below the Graduate School’s recommended score requirement, nor will we give approval to provisionally admit students with scores below this score requirement. The score requirements are:

  • TOEFL iBT® test scores of 92 or higher
  • TOEFL MyBest™ (superscores) of 92 of higher
  • IELTS score of 7.0 or higher
  • Duolingo English scores of 120 or higher (Due to the impact of COVID-19, we will temporarily accept these scores for Summer 2022 and Autumn 2022 admissions applications.)

In addition, please note that the Department of Speech & Hearing Sciences deviates from UW Graduate School Memo 8 in that we will not temporarily accept TOEFL ITP Plus China scores to meet the English language proficiency requirement.

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. Specifically, a score of 26 must be obtained on the TOEFL iBT® "Speaking" subtest or a score of 7.0 on the IELTS "Speaking" subtest. 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.

6. 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.