How to Apply


Admissions to the Master of Arts in Cultural Studies program is paused.

The Graduate School has approved a temporary suspension of admissions to the UW Bothell Master of Arts in Cultural Studies (MACS) program. This pause does not affect enrollment for current MACS students. The School of IAS intends to reopen admissions in time for students to enter the program in Autumn 2024.

Enrollment Dates and Application Deadlines

As a cohort program, the Master of Arts in Cultural Studies admits students only for Autumn Quarter of each year.

Priority Deadline for Autumn 2022 is February 1, 2022. Priority deadline applicants receive first consideration for placement and funding.

After the priority deadline, the MA in Cultural Studies will continue to accept and review applications on a space-available basis. 

Contact an Admissions Advisor to inquire about space availability and upcoming review and submission deadlines 

Applicants are encouraged to begin the application process at any time, but their applications will only be reviewed once they are complete and after posted deadlines.

Admission Criteria

The UW Graduate School's minimum requirements for admission include a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university, and an overall grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0.  

The Cultural Studies Admissions Committee evaluates prospective students' overall likelihood to succeed in the program, with a focus on each applicant's interest and capacity to:

  • engage in cultural studies research
  • contribute to a diverse learning community
  • negotiate difference self-reflectively
  • engage critically, creatively, and collaboratively
  • align with the specific resources and emphases of our program.

Your application materials, below, offer multiple opportunities to demonstrate how your experience - academic, professional, community, personal - can contribute to the program, and how the program can benefit you, in your academic, professional, community, and personal goals.  

Application Process

The application to the MA in Cultural Studies is submitted electronically.

To apply, you will need to:

1. Create an Applicant Profile (or Log In to Your Account) with the UW Graduate School.

2. Choose "Cultural Studies - (MACS) - Bothell Campus." 

3. Follow all instructions to:

  • upload your application materials (see list below)
  • designate recommenders
  • pay the application fee ($85), and
  • submit all materials for review.

Your application can be saved multiple times while in progress.

It will not be reviewed until all items have been received electronically.

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Application Materials 

To complete your application, please include the following:

  • A statement of intent (2-3 pages). Consider this the "cover letter" for your application materials and self-introduction to the admissions committee.  Use it to describe your relevant background and  your goals in seeking a MA in Cultural Studies degree. The admissions committee is particularly interested in learning more about your experience with any or all of the following:
    • Cultural inquiry, cultural methods, and/or critical interpretation (including but not limited to discourse or media analysis, textual interpretation, ethnographic or participatory research, creative research or arts-based inquiry);
    • Experiential learning, practical engagement, community organizing, artistic production, professional/community-based experience;
    • Exposure to and engagement with anti-racist thought or organizing; intersectional analysis; and/or critical race theory;
    • Collaboration and shared leadership.
    • You may reflect on your preparation for the program through formal and informal study, referring to your courses and coursework (transcript), professional and community experience (cv/resume), or other forms of development and lived experience. If you are submitting supplemental materials (optional), explain how they relate to your goals and experience.
  • A current resume or curriculum vitae
  • Two letters of recommendation,  preferably from at least one faculty member who knows your academic ability. If you do not have a professor to use as a reference (due to being out of school for a long time, graduating in another country, etc.), professional references may be substituted for academic ones. This choice should be contextualized in the statement of intent. 
  • A writing sample demonstrating your research skills and interests, critical and creative thinking abilities, and writing capacities. The writing sample should be 10-20, double-spaced, pages.  It can be a paper from an undergraduate course or part of a senior project/thesis.  Consider situating your writing sample in your statement of intent, as its topic or methods pertain to your cultural studies research interests. If it is part of a longer paper, include a brief description of the excerpt's relation to the larger project.
  • All unofficial transcripts from prior academic work, including college, university, and technical school. If admitted, you will be asked to submit an official transcript from the institution at which you completed your last degree.
  • [Optional] 1 - 2 items representative of other, additional dimensions of your work or experience. Items may include your media or creative work, products of your research activities, documentation of community-based or activist projects in which you have played a central role, or any other materials that you consider relevant to your application

Questions? Contact the IAS Graduate Office at

Additional Information

Undergraduate Degrees and Coursework

There is not a specific undergraduate degree necessary to be considered for the Cultural Studies program, although related coursework will strengthen your application. Students who hold a bachelor's degree in any undergraduate discipline are encouraged to apply.


Report all post-secondary schools you have attended, even if you did not earn a degree. At the time of application, U.S. citizens, Permanent Residents, and Immigrants only need to upload unofficial transcripts to the application site.  If you are offered and accept admission to the program, the UW Graduate School will verify the authenticity of the degree(s) earned.

Enter your GPA based on your last two years of undergraduate or graduate coursework. Our office will make our own calculation once we receive your transcripts. The minimum GPA required for admission is 3.0.

Transfer Credits

If you have graduate credits from another program and are admitted, up to 6 graduate credits may transfer from a non-UW accredited degree program. The IAS Graduate Office and the Admissions Committee will make the determination about how many credits, if any, can be applied to the degree.

Students interested in taking Cultural Studies or Policy Studies electives in Graduate Non-Matriculated status before their program begins should contact the IAS Graduate Office.


The GRE is not required for admission to the Cultural Studies program.

Optional Submissions

If you have photographs, creative writing, film, or other creative works that you would like to submit as an optional part of your application packet, these items can be uploaded as part of your online application. For more information, please contact the IAS Graduate Office.

International Students & English Proficiency Requirement

There are special application requirements for International Students. Find more information on the Graduate School web site.

Proficiency in English is required for graduate study at the University of Washington. Therefore, every applicant or enrolled student whose native language is not English must demonstrate English language proficiency.

Please refer to  Graduate School Memo 8 to learn about English Language Proficiency requirements,

Enrollment Requirements

Currently all Cultural Studies courses are classroom-based. Students are expected to enroll full time (10 credits per quarter).  Consult the IAS Graduate Office if you need to make arrangements to enroll part-time. 

Application Fee Waivers

UW Graduate School Application Fee Waivers

Applicants who have financial need and those who participate in the McNairs Scholars or PPIA Fellows programs may be eligible for an application fee waiver from the UW Graduate School. See the UW Graduate School fee waiver policy and application

IAS Student and Alum Application Incentive

Current or former IAS students who meet the following criteria can request that IAS Graduate Programs cover their application fee:

  • Minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA in a relevant major
  • Participation in a program information session or consultation with an admissions advisor

Contact an admissions advisor for more details at 

For More Information