How to Apply


The priority deadline for Autumn 2020 admissions is February 3, 2020.

The Policy Studies program admits students only for Autumn Quarter of each year. Applicants are encouraged to begin the application process at any time, but their applications will only be reviewed once they are complete and after the deadline.

Application Process

The Policy Studies Admissions Committee considers several criteria when evaluating prospective students, including professional goals, writing ability, previous academic experience and performance, work history, the applicant's academic strengths and weaknesses, and the overall likelihood to succeed in the program.

The application  is submitted electronically. The first step is to open an application account on the Graduate School website. Then you can upload application materials, designate recommenders, report test scores, track the receipt of documents, pay the application fee, and submit all materials for review. Your application is not reviewed until all items have been received and you have completed the application electronically. The application can be saved multiple times while in progress.

The complete set of materials that you will be required to submit are as follows:

  • An application to the Graduate School and $85 application fee
  • A statement of intent, describing your relevant background and articulating your goals in seeking a MA in Policy Studies degree. If you are submitting supplemental materials (optional), explain how they relate to your goals and experience. This statement should be 2-3 pages.
  • Statement on quantitative skills. Applications are reviewed for evidence of quantitative skills. Please outline your experience with statistical and/or microeconomic thinking, such as courses taken, applications used in professional contexts, research undertaken, or other experience indicating readiness for further study. You may also/alternatively outline current or planned coursework. (1 page max).
  • A current resume, or curriculum vitae, showing relevant academic, professional, and civic experience
  • Two letters of recommendation, at least one from faculty who can discuss your academic ability. You are welcome to submit additional recommendations, though it is not necessary.
  • An academic essay/writing sample demonstrating your academic research ability, critical thinking skills and writing proficiency. The writing sample should be 10-20 pages, double-spaced, and can be a paper from an undergraduate course or part of a senior project/thesis. If you are submitting part of a longer paper, please include a cover page describing the submission. It is ideal if the topic is relevant to your areas of interest in policy studies and ties somewhat to your letter of application, though that is not required.
  • All unofficial transcripts from prior academic work, including community and technical college, college, and university. If admitted, you will be asked to submit an official transcript from the institution at which you completed your last degree.
  • Any additional documentation relevant for consideration by the Policy Studies Admissions Committee (optional). The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is also optional (not required for admission), but strong scores will strengthen your application. 

Relevant Information

Applicant Profile

Once you create a new applicant profile and a new application, choose Policy Studies - (MAPS) - Bothell Campus and the quarter for which you are applying.

Undergraduate Degrees

There is not a specific undergraduate degree necessary to be considered for the Policy Studies program, and students who hold a bachelor's degree in any undergraduate discipline are encouraged to apply. However, previous coursework in Statistics and Micro-Economics is required, and coursework in Political science, Sociology, Psychology, or Philosophy strengthens a prospective student's application.

Quantitative Skills Preparation

Quantitative skills and knowledge in statistics are necessary for success in the Policy Studies program. Prior coursework in statistics and microeconomics on your transcript is a strong indication of preparedness to undertake graduate-level policy studies, and your application will be more competitive if you can demonstrate strong foundations in these areas. 
In the Quantitative Skills Statement, the admissions application asks you to identify coursework you have taken that covers these areas, and invites you to (1) highlight other experience you may have in applying these methods and skills, or to (2) indicate a plan for completing prerequisite coursework prior to matriculating. 

Those looking to prepare for graduate-level statistics and/or make their applications more competitive can consider local and online courses that fulfill this requirement.  This list is not exhaustive, and we will accept applicable coursework from any accredited college or university.

Your GPA

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.


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. You should mention that you are making this substitution in a separate statement to the Admissions Committee.


The GRE is not required for admission, but strong scores will strengthen your application. The GRE institutional code for the UW is 4854, if you wish to send them. While there is no score required for consideration, scores of 153 Verbal and 144 Quantitative (new scale) are considered competitive.


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 these applicants are offered admission, the UW Graduate School will verify the authenticity of the degree(s) earned. International applicants and applicants who have earned degrees outside the US should be prepared to submit official transcripts to the Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences 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. To learn about English Language Proficiency requirements, please refer to Memo 8 from the Graduate School.

If you have questions at any point in the application process, please contact the IAS Graduate Office at 425.352.3406 or

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.

Enrollment Requirements

At this time all classes are classroom-based and there are not currently online classes offered. There is not currently a part-time option in place for the Policy Studies program. Students are expected to take 10 credits per quarter.

For More Information

If you would like more information about the Policy Studies or Cultural Studies program, you should read all the information on the web site, contact our office, and attend an information session. If you can't come to an information session, we are available to meet with you by appointment in the IAS Graduate Office or you over the phone. Please contact us at 425.352.3406.


Priority deadlines for Autumn 2020 is February, 3, 2020.

For more information, contact an admissions advisor, or call 425-352-3406


Apply Now!


Want to learn more?

Attend an Information Session.

Contact the IAS Graduate Office to make an advising appointment. Call 425-352-3406 or email


Contact a Student Ambassador

Connect with current Policy Studies students, ask questions, arrange a campus tour, and learn about the student experience from our Student Ambassadors.