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Admissions Requirements

In addition to curiosity, critical thinking and problem-solving skills, UW ECE graduate students have a strong background in math, science, and programming. If you have questions, contact the UW ECE Advising Office at or 206-221-5270.


UW ECE enrolls graduate students once per year, in autumn quarter. You will submit your application approximately one year prior to when you hope to enroll. Applications for the program are submitted through the Graduate School’s online application (you will need to create a profile in order to apply).

  • Graduate School applications open October 1.
  • Applications must be completed by December 15.
  • Any application materials received after the deadline will not be reviewed.
  • Please do not submit any materials directly to UW ECE. They will not be reviewed.

Student-Led Ph.D. Applicant Support Programs

We recognize that access to information about the graduate school experience and application process is not available to everyone equitably. This leads to systematic disadvantages for applicants in underserved communities. At UW ECE, we are hoping to address some of these challenges through two of our student-led volunteer programs: 

(1) Weekly drop-in hours during Fall to meet with current students (and sometimes faculty) to talk about graduate school and research (Open to students at all levels and professionals interested in graduate school) 

(2) Graduate Applicant Support Program (GASP) to receive mentorship and feedback on graduate school applications to best emphasize their past experiences and aspirations (Open to students submitting to the 2022 Ph.D. admission cycle)  

You can find more information about these programs here. 

Selecting Your Areas of Interest

The department promotes interdisciplinary research, and students can specify multiple topics of interest in their application, including:

  • Analog, mixed-signal and RF VLSI systems
  • Bio-robotics
  • Computer architecture
  • Computer vision and image processing
  • Control and dynamical systems
  • Cyber-physical and networked systems
  • Digital VLSI
  • Electromagnetics and remote sensing
  • Embedded systems
  • Engineering education
  • Game theory and decision-making
  • Information theory and applications
  • Optics and photonics
  • Machine learning and artificial intelligence
  • Medical devices
  • Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS)
  • Nanotechnology
  • Network Control Systems
  • Neural engineering
  • Optimization and statistical learning
  • Power electronics
  • Power systems
  • Renewable energy
  • Security in Communication, Control and Cyber Physical System
  • Semiconductor devices
  • Sensors and sensor systems
  • Speech and natural language processing
  • Signal processing
  • Synthetic and computational biology
  • Wireless communications and networking


Students must have a cumulative 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale for the last 90 graded quarter credits or 60 graded semester credits.

For Applicants with Degrees in Other Fields

Students with a strong academic record who hold a degree in a technical field such as mathematics, physics, chemistry, computer science or in another branch of engineering can expect to perform well in UW ECE’s graduate programs — provided they first develop a basic background in electrical engineering.  Students are expected to make up any deficiencies in their electrical engineering background prior to beginning their graduate program.

Fundamental courses required of all non-EE degree holders

  • EE 215 Fundamentals of Electrical Engineering
  • EE 233 Circuit Theory
  • EE 241 Programming for Signal and Information Processing Applications, concurrent with EE 242 Signal Processing I
  • Programming skills at the level of  CSE 121, 122, & 123 Introduction to Computer Programming

Students may take these courses at the UW or may develop equivalent knowledge from previous studies at another institution.

Application Materials

Applications for the program are submitted through the Graduate School’s online application. Please do not submit any materials directly to UW ECE. They will not be reviewed.


GRE scores are no longer required or accepted for admission to our MS or Ph.D. programs.

Application Fee

An $85 application must be paid online, as part of the online application.

Resume or Curriculum Vitae

This must be uploaded to the application as a PDF, Word or plain text file.

Areas of Interest

Choose up to four areas. Areas are used to match graduate students with potential faculty advisers.

Statement of Purpose

The statement of purpose describes what motivates you to pursue a career related to Electrical and Computer Engineering and what your objectives are in pursuing a graduate degree. Please focus on the following topics: feel free to expand on any of the following topics that may apply to your situation:

  • Motivation, research experience and academic background
    • What are you interested in studying, and what sparked your desire to pursue graduate studies? What is your career goal? Emphasize what motivated/s you; be concise and to the point.
    • Describe any research you have conducted, if applicable. Indicate with whom, the project’s title/topic, what your specific responsibilities and tasks were, what you have accomplished (avoid copying-pasting information already available on your resume). Include both technical details and why working on the project drew you to your area of interest. (Reviewers with knowledge about your research area read these statements.)
    • Describe any important papers or a thesis project you completed, as well as any projects you worked on beyond your curricular requirements.
    • Discuss any work experience, especially if you were responsible for testing, designing, researching, or interning in an area similar to what you wish to study in graduate school.
  • Research and faculty interests
    • Indicate specific research areas that interest you in ECE or related Departments.
    • Discuss a research question, problem, or theme that you would like to study and how it relates to contemporary research in your field(s).
    • Indicate specific faculty member(s) (a few if applicable) in ECE whose research interests parallel and/or complement yours.
  • Leadership and community service
    • Discuss any leadership roles you’ve held, whether academic (teaching assistantships, tutoring, registered student organizations, etc.), professional (internships, reviewing, workshop organization, etc.), or personal (caretaking, mentorship, nonprofit organization, etc.)).
    • Discuss any roles where you support or serve a community you participate in, past or present.
  • Life experiences, identity, and challenges or hardships overcome
    • Have you experienced significant setbacks or challenges in your professional or personal life that have informed your interest in pursuing a graduate degree? If so, discuss relevant details.
    • Have you overcome challenges or hardships that demonstrate your interest in or commitment to pursue a graduate degree? If so, discuss relevant details.
    • Do you identify with a group that is underrepresented in engineering? If so, discuss relevant details.

We recommend the statement be no longer than three pages double-spaced.

Three Letters of Recommendation

Submit recommender email addresses into the electronic application form. This triggers an automatic request to the recommender to submit their letter. We recommend you submit the email addresses at least one month ahead of the deadline in order to give recommenders sufficient time to submit the letters. Your recommenders must submit their letters only via the online application. Letters submitted any other way (email, postal mail) will not be accepted.

Undergraduate and Graduate Transcripts

Scan and upload an electronic copy of transcripts from all colleges and universities attended via the online application system.  Do not mail transcripts and do not submit official transcripts.

English Language Proficiency – Required for New International Applicants

Ask ETS to send official test scores directly to the University of Washington Graduate Admissions Office, institution code 4854, Department code: 99 (for any department). Scores should be no more than two years old. The minimum score required for admission is 600 (paper-based exam), 250 (computer-administered) or 92 (TOEFLiBTI) to fulfill the ELP requirement.

For details on the English language proficiency requirements, including all of the ways proficiency can be met and temporary policy updates, review the Graduate School’s Memo 8.