application process

General Instructions are provided below.  Please review the department website, of the program to which you are applying, for more detailed instructions. 

Applications should be submitted online, but some supporting documents might need to be mailed. It generally is advantageous for the applicant to complete the application well in advance of the deadline. Applicants who miss their prospective program’s deadline may or may not be considered for admission and financial aid. Most applicants who complete the application process by their deadline will be notified of their admission status in March.

The application is a web-based, online document. There are a series of tabs that an applicant clicks to complete each section. Once signed in, our online system will generate a password and send it to the email address that is listed. The applicant will have an option to change the password. The application does not have to be completed at one time. The application may be saved and returned to at any time before the application deadline.


submit the following

  1. The online application.
  2. Official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate courses taken by the applicant. Transcripts must be requested by the applicant and sent directly by the institutions where the studies were pursued. Official supplementary transcripts must be submitted, as soon as they are available, to cover work completed after submitting an application.
  3. Three reference forms completed by persons closely acquainted with the applicant, preferably those who have recently taught the student in relevant subjects.
  4. Application fee or a fee waiver.
  5. Any additional material or interview required by the degree program. Even when not required, an interview is usually in the applicant’s best interest.
  6. Please check with the individual graduate program for their GRE requirement.  Information on the Graduate Record Examination can be requested directly from the Educational Testing Service website. The examination should be taken in time for results to reach Washington University directly from the Educational Testing Service before the application deadline. Students should take the examination with the view that no decision is made on the basis of standardized exams alone; a high score might strengthen an application, while a lower one is considered in conjunction with other evidence that has been submitted.


acceptance of admissions + awards

Washington University, along with most other graduate schools in the United States, subscribes to the following resolution of the Council of Graduate Schools:

Admissions and financial aid awards are for a specific academic year; students who do not matriculate that year must formally reapply. Admitted students can request a deferral of admission for up to one year, but such special requests require approval both of the admitting program and of the Graduate School.

Admission to graduate study is ordinarily free from preconditions. However, when the evidence in an application supports contradictory conclusions about an applicant’s preparedness, the program might recommend provisional admission. Provisionally admitted students enter the program for a semester or two, at the end of which time their faculty must make an unconditional admissions decision. Students who require further undergraduate work before they can engage in graduate study should obtain it before applying to the Graduate School.

Acceptance of an offer of financial aid (such as a graduate scholarship, fellowship, traineeship, or assistantship) for the next academic year by an actual or prospective graduate student completes an agreement that both student and graduate school expect to honor. In those instances in which the student accepts the offer before April 15 and subsequently desires to withdraw, the student may submit in writing a resignation of the appointment at any time through April 15. However, an acceptance given or left in force after April 15 commits the student not to accept another offer without first obtaining a written release from the institution to which a commitment has been made. Similarly, an offer by an institution after April 15 is conditional on presentation by the student of the written release from any previously accepted offer.

It is further agreed by the institutions and organizations subscribing to the above Resolution that a copy of this Resolution should accompany every scholarship, fellowship, traineeship, and assistantship offer. Students to whom admission and financial awards are offered in March are requested to give notice in writing of the acceptance or rejection of their offers no later than April 15. Students to whom offers are made after April 1 are asked to reply within two weeks of receipt of the notice. Offers can be withdrawn if the deadline passes without any response from the student. Requests to extend deadlines or to reinstate withdrawn offers should be addressed to the degree program, which must endorse them before forwarding them to the Graduate School Dean for final approval.


status of your application

After submission, applicants can verify the status of all supporting materials by going to the Check Application Status page to see if their transcripts, letters of recommendation, GRE and TOEFL (if applicable) have been received. Please review this page often and follow up with the appropriate institution or person to ensure that the information is sent to the department to which you are applying Timely receipt of these documents is necessary for the review of the application.



Applicants to whom admission is not offered may reapply after gaining additional evidence of qualification. Degree programs in Arts & Sciences rarely admit applicants for the spring semester. Students interested in beginning graduate study in the spring should consult their prospective program’s faculty and staff.