Students from a variety of disciplines are eligible to apply to School of Environmental and Forest Sciences programs. These include biology, botany, chemistry, economics, environmental engineering, environmental policy, environmental studies, horticulture, marketing, mathematics and sociology. While our programs have no specific course prerequisites, it is generally recommended for students to have undergraduate education in biology, statistics and environmental studies. A competitive applicant will have an in-depth specialization, experience and skill set.

The Master of Environmental Horticulture (MEH) program is not accepting students for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Application Deadlines and Requirements

Our graduate program admits students annually, with the expectation that they begin at the autumn quarter. We begin accepting applications after Sept. 15, and the submission deadline is Dec. 1 for both domestic and international applicants. For priority consideration, all application items must be submitted by the deadline.

Applicants to the Ph.D. program must hold a master’s degree prior to beginning their doctoral studies. Prospective students who have not earned a master’s degree before the start of autumn quarter may only apply to the MS program, but they may continue on to earn a Ph.D. with faculty approval. It will not be necessary to reapply to the Ph.D. program once the MS degree is earned from the school.

Admission Criteria

The criteria for admission to Environmental and Forest Sciences is the demonstrated ability to successfully complete the degree program. The applicant’s scholastic record is of primary importance in determining this potential and includes the following minimum requirements:


A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 for the most recent 90 quarter credits or 60 semester credits. Applicants admitted to Environmental and Forest Sciences typically have a GPA of 3.5 or higher.

GRE Scores

Official GRE scores are required. Applicants admitted to Environmental and Forest Sciences typically have GRE scores of at least 153 verbal, 144 quantitative and 4.0 analytical writing. Please note we only require the GRE General Test. The Educational Testing Service (ETS) will not report scores that are older than five years, so some applicants may need to retake the test.

TOEFL Scores

For international students who need to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), Environmental and Forest Sciences requires a minimum score of 580 on the written test (TOEFL) or 92 on the internet-based test (TOEFLiBT). The TOEFL test is required for any applicant whose native language is not English, unless the applicant graduated from a university in the United States or another primarily English-speaking country. Test scores are valid for two years and must be valid on the application deadline of Dec. 1.

Students do not need to have a faculty advisor or a specific research project, but both are helpful in the admissions process. Students should review our faculty profiles to determine whether their research background, interests and objectives fit with one (or more) faculty within Environmental and Forest Sciences, and then, contact them directly.

UW admissions policies and procedures are addressed on the UW Graduate Admissions site, and the UW Graduate School’s website also has admissions and enrollment statistics.

Application Process

To be considered for admission, students will need to apply to the UW Office of Graduate Admissions via the online application. There are step-by-step instructions to guide student through the online application process, and an overview is listed below.

Our application deadline is Dec. 1 for both domestic and international applicants.

Late or incomplete applications will not be considered. We begin mailing admission offers in March, and all applicants will receive notification of an admission decision before April 15. See the application timeline below for more details.

Please completely read all instructions before beginning the admissions process:

  • Apply online by following the instructions at
  • One unofficial copy of transcript(s) from all colleges or universities attended should be uploaded via the graduate school application interface. If an applicant is taking classes at the time of application, please upload unofficial transcripts from the institution the student is currently attending by the deadline. Applicants should upload updated transcripts that include final grades as soon as they are available. All admitted students will need to provide official transcripts to the graduate school before enrolling.
  • Official graduate record examinations (GRE) general test scores: Scores are sent electronically from the Educational Testing Service (ETS) to the UW Graduate Admissions Office on a weekly basis. We recommend that applicants take the GRE General Test by early November. Our GRE institution code is 4854. There is no department code to report to ETS; our institution code (4854) is sufficient. GRE scores must be less than five years old, otherwise ETS will not report them. Information about GRE testing can be found on the Educational Testing Service (ETS) website; please contact ETS directly for testing questions, including when official scores will be ready. If the GRE test date is after Nov. 15, please self-report the verbal and quantitative scores in the online application and have ETS send the official scores as soon as possible. No offer of admission will be made until official scores are received for all sections of the GRE General Test.
  • International students: OFFICIAL TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) SCORES. Please review the Graduate School’s Memorandum #8 to determine whether English language proficiency test scores are required. Our institution code is 4854. Environmental and Forest Sciences requires these minimum scores on one of the following tests: 580 on the written test (TOEFL); 237 on the computer-based test (TOEFLC); 92 on the internet-based (TOEFLiBT) test; 7.0 on the IELTS; 90 on the MLT; 65 on the Pearson Test of English (PTE). Please note that other tests of English language proficiency are acceptable as outlined in the Graduate School’s Memorandum #8. Test scores are valid for two years and must be valid on the date the application deadline, December 1.
  • Funding: If an applicant plans to receive funding from an external (i.e., non-Environmental and Forest Sciences) source, please provide all relevant information when requested.
  • Faculty contact: If applicants have had contact with any faculty members, or would like to work with specific faculty members, please provide this information when requested.
  • Three letters of recommendation: All letters of recommendation are requested electronically during the online application process. The application system will immediately email contacts after their information is entered into the application; further instructions for uploading and transmitting their recommendations will be included in that email. Please do not select the “postal mail” option; we only accept electronic recommendations. Recommendations should be from faculty or scientists familiar with the applicant’s academic achievements and/or research experience. Applicants who have been out of school for some time may include recommendations from employers, but all efforts should be made to include at least one letter from academic faculty. Letters are due by the application deadline, Dec. 1.
  • Statement of purpose: During the online application process, applicants will be asked to submit a statement of educational and professional goals/objectives. This can uploaded into the application as a Word, PDF, RTF or plain text document. The format for the statement of purpose is below:
    • Two pages maximum, single-spaced, and one-inch margins.
    • Explain how past experiences (research, volunteer or education) and background might enhance graduate studies.
    • Discuss why the applicant wants to attend Environmental and Forest Sciences.
    • Identify any faculty whom the applicant would like as potential advisers and explain why.
    • Include research interests, ideas regarding potential research projects and what the applicant hope to accomplish during and after the program at Environmental and Forest Sciences.
  • Resume or curriculum vitae: The applicant will be asked to submit a resume or curriculum vitae (CV) listing a summary of education, accomplishments and experiences including: (a) awards and scholarships (prizes, honors upon graduation, honorary society membership, etc.) and dates awarded; (b) research experience (description, name of adviser, and dates); (c) relevant employment and professional experience (description and dates); (d) special skills (computer/software, specialized instruments, etc.); and (e) a list of publications (including papers that have been submitted or are in preparation), if applicable.

Application Timeline

Please keep in mind that this timeline is subject to change.

  • Sept. 15: The online application system opens
  • Dec. 1: Deadline for domestic and international applications for SEFS fellowship consideration
  • Dec. 1 – April: Faculty members review and evaluate all applications
  • Jan. 15 to Jan. 31: All competitive applications eligible for SEFS fellowships are forwarded to the Scholarship Committee
  • Feb. 1: All SEFS fellowship awardees will begin to be notified; offers of admission will begin to be sent
  • March 1: Priority application deadline for all fall applicants
  • April 15: Applicant deadline to accept or decline an admission offer from SEFS

Equal Opportunity

The University of Washington reaffirms its policy of equal opportunity regardless of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, disability or status as a disabled veteran or Vietnam era veteran. This policy applies to all programs and facilities, including, but not limited to, admissions, educational programs, employment, and patient and hospital services. Any discriminatory action can be a cause for disciplinary action. Discrimination is prohibited by Presidential Executive Order 11246 as amended, Washington State Gubernatorial Executive Orders 89-01 and 93-07, Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Washington State Law Against Discrimination RCW 49.60, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, State of Washington Gender Equity in Higher Education Act of 1989, Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 as amended, Age Discrimination Act of 1975, Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1972 as amended, other federal and state statutes, regulations, and University policy. Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action compliance efforts at the University of Washington are coordinated by the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, University of Washington, 231 Gerberding Hall, Box 351240, Seattle, Washington, 98195-1240, telephone 206.543.1830 or email

The University of Washington is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, education and employment for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation in the application process, contact the Disability Services Office at least 10 days in advance at: 206.543.6450/V, 206.543.6452/TTY, 206.685.7264 (FAX), or

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