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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
Please keep in mind that this timeline should be used as a guide only and is subject to change depending on the operational needs of the school.
Sept. 15: The online application system opens
Dec. 1: Deadline for domestic and international applications
Jan. 1 to Feb. 15: Faculty members review and evaluate all applications that were submitted by the deadline
Jan. 15 to Jan. 31: All competitive applicants who are eligible for Environmental and Forest Sciences fellowships are forwarded to the Scholarship Committee for consideration
Feb. 1 to Feb. 15: All Environmental and Forest Sciences fellowship awardees are notified
March 1 to March 31: Admission offers are sent via email
April 15: Applicant deadline to accept or decline an admission offer from Environmental and Forest Sciences
April 16 to July 1: Wait-list applicants are offered admission or denied depending on funding outcomes or space availability
Graduated Non-Matriculated Status
Environmental and Forest Sciences may grant graduate non-matriculated (GNM) status to students who meet the minimum criteria outlined below on a space-available basis. Please note that GNM status in no way implies or guarantees subsequent admission to a graduate degree program at Environmental and Forest Sciences. A separate application process is required for the Environmental and Forest Sciences master’s and doctoral degree programs (see Admissions Criteria and Application Process sections above).
The minimum criteria for GNM status include:
Prior degree: An earned bachelor’s degree (i.e., B.A. or B.S.) from an accredited institution
GPA: A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 for the most recent 90 quarter credits, or 60 semester credits, of college work
GNM students may register for Environmental and Forest Sciences courses on a space-available basis, with permission from the instructor and the Environmental and Forest Sciences Student Services Office in Anderson Hall, Room 130. Students must seek out instructors to obtain their signature before bringing their form to the Environmental and Forest Sciences Student Services Office. Only courses at the 400- or 500-level are eligible for transfer toward UW graduate degrees. The following courses are not open to GNM students: SEFS 500, 509, 600, 700 and 800.
Students may transfer up to 12 eligible GNM credits earned at the UW toward a UW graduate degree. Please see the Graduate School’s Memorandum No. 37 for more information about transfer credit eligibility and restrictions.
Steps to apply for Graduate Non-Matriculated student status:
Include one official or unofficial copy of transcript(s) from all colleges or universities attended.
If applicants want to take some classes but do not need them to count toward a future graduate degree, they may wish to consider non-matriculated (NM) status. Non-matriculated students simply register for courses after obtaining instructor and departmental approval, and tuition costs are substantially less. However, NM credits are not transferable to a UW graduate degree if the applicant is admitted; only eligible GNM credits may count.
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