Students with backgrounds in biological or biomedical sciences, engineering, physics, chemistry, mathematics, computer science, among other science or engineering disciplines, are encouraged to apply.

We take a holistic approach to assessing the merits of each application, meaning we review all facets of an application in order to determine an applicant’s overall potential and fit with our program. As of 2020, we no longer request or require GRE scores as part of our admissions process.

We are committed to providing educational opportunities to students from all backgrounds including those currently underrepresented in science and engineering. If you would like to talk with a current student about their experience in the program, please contact to be connected with a current student.

The UW Graduate School offers application fee waivers based on financial need. If you do not meet the requirements to be considered for the Graduate School’s fee waiver, but still find the application fee to be a barrier to applying, please reach out to our graduate program advisor.

Eligibility Criteria

To be considered for the MolE program, an applicant must:

  • Possess a B.S. or B.A. degree from an engineering or natural sciences discipline
  • Have passed at least one course in thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, or physical chemistry (or a course with comparable topic coverage). If this course is being taken during or after application submission, please indicate this within your application. The admissions committee will consider this current or future course enrollment when making admissions decisions.

English Language Proficiency

Applicants whose native language is not English, and who have not received a bachelor’s degree from an accredited U.S. institution (a master’s degree does not satisfy this requirement), are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), receiving a minimum cumulative score of 92 with at least 26 points earned specifically from the speaking section. For more information, review this memo from the UW Graduate School regarding English language proficiency requirements.

Admission Timeline

At this time, we only offer Autumn Quarter (September) admission.

December 5thApplication deadline. Late applications may be considered, but are at a disadvantage.
December – JanuaryApplications are reviewed by the admissions committee.
January – MarchOffers are made on a rolling basis as top applicants are identified.
MarchAccepted applicants are invited to visit the UW campus, meet our faculty/students and explore Seattle.
April 15thApplicants must accept or decline offer of admission.

Application Process

Applications to the MolE Ph.D. program are accepted through the UW Graduate School’s Admissions site. To apply, visit

You will be asked to provide complete information about your academic and professional history (including your CV and unofficial transcripts), a statement of purpose, and contact information for three recommenders. Your recommenders will receive an email at the email address you provide with a link to submit their letter of recommendation online. Letters of recommendation should be from persons who have supervised your research or academic work and who can evaluate your intellectual ability, creativity, leadership potential and promise for productive scholarship. You can monitor the status of each recommendation through the application portal and will be notified when your recommender submits their letter.

Complete the online application process by paying the application fee using a credit or debit card. The Graduate School offers application fee waivers based on financial need.

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the admission application deadline for the MolE Ph.D. program?

The 2022 deadline is December 5. Generally, our application deadline is in December, preceding the September for which you are seeking admission. We only admit students for the Autumn quarter.

Do you accept applications after the deadline has passed?

Yes, if they are complete. However, late applications are at a disadvantage and will be considered after those that are submitted on time.

Can I get the application fee waived?

Potentially. The UW Graduate School offers waivers based on financial need. You can request a waiver via your admission application. Your request should be submitted after all steps of the application have been completed and at least 7 calendar days prior to the application deadline. If you do not meet the requirements of the graduate school fee waiver but are still resource limited, please reach out to the MolE Graduate Program Advisor.

Is the GRE required?

No, the MolES program no longer requires GRE scores to be submitted and scores that are submitted are not factored into admission decisions.

How many letters of recommendation should I submit?

Three letters of recommendation are required. When adding contact information for each recommender, make sure you have selected “online” as we do not consider paper application materials. Your recommenders will receive an automatic email telling them how to submit their recommendation. You can monitor the status of each recommendation submission through the application portal.

Will I receive funding as a graduate student?

Yes. Funding is provided to Ph.D. students via Research and/or Teaching Assistantships. Appointment as a RA/TA includes a competitive stipend (stipend rate for the 2020-2021 academic year is $36,792), tuition coverage, and insurance benefits (medical/dental/vision). International and domestic Ph.D. students are funded for the first 3 academic quarters by the MolES Institute and thereafter by the student’s Principal Investigator (PI). Students are fully funded throughout the course of their Ph.D.

Do I need to have an engineering background to apply to this program?

No! Many of our students come from a variety of non-engineering disciplines including, but not limited to, biological or biomedical sciences, physics, chemistry, mathematics, and computer science.

Do you accept international or undocumented students?

Yes. Funding and benefits are the same for students regardless of whether they are US citizens or not. The UW also strongly supports applicants who are part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

English is not my native language. Do I need to take the TOEFL test?

It depends. Non-native English speakers must take the TOEFL unless you received your bachelor’s degree from an accredited U.S. institution. A master’s degree from a U.S institution however does not satisfy this requirement.

Do I need to submit my application materials again if I applied to a different UW graduate program?

Yes. Unfortunately, the Graduate School separates applications and their associated materials (letters of reference, personal statement, etc.) so that they are inaccessible between programs. As a result, we will not know that you have applied to multiple UW programs unless you tell us.

Not finding the answer to your question? Contact the MolE Graduate Program Advisor.