Dreaming of becoming a Husky? The University of Washington is an excellent public university to attend for graduate school. But to get in, you’ll need to have solid GRE scores and a decent undergraduate GPA.
Here, we go over in detail University of Washington GRE scores expectations, both overall and for various grad programs. We also offer you some expert tips for estimating your chances of getting accepted to your chosen UW program.
Feature Image: Joe Mabel/Flickr
What Kind of School Is UW?
The University of Washington, or UW (pronounced “you-dub”) as it’s known locally, is a large, well-ranked public research university based in Seattle. Established in 1861, UW is one of the oldest public institutions of higher learning on the West Coast.
The university is home to not only the famed Huskies NCAA Division I football team, but also more than 45,000 students—about 30,000 undergrads and 15,000 graduate/professional students.
UW receives a significant amount of federal funding each year and is known for its numerous top-ranked colleges, including the School of Medicine, the Michael G. Foster School of Business, and the College of Engineering.
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University of Washington GRE Scores: How Competitive Is UW?
UW is a fairly competitive school for graduate school applicants.
The average GRE scores for UW grad programs range significantly, from about 153 to 161 for Verbal and 154 to 168 for Quant.
Quant score expectations are typically higher for applicants to math- and science-oriented programs, while Verbal score expectations are higher for applicants to humanities and social sciences programs.
As for Analytical Writing (AW), which is normally considered the least important of the three GRE sections, most admitted applicants to UW score at least 4.0.
As you can see already, University of Washington GRE scores expectations can vary a lot. For example, you’ll need a much higher Quant score for the Economics PhD program at UW than you’ll need for its graduate History program.
Now that we’ve gone over the general GRE score expectations at UW, let’s take a look at some average GRE scores for popular grad programs at Washington.
What’s a Good GRE Score for University of Washington?
In this section, we offer an overview of the average University of Washington GRE scores for various grad programs. We also go over each program’s US News ranking, whether it requires the GRE or not, what its average GPA is, and what its acceptance rate is.
Generally, UW programs will publish GRE score information in one of three ways:
- Required scores: These are the minimum required GRE scores you’ll need for admission to a program. If you don’t get at least this score, your application will most likely be rejected (though exceptions might be possible).
- Recommended scores: These are GRE scores a program recommends you earn to be competitive for admission. Though you’re not required to get these scores, hitting or surpassing them will increase your odds of getting accepted.
- Average scores: These are the average GRE scores of admitted applicants to a program. Getting these scores will put you on par with other applicants and make you a competitive candidate.
The UW programs below are arranged in alphabetical order (by program, not degree type) and are for both master’s and doctoral programs unless otherwise noted.
Most GRE scores reported by UW grad programs are averages, though, as you’ll see in just a moment, you’ll also come across minimum, recommended, and median (very similar to average) scores.
As for grades, the UW Graduate School requires a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA for admission to all grad programs. In other words, you’ll need to have at least a 3.0 undergrad GPA to get accepted into a graduate program at UW. If you don’t, your grad school application will most likely be disqualified; however, some programs might be willing to make an exception for certain applicants.
If you’re not sure whether your low GPA will pose a problem, contact your program to ask.
|Program||US News Ranking||GRE Required?||Avg. GRE Scores||Avg. GPA||Acceptance Rate*|
|Aeronautics and Astronautics MS||26 (Best Engineering Programs)||Yes||V: 74th %ile
Q: 83rd %ile
AW: 61st %ile
|Master of Architecture||—||Yes||Unavailable||Unavailable||51.8%|
|Biology PhD||23 (Best Biological Sciences Programs)||No||Recommended
V: 75th %ile
Q: 75th %ile
|Chemistry PhD||24 (Best Chemistry Programs)||Yes||Unavailable||Unavailable||27.2%|
|Civil and Environmental Engineering||26 (Best Engineering Programs)||Yes||Master’s
|Clinical Psychology PhD||26 (Best Psychology Schools)||Yes||Median
V: 89th %ile
Q: 67th %ile
|Communication PhD||—||Yes||V: 157
|3.53/4.00||29% (Dept of Comm)|
|Computer Science and Engineering||6 (Best Computer Science Schools)||Yes||PMP
V: 60th %ile
Q: 83rd %ile
V: 83rd %ile
Q: 93rd %ile
AW: 61st %ile
|Earth and Space Sciences||10 (Best Earth Science Programs)||Yes||V: 157
|Economics PhD||35 (Best Economics Schools)||Yes||V: 154
|Electrical and Computer Engineering||26 (Best Engineering Programs)||Yes||Recommended
|Global Health Master of Public Health (MPH)||6 (Best Public Health Schools)||Yes||Unavailable||Unavailable||27.2%|
|History||23 (Best History Programs)||Yes||Median
V: 90th %ile
|Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS)||2 (Best Library and Information Studies Programs)||No||Unavailable||Unavailable||40.1% (Information School)|
|Materials Science and Engineering MS||26 (Best Engineering Programs)||Yes (unless graduated from UW in past two years)||V: 62nd %ile
Q: 87th %ile
AW: 41st %ile
|Mathematics||26 (Best Mathematics Programs)||Yes||V: 75th %ile
Q: 75th %ile
|Mechanical Engineering||26 (Best Engineering Programs)||Yes||Master’s
3.30/4.00 (for MS)
|Nutritional Sciences||—||Yes||V: 75.3rd %ile
Q: 64.4th %ile
|3.73/4.00||48.1% (School of Public Health)|
|Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)||14 (Best Occupational Therapy Schools)||Yes||Unavailable||Unavailable||16.4% (Dept of Rehabilitation Medicine)|
|Pharmaceutics PhD||9 (Best Pharmacy Schools)||Yes||V: 71st %ile
Q: 82nd %ile
AW: 69th %ile
|Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)||28 (Best Physical Therapy Schools)||Yes||Unavailable||Unavailable||16.4% (Dept of Rehabilitation Medicine)|
|Political Science PhD||33 (Best Political Science Schools)||Yes||V+Q: 315+||3.40+/4.00||17.2%|
|Master of Public Administration (MPA)||6 (Best Public Affairs Programs)||GRE or GMAT||V: 157
|3.52/4.00||63.4% (Evans School of Public Policy & Governance)|
|Master of Social Work||5 (Best Schools for Social Work)||No||Unavailable||Unavailable||50.3% (School of Social Work)|
|Sociology PhD||—||Yes||V: Low 600s
Q: Around 700
(Old GRE scoring scale)
*Acceptance rates are for all grad programs in a field/department (including master’s and doctoral, if both are offered)
What Are Your Chances of Admission to UW?
How likely you are to get into UW depends on several factors. But before we go over what those are, let’s take a look at some general estimates for what you’ll need to be able to get into UW for grad school:
- If Verbal is your most important section, around 160-161 on Verbal, 157 on Quant, and 4.5 on AW: Getting in the 160s on Verbal and the mid- to high 150s on Quant should make you a pretty competitive applicant for most reading- and writing-oriented grad programs at UW.
- If Quant is your most important section, around 163-164 on Quant, 157 on Verbal, and 4.0+ on AW: Most math and science programs at UW look for Quant scores in at least the low to mid-160s. Verbal and AW aren’t as important, so try to aim for roughly the 75th percentile on both.
- A 3.6/4.0 GPA or higher: Most successful applicants to UW have a GPA of at least 3.6, or between a B+ and an A- average. Don’t worry too much, though, if your GPA is a little lower (such as a 3.5) since many programs accept applicants with these kinds of GPAs. Just be sure you’re above the 3.0 minimum.
These GRE scores and GPA should make you an overall strong applicant for most UW grad programs. That said, there are two main caveats to be aware of.
First off, no two grad programs are exactly alike, so what one program might want in terms of GRE scores and/or GPA could vastly differ from what another program wants. In other words, you might be able to get into a UW program with scores much lower than what we recommend above.
Secondly, UW grad programs are overall fairly competitive, so even if you manage to get these scores (or higher!), you could still wind up getting rejected. Ultimately, there’s no way of knowing for sure whether you’ll get into UW or not, no matter how high your test scores and GPA might be.
Now, let’s go over in detail the three main factors that can influence your chances of getting accepted to UW as a grad student.
#1: Is There a Minimum Required GRE Score or GPA?
Before you apply to UW, it’s important to know whether or not your particular program/school maintains a minimum GRE score or GPA requirement.
The chart above indicates that most UW grad programs don’t maintain required GRE score minimums, so you should be eligible to apply regardless of how low or high your scores might be.
However, if, by chance, your program does require a minimum GRE score, it’s essential that you get at least this score. Not getting it means your application will most likely be immediately disqualified.
Likewise, if your UW grad program recommends a certain GRE score, it’s important (though not absolutely necessary) that you get this score so you can meet the general expectations of the program and prove that you’re on par with other applicants.
Recall that the UW Graduate School requires all applicants to have a minimum 3.0/4.0 undergraduate GPA. If your GPA is a little lower, however, you might still be eligible to apply. Here’s what UW writes about this on its website:
“Graduate programs may consider an applicant with a GPA below a 3.0. Graduate programs must submit an admission petition to the Dean of the Graduate School before an offer is made.”
Note that even if you have a 3.0 GPA, most programs at the University of Washington have average GPAs much higher than this minimum—around 3.6. If you’re worried that your GPA might bring down your chances of admission, it’s worth it to strengthen other parts of your application.
#2: How Does Your GRE Score Compare to the Average?
The easiest way to figure out what GRE scores you need for UW grad school is to find the average GRE scores of previously admitted applicants to the program you’re applying to. You’ll want to aim for at least these average scores, if not higher, to make yourself stand out as a competitive applicant.
For example, say you’re applying to UW’s MPA program. For this program, you’ll want to get at least 157 on Verbal and 155 on Quant. Getting these scores ensures you’ll be on equal footing with other applicants.
If you can get higher than these scores—say, 160 on Verbal and 158 on Quant—you’ll stand out even more, giving you a slightly higher chance of admission.
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As you can see in the chart above, many UW grad programs report average GRE scores (or percentiles, which you can translate into scores using official GRE percentiles).
If, however, your program doesn’t offer GRE score information—if not averages, minimum or recommended scores—then you’ll have to do some digging on that program’s ranking, quality, and overall prestige in order to determine what scores you should be aiming for on the test.
#3: How Strong Is the Rest of Your Application?
The last main factor that can affect your chances of admission to UW is how strong the rest of your grad school application is, beyond your GRE scores and GPA.
After all, you’re not just being judged on your test scores and grades but on other important parts of your application, such as the following:
- How well written, interesting, and persuasive your statement of purpose is
- How compelling your letters of recommendation are
- How much work, extracurricular, and/or research experience you have in the field
- How closely your own research interests align with those of the faculty
Ultimately, regardless of how high your GRE scores and GPA might be, you’ll need to have an overall impressive grad school application if you hope to get accepted to UW. Just one major flaw, such as an error-riddled personal statement, can cause a program to reject you, so take care to make every part of your UW grad school application as amazing as it can be!
Looking beyond the University of Washington? Learn what GRE scores you’ll need for other great grad schools, including the University of Michigan (coming soon), UCLA, and Boston U (coming soon).
Curious about how GRE score expectations can differ across fields? Check out our comprehensive guide to average GRE scores by major to learn more about what to expect for your field of study.
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