Graduate Program Application Instructions

Academic Writing Sample

Your academic writing sample must be in English and should showcase your best philosophical work to date.  A typical writing sample is 15-20 pages (when double spaced and in 12-point font), not including reference page(s).  We don’t recommend a paper shorter than 10 or longer than 25 pages. Writing samples should be clearly written and go beyond superficial summaries of philosophical positions to engage in clear argumentation, detailed analysis, evaluation, and/or engagement with texts.  Writing samples are evaluated primarily for their ability to demonstrate skills needed for more advanced scholarship.

Statement of Purpose

In your statement of purpose, briefly describe:
(1) your background in academic philosophy,
(2) what areas of philosophy you want to work on in graduate school, and how they connect to our department's strengths. 

Optionally, please also describe:

(3) any non-academic experiences that add perspective and breadth to your intellectual work,
(4) any philosophically-relevant background in the sciences, engineering (including computer science), or mathematics,
(5) any experiences or qualifications that show an ability to get things done in challenging circumstances, and
(6) any special circumstances that have negatively affected your academic record. 

Please limit your statement to 750 words or less.

Letters of Recommendation

You will need three letters of recommendation to support your application. You should request letters from scholars who know your work well and are able to write a strong letter regarding your potential to succeed in a philosophy graduate program. Generally, letters from philosophers will be more beneficial and carry more weight. Be sure to request letters well in advance to ensure that your letter writers have ample time to upload your letters prior to the application deadline.

You will identify your three recommenders in your online application by submitting their names and email addresses. The application system will then automatically send each recommender an email with instructions on how to upload your letter. There is no recommendation form. Letters should be on letterhead from the recommender’s organization. Please note: the UW Graduate School online application is not associated with Interfolio and cannot accept recommendation letters via Interfolio and/or your recommender’s Interfolio email.

TOEFL Scores [if needed]

Applicants must meet English language requirements at the time of application. Native English speakers automatically meet this requirement.

For most non-native English speakers, this will require submitting TOEFL scores (with some exceptions).

To determine whether you need to submit TOEFL scores, see Admissions Criteria.

TOEFL scores are valid for two years after the test date, and must be valid on the application deadline. Official TOEFL scores (if needed to meet English language proficiency requirements) must be self-reported on the online application form and official scores sent to institution code 4854. Please allow 14 business days from the date you request scores from ETS for them to reach the Graduate School.

Unofficial Transcript(s)

You will need to upload PDFs of your unofficial transcripts for any previous studies that you include in your application. You do not need to send official transcripts with your application, but will be asked to provide them to the Graduate School for verification if you are offered admission and intend to matriculate at the University of Washington.