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

Please describe your main areas of interest (as they are currently – these may change during your time in graduate school).  What philosophical questions or sub-areas grip you?  What has shaped these interest (for example: specific coursework and/or personal experiences)?  Why have you decided to pursue graduate study in philosophy, and specifically in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Washington? What are your long-term goals and aims?

Please limit your statement to 750 words or less.

Optional: You may choose to use this statement to contextualize your record by including additional information for the admissions committee to consider while reviewing your file. For example, you might choose to address any external circumstances that bear on any weaknesses in your file (e.g., you or a family member had health or other issues).  You may also use this document to identify any past work or life experiences that have led to your decision to study philosophy or will inform your academic work or long-term goals.

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.

GRE Scores

The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) General Test is required of all applicants. GRE scores are valid for five years from the test date, and must be valid on the application deadline. You will need to self-report your GRE scores on the online application form itself and have your official score report sent. When requesting official GRE scores from ETS, use institution code 4854 for the University of Washington. Please allow 14 business days from the date you request scores from ETS for them to reach the Graduate School.

TOEFL Scores [if needed]

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.