How to Apply

On this page: Dates & Deadlines | Admissions Criteria | How to Apply | Application Materials | Relevant Information | Supporting Coursework Resources | For More Information

Enrollment Dates and Application Deadlines

As a cohort program, the Master of Arts in Policy Studies admits students only for Autumn Quarter of each year.

The Priority Deadline for Autumn 2024 has been extended to March 1, 2024. Priority deadline applicants receive first consideration for placement and funding.

After the priority deadline, the MA in Policy Studies will continue to accept applications on a space-available basis. Please contact an Admissions Advisor to inquire about space availability and upcoming submission deadlines.

Applicants are encouraged to begin the application process at any time, but their applications will only be reviewed once they are complete and after posted deadlines.

Admissions Criteria

The UW Graduate School’s minimum requirements for admission include a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, and minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0.

The Policy Studies Admissions Committee evaluates prospective students’ overall likelihood of success in the program, with a focus on each applicant’s:

  • Interest and motivation to pursue an issue or issues of public consequence or policy concern.
  • Analytic skills, both quantitative and qualitative in nature
  • Research experience, as demonstrated in academic, professional, civic or community contexts
  • Indicated potential to contribute to a diverse learning community.

Your application materials, below, offer multiple opportunities to demostrate how your academic, professional, community, and lived experience can contribute to the program, and how the program can benefit you, in your academic, professional, community, and personal goals.

How to Apply

To apply, you will need to:

  1. Create an Applicant Profile (or Log In to Your Account) with the UW Graduate School.
  2. Choose “Policy Studies – (MAPS) – Bothell Campus” and the Autumn quarter to which you applying.
  3. Follow all instructions to:
  4. upload your application materials (see list below)
    • upload your application materials (see list below)
    • designate recommenders
    • pay the application fee ($85), and
    • submit all materials for review.

Your application can be saved multiple times while in progress.

It will not be reviewed until all items have been received electronically.

Apply Now

Application Materials

The complete set of materials that you will be required to submit are as follows:

  • A statement of intent (2-3 pages). Describe your relevant background and your goals in seeking a MA in Policy Studies degree. If you are submitting supplemental materials (optional), explain how they relate to your goals and experience.
  • Statement on quantitative skills. Applications are reviewed for evidence of quantitative skills. Please outline your experience with statistical and/or microeconomic thinking, such as courses taken, applications used in professional contexts, research undertaken, or other experience indicating readiness for further study. You may also/alternatively outline current or planned coursework. (1 page max).
  • A current resume, or curriculum vitae, showing relevant academic, professional, and civic experience
  • Two letters of recommendation, preferably at least one from faculty member who can discuss your academic ability.  If you do not have a professor to use as a reference (due to being out of school for a long time, graduating in another country, etc), professional references may be substituted for academic ones. This choice should be contextualized in the statement of intent.
  • An academic essay/writing sample demonstrating your academic research ability, critical thinking skills and writing proficiency. Writing samples should be 10-20 pages, double-spaced. They can be a paper from an undergraduate course, part of a senior project/thesis, or a professional report. If you are submitting part of a longer paper, please include a brief preface that describes the excerpt in relation to the larger project. Consider situating your writing sample in your statement of intent, as its topic or methods pertain to your policy studies research interests.
  • All unofficial transcripts from prior academic work, including community and technical college, college, and university. If admitted, you will be asked to submit an official transcript from the institution at which you completed your last degree.
  • [Optional] Any additional documentation relevant for consideration by the Policy Studies Admissions Committee, such as documentation of community work, collaborative projects, leadership or professional accomplishments, Graduate Record Exam (GRE) test scores.

Relevant Information

Undergraduate Degrees

There is not a specific undergraduate degree necessary to be considered for the Policy Studies program, and students who hold a bachelor’s degree in any undergraduate discipline are encouraged to apply. However, previous coursework in Statistics and Micro-Economics is strongly recommended and coursework in Political science, Sociology, Psychology, or Philosophy strengthens a prospective student’s application.


Report all post-secondary schools you have attended, even if you did not earn a degree. At the time of application, U.S. citizens, Permanent Residents, and Immigrants only need to upload unofficial transcripts to the application site. If you are offered and accept admission to the program, the UW Graduate School will verify the authenticity of the highest or most recent degree(s) earned. 

Enter your GPA based on your last two years of undergraduate or graduate coursework. Our office will make our own calculation once we receive your transcripts. The minimum GPA required for admission is 3.0.

Transfer Credits

If you have graduate credits from another program and are admitted, up to 6 graduate credits may transfer from a non-UW accredited degree program. The IAS Graduate Office and the Admissions Committee will make the determination about how many credits, if any, can be applied to the degree.

Quantitative Skills Preparation

Quantitative skills and knowledge in statistics are necessary for success in the Policy Studies program. Prior coursework in statistics and microeconomics on your transcript is a strong indication of preparedness to undertake graduate-level policy studies, and your application will be more competitive if you can demonstrate strong foundations in these areas. 

In the Quantitative Skills Statement, the admissions application asks you to identify coursework you have taken that covers these areas, and invites you to (1) highlight other experience you may have in applying these methods and skills, or to (2) indicate a plan for completing prerequisite coursework prior to matriculating. 

Those looking to prepare for graduate-level statistics and/or make their applications more competitive can consider local and online courses that fulfill this requirement.  This list is not exhaustive, and we will accept applicable coursework from any accredited college or university.


The GRE is NOT required for admission, but strong scores can strengthen your application. The GRE institutional code for the UW is 4854, if you wish to send them. While there is no minimum score required for consideration, scores of 153 Verbal and 144 Quantitative (new scale) are considered competitive.

International Students & English Proficiency Requirement

There are special application requirements for International Students. Find more information on the Graduate School web site. Proficiency in English is required for graduate study at the University of Washington. Therefore, every applicant or enrolled student whose native language is not English must demonstrate English language proficiency. To learn about English Language Proficiency requirements, please refer to Memo 8 from the Graduate School.

If you have questions at any point in the application process, please contact the IAS Graduate Office at 425.352.3406 or

Application Fee Waivers

UW Graduate School Application Fee Waivers

Applicants who have financial need and those who participate in the McNairs Scholars or PPIA Fellows programs may be eligible for an application fee waiver from the UW Graduate School. See the UW Graduate School fee waiver policy and application

IAS Student and Alum Application Incentive

Current or former IAS students who meet the following criteria can request that IAS Graduate Programs cover their application fee:

  • Minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA in a relevant major
  • Participation in a program information session or consultation with an admissions advisor
  • Completion of BIS 315 Understanding Statistics (or equivalent) with a 3.0 or above

Contact an admissions advisor for more details at 

Enrollment Requirements

At this time all classes are classroom-based and there are not currently online classes offered. While full-time intensive study is normative,  students may, after consultation with the directors, opt for a part-time completion plan. 

Supporting Coursework Resources

Skills and knowledge in statistics and microeconomics are necessary for success in the Policy Studies program. Prior coursework in statistics and microeconomics on your transcript is a strong indication of preparedness to undertake graduate-level policy studies. The admissions application will ask you to identify coursework you have taken that covers these areas, invite you to highlight other experience you may have in applying these methods and skills, or indicate a plan for completing prerequisite coursework prior to matriculating. For those looking to build knowledge and skills in these areas, check our list of courses below. This list is not exhaustive, we accept applicable coursework from any accredited college or university.

Completing any of the courses below does not guarantee admission; this listing is offered as an application aid and does not represent formalized relationships with the institutions listed. The Policy Studies program does not have information about course availability, cost, or requirements.

List of applicable courses by institution

College or UniversityStatisticsMicro-Economics
Bellevue CollegeMATH 130ECON 201
Cascadia Community CollegeMATH 146ECON 201
Edmonds Community College MATH 240ECON 201
Everett Community College MATH 146ECON 201
Green River Community CollegeN/AECON 201
Highline Community CollegeMATH 210ECON 211
Lake Washington Technical CollegeMATH 146N/A
North Seattle Community CollegeMATH 109ECON 201
Northwest UniversityMATH 2003ECON 201
Olympic CollegeMATH 146ECON 201
Pacific Lutheran UniversityMATH 341ECON 111
Renton Technical College MATH 146N/A
Seattle Central Community CollegeMATH 109ECON 201
Seattle Pacific UniversityMATH 1260ECON 2101
Seattle University N/AECON 272
Shoreline Community CollegeMATH 146ECON 201
South Seattle Community CollegeMATH 109ECON 201
Tacoma Community CollegeMATH 146ECON 201
University of Pheonix (Online)StatisticsPrinciples of Microeconomics
University of Puget SoundMATH 160N/A
University of Washington BothellBIS 315B CUSP 200
University of Washington Professional and Continuing Education (Online)STAT 311ECON 200
University of Washington SeattleSTAT 220ECON 200
University of Washington TacomaTMATH 110TECON 200
Western Washington UniversityMATH 240ECON 206

For More Information