How to Apply

QERM will be accepting applications September 1 – December 16 for admission to autumn quarter of the 2020. The application submission deadline is December 16, 2019 for both domestic and international applications. Below is information specific to applying to QERM. Additional information about applying to UW can be found at the UW Graduate School admissions page.

Application Process

QERM receives approximately thirty-five applications per year and admits an average of three students per year. Those three positions are fully funded for the first year by the QERM program, including a stipend, tuition waiver, and medical benefits. Subsequent years are funded by the student’s research faculty advisor.

Following the application submission deadline, applications are reviewed by a committee comprised of QERM core faculty. Late January, the 6-8 highest ranked applicants are invited to interview with the program. Interviews happen on campus or via Skype in late February. Soon after the interview process, offers of admission are made to the highest ranked interviewees to fill the three funded positions. Those interviewees not offered admission are placed on a wait list and may be admitted if they are able to secure funding through a grant (such as the NSF grant) or through a research lab at the UW.

Admission Requirements

  • Background coursework and / or research in:
    • College-level calculus (ordinary differential equations, integration, taylor series, and applications)
    • Linear Algebra
    • Statistical Inference
  • Additional advanced coursework in mathematics, probability, statistics
  • Minimum 3.00 GPA in last 60 semester or last 90 quarter credits
  • Minimum TOEFL score of 580 (237 for computer-based tests) – for international students only

Application Requirements

  • Curriculum Vitae or resume
  • List of college-level coursework in mathematics, statistics, and other quantitative applications to ecology and resource management.  Please include the course number, course title, and brief description of topics covered for each.
  • Clearly written statement of purpose and personal statement
  • Letters of recommendation from persons familiar with the applicant’s academic ability and potential
  • Optional:  A technical writing sample e.g., journal manuscript, agency report, undergraduate or graduate thesis.
  • Unofficial transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate coursework. Upon admission some official transcripts will be required.

Preparation Recommendations

  • Coursework: Competitive applicants typically take advanced coursework or have work/research experience spanning
    • At least two of the following quantitative areas: mathematics, statistical inference and modeling, mathematical probability, optimization.
    • Biology, ecology and evolution, or resource management.
  • Written application materials
    • Statement of purpose prompt:
      • Please submit a statement of your educational and professional goals/objectives, and why enrollment in our program will allow you to achieve your goals. It should be a maximum of two pages, 12-point font, single-spaced, and one-inch margins. Your letter should address the following four topics:
        • Your academic preparation for graduate school at QERM
        • Research experience and outcomes
        • Evidence of persistence, commitment, and academic leadership
        • What you hope to accomplish during and after your program at QERM, if you were admitted.
          (Applicants seeking Graduate Non-matriculated status should also include a list of planned courses.)
      • In addition, you may wish to use this opportunity to identify any faculty whom you would like as potential advisors and explain why.
    • Personal Statement Prompt:
      • In our experience, successful graduate students take ownership of the research, work both independently and in teams, and are able to grow through constructive criticism from peers and mentors. Please use this section to explain why you think you will excel in our graduate program, keeping the above characteristics in mind.  Your statement should be a maximum of two pages, 12-point font, single-spaced, and one-inch margins.
      • For guidance, we have a few optional/suggested prompts to aid you in constructing your personal statement. You may respond to as many or as to as few of these as you wish:
        • What do you expect to be challenging about graduate school? What are your plans for managing those challenges?
        • What failures have you had, how did you handle them, and what have you learned from them?
        • What gives you confidence that you’ll be able to thrive in graduate school?
        • Tell us about your most successful or interesting research experience (either in class, lab, or work).  Which of your qualities helped facilitate this success?
        • Describe a time that you encountered a significant obstacle as a student? How did you handle it?
        • Graduate school often involves a combination of intense days, long nights, and high expectations. What strategies will you use to manage this combination of demands?
  • Selection and guidance to writers of recommendation letters.
    • We ask letter writers to comment on applicant’s intellectual capacity, quantitative aptitude, written communication skills, potential to conduct independent research, motivation and persistence, maturity, and overall promise. Often, no single letter writer can comment on all of these. A good application has at least one letter writer that can speak to each of the dimensions listed above.
    • You may choose to prepare letter writers with the prompts we will ask them:
      • Please provide your candid and honest assessment of the applicant; we wish to learn the applicant’s limitations as well as their strengths. Letters that provide specific examples to support evaluation are most effective. The student’s application is not strengthened by letters that praise students without supporting evidence, or letters that largely list activities the student performed and/or mastered.
  • Admission is also dependent on program resources and fit between student interests and faculty research. Students should explore faculty research interests by reviewing the QERM website, to determine if their area of research interest is conducted at the UW. Students are not required to enter the QERM program with a faculty adviser selected in advance. Typically, students identify their research and faculty adviser during their first year of study.

International Applicants

International applicants will be required to mail additional information to Graduate Admissions. Please refer to their International Student page to find answers to commonly asked questions.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), mandate all schools, including the University of Washington verify certification of adequate financial support from each international applicant without resorting to unauthorized employment. Additional information documentation of financial ability can be found on the Graduate Admissions application.

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