Graduate Admissions FAQs

Graduate Admissions Frequently Asked Questions

The process of applying to and attending graduate school can feel complicated at times. Below, you'll find answers to all our frequently asked questions.

Eligibility & What to Know Before You Apply

When is the best time to apply for grad school?

Most graduate program application deadlines for fall admission range from December 15 - April 15. Check the program page for your program of interest for deadline information.

You’ll want to begin the application process with plenty of time to write your statement of purpose, gather your transcripts, and ask for letters of recommendation.

Most graduate programs at Western no longer require the GRE, but be sure to double check the relevant program page to know whether it’s required. If the GRE is required, take this into account when mapping out the timeline of your application process.

Am I eligible to apply for a graduate program?

  • Applicants must have already completed a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited US college or university, or an equivalent degree from a foreign university, before the term in which you intend to begin your WWU graduate program. The degree must be appropriate for the intended graduate program.
  • In order to be eligible for full admission, applicants must have a 3.0 cumulative GPA (on 4.0 scale) calculated over all post-secondary coursework.

    Note: Applicants with advanced degrees from accredited institutions are considered to have met GPA requirements.

  • You must obtain at least the minimum TOEFL (86 iBT) or IELTS (7.0) scores to be eligible for admission. Exceptions to this point: 

    • English is your native language, or
    • You have earned, or are in the process of earning, a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution, or from Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand or English-speaking provinces of Canada.
    • Official TOEFL or IELTS scores must be on file in the Graduate School office when the application is received. Test scores must be no older than one year at the time of application.

Which program is best for me?

Western offers a comprehensive selection of graduate programs. Choose from 40+ master’s degree and certificate programs in STEM, education, the arts and humanities, and social and health sciences. Browse our programs to see what fits your interests and professional needs.

Should I contact faculty in the department before I apply?

For Anthropology, Biology, Chemistry, Geology, Environmental Science, Environmental Studies, History, and Experimental Psychology, yes. For others, it is not necessary.

If I apply to two programs, do I need to fill out two applications?

Yes. Please keep in mind that you need to complete the first application in its entirety before contacting our Grad School office for an application fee waiver for the second application. You cannot work on two applications simultaneously.

Can I get an interdisciplinary master's degree?

Although students wishing to earn an interdisciplinary master’s degree won’t have the benefit of being part of a cohort and may have a difficult time securing a teaching assistantship, it is possible to go this route.

But first, please look into related programs and talk to faculty about whether there is flexibility  for you to accomplish your goals via electives and substitutions within an existing program. 

Many programs offer flexibility and opportunities for cross-departmental and interdisciplinary coursework. 

If you determine, together with faculty from related programs, that the best option is a self-designed degree, you can read more about this process on the Faculty-Student Designed Graduate Program Fact Sheet/Checklist


Costs & Funding

What are the application fees?

There is a $100 application fee when you submit your application. If you are admitted, there is also a $100 confirmation fee. Both fees are non-refundable.

If you choose to apply to more than one program, you can request a fee waiver for additional applications once your first application is fully submitted. You may not have more than one application in-progress at a time. 

How much will my program cost?

Visit the tuition and fees page to determine your costs.

Will I be considered for a Teaching Assistantship?

You will be considered for a teaching assistantship if you indicated that you'd like to be considered in your application.

There is no separate application for a TAship. Just select “yes” for this question on your Graduate School application.

Am I eligible for a TA position if I’m a non-resident?


Will I automatically be considered for fellowships upon admission?

No, but there are a variety of scholarships graduate students can apply for.

What other kinds of assistantships are there?

There are teaching assistantships and research assistantships

Are there scholarships I can apply for?

There are a variety of scholarships graduate students can apply for.


Application & Documentation

Application Process Highlights 

Read detailed information about the full application process.

Program prerequisites are can be accessed via the curriculum link on every program’s page.

Application requirements are listed on each program page and generally require an application, transcripts, letters of recommendation, and sometimes a statement of purpose and writing sample.

  • Most materials, including unofficial transcripts, your statement of purpose, and writing samples (if required), are required to be uploaded at the time that you submit your application. Preparing them in advance will expedite your process.
  • If you have questions as you proceed through the application, you may contact us for assistance at or (360) 650-3170.

  • Find your program's page and view available admission terms, deadlines, application requirements, and prerequisites for the program of your choice.

    For programs that ask you to identify a potential thesis adviser (Anthropology, Biology, Chemistry, Geology, Environmental Science, Environmental Studies, History, and Experimental Psychology), be sure to look into the research interests of faculty within the department and contact potential advisors prior to submitting an application.

  • Test scores are only required for a couple of graduate programs now. Please check your program's page to be sure whether test scores are required.

    WWU's ETS institution code for GRE exam scores is 4947. It is unnecessary to specify a department code.

  • Please note that all documents submitted in support of your application become the property of the University and will not be returned, copied for the applicant or a third party or forwarded (except to the department for admission and Graduate Assistantship selection purposes).

How can I access my unofficial WWU transcript as a current or former student?

Log into your student Web4U account and select Student, then Student Records, then Unofficial Transcript (Academic History).

Need login help? Contact the ATUS Help Desk at (360) 650-3333 for assistance.

Students who started attending WWU in Fall 1984 or after can access their unofficial transcripts through Web4U. If you attended WWU before Fall 1984 and require an unofficial transcript, please contact

For security reasons, the Registrar's Office and the Graduate School do not email unofficial transcripts.  

How do I get a PDF of my unofficial transcript in Web4U?

Though there isn’t a download button/link on the unofficial transcript page in Web4U, most internet browsers will allow you to save any webpage as a PDF.

  • Chrome or Microsoft Edge: Go to Print, then change the printer destination to "Save as PDF".
  • Other browsers on PC: Go to Print, then change the printer destination to "Microsoft Print to PDF".
  • Safari on Mac: Go to File, then "Export as PDF".

What about letters of recommendation?

Our application features an integrated Letter of Reference request function. You are prompted in the application to provide names and contact information for people who will submit references in support of your application. You also indicate if you wish to waive your right to review the reference. Then click “Submit Recommendation Request”, and the ApplyWeb system contacts the person at the email address you provided.

The reference request goes out as soon as you submit the request. You do not need to have submitted the application to initiate the reference request.

Your recommenders will be prompted to log in to the ApplyWeb reference letter system and complete our reference form and/or upload a letter. Once they have submitted the reference, it is automatically attached to your application and identified by the system as received.

For a more visual explanation of the process, please see the process for required letters of recommendation.

My Recommenders are having issues accessing or completing the reference form. What do I do?

Please refer your recommenders to the "managing recommendations" page for questions about completing the reference form. 

What is the Graduate School's mailing address?

WWU Graduate School

516 High Street

OM 530, MS 9037

Bellingham, WA 98225-9037

Submitting Transcripts

Submit unofficial transcripts with your application. Once admitted to the program, you must submit official transcripts before you can register for classes. 

Please be sure to include unofficial transcripts for any institution where you took transfer credits or study abroad credits—even if the courses, credits, and grades are listed on your degree institution unofficial transcript. The only exception is for higher education coursework you completed while still attending high school. These transcripts will be used for GPA calculation and evaluation purposes. Please review detailed instructions on uploading transcripts and what document types fulfill requirements.

If you are a current or former Western Washington University student, please generate an unofficial WWU transcript, also called "Academic History," through Web4U to upload.

What email address is used as official correspondence between student and the Graduate School?


After You Apply

My application is complete. What now?

The Graduate School Office at Western Washington University operates as the graduate admissions center for all academic departments offering graduate degree and graduate certification programs.

Your file is eligible for review by the academic department for admissions consideration once all required materials are received.

Some departments review applications as a group. In these cases, complete applications are held until the deadline passes, and then evaluated. All applications completed by the deadline will be given full consideration.

Most programs that admit all terms (Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer) review applications as soon as they are complete, on a rolling basis.

How do I check my application status?

Visit the application portal and click on the "View Checklist" link. On the checklist you will see status information for references, transcripts (unofficial and official) and test scores.

I've submitted my application and now I'm waiting to hear if I'm admitted. Who should I contact for updates?

Please check your application activity page. That is where the most updated information on your status will be. There is no need to call, as we will refer you to your application page.  


Once You've Been Admitted

I've been admitted. When will I be able to access myWestern?

You will receive a notification from the Graduate School containing your universal account username and directions on how to claim your account shortly after you are admitted. This will provide you with a basic level of Web4U access so you can access financial aid and housing information. When you confirm your intent to enroll, your universal account access will expand to all student resources.

How do I confirm my intent to enroll?

If you are offered admission, you will be notified via email that a Decision Letter is available to be viewed on your Application Activity page. In order to accept or decline the offer, please use the "Complete Your Decision Form" link provided there.

Please note: Accepting admission and confirming your intent to enroll requires a nonrefundable fee of $100. The confirmation fee is used to fund orientation activities, graduate student community development opportunities, and travel for graduate student presentations at conferences, among many other efforts.


Living in Bellingham

What's the cost of living like in Bellingham?

Read more about cost of living in Bellingham.

Does WWU have graduate housing?

Although most graduate students live off campus, some grad students inquire about residence halls for housing. Birnam Wood Residence Hall is designed to be more like apartments than dormitories and may be an option for graduate students. Contact University Residences to find out more about this option:, (360) 650-6565.

Other resources to consider are

What kind of weather can I expect living in Bellingham?

Read about the weather in Bellingham. 

I just moved to Washington. How soon can I get resident status and pay resident tuition rates?

Read more about residency



Read about international student requirements.