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Guidelines for Admission

Welcome and thank you for your interest in the Department of Asian Languages and Literature at the University of Washington.

2019-2020 Academic Year Graduate Applications are now CLOSED.

 Below you will find more information about:

Applicants for graduate studies in the Department of Asian Languages and Literature must meet the requirements of the Graduate School as outlined in the University Catalog.


Each applicant needs to submit via the Graduate School's Application by the December 10th deadline:

  1. A completed Application
  2. Unofficial Transcript(s) from all previous universities attended
  3. An Academic Writing Sample (in English)
  4. A Statement of Purpose
  5. Three Letters of Recommendation 
  6. GRE scores
  7. TOEFL scores (for non-native English speakers)
  8. Resume or Curriculum Vitae (CV)

Students are expected to have strong language skills in their language of specialization and sound background in linguistics or literature.

See below for more detail about application materials

Qualifications for Admission

Applicants for admission should present an undergraduate major in the relevant language and literature specialization, or background and training equivalent to such a major.  Students without such a background may be qualified for admission, but will need initially to acquire the expected program prerequisites for graduate study. 

Students who seek admission to graduate programs at the University of Washington must have a minimum undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 in their last 90 graded quarter hours or last 60 semester hours.

Post-M.A. students applying to the Department of Asian Languages and Literature, as well as doctoral students desiring to transfer, are advised that no new student is accepted directly into a doctoral program.  While it is not necessary to take a second M.A., all students are expected to complete the course work required for the M.A. in this Department and present a portfolio documenting their M.A. work, together with a formal petition before they can be accepted for pre-candidacy, and thus be considered formally within the doctoral program.

Applicants who are not native speakers of English must follow the requirements outlined in Graduate Memo 8 to demonstrate proficiency in English.

Application Procedure

The Department of Asian Languages and Literature admits new graduate students for Autumn Quarter entry only.  The application deadline is December 10th. We recommend that everyone, especially international applicants, submit the application earlier than that to allow time to ensure all requirements are being met. We continue to accept applications, letters of recommendation, and test scores until late December, but give priority to those who submit all materials by December 10th.

The Graduate School Application

Please use the Graduate School online application to upload these documents.

(a) Unofficial Transcripts of all post-secondary education (We will ask for official transcripts from any applicant who accepts our offer of admission)

(b) an Academic English writing sample (recommended for all programs, required for Japanese); should not be a translation; academic essay recommended

(c) a Statement of Purpose that describes your academic goals and proposed course of study at the University of Washington (not to exceed five double-spaced pages)

Advice regarding the statement of purpose
One of the most important parts of your application is the statement of purpose. In that statement, please be sure to address the following:

1. Why you seek to pursue graduate studies in this department.
2. What research interests you hope to pursue.
3. Your preparation in the following areas: proficiency in the primary language of research and any secondary languages; academic preparation in your discipline of specialization; English-language proficiency, including writing skills.
4. Areas that will require further training. We appreciate an honest self-appraisal; no one expects applicants to have mastered all necessary skills.
5. Why you have chosen UW for your graduate studies.

(d) Three Letters of Recommendation:
Please use the Graduate School online application system to provide contact information for three people who will write letters of recommendation on your behalf. Recommenders should be academic instructors familiar with your academic ability, especially in your intended major language and discipline. Letters should be submitted to your application by the recommender as PDFs in English. The University of Washington is unable to receive letters of recommendation through INTERFOLIO.

(e) GRE and TOEFL
The Department of Asian Languages & Literature requires all incoming graduate students to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). There is no minimum score required for admissions. GRE scores must be less than five years old from the December 10th application date to be considered.

Applicants whose native language is other than English must pass the Test of English As a Foreign Language (TOEFL)  – for details please see Graduate Memo 8. TOEFL scores must be less than two years old from the December 10th application date to be considered. 

  • An official English language test score minimum qualifications:

Submitting Scores: Please ask the Educational Testing Service (ETS) to send your score to the University of Washington using the University's institutional code of 4854. There is no need to include a departmental code. 

To access your official TOEFL scores CLICK HERE

It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that the Graduate School has received all the necessary scores by the deadline. The deadline listed above for submitting the application materials coming directly from the applicant is firm. For receipt of those items that must be requested by the applicant but that are sent separately, such as test scores and letters of recommendation, there is a limited measure of flexibility. The applicant should, all the same, arrange as early as possible for these materials to be sent in order to have the best likelihood of meeting the deadline. Incomplete files cannot be considered for admission.

If you have questions about application procedures, please email the Graduate Program Adviser at

Tuition & Financial Aid

Resident tuition plus fees is approximately $17,000 and non-resident tuition plus fees is approximately $29,000, but that number is subject to change. You can find detailed information on current UW tuition rates at the Office of Planning & Budgeting. Asian Languages & Literature students are classified as Graduate Tier I. Any questions on current tuition and fees should be directed to Student Fiscal Services.

Financial aid for graduate students newly entering the Department is awarded on a competitive basis. The Department in a given year has typically one Top Scholars Award to recruit an exceptionally promising incoming graduate student.

Please note that with the exception of the Top Scholars Award, application for admission to the Department’s graduate program does not automatically constitute an application for financial aid. You must separately apply for financial aid. 

There are a variety of other funding opportunities. To apply for any of these, including TA positions and FLAS awards, you must put in a separate application. Each requires a separate application and we will not consider you for any of these unless you do put in a separate application.

Foreign Language and Area Studies, or FLAS fellowships, are awarded to graduate students for the study of Chinese, Japanese, Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, and Korean. Applicants to the program are encouraged to apply for an FLAS. Please note that international students are not eligible for FLAS fellowships.  See the Jackson School information page for more information and an application.

The Department of Asian Languages and Literature offers its graduate students opportunities for Teaching Assistant positions in Chinese, Japanese, Hindi and Korean. Teaching Assistants must be proficient in the language they wish to teach and must meet other specified requirements. Further information and application forms are available here.

For newly appointed International and Non-Native English speaking TAs: See the information about the International Teaching Assistant Program through the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL).

International students should check with their own home country’s scholar’s exchange programs with the U.S. in order to see what opportunities for funding graduate study in the U.S. are available.

Several forms of financial assistance available to new and continuing students of the University of Washington, including work-study graduate assistantships, require submission of a Free Financial Aid Form (FAFSA) with the College Scholarship Service in New Jersey no later than February 28.  For information about the FAFSA and other forms of financial assistance, including the National Direct Student Loan and Guaranteed Student Loan, please write to the Office of Financial Aid, Box 355880, 105 Schmitz Hall, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, or call (206) 543-6101.

Residency, Visas, Housing

Inquiries about residency classification should be addressed to the Registrar’s Office, Box 355850, 264 Schmitz Hall, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, phone (206) 543-5932, email,

Questions concerning international student visas should be addressed to Graduate Enrollment Management Services (GEMS), Box 353770, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, phone 206-685-2630, email,

On-campus housing options for graduate students are plentiful and varied.  Singles and families are encouraged to contact Housing and Food Services for information:210 Lander Hall, 1245 NE Campus Parkway, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, phone 206-543-4059, email,

International students can contact FIUTS, the Foundation for International Understanding Through Students, who can arrange for a 7-10 day homestay through the Welcome Week Homestay Program at (206) 543-0735. If you already have housing but are looking to make friends, take advantage of FIUTS Friendship Connection Program.


For information on the University of Washington's Graduate Opportunities and Minority Achievement Program, visit the GO-MAP website. GO-MAP has many graduate student funding opportunities available as well as opportunities for students to get involved on campus.