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Individual PhD Program

Graduate Program Coordinator
311 Loew Hall, Box 352192
(206) 543-6398

The Graduate School maintains a PhD degree granting unit, the Individual PhD (IPhD) program, for exceptionally able students in high academic standing whose objectives for study are so truly interdisciplinary that they cannot be met within one of the University units authorized to grant the PhD degree. The program is intended for dissertation topics which require supervision from two or more programs through which the University offers the PhD. Each individual program is designed by a student with input and continued guidance from the student's Supervisory Committee.

The IPhD program is not intended to be:

  1. a mechanism for offering the PhD degree within units which do not have their own authorized PhD programs
  2. used as an alternative for students unable to gain admission to an established program
  3. sufficient justification alone for admission into the program on the basis of placing faculty from more than one department on a Supervisory Committee

Because the University's primary commitment is to established disciplinary and interdisciplinary programs, the IPhD program is quite small. Unusual student ability and motivation, as well as an increased level of attention from the entire Supervisory Committee, are required for successful completion of an IPhD degree. Admission standards are intended to exceed those of established PhD programs, and applications are reviewed at several levels.

Applications are considered once a year; admission is competitive. All decisions are final with no appeal procedures available. A rejected application can be submitted in revised form another year though a second rejection is possible. Applicants are therefore encouraged to pursue their objectives within the University's established PhD programs whenever feasible.

Doctor of Philosophy

Admission Requirements

  1. MA or equivalent in a discipline or field directly related to the proposed PhD work
  2. Application deadline for autumn quarter admission is February 1. See application procedures at

Degree Requirements

Specific coursework and areas of concentration are determined by the student's interests within the framework of the approved proposal. The Supervisory Committee functions as for any doctoral program, signs the forms ordinarily transmitted by the sponsoring academic unit, and takes responsibility for conducting an annual review of the student's progress and submitting a report to the Standing Review Committee. IPhD students must meet all program requirements as stipulated in the IPhD Program Manual as well as Graduate School doctoral requirements as stipulated in the current UW General Catalog.

A student's PhD Supervisory Committee, which consists of at least three members of the UW's Graduate School faculty as well as a representative of the Graduate School (GSR), must include Graduate Faculty members from at least two University units which offer the PhD degree. For additional information regarding Supervisory Committees, refer to Graduate School Memo 13 or the UW General Catalog.