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The Graduate School

G-1 Communications Building
Box 353770
Seattle, Washington 98195-3770

Phone: 206.543.5900
Fax: 206.685.3234

History and Mission

In 1885, the University of Washington awarded its first graduate degree, a Master of Arts in the field of classical languages. In 1914, the University awarded its first Doctor of Philosophy degree, in the field of chemistry. The University has conferred more than forty-five thousand master's degrees and nine thousand doctoral degrees, exclusive of medical, dental, and first legal doctorates.

The Graduate School was created in 1899 and was established permanently in 1910. Its purposes are to exercise leadership for the University of Washington in matters pertaining to graduate education, to facilitate the performance of research by its faculty and students, and to foster the integration of education and research to the benefit of both. Through graduate programs, the University fulfills several functions vital to a healthy society: by fostering research, it advances human knowledge; by educating scholars and teachers, it preserves and transmits our cultural heritage; by training professionals, it makes information and help available to the various sectors of the public; and, by virtue of all of these, it contributes to the resolution of the problems and needs of society.

Graduate study is guided by the Dean of the Graduate School and a Graduate Faculty of over twenty-five hundred members, selected for their scholarly and research qualifications and their concern with graduate education. Approximately eight thousand graduate students are now in residence, working toward master's or doctoral degrees. Programs in the Graduate School leading to master's and doctoral degrees are offered in eighty-four departments or other organizational units of the University. The Graduate School directly sponsors nine interdisciplinary degree programs by organizing Graduate School groups of interested faculty members and assisting them in developing such programs. It also administers a small Special Individual Ph.D. program for approved uniquely interdisciplinary dissertations.

Acting through an elected council that advises the Dean, the Graduate Faculty establishes Graduate School policies. Each degree-offering unit within the University appoints a graduate program coordinator, who serves as an important link between the unit and the Graduate School. Students are advised to seek the help of the graduate program coordinator when questions concerning Graduate School and departmental degree requirements arise.

The Graduate School also has been given a number of responsibilities that relate to its primary ones, such as the administration of the Graduate School Fund and certain fellowship programs, as well as such central facilities as the University of Washington Press, and the Walker-Ames and the Jessie and John Danz distinguished visiting professorships.

The University has obligated itself to promote greater access to advanced study by women and members of ethnic minority groups. Within the Graduate School the Graduate Opportunities & Minority Achievement Program (GO-MAP) actively solicits applications for admission, facilitates their review, and helps with various procedures related to the enrollment of minority graduate students. The division offers financial aid to students who need such help. In addition to a special appropriation of funds by the Washington State Legislature to encourage the recruitment and retention of ethnic minority students in areas of underrepresentation, the division administers several federal and private scholarship programs which provide financial aid and contribute to the overall environment of support for minority graduate students.

The Dean of the Graduate School is also a Vice Provost with responsibilities for strengthening the graduate dimensions of all aspects of the University's mission: —teaching, research, and community service. The Vice Provost's responsibilities are to encourage the graduate initiatives of units and individuals on all three campuses, to advocate the University's graduate mission both internally and externally, to actively work to identify needed programs, to help create these programs, to facilitate cooperative efforts across the University, to urge that graduate activities and programs have a high priority for funding, and to develop and nurture partnerships internally and with other institutions in the region and with foreign universities and alumni organizations.