These instructions are for PhD/MS applicants. These applicants should also review the Stanford Graduate Admissions website for university-wide admissions policies, which we link to in our own instructions where appropriate. In cases where the instructions on our department website differ from the Stanford Graduate Admissions website (e.g., the number of official transcripts required), you should follow the instructions on our department website.
Review Eligibility Guidelines
Prepare Required Materials
Submit Your Application
Submit Official Materials
Check Application Status
Step 2: Prepare Required Materials
❏ Transcripts (Academic Records)
We require transcripts from every college/university you have attended for at least one year as a full-time student. Applicants should consult Stanford Graduate Admissions | Transcripts (Academic Records) for guidance on what must be included in official transcripts.
For instructions on submitting official transcripts, please see Step 4: Submit Official Materials.
❏ Test Scores (GRE & TOEFL)
All applicants are required to take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) General Test (no waivers or exceptions will be granted). Scores are valid for 5 years from the test date. For Autumn 2020 applications, GRE scores must be from July 1, 2014 or later.
Applicants whose first spoken language is not English are additionally required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), unless they qualify for an exemption. Please note that an exemption can only be requested after submitting your application (GRE and TOEFL FAQs, Stanford Graduate Admissions). Scores are valid for 18 months from the test date. For Autumn 2020 applications, TOEFL scores must be from March 1, 2018 or later. For information about minimum TOEFL requirements and TOEFL waivers, please see Stanford Graduate Admissions | Required Exams.
If you are applying to the full-time PhD or MS program for Autumn 2020, we recommend taking these tests no later than November 20, 2019 to ensure that the scores arrive by the application deadline.
For instructions on submitting official test scores, please see Step 4: Submit Official Materials.
❏ Statement of Purpose
In your statement of purpose, you should succinctly describe your reasons for applying to the proposed program, which may include:
- Preparation for this field of study
- Motivation for graduate study
- Why our program is a good fit for you
- Future career plans
- Other relevant aspects of your background and interests
- Interest in specific research or faculty members at Stanford
The statement of purpose should not exceed two pages, single-spaced.
❏ Letters of Recommendation (3)
Letters of recommendation should come from academic (or professional) references who can speak to your academic and/or research background. Recommenders should know you well and be able to comment on your strengths and your potential for graduate study. Academic references are strongly preferred, and we do not encourage submitting more than one professional reference. However, it is ultimately your decision as to which references will best support your application. Your application will still be reviewed regardless of where your letters of recommendation come from.
We require a minimum and maximum of 3 letters of recommendation (the application system will not permit you to enter more than 3 recommenders).
The deadline to receive letters of recommendation is the same as the application deadline. Please be sure to give your recommenders plenty of time to submit their letters, as they are often asked to write reference letters for many students within a short period of time. Letters received after the deadline will still be attached to your application, but we cannot guarantee that materials received after the deadline will be seen by the Admissions Committee.
❏ Application Fee
A nonrefundable application fee of $125 is required for each application submitted to a graduate program at Stanford University. The fee must be paid through the payment section of the online application. The only accepted method of payment is by credit/debit card (Visa or MasterCard only).
Applicants who need assistance with the application fee are encouraged to apply for a fee waiver. Preference is given to low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented minority students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
Have questions about the application process? Check out the Application FAQ