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Admissions overview

Application deadline for Fall 2023 matriculation is December 15, 2022.

The program of graduate education in Applied Physics at Stanford University is designed to prepare students for professional leadership careers in science and technology. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of Applied Physics, the Department welcomes applications both from individuals who majored in physics and from those who have a strong interest in physics but may have majored in related disciplines, e.g., electrical, mechanical or chemical engineering, materials science, biophysics, chemistry, or mathematics. However, in some cases, these students may find it necessary to spend additional time taking courses at Stanford to acquire the background to meet the requirements for advanced degrees in Applied Physics. A similar situation pertains to physics undergraduates who have been out of school for a substantial period of time.

The degrees we offer are M.S., Ph.D., and a Coterminal M.S. degree in Applied and Engineering Physics.  Please see Coterminal application page for more information about this program.

Stanford University operates on an academic year that consists of autumn, winter, spring, and summer quarters. With very rare exceptions, graduate students are admitted only at the beginning of the autumn quarter, and applications for admission and financial aid must be completed by the second week of the preceding December*.  (The specific date is determined on an annual basis; see above.) The Department’s Admissions Committee reviews applications during the month of January and notifies applicants of the admissions decision by March 15th, at the latest. Note that students are admitted to the Department as a whole, not directly to specific research groups. See the Financial Support and Rotations pages for information about finding a research advisor.

The Department of Applied Physics encourages students from all underrepresented groups to apply. Students may apply for a fee waiver if the application fee poses an obstacle.

The selection of students admitted to the Department of Applied Physics is based on the student’s academic record (particularly in the sciences), research experience, letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, and scores on the Graduate Record Examination (verbal, quantitative, analytical, and physics advanced test) and the TOEFL exam, if appropriate.

The general and Physics subject GREs are recommended for the Ph.D. and Master's programs. Applicants are encouraged to submit scores, but they are not required. The decision on whether to submit GRE scores is completely up to the applicant. The admissions committee will make evaluations based only on the information provided. See Application FAQs.  

*Joint applicants for the Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program must submit their application by 1:00 pm Pacific Time on October 12, 2022 and the Applied Physics application by December 15, 2022.

Tips for applying to graduate school

Guide on Getting into Grad School cover

View resource from the Stanford School of Humanities & Sciences for advice about considering and applying to graduate programs.


Required Admissions Materials for M.S. and Ph.D. programs:

View Application

  • Completed online application form
  • Application fee. Payment by credit card (Visa or MasterCard only). Learn more about the application fee and fee waiver.
  • Two original transcripts from each of the previous institutions of higher learning attended. For colleges and/or universities that are able to send Certified Electronic Transcripts (E-Transcripts), ask your Records/Registrar Office to e-mail the transcripts to For those sending paper transcripts send to: Stanford University, Deprtment of Applied Physics, 348 Via Pueblo Way, Palo Alto, Ca. 94305
  • Three letters of recommendation must be submitted using the online service. Letters cannot be emailed or faxed per University policy.
  • Statement of purpose
  • The GRE is recommended but not required (verbal, quantitative, analytical, and Physics subject). If one chooses to take exams, use Code 4704 for the Institutional Code. A Department Code is not needed.
  • TOEFL (required by the University of all international applicants). Refer to the Graduate Admissions Office Website for details.

NOTE: An applicant can apply to only one department at a time.

NOTE: All supporting documents (i.e., those other than that listed above), if any, should be sent directly to the Department of Applied Physics at the following address before application due date.

NOTE: Co-applicants to the Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program must submit their Applied Physics application by December 1, 2022.

Department of Applied Physics
Rooms 116-118 348
Via Pueblo Stanford University
Stanford, CA 94305-4090

To obtain admissions information and to apply online please refer to the following links:
Office of Graduate Admissions
Applying for Graduate Program
Applying for Graduate Program FAQs

Required Admissions Materials for Coterminal M.S. program:

View Application

  • Completed online application form
  • Application fee. Payment by credit card (Visa or MasterCard only).
  • Two letters of recommendation must be submitted using the online service. Letters cannot be emailed or faxed per University policy.
  • Statement of purpose