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Application FAQ’s

About the program

1. Is Stanford Applied Physics different from Stanford Physics or Stanford Biophysics?

Yes, Stanford Applied Physics and Stanford Physics are distinct departments within the School of Humanities & Sciences. While there is strong collaboration between the two departments, they have distinct graduate programs and degree requirements. The Biophysics Ph.D. program based in the School of Medicine is an interdisciplinary, interdepartmental training program of which Applied Physics is a constituent department. Stanford only permits applicants to apply to one degree program per academic year (with some exceptions). 

2. Which program/department should I apply for? 

Interested applicants should review the degree descriptions and requirements for each program and consider the faculty and independent labs associated with each department.

3. Can Ph.D. students in Applied Physics complete their dissertation work with an advisor in a different department? 

Yes, students may conduct their dissertation research with an advisor not in Applied Physics but must have a co-advisor in Applied Physics who can provide guidance on departmental requirements and opportunities. Ph.D. students in Applied Physics have had primary advisors in Physics, Materials Science & Engineering, Neuroscience, Chemistry, Electrical Engineering, and more.

About the application

1. When is the application deadline?

Our application deadline is 11:59 pm, Pacific Standard Time, December 15, 2023.

2. When will I be notified whether or not I have been accepted into the Applied Physics graduate program?

All applicants will be notified of their application status by March 15, 2024. Admitted applicants will be invited for a two-day Open House event (usually in April).

3. Can I apply for an application fee waiver?

Stanford offers graduate fee waivers with a simple additional application but must be submitted 2-3 weeks before the application deadline. See which waivers you qualify for here

4. Is the GRE required?

Both the General and Physics Subject Exam are currently recommended for the Ph.D. and M.S. programs. Applicants are encouraged to submit scores, but they are not required.

5. Is the TOEFL required? How do I know if I am exempt?

The TOEFL exam is required for applicants whose first language is not English. It must be taken within the last 18 months. The TOEFL is waived for applicants who have received or will receive an international degree equivalent to a U.S. Bachelor's, Master's or Doctoral degree from a university outside of the U.S. in which English is the only language of instruction. For more information, please refer to the note regarding the TOEFL on the Admissions Overview page.

Applicants with degrees from the U.S., Australia, Canada (except Quebec), New Zealand, Singapore, and the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales) are exempt from taking the TOEFL.

For more information, please refer to the Graduate Admissions GRE/TOEFL FAQ

6. What is the official code for reporting GRE/TOEFL scores?

When requesting official score reports, please use the Stanford University code: 4704

7. Is there a minimum GPA or test score cut-off?

No, all aspects of your application will be considered. In addition to your academic and record, selection is based on previous research experience, letters of recommendation, and statement of purpose. 

8. I am an international student applying to the Applied Physics graduate program. Do I meet the minimum requirements to apply to Stanford University?

Please see International Academic Credentials Guidelines for minimum level of study required of applicants who wish to apply for graduate study at Stanford.

9. What is considered an "official transcript" from my university or institution?

One set of official transcripts must be sent to Stanford directly from the college/university. Transcripts must be signed and sealed by their registrar or university official. The electronic delivery of the transcripts needs to come directly from the college/university. Please note that the secure electronic certified transcript must be printable. If you are offered admission to Stanford and accept the offer, you will be required to submit official transcripts/degree conferral documents.

Emailed copies of transcripts from applicants will not be accepted by Stanford.

10. Is it possible to update my application after I have already submitted?

The Applied Physics Admissions team cannot amend applications after they have been submitted. Please understand that once you have submitted your application, additional information cannot be added.

11. There is a checklist function showing the completed tasks of my application. I submitted all the required materials for the application, why does it not show any completed checkmarks?

The Applied Physics Department does not use the checklist function in the Stanford application system:  Please do not contact our office and ask us to confirm that your file is complete. If you are missing any necessary materials, we will contact you via email in early January or February.