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Financial Support


Ph.D. Program

Graduate students in the Applied Physics Ph.D. program are generally supported through Research Assistantships (RAs), which are typically funded by your Ph.D. research advisor through contracts and grants. The RAs provide a salary during the academic year (including Summer Quarter) and a tuition allowance for 10 units per quarter before Terminal Graduate Registration (TGR) status and for 0-3 units thereafter. In addition, PhD students receive a partial health insurance subsidy. 

Unlike many other departments throughout the University, the Department of Applied Physics does not have a TA requirement through teaching assistantships for the Ph.D. or M.S. programs, nor does the Department fund them.

Master's Programs
There is no financial assistance from the Department or from the University for students enrolled in the terminal M.S. program. The Madter's program is not a research based program.

Rotation program

We offer an optional rotation program for research assistantships for 1st-year graduate students. The purpose of rotations are to acquaint first-year students with the research opportunities within different labs before making the final selection of a research group. We note, however, that rotations are not required and a student may mutually agree with a faculty member in the first rotation to join her/his group without rotating into any subsequent group. This program is for first-year students.  Most students settle on a Ph.D. advisor by the end of the winter quarter, and it is expected that students will have joined a lab before the end of the spring quarter of their first year.  The department funds half the cost of a rotating student's RA assistantship and the faculty member the other half. Once a student is permanently a member of a lab, the faculty member bears the burden of the full cost of the RA and tuition. 

Rotation positions in faculty members’ groups are secured by the students through discussions with the faculty.  Faculty both from within the Applied Physics Department as well as from any other science or engineering departments at Stanford are eligible advisors, as long as they are members of the Academic Council, which includes all tenure-line faculty. After discussions, which may begin any time after acceptance into the Ph.D. program, an RA for the first quarter is mutually agreed upon with a faculty member. This is best finalized no later than orientation week before the Fall quarter. An assistantship with a different faculty member can be arranged for the two subsequent quarters at any time, if desired, or the student may opt to join the first-quarter group outright. Most students elect to remain with the first or second research rotation group, leading ultimately to a research project for their Ph.D. dissertation. Students are expected to have found a research group for their Ph.D. research by the end of the spring quarter of their first year.  That is, a Ph.D. faculty advisor should be found by the spring quarter of the first year (i.e., the student’s third quarter). RAs after the third quarter are, in general, no longer subsidized by the rotation program. Arrangements for summer and subsequent-quarter RA positions are made directly by the student with her/his research advisor. 


Each year the department is permitted to nominate top students for Stanford Graduate Fellowships. These fellowships are funded by the University Dean’s office and each year the total number changes. Students are usually notified shortly after they receive their initial offer letter. Additionally, there are many desirable fellowships available from institutions such as the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense and the Hertz Foundation. It is highly recommended that students apply for these prestigious fellowships. Students with fellowships may rotate within labs, but the fellowship will pay the entire cost of the RA assistantship, not the department or faculty member.

Knight-Hennessy Scholars

The Knight-Hennessy Scholars program awards up to 100 high-achieving students every year with full funding for three years to pursue a graduate education at Stanford, including the Ph.D. in Applied Physics. To be considered, you must apply to the Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program by their due date and separately apply to the Applied Physics department with all the application materials completed by October 6, 2021.

China Scholarship Council-Stanford-AZ Fund Fellowship

Doctoral applicants from China are also encouraged to apply for a China Scholarship Council-Stanford-AZ Fund Fellowship following their admission to the Ph.D. program in Applied Physics. This Fellowship provides five years of financial support, round-trip international airfare, and visa application fees to selected students. To be considered, applicants must first be admitted to the Applied Physics Ph.D. program and then apply to the China Scholarship Council.

Other Fellowship Opportunities

View Scholarships
Taiwan Fellowships and Scholarships