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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 full health insurance subsidy. The Stanford RA salary table can be found here

The Department of Applied Physics does not have a teaching requirement for the Ph.D. or M.S. programs. Students interested in teaching may seek teaching opportunities in Applied Physics, Physics, and other departments, subject to availability and eligibility. 

Master's Programs
The Department does not provide funding for students enrolled in the terminal M.S. program. The Masters program is not a research-based program. However, students may be eligible for university or external fellowships to fund their degree.

Rotation program

We offer an optional rotation program for research assistantships (RA) for 1st-year Ph.D. students. The purpose of rotations is 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. 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 the full cost of each student’s RA assistantship during the fall quarter of their first year. In the winter and spring quarters, the Department funds half of each first-year student’s RA and the supporting research lab funds the other half. After the spring quarter, the faculty member bears the burden of the full cost of the student’s RA and tuition. 

It is expected that a rotation lasts one academic quarter (10 weeks), and the details of the research projects and funding are arranged between the student and faculty member without Departmental involvement. For more details about the rotation program, see the Ph.D. overview.


Each year, Applied Physics is invited to nominate several top applicants for Stanford Graduate Fellowships in Science & Engineering. 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.

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 December 1, 2023.

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