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Admissions overview

Application deadline for Fall 2021 matriculation is December 8, 2020.

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 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 page for information about finding a research advisor.

The Department of Applied Physics encourages students from all underrepresented groups to apply.

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 optional for the Ph.D. and Master's programs. See Application FAQs.  

*Joint applicants for the Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program must submit their application by 1:00 pm Pacific Time on October 14, 2020 and the Applied Physics application by December 8, 2020.

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

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  • Completed online application form
  • Application fee. Payment by credit card (Visa or MasterCard only). See here for more info.
  • 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 .
  • 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 optional (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 8, 2020.

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