The selection of the Ph.D. students admitted to the Department of Physics is based on an individualized, holistic review of each application, including (but not limited to) the student's academic record, the letters of recommendation, the statement of purpose, past accomplishments, talent for research in physics, the scores on the General GRE (Graduate Record Examination) and, if available, the score on the GRE Subject test in Physics. Applicants should keep in mind that attributes such as persistence, enthusiasm, creativity can play a very significant role in evaluating the aptitude of a candidate to graduate school. While the GRE subject test in Physics may be submitted with the application file, the Department has decided to make this optional, on a trial basis, for the applications filed in Fall 2019.
In recent years, we receive approximately >700 applications and, because of limited resources, can only offer admission to approximately 60 students. Applications must be submitted by the middle of December to be considered for the following Autumn Quarter. In January and February of each year, the Physics Department Graduate Admission Committee reviews each application. All applicants will be notified of their admission status by March 1.
The Department does not offer a separate program for the M.S. degree, but this degree may be awarded for a portion of the Ph.D. degree work with approval from the Department.
Graduate students have opportunities for research in theoretical physics, AMO physics, ultra-fast lasers, particle and nuclear physics, condensed matter physics, quantum information and control, cosmology, astrophysics, and gravitation. Opportunities for research are also available with the faculty at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in the areas of theoretical and experimental particle physics, cosmology and astrophysics, accelerator design, and photon science. In Applied Physics there are opportunities in the areas of theoretical and experimental condensed matter physics, materials research, quantum electronics, and novel imaging technology.
- Three letters of recommendation, preferably including at least one from a research group.
- Your GRE Scores (note that the Subject GRE in Physics is optional). If you take the GRE in November, your application will be processed after the scores are sent electronically to Stanford.
- General GRE Test Dates
- Subject GRE Test Dates
- TOEFL - 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 recently completed or will complete a Bachelor's degree, or a 2-year Master's program, in the U.S. or in another English-speaking country. See the Graduate Admissions GRE/TOEFL FAQ for detailed information.
- You must upload one scanned version of your official transcript(s) in the online application (see File Upload Requirements)
- For each postsecondary institution you have attended as a full-time student for one year (i.e. three quarters or two semesters) or longer, you must arrange for two (2) official paper copies of transcripts (academic records) to be mailed to the address below. If your college/university provides secure electronic transcript delivery, instruct your school to send the secure electronic certified transcript to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that the secure electronic certified transcript must be printable. Check with the registrar's office of your college/university to see if they provide a printable electronic certified transcript service. If your university does not provide electronic transcripts that meet our requirements you must arrange for your official transcripts to be mailed.
We encourage applicants with diverse backgrounds to apply to our program. We recognize that there are many different aspects to identity, including culture, socioeconomic and educational background, race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical ability, life experiences, hobbies, and interests. Providing this information in the application assists the admissions committee in its goal of creating a diverse class.
The department is interested in understanding and mitigating barriers to access to all of our programs, including barriers based on citizenship status, accessibility, or financial or logistical challenges. If you are interested in our graduate program but there are barriers that limit your ability to apply given our current procedures, we would appreciate hearing from you. Please fill out this brief form.