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 scores on both the General GRE (Graduate Record Examination) and the GRE Subject test in Physics, the statement of purpose, personal qualities and characteristics, as well as past accomplishments. Every year we receive approximately 500+ applications and 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 and the admission decisions are made before March. 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, low temperature physics, molecular physics, high energy physics, spectroscopy, atomic and quantum electronics, gravitation and astrophysics, and condensed matter physics. Opportunities for research are also available with the faculty at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in the areas of theoretical and experimental particle physics and accelerator design. In Applied Physics there are opportunities in the areas of theoretical and experimental condensed matter physics, materials research, quantum electronics, and novel imaging technology.


For additional information about the graduate admissions at Stanford, go to:

Applications on-line are available in September.

Your application should be complete, including the following items, by the deadline, Tuesday, December 17, 2013.  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 in early January or February.

  • Three letters of recommendation, preferably including one from a research group  If your file is missing any letters of recommendation we will contact you.
  • Your GRE Scores (General and Physics Subject both required).  If you took the GRE in November, your application will be processed after the scores are sent electronically to Stanford.
  • 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 a Bachelor's degree, or a 2-year Master's program, in the U.S. or in another English-speaking country.
  • Arrange for two sets of original official transcripts, from all postsecondary institutions attended for one academic year or longer, to be mailed to the admissions committee.

Mailing address for transcripts

Physics Graduate Admissions
Varian Physics Building
382 Via Pueblo Mall
Stanford, CA 94305-4060

Note:  Stanford University and the Physics department are closed for the last 2 weeks of December.  Mail that does not arrive before the winter closure will not be delivered or signed for until January (so there is no need for express mail or overnight services). [2013: Closed Monday, December 23, 2013 through Friday, January 3, 2014]

As part of the application process, you will also upload scanned official transcripts from all postsecondary institutions attended for one academic year or longer.
In general, the admissions forms for the academic year beginning in September are available in September of the previous year. All application materials must be submitted by the mid-December deadline.

Additional Questions

For other questions about the process, please contact:
Phone: 1 (650) 723-4344
Fax: 1 (650) 723-1821