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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q: Can I apply to other graduate programs (e.g. Bioengineering, Chemistry, etc.) in addition to the Biosciences Programs?

    A: No. You may apply to only one degree program per academic year. An exception is within the Biosciences, in which you may apply to up to three PhD programs within your one application. The 14 Biosciences Programs are:

    • Biochemistry
    • Biology
    • Biomedical Informatics
    • Biophysics
    • Cancer Biology
    • Chemical & Systems Biology
    • Developmental Biology
    • Genetics
    • Immunology
    • Microbiology & Immunology
    • Molecular & Cellular Physiology
    • Neurosciences
    • Stem Cell Biology & Regenerative Medicine
    • Structural Biology
  • Q: When is the application deadline?

    A: Tuesday, December 1, 2015 (11:59:59 pm PST). All transcripts and supporting documents must be submitted to the address below by the deadline in order for your application to be considered in the review process. Late applications will not be accepted.

    Biosciences PhD Admissions
    Stanford University
    1265 Welch Road, MSOB X1C12
    Stanford, CA 94305-5421

  • Q: Can I apply using a paper application?

    A: No, Stanford only uses an online application.

  • Q: Am I eligible to apply?

    To be eligible for admission to graduate programs at Stanford, applicants must meet one of the following conditions:

    • Applicants must hold, or expect to hold before enrollment at Stanford, a bachelor's degree from a U.S. college or university accredited by a regional accrediting association.
    • Applicants from institutions outside the U.S. must hold the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor's degree from a college or university of recognized standing. See the Office of Graduate Admissions for the minimum level of study required of International applicants.
  • Q: I previously applied to the Stanford Biosciences Programs and was not admitted. What application materials will I need to submit?

    A: Applicants who wish to reapply must submit a new application, pay the application fee, submit an updated personal statement, and submit updated transcripts showing conferral of any degree(s). Applicants have the option of using letters of recommendation from their prior application or have new ones submitted. If you would like to use the letters from your prior application, you will need to submit an email to the Biosciences Admissions Office indicating this. It is highly recommended that one new letter of recommendation be submitted on your behalf. When completing the application, you will be required to enter the information for a minimum of three recommenders.

    Prior applications from the Autumn 2013, 2014, and 2015 admission cycles have been retained.

  • Q: Can the application fee be waived?

    A: Please review the fee waiver information on the Graduate Admissions website to see if you are eligible. Fee waiver requests must be submitted 21 business days before the application deadline.

  • Q: How long should my Statement of Purpose be?

    A: Your Statement of Purpose should not exceed two pages in length (single spaced). Make sure to set your computer to Western European or other English-language setting. We cannot guarantee the ability to access your statement if it is submitted in other fonts.

  • Q: Can my recommenders mail in their letter of recommendation?

    A: All recommendations must be submitted using the online application system. As part of the online application, you will be required to register the names and contact information, including e-mail addresses, of your recommenders. Recommenders will then receive an e-mail with directions on how to proceed. Letters of recommendation cannot be emailed or faxed.

  • Q: Am I still required to submit two official transcripts even though I uploaded them with my online application?

    A: Yes, all applicants are still required to submit two official transcript(s) from every post secondary school that they attended for one full academic year to the Biosciences Admissions Office by the application deadline. For those postsecondary institutions that are able to send Certified Electronic Transcripts (eTranscripts), please have your Records/Registrar's Office email one copy of your transcripts to biosci@stanford.edu. In order to be considered official, the transcript must be digitally signed and certified by the institution (password protected). Unfortunately, we cannot accept PDF attachments. If you will be submitting eTranscripts, you are not required to submit paper versions.

  • Q: Is there a minimum GPA or GRE (Graduate Record Examination) General Test requirement?

    A: There is no minimum GPA or GRE General Test score to be considered for admission. The application review process is holistic and all aspects of the application (coursework taken, letters of recommendation, test scores, the Statement of Purpose, and prior research experience) are considered by the Admissions Committee in making a decision. Below are the GPA and GRE General Test score ranges from last year's interviewed applicant pool.

    • GPA: 2.88-4.0
    • GRE: Verbal Reasoning: 148-170
    • GRE: Quantitative Reasoning: 148-170
    • GRE: Analytical Writing: 3.0-6.0
  • Q: Do I need a department code number when requesting the GRE and/or Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)?

    A: No, you will not need a separate department code number. All GRE and TOEFL scores with the recipient number 4704 go to the central Graduate Admissions Office at Stanford. The Biosciences Admissions Office will receive your scores from the central office.

    If you have already had your scores sent and you have used an individual department code, do not worry. As long as the Stanford recipient number is correct, your scores will be received.

    Please note that self-reported GRE, GRE Subject or TOEFL scores will be used by the Admissions Committee in their initial review process. Your unofficial test scores will be validated when your official scores are received by the University.

  • Q: I'm an applicant whose first language is not English. Is it possible to have the TOEFL exam requirement waived?

    A: Information about the TOEFL exam requirements and exemptions can be found on the Graduate Admissions website. If you do not meet any of the criteria listed, but feel that you may be eligible to have the TOEFL requirement waived, please submit a TOEFL Waiver Request form. When a decision has been made, Graduate Admissions will send you an email indicating if your waiver has been granted or denied.

  • Q: What is your timeline for reviewing applications?

    A: The Admissions Committees will start to review applicant files directly following the application deadline. It is important that all of your application materials are submitted by the deadline. During the week of January 4, 2016, the committees will start to contact those applicants who have been selected for an interview. The selected applicants will be invited, at our expense, to arrive on Wednesday, March 2 and depart on Sunday, March 6, 2016. This is our only interview session. Highly qualified applicants residing in other countries and for whom a visit would not be possible may be selected for a telephone interview.

    In general, if one has not heard about a possible invitation by January, it is unlikely that you will be invited to Stanford or admitted. Applicants who are not selected for an interview will receive a letter which states that no further action will be taken on their application by the Committee on Graduate Admissions and Policy.

  • Q: I've applied to multiple Home Programs and was wondering what happens if more than one program is interested in interviewing me?

    A: In that case, the admissions representatives confer and attempt to determine which Home Program best fits your interests and should serve as your host. They will use the information you provided in your Statement of Purpose and on the Biosciences Supplemental Form. In most cases the best match is clear, but in rare cases where this is not the case, an admissions committee member will contact you directly to discuss with you which Home Program would be the best to host your visit. You will also have an opportunity to meet with faculty affiliated with other Home Programs during your visit.

  • Q: What is included in the offer of admission?

    A: The offer of admission for the 2015-16 Academic Year included a stipend of $35,544, health insurance, a dental care stipend, and graduate tuition. The stipend and benefits for the 2016-17 Academic Year will be set sometime in early March 2016.

  • Q: Do you offer fellowships for international applicants?

    A: We have a limited number of fellowships available to the most highly competitive international applicants. Admittance to the Biosciences Programs for international applicants varies from year to year depending on funding and available space. We strongly encourage applicants to apply for scholarships/fellowships in their home country that can be used overseas.

    Some useful websites that include information on external fellowships are:

    Applying for scholarships/fellowships generally takes some time to arrange, so plan ahead. You will be able to list any scholarships/fellowships that you have applied for and been awarded in the "Application Information cont'd" section of the online application.

Start the online application

Application deadline: Tuesday, December 1, 2015

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