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 600+ 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 graduate admissions at Stanford, go to:

The application deadline for admission to the 2016-17 academic year is Tuesday, December 15, 2015.  Please make every effort to submit all required application materials listed below in a timely manner.

  • Three letters of recommendation, preferably including one from a research group.
  • Your GRE Scores (General and Physics Subject both REQUIRED FOR ALL APPLICANTS).  If you take 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 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  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 me mailed.

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).

We do not use the checklist functionality in the application system and request that you 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 via email in early January or February.

Additional Questions

For other questions about the process, please contact: