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Transcripts, Letters of Recommendation and Statement of Purpose

Q. Do I need to have transcripts sent for every college-level class I have taken?

  • A: No. We only require transcripts (academic records) from postsecondary institutions you have attended as a full-time student for one year (i.e. three quarters or two semesters) or longer.

Q. How do I submit transcripts?

  • A: You must upload one scanned version of your official transcript(s) in the online application and mail two official copies to the department to which you are applying. See File Upload Requirements. Also see Transcripts for eTranscript service for Stanford students and alumni. For the department's mailing address, click on the name of the program in the list of Graduate Programs.

Q. How many recommendations do I need and who should I ask to be my recommenders?

  • A: Applicants need three recommendations from faculty or others qualified to evaluate your potential for graduate study. At least one evaluation and letter should be from a faculty member at the last school you attended as a full-time student (unless you have been out of school for more than five years). Substitutions for faculty recommendations may include work associates or others who can comment on your academic potential for graduate work.

Q. What should my letters of recommendation say?

  • A: Your recommender should describe his or her relationship with you and address your suitability to the program to which you are applying. If you have further questions, please contact your department or visit its website.

Q. I chose not to waive my right to see a letter of recommendation but I have changed my mind. How do I now waive that right?

  • A: If your recommender has not already accepted a recommendation, then s/he should decline it and include a note that the applicant needs to waive their right to view the recommendation. You will then be sent instructions on how to change this information.

Q. How are  letters of recommendation submitted?

  • A: Recommenders are to submit the letters online - not by mail, fax or e-mail. When you enter the names and email addresses of your recommenders in the online application, they will receive a message with instructions on how to set up a recommender account. They will then be able to electronically submit their recommendations directly to Stanford.
  • If you have any questions, contact Graduate Admissions at gradadmissions@stanford.edu.

Q. Will you accept letters of recommendation mailed from my university's career center or letter service?

  • A: Contact the department to which you are applying to discuss the matter. For a contact e-mail address, see the department's website or click on the name of the program in the list of Graduate Programs. If the career center or letter service letters are acceptable to your department, then you will still need to enter information for each recommender in the online application, including e-mail addresses. This causes an automatic message to be sent to each recommender so you will need to contact them to let them know not to pay attention to the message they receive giving instructions on how they are to submit their letter of recommendation.

Q. What should I write in my statement of purpose?

  • A: The statement of purpose should describe succinctly your reasons for applying to the proposed program at Stanford, your preparation for this field of study, study and research interests, future career plans, and other aspects of your background and interests which may aid the admissions committee in evaluating your aptitude and motivation for graduate study.

Q. How do I submit my statement of purpose?

  • A: You will be asked to upload your statement in the online application. You may upload only one file (not to exceed two pages in length, single spaced). Make sure to set your computer to a Western European or other English-language setting. We cannot guarantee the ability to access your statement if is submitted in other fonts.