Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
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- Am I eligible to apply to Stanford?
To be eligible for admission to graduate study at Stanford:
- You must hold, or expect to hold before enrollment at Stanford, a U.S. bachelor’s degree or its international equivalent from a college or university of recognized standing.
- You must meet the university’s minimum requirements for English proficiency.
Refer to the Eligibility page for details.
Citizens and residents of all countries are eligible to apply for graduate study and matriculate at Stanford University, including those who are undocumented. If you are undocumented, refer to the Personal Background section of this page for instructions on completing the citizenship section of the application.
- Where can I get information about the departments at Stanford and their graduate programs?
The Explore Graduate Programs page lists all MA, MS, PhD, and other non-professional graduate programs offered at Stanford, and includes corresponding links to department websites and the Stanford Bulletin.
- Where can I learn about applying to the Graduate School of Business, the School of Law, or the School of Medicine?
For information about professional programs (e.g., JD, MBA, MD), visit the corresponding links on our homepage.
- Can I apply to more than one graduate program at Stanford?
You may apply to only one degree program per academic year with these exceptions:
- Within the Biosciences PhD programs, you may apply for two programs within a single application.
- You may apply concurrently to one program listed on the Explore Graduate Programs page and one or more professional school programs. For example, you can apply concurrently to the PhD program in History, the PhD program at the Graduate School of Business, and the JD program at the Law School.
- What programs are included in the Biosciences?
On the Explore Graduate Programs page, under Other Options on the left side, check the box next to Biosciences PhD Program to filter the list for just those programs.
- Do I need to submit a separate application to the department in addition to the graduate application?
No. There is only one application that covers all programs listed on the Explore Graduate Programs page. Required questions and materials vary across programs, and the online application will display program-specific content based on the program you select at the start.
If you are applying to one or more professional programs (e.g., JD, MBA, MD) in addition to a non-professional program, you will need to submit a separate application to the professional program. Refer to the corresponding links on our homepage.
- Where can I find information on how to apply as an international student?
- International applicants follow the same application process as domestic applicants. Two areas to be aware of:
- If you attended an undergraduate institution outside the U.S., refer to our Eligibility page for the minimum level of study required for international institutions.
- If your first language is not English, you are required to submit TOEFL scores or demonstrate that you qualify for an exemption/waiver. Refer to the TOEFL section for details.
- International applicants follow the same application process as domestic applicants. Two areas to be aware of:
- I am a current undergraduate student at Stanford and would like to apply to a Stanford graduate program. What process do I follow?
If you are interested in pursuing a master’s degree while completing your bachelor’s degree, visit the Coterminal Degree Programs section of the Student Services website to confirm your eligibility and check whether your department of interest offers a coterm option.
If you are interested in pursuing a doctoral degree or any master’s degree not available as a coterm program, follow the same process as external applicants to apply for graduate study.
- I applied to a graduate program at Stanford but was not admitted. Do I need to send a complete application when I reapply?
- Yes. Reapplicants follow the same application process as first-time applicants.
- My legal name has only one name. How should I enter my name in my application?
Since entries are required for both first and last names in order to submit an application, please enter your name as follows:
- Enter a period (.) in the First (Given) name field.
- Enter your given name in the Last (Family) name field.
- Select “Yes” under “Would you like to share a different first name that you go by?” then enter your given name in the Chosen First Name field.
- I am an undocumented student. How should I enter my information in the Citizenship section of my application?
If you have been granted DACA status, do not hold formal citizenship in any country, or are otherwise undocumented, you are eligible to apply for graduate study and matriculate at Stanford University. When prompted for your citizenship on the application, please select “Other” instead of a specific country. To explore resources for undocumented and DACAmented students at Stanford, visit the Undocumented at Stanford website.
- Does my foreign degree qualify me for graduate study at Stanford?
- Stanford’s assessment of a post-secondary degree is based on the characteristics of a national educational system, the type of institution you attended, and the level of studies you completed. Refer to the Eligibility page to view the minimum level of study you should have achieved from a recognized academic institution to enroll in graduate study at Stanford.
- Which schools do I need to list on the application?
- You must list and provide your unofficial transcript for every post-secondary institution where you were enrolled — or are currently enrolled — in an undergraduate or graduate degree program.
- Do I need to submit official transcripts during the application process?
- No. Stanford considers unofficial transcripts to be sufficient for the review process. If you are offered admission to Stanford and accept the offer, you will be required to submit official transcripts/degree conferral documents at that time.
- Do I need to list schools I attended for less than one year or on a part-time basis?
- If you were enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate degree program at that school, then yes. If you are offered admission to Stanford and accept the offer, you will not be required to submit official transcripts for schools you attended for less than one academic year or on a part-time basis.
- I just started a graduate program and will not have any grades at the time I apply to Stanford. Do I need to upload a transcript?
- In lieu of a transcript, please upload a document that includes the courses that are in progress.
- My transcripts are not in English. Will you accept them?
- Yes, as long as you submit original language records with official English translations. We accept translations issued by the institution or a professional translating service. Translations must be literal and complete versions of the original records.
- My school’s grading system does not use a 4-point scale. How do I enter my grade point average in the online application?
- You are asked to enter both GPA and GPA scale for each institution you list on the application. Enter your GPA as it appears on your transcript. Do not convert your GPA to a 4.0 scale if it's reported on a different scale.
- The name of my previous degree isn’t listed under Degree Information. What should I select instead?
- Please choose the degree option that best matches your degree program. In addition, please write a note in the Additional Information section stating your actual degree and describing your degree program so that your evaluators may understand your situation.
- I only received an advanced degree and did not earn a bachelor’s degree. How should I list this on my application?
- We recommend adding two degrees (two rows)—one that represents an equivalent bachelor's degree (do not select “No degree awarded or expected”) and one that represents an equivalent graduate degree. Please upload the same (one) transcript for both entries. Then, write a note in the Additional Information section describing your degree program so that your evaluators may understand your situation.
- I get an error when I try to make an entry for Academic Institution. How can I fix this?
- Please reduce the size of your transcript PDF document, then try submitting again.
- Do I need to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)?
Each graduate program sets its own policy on GRE General Test and GRE Subject Test scores — required, optional, or not considered. Refer to the Explore Graduate Programs page to view each program’s testing policy.
- For the GRE requirement, what is the difference between required, optional, and not considered?
Required: You must submit GRE scores for your graduate program.
Optional: You are not required to submit GRE scores for your graduate program, but you have the option to include them in your application to be displayed to the admission committee.
Not Considered: You are not required to submit GRE scores for your graduate program, and the admission committee will not have access to your self-reported or official GRE scores.
- Do I need to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)?
You are required to take the TOEFL if your first language is not English and you do not qualify for a TOEFL exemption/waiver. Refer to Test Scores for more information, including Stanford’s minimum TOEFL score requirements and exemption/waiver guidelines.
- How do I send my official GRE/TOEFL scores to Stanford?
- My GRE/TOEFL scores are not recent. Will you accept them?
We follow ETS policies on score validity (five years for GRE scores, two years for TOEFL scores). Refer to Test Scores for the earliest test date Stanford considers to be valid for the current application cycle.
- Do you accept the GRE at-home test for those impacted by COVID?
Yes. Graduate programs that accept the GRE also accept the GRE at-home test for those impacted by COVID.
- Can I list multiple sets of GRE/TOEFL scores on my application?
Yes. The admission committee will see all scores you list, as well as the highest score from each section.
- Will my application be considered if my official scores arrive after the deadline?
Yes. Any scores you self-report on the application are considered unofficial but sufficient for the initial review process.
- My official test scores are not showing up under my “Test Scores” tab in my application. How can I fix this?
This may be due to one of the following reasons:
- Your official scores were sent less than two weeks ago. If so, please wait until two weeks have passed before submitting a request.
- There is a discrepancy between the name/birthdate on your score report and the name/birthdate on your application. Follow the instructions below to submit a request.
- Your official scores were sent to Stanford during a previous application cycle. Follow the instructions below to submit a request.
If more than two weeks have passed since you requested scores to be sent to Stanford, please submit a request to Graduate Admissions with the following information:
- Topic: Technical Support
- Section: Test Scores
- Subject: Missing Official Scores
- Test type (e.g., GRE, TOEFL)
- Test date
- Name and Date of Birth listed on your score report
- Date your official scores were sent to Stanford, if different from the test date
- File Upload: Upload a PDF of your score report
- How many recommendations do I need?
Three letters of recommendation are required for your application.
- Can I list more than three recommenders?
Yes. The application system allows you to list up to four recommenders. This gives you the option to register a fourth recommender to serve as a backup in case one of your first three recommenders is unable to submit by the deadline.
Recommendations will be displayed to the admission committee in the order in which they are submitted. It is up to the admission committee to decide which recommendations to review. If all four recommendations are submitted and you wish for only three of them to be considered, you may exclude the additional recommendation.
- Who should I ask to be my recommenders?
Letters of recommendation should come from academic or professional references who know you well and are qualified to evaluate your potential for graduate study. It is strongly recommended that at least one of these letters be from a university professor familiar with your academic work.
Refer to your graduate program’s website to check whether it offers specific guidance on choosing your recommenders.
- What should my letters of recommendation say?
Refer to the Recommendations page to view the general prompt for the recommendation letter. The exact prompt displayed to the recommender may differ depending on the graduate program you select.
Refer to your graduate program’s website to check whether it offers specific guidance on what recommenders should include in their letters.
- How does waiving my right of access impact my application?
Waiving your right lets your recommender know that you do not intend to read the letter that they submit for your application. That, in turn, reassures your graduate program’s admission committee that your recommender has provided support that is candid and truthful. While you are free to respond as you wish, if you decline to waive your right, your recommender may decline to provide a letter.
If you decline to waive your right of access, you may review recommendations for your application only after you enroll as a student at Stanford, and then only to the extent that the information is maintained by the university.
- I would like to change my waiver response for a recommendation request I already submitted. How can I make this update?
Upon sending the request to your recommender, you will no longer be able to change your decision about whether to waive your right to that request. You will need to cancel the existing request by clicking Exclude, then re-adding the recommender with your updated waiver response.
- How do I change one of my recommenders?
On the Recommendations page of the application, click on the recommender’s name you wish to replace, then click Exclude at the bottom of the resulting popup window. You then will see the option to add a new recommender. The recommender you exclude will not receive an email notification.
- Do my recommenders need to wait for me to submit my application in order to submit their letters?
No. Your recommenders may submit their letters before or after you submit your application.
- Do I need to wait for my recommenders to submit their letters in order to submit my application?
No. Your recommenders may submit their letters before or after you submit your application.
- When is the deadline for recommendation letters?
Unless otherwise specified on your graduate program’s website, the deadline to receive recommendation letters is the same as the application deadline.
- Will the online system accept recommendations submitted after the deadline?
Yes. Letters received after the deadline will still be attached to your application and viewable to the admission committee. However, late letters are not guaranteed to be reviewed.
- Will you accept letters of recommendation sent via Interfolio?
Yes, Interfolio is now compatible with the online system except for departments in the School of Engineering. However, please remember that letters written specifically for your Stanford graduate program tend to be stronger than letters written for general use purposes.
- What if my recommenders are not receiving their recommender link emails?
Occasionally, some email servers will send recommender link emails directly to Spam or will not allow the email to reach the primary inbox at all (particularly for email addresses located outside of the United States). Please reach out to Technical Support by submitting a request via the "Request Application Support" button on the "Instructions" page of your application.
- How much does it cost to apply?
The application fee is $125.
- What are the payment options for the application fee?
We accept online payments via credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, JCB, Discover, and Diners Club) or via bank transfer from a U.S. checking account.
- Are application fee waivers available?
Yes. Refer to the Application Fee webpage for details.
- What happens if I’m still waiting to hear back on my fee waiver request and I submit my application?
Your fee waiver request will no longer be considered if you decide to submit your application and pay the fee before receiving a decision. We are unable to issue refunds for application fees. Be sure to submit your fee waiver request at least 10 business days (two weeks) before the application deadline to ensure a timely decision.
- I did not receive a payment confirmation email upon submitting my application fee payment. How can I tell whether my payment was successful?
If you pay the application fee via ACH (bank transfer), it may take 5-10 business days for your bank to approve and process the payment. You will receive a confirmation email when your payment is successfully received. Rest assured that this will not impact the consideration of your application, as long as you initiated payment by the application deadline.
- I would like to withdraw my application. Can the application fee be refunded?
No. The application fee is nonrefundable.
- How much does it cost to attend Stanford?
- What funding options are available for graduate students?
Refer to Graduate Aid at Stanford for an overview of funding sources available for graduate study.
- Do I need to submit a separate application for departmental fellowships or assistantships?
In general, no. In most cases, you will be considered for any available departmental funding awards when you apply for graduate study, and a separate application is not necessary. Note that in order to be considered for Knight-Hennessy Scholars, you must submit a separate application.
- As an international applicant, do I need to submit a financial verification form or other proof of ability to pay?
Not with your application for admission. If you are admitted and accept the offer to enroll in a graduate program at Stanford, you will need to follow the process described on the Visa Document Process for New Students webpage, which includes providing proof of funding. Do not send financial statements in advance.
- Can I make any changes to my application after submitting it?
You may update the following information on your status page after submitting your application:
- Test Scores (if required/considered)
- Contact Information (email, phone, address)
- When will I hear back regarding whether I have been offered admission?
The evaluation of graduate applications and admissions decisions take place at the department level. As such, timelines for notification of admissions decisions vary. Please refer to your program’s website to learn more about their specific admissions decision timeline.
Accommodations for Applicants with Extenuating Circumstances
- What should I do if I am unable to submit my application by the deadline?
If extenuating circumstances (e.g., natural disaster, political/civil unrest, etc.) prevent you from submitting your application by the stated deadline, please reach out to the graduate program to which you are applying to inquire about an extension. Discretion on whether or not to provide an extension rests with each graduate program; programs are not obligated to provide extensions.
- What should I do if I am unable to take the GRE or TOEFL exam before the application deadline?
If your program requires GRE scores, you may reach out to them and explain your situation. Find your program’s GRE requirement and contact information on the Explore Graduate Programs page.
Stanford accepts scores from the TOEFL Home Edition, if available for you. If not, you may enter a future date for a TOEFL test in order to submit your application. Be sure to explain the reason TOEFL scores will not be supplied in the Additional Information section of the application. If admission is offered, you may be required to submit TOEFL scores at a later date.
- Due to extenuating circumstances, I am unable to pay the application fee before the deadline. What should I do?
Unfortunately, we are not able to waive payment of the application fee outside of the standard fee waiver process. Some individual graduate programs may offer alternative options in limited circumstances. Please check the website for the graduate program to which you are applying to see if waivers are provided.
- I do not have access to a credit card to use to pay for my application. What should I do?
Stanford’s graduate application system is set up to only accept application fee payments via credit card or U.S. checking account. If possible, you may ask a family member, relative, or friend with one of the accepted payment methods to help you to pay for the application fee. Please log into your Status Page and copy/paste the "Submit Payment" link to give to the person who is paying on your behalf. With this URL, the person can go straight to your payment page without logging into your account and can make or initiate the payment from there.