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Eligibility for Admission

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 minimum level of study required of International applicants.

You may apply to only one degree program per academic year, with these exceptions: within the Biosciences, you may apply to up to three Ph.D. programs within your one application; and you may apply concurrently to one departmental program and to a professional school program (law, medicine, or business).

English Language Proficiency Program

Adequate command of spoken and written English is required for admission. Evidence of adequate English proficiency must be submitted before enrollment is approved by Graduate Admissions.

TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) scores are required of all applicants whose first language is not English.

International students enrolled at Stanford must be able to read English with ease, understand rapid idiomatic English as used in lectures and group discussions, and express thoughts quickly and clearly in spoken and written English. Admission is offered only to students who are fully prepared in English or who have advanced intermediate proficiency in English that could be raised to the required level by enrollment in a summer intensive English program.

Stanford University offers a six-week Intensive English and Academic Orientation Program in the summer for students who plan to begin graduate study in the autumn quarter. 

Stanford English Placement Test

The English for Foreign Students Office administers an English placement test at the beginning of each quarter. This test may be a required condition of admission for students whose native language is not English.

  • The test assesses the ability to understand, speak, and write American English with particular emphasis on active speaking and writing.
  • Results are evaluated in terms of the students’ intended academic programs at Stanford and the University’s requirements for that program.
  • The results of the test determine whether students will be required to take courses in English in addition to their academic courses.
  • Completion of a degree program may be lengthened if the English courses are required.
  • Students who hold teaching assistantships or who are enrolled in a PhD program that has a teaching requirement will be evaluated in a separate test for oral communication in English.
  • A special English course for teaching assistantships is available for students who are found to need additional language training before beginning their teaching assignments.