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Application Details

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Application Deadline

Applications for the 2023-2024 academic year are closed.  Stanford’s Graduate Application portal will reopen in September 2023 for the 2024-205 academic year.

Please visit our website in September for more information about deadlines and the application process.

The following items must be received by the application deadline:

  • Submit an online Stanford Graduate Application. Please see more information about the application sections below:
    • Application fee ($125 for all applicants, see funding section regarding fee waivers)
    • Statement of purpose
    • Three letters of recommendation
    • Academic Transcripts
    • TOEFL scores (if applicable)
    • CV (optional) & Experience
    • Diversity Statement (optional, recommended)
    • Supplemental application questions

Statement of Purpose

Explain the nature of your interest in the department and reasons for wanting to study at Stanford. You are encouraged to discuss your interest in working with one or more specific faculty members. Include details about your preparation for this field of study, your future career plans and goals, and any other aspects of your background and interests which may aid the admissions committee in evaluating your aptitude and motivation for graduate study. It is also helpful to discuss life experiences such as challenges that you have met or that lead you to commit to advanced study in geophysics.  The admission committee evaluates all applicants for evidence that they will be successful in coursework, have the potential to perform independent research, and show commitment to success. Your statement should be no longer than two pages. 

Do not upload academic papers, theses, or dissertations as part of your statement of purpose. These items are not required.

Letters of Recommendation

Three letters of recommendation are requested. The letters should be written by those who know you in either an academic or employment setting. If possible, at least one should be from a university professor familiar with your academic work. Your recommendations should directly address your suitability for admission to the Geophysics department. We pay extra attention to the potential for future excellence, as indicated in letters of recommendation. The most important factors we look for in the letters are quantitative and analytic strength, communication skills, leadership, overcoming obstacles, perseverance, maturity, and focus. 

Letters of recommendation are handled via an online recommendation system, which is part of the online application. Applicants will be required to register the contact information of their recommenders who will then receive an email with directions on how to proceed. We do not accept emailed or paper recommendations. 

Note: If you have any concerns that any of your recommenders will not be able to submit their letter, you may want to consider requesting letters from additional recommenders. This will increase the likelihood that three letters will be submitted.

Official Academic Transcripts

Upload each transcript as a single PDF file in the online application. Do not upload a student copy of the transcript printed from the university website. Please read the Applying section of central Graduate Admissions website for important information on submitting transcripts. f you are offered admission to Stanford and accept the offer, you will be required to submit official transcripts/degree conferral documents.

Official transcripts do not need to be emailed or mailed to the department unless the applicant is unable to upload official copies in the online application. Only if the applicant is unable to upload an official transcript in the online application, it is preferred the send the official transcripts using a credited e-transcript service. Please email the official transcripts to: Please only submit one request via certified electronic transcripts. 

**The University reserves the right to request additional information.


Applicants whose first language is not English must submit TOEFL scores. Scores must be reported directly to Stanford from ETS. Please see the Graduate Admissions Office website for additional information about the required exams.

CV & Experience

Applicants may upload an optional one-to-two-page curriculum vitae describing their academic, extracurricular, and professional activities. The application also features sections for applicants to optionally upload their research experience, publications/presentations/papers, awards and honors, and relevant work experience.

Diversity Statement

Stanford’s Geophysics Department has always benefited from a culture that nurtures basic science and its application to the Earth and societal systems.  Applicants are encouraged to discuss how factors such as background, life and work experiences, overcoming obstacles,  advanced studies, extracurricular or community activities, culture, socio-economic status, sex, gender identity, race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation would advance our mission to train the next generation of geophysical leaders and scholars. 

Applicants who use the "diversity statement" that is part of the graduate school application to illustrate how their research and/or service/leadership experience and/or personal background contributes to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in the Earth sciences or in academia in general could be considered for the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability Dean's Graduate Scholars Award. This award supports outstanding incoming graduate students who have demonstrated leadership and commitment in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and show the potential to continue their engagement in DEI service at the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability. More information can be found on the program's website: Dean's Scholar Graduate Award

Supplemental Questions

The application includes a series supplemental questions. The questions are intended for the applicant to share more information about themselves that may not be captured in other areas of the application.

  • Briefly comment on your motivation for seeking an advanced degree in Geophysics. [300 characters maximum]
  • Briefly describe an activity (academic or not) that you initiated involving independent inquiry, or an extracurricular activity that you planned and executed. What did you learn? [300 characters maximum]
  • Briefly describe a situation in which you experienced a challenge, obstacle or adversity (academic or personal). How did you handle the situation, and what did you learn? [300 characters maximum]

Application Status

Due to the high volume of applications, we cannot respond to individual inquiries about the status of documents submitted or the status of the application. All application materials are due by the application deadline. Any materials submitted after the deadline will be processed accordingly.