Stanford University
Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park


Understanding Earth. Benefitting Society.

Geophysics Admissions

Please join us on November 12th, 2021 at 2:00PM PST for an information session webinar.

This webinar is designed for prospective graduate students and will cover the general application process, admissions, requirements, funding, research, information about campus resources and an opportunity for Q&A. 


Registration is required


Navigate to Please join us on November 12th, 2021 at 2:00PM PST for an information session webinar.

The Department of Geophysics offers graduate education in a wide range of geophysical disciplines. We study the surface and interiors of the Earth, Moon, and planets through laboratory experiments, computational and theoretical modeling, remote imaging, and direct observation.  Our research has both fundamental and applied elements.  Students benefit from this breadth of exposure and are sought after for careers in academia, industry, and government.  

Our teaching and research focus on understanding systems critical to the future of civilization.  The Stanford Geophysics department offers the intellectual scientific foundation for addressing these challenges, with our expertise in theoretical, numerical, and experimental methods applied to problems that span earthquake, volcano and tsunami hazard, climate change, ice and rock mechanics, hydrologic geophysical fluid dynamics, remote sensing, and energy resource development.

Bringing together diverse opinions, experiences, backgrounds, and skills is an essential aspect of our interdisciplinary, solutions-based education, and research. The department encourages applications from members of underrepresented groups, individuals with non-traditional academic training, international students, and others whose backgrounds and experiences would make significant contributions to a more diverse community.  

Our department admits graduate students on the basis of their academic achievements, letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, fit to the research scope of the department, research potential, and work/life experience. There are no minimum grade point averages. The admissions committee evaluates all applications holistically with respect to the potential for completing a successful doctoral program of study in Geophysics.

The graduate admissions process takes place through the Department of Geophysics. Applicants interested in undergraduate admission should apply through the Stanford Admissions Office.

Preparing to Apply

Before beginning your application, familiarize yourself with the Geophysics department and its students, faculty, degree requirements and policies on the web site. Be sure to explore other Stanford sites relevant to graduate education.

Admission is to the department, not individual faculty or research groups.  All applicants are reviewed by the admissions committee who strongly consider input from individual faculty members. New students are paired with a likely faculty advisor upon admission, though there is the possibility of switching advisors after starting graduate school.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact one or more members of the Geophysics faculty to inquire about the faculty members research directions and if the faculty member is considering accepting students for the upcoming admissions cycle.  You can find the list of Geophysics faculty and descriptions of their research areas at and  

Applicants who hold or are completing a bachelor’s degree are welcome and should apply for the Ph.D. program if this is their intended degree.  Applying for a M.S. degree as a first step toward a Ph.D. is not recommended in our department.  Applicants interested in a M.S. are strongly advised to contact potential faculty advisors before submitting an application.

PLEASE NOTE for Fall 2021 Applications: In accordancewith Stanford's Winter closure, the Geophysics department will be closed December 18, 2021- January 2, 2022. Email access to staff will not be available during this time so plan accordingly.


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 in their application 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.

Geophysics faculty that are not considering new admits in the upcoming 2022-2023 admissions cycle:

The Geophysics department has provided a list of faculty in Geophysics who have indicated they are not considering new students to join their group in Fall of 2022. Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact Geophysics faculty to inquire about the faculty members research directions.  Any questions can be sent to

Not considering new Ph.D students:

Lucia Gualtieri, Sonia Tikoo, William Ellsworth, Dustin Schroder, Howard Zebker, Rosemary Knight

Not considering new MS students:

Lucia Gualtieri, Sonia Tikoo, William Ellsworth, Dustin Schroder, Howard Zebker, Paul Segall, Greg Beroza, Eric Dunham

Application Details

Statement of Purpose, Letters of Recommendation, Transcripts, Required Exams

Navigate to item

Funding Information

Geophysics Funding, External Fellowships and Graduate Application Fee Waivers

Navigate to item

Admissions FAQ's

Questions? See our FAQ's

Navigate to item

Knight-Hennessy Scholars

Knight-Hennessy Scholars develops a community of future global leaders to address complex challenges through collaboration and innovation.

Navigate to item
IconsList of icons used on the sitemaillinkedindouble carrot leftarrow leftdouble carrotplayerinstagramclosecarrotquotefacebooktwitterplusminussearchmenuarrowcloudclock