Stanford University
Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park

Geophysics

Understanding Earth. Benefitting Society.

Geophysics Admissions

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 https://earth.stanford.edu/geophysics/people and https://earth.stanford.edu/geophysics/research-groups.  

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.

Diversity

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.

Application Details

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

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Funding Information

Geophysics Funding, External Fellowships and Graduate Application Fee Waivers

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Admissions FAQ's

Questions? See our FAQ's

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Knight-Hennessy Scholars

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

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