Stanford University
Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park


Understanding Earth. Benefitting Society.

Application Details

Application Deadline

The admissions cycle is now closed for 2021-22 academic year. Applications for the 2022-2023 will open in Fall of 2021.

NOTE for applications in Fall 2021 for the 2022-2023 application cycle: In accordance with Stanford University's Winter Closure, the department will be closed starting December 18, 2021- January 2, 2022. We highly recommend you complete you application in advance to avoid any potential delays. There are no exceptions for late applications.

The following items must be received by the application deadline:

  • Submit an online Stanford Graduate Application and find general information on applying
    • Application fee ($125 for all applicants)
    • Statement of purpose
    • Three letters of recommendation
    • Official Academic Transcripts
    • TOEFL scores (if applicable)

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. If you wish to submit them, please do so separately by uploading them in the ‘document uploads - additional information’ section of the application.

Letters of Recommendation

Three letters of recommendation are requested. Your 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. Do not upload an unofficial transcript printed from your university website. You must obtain an official transcript and make a scanned copy to upload to the application.

If you are unable to upload a scanned copy of your official transcript you may send in an official transcript by mail or by email using a credited e-transcript service.

If you are mailing your official transcripts, please address them to:

Geophysics Department Admissions
397 Panama Mall, Mitchell Building, 3rd floor
Stanford, CA 94305-2215

If applicants are sending certified electronic transcripts, please email them to: Please only submit one request via certified electronic transcripts. Applicants need to either submit the transcripts electronically or by mail by the application deadline.


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.

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.

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