The physics graduate program at Stanford University provides students with the opportunity to enter a doctoral program upon completion of a bachelor’s degree. In some cases, a Master of Science degree may be awarded as part of this program. Highly competitive, Stanford receives more than 500 applications each year for 60 program spots. If you’re interested in applying, submit a full application packet by the middle of December to be considered for fall admission of the following year.

High Achiever

Academic transcripts are a requirement of a completed physics graduate application packet. Transcripts from each college you’ve attended full-time for one year or more need to be included. The higher your grades, the more competitive your application will be. Previous coursework in subjects such as molecular physics, materials research, quantum electronics and spectroscopy may be a plus given research opportunities offered for graduate students.

Word On The Street

Letters of recommendation provide the application committee with information about who you are as a physics student and your potential for academic success. The Stanford graduate application requires three letters from people who can attest to your academic qualifications. Consider asking faculty members from your previous institution who can discuss your special skills and abilities related to graduate work in physics.


The Stanford physics department doesn’t provide specific academic benchmarks for admission. Student applications are evaluated individually and all application components are considered. Test scores from the Graduate Record Examination are required. Higher test scores may give you an edge but be sure to include other academic honors and awards that showcase your talent and potential. If you’ve participated in research projects or other special physics initiatives, be sure to highlight these. Anything that differentiates you from other applicants can make a difference.

Getting Personal

A statement of purpose is an opportunity for you to fill in the missing parts of your academic picture. Your academic transcript, test scores and references provide background about you as a student. Write a compelling letter that indicates your goals and dreams and why you are an ideal match for the graduate physics program. Be sure to indicate your particular physics research interests and how you have excelled in the past as a physics student. Use your statement of purpose as a way to compel the admissions committee to admit you to the physics graduate program.