Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation

Admission FAQs

Main content start

What are the application deadlines for the 2025-2026 academic year?

The application deadline for both Masters and Ph.D. programs for the Autumn 2025 start date is to be announced. All application materials, including test scores, must be submitted by the posted deadline. You can also submit supplemental material before the deadline, and it will be matched with your online application.

If you are a re-applicant, you must provide all the required materials again, including letters of recommendation. If your test scores are less than five years old, they may be reinstated. For more information on reapplying, please send an email to

Is the GRE required?

No, the GRE is not required and will not be considered for admission.

How do I know if you've received my transcript/test score/etc?

Applicants are required to upload scanned copies of official transcripts to the online application. If you need to  submit an e-transcript review instructions on the EPS Admissions page.  A complete review of all application materials will begin after the deadline. Applicants will be contacted directly if there are any follow up questions regarding their application materials. Due to the high volume of applications we cannot respond to individual inquiries about the status of documents submitted. A comprehensive review of all application materials will begin after the deadline. You will be contacted directly for any missing materials.

Do I need to submit hard copies of official transcripts?

No. Applicants are required to upload scanned copies of official transcripts to the online application. 

Upon acceptance, you will need to arrange for your official transcripts to be sent by the institution(s) to Stanford University in Spring. Please refrain from sending official transcripts until requested by Graduate Admissions or the EPS department. 

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. E-transcripts should be sent to

Can I apply for Spring admission?

The department only accepts applications for the Fall quarter.

Do you have a minimum GPA requirement?

We do not have a minimum GPA. The evaluation of each applicant is based on all the materials in the file and is not exclusively based on GPA. 

Do you accept the IELTS?

We do not accept the IELTS, only the TOEFL.  Please see the Stanford University Graduate Admissions website for additional information about the TOEFL and TOEFL waivers.

Can I apply for an application fee waiver?

The Stanford Earth Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Office provides a set number of fee waivers to students who would like to apply to graduate programs in the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability and are in financial need. To see if you qualify, visit the School-Based Waivers page. Fee waiver applications typically open in October. All fee waiver applications must be completed 10 business days prior to your department deadline.

Do I need a Master's degree to apply to the Ph.D. program?

No. Applicants who have a bachelor’s degree may apply directly to our doctoral program.

I am an international or DACA/undocumented student, can I apply and qualify for funding? 

EPS department welcomes all students, regardless of their nationality or migratory status, to apply and be considered for funding (See more resources). 

What if I am interested in working with faculty in multiple departments?

Applicants can only apply to one department. Apply to the department that is the best fit for your research interests. Faculty and students within the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability work closely with each other, and with other departments on campus. Current students have opportunities to work with faculty in other departments.

Is there a certificate option available for the Earth and Planetary Science programs?

No, Earth and Planetary Science does not offer a certificate option for their program. However, the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability (SDSS) provides graduate certificate programs that allow Stanford graduate students from various disciplines to explore sustainability topics alongside their primary course of study. These certificate programs enable students to connect sustainability concepts with their primary degree. The primary audience for these certificate programs is master's and PhD students who do not have a sustainability background but are interested in learning more about it.

Learn more

Where can I find the supplemental questions?

A reference to the supplemental questions can be found below and in the online application. Submission of the supplement are done through the online application.


In addition to the standard application materials, e.g., Statement of Purpose, letters of reference and GPA etc., the Earth and Planetary Sciences graduate program has a required supplement to assess your academic achievement and potential. The Statement of Purpose should contain a narrative of your personal path, your short-term and long-range research and career goals, and how your preparation and activities thus far fit into achieving those goals and your future plans. The supplement asks about your potential research interests and collects your responses to some writing prompts. We ask about research interests to make sure that faculty with interests that overlap yours see your application. We ask for responses to the supplemental prompts in order to learn some specific information about you that you may or may not have included in your Statement of Purpose.

 We have found that the following traits bode well for success in our graduate program and will be assessing applicants based on these traits: 1) perseverance, 2) maturity, 3) resourcefulness, 4) independence, 5) curiosity, 6) problem solving skills  and, 7) communication skills (written and oral). To be admitted, we don’t expect each candidate to excel at every one of these traits; we recognize that you will hone and grow your skill set while in graduate school. To be admitted, we do expect candidates to show strength in several of these traits and to recognize the value of these skills for success in graduate school.

The four prompts in the supplemental material provide an opportunity for you to describe in a paragraph or two how you demonstrate strengths that can serve you well in our program. If you feel these topics have been explicitly addressed in your personal statement, you may write “addressed in Statement of Purpose,” or you may copy and paste elements directly from your personal statement. These prompts and other information are provided on the Earth and Planetary Sciences admissions landing page (link). We encourage you to share that link with your recommendation letter writers so that they can speak to these qualities.  

 1. What motivates you to apply for our program, and which faculty members would be best suited to be your advisor?

Graduate school is a multiyear commitment to learning and to a research project. The decision to attend graduate school is a major step in your career. Please tell us what motivates you to go to graduate school and why you think the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Stanford is where you would like to go, including any thoughts about why you see a potential fit with any particular faculty member(s) as a primary advisor.  

 2. Tell us about your perseverance and maturity

Completing graduate-level coursework, independent study, and research requires perseverance in handling deadlines, challenges, and even failures along the way. Briefly describe a challenging time (one where you did not fully succeed in achieving a goal or completing a task) and describe how you responded to that and what you learned from that experience. Then, briefly describe an experience where you struggled through a challenging time but eventually succeeded. What helped you get through that struggle and the stress associated with it?  

 3. Tell us about your resourcefulness

As a graduate student, your research will often involve innovative solutions and investigating new methods as well as working as a team with your advisor and other collaborators. Describe a past experience that demonstrates your resourcefulness or experience working on a team (academic or extra-curricular).

 4. Tell us about your independence, curiosity, and problem-solving skills

Conducting research as a graduate student requires curiosity in developing a question or hypothesis and independence, along with creative problem-solving in conducting self-directed research. Please describe a time when you took initiative on something, either academic or outside of academics, that highlights some of these qualities.

Help! I'm having technical issues with the application!

Please visit the Stanford University Graduate Admissions website for additional information about eligibility, required exams, submitting the application, file upload requirements, and more.