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Application Information

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Applications for Autumn 2025-2026 will open in Mid-September 2024

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 have questions, contact More university information and application system questions can be found on Stanford's Graduate Admissions website and the online application. 

In accordance with Stanford's Winter closure, the EPS department will be closed starting December 23, 2024, to reopen on January 6, 2025. Email access to staff will not be available during this time, so plan accordingly.

The following items must be received in the electronic application:

  • Online application
  • Application fee    
  • Statement of purpose
  • Supplemental questions (Answered in the online application)
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Scanned copy of official transcript(s)
  • TOEFL, if applicable

Stanford's Graduate Application

Start your application online on Stanford's graduate application page here.

Writing your Statement of Purpose

The Statement of Purpose in a graduate application should provide specifics regarding the scientific questions and research topics you would like to pursue. As such, the statement is more like a research proposal than a general personal narrative. Details of your personal background and education can then strengthen your proposal as part of explaining your research focus and why you feel you are in a good position to attack the scientific questions that interest you.

You may not feel experienced enough now to know exactly what questions you would like to pursue. That is fine. Your research topic will evolve in graduate school as you learn more, interact with your colleagues, and explore new opportunities. Your Statement of Purpose does not lock you into a particular question. Rather, it provides information regarding how you think, the types of questions that interest you, the strength of your background to address those questions, and whether our program has the resources to be a suitable place to pursue your research.

These are guiding questions and themes to consider as you write your Statement of Purpose. If you have any questions feel free to contact our Assistant Director of Student Services, Anjani Varma.

Contacting potential faculty advisors

Applying to a doctoral program—particularly a program as broad as Earth and Planetary Sciences—is not the same as applying to professional schools with a fixed curriculum, like medical or law school, where applicants can be uniformly ranked and the top fraction admitted. Instead, admittance is dependent on an appropriate faculty mentor being available. With this in mind, reviewing the list of current faculty and identifying the most appropriate mentors for your proposed research is essential. At the same time, the interests of individual faculty both may be broader than you realize and can evolve through time, so you would not want to disqualify yourself inappropriately either. The best approach is to contact individual faculty prior to submitting your application in order to discuss your interests and the possibility of conducting research with them. Do not rely on faculty finding you strictly on the strength of a submitted application. Your interactions with faculty will also inform your understanding of our program and the expectations of different research groups.

Supplemental Questions

In addition to the standard application materials, e.g., statement of purpose, letters of recommendation and GPA etc., the Earth and Planetary Sciences graduate program requires a supplement to assess your academic achievement and potential. All applicants are required to answer the supplemental questions in the online application. A reference to the supplemental questions can be found on the Admissions FAQ page.

Official Transcripts

Only Official transcripts need to be uploaded to the application at this time. 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. 

Please upload scanned copies of your official transcripts into the online application from every postsecondary institution where you spent at least one year as a full-time student in a degree program. Transcripts from summer school or continuing education are not necessary unless they were part of a degree program. Upload a scanned copy of each official transcript to your application. Do not upload an unofficial transcript printed from your university website. Each transcript should be uploaded as a single PDF.

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

Information about required exams

GRE - GRE scores are not required to apply and will not be reviewed.

TOEFL - Applicants whose first language is not English must submit TOEFL scores from a test taken within the last eighteen months. Exemptions are granted for applicants who have earned a U.S. bachelor’s or master’s degree from a college or university accredited by a regional accrediting association in the United States, or equivalent of either degree from a university of recognized standing in countries where all instruction is provided in English. Please see the Graduate Admissions Office website for additional information about required exams and the TOEFL waiver.

Application Status

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.


Graduate students admitted to EPS receive substantial financial aid (including tuition) from combinations of departmental fellowships, teaching or research assistantships, and other sources (including external fellowships). Admitted students are automatically considered for funding. There are no additional forms or materials to be submitted beyond the regular application. The department's funding package covers up to 10 units of tuition and provides a quarterly salary. Please note on your application if you are receiving other fellowships, government funding, or company financial support.

External Funding - Prospective students are strongly encouraged to apply for external fellowships, such as the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, or Department of Defense fellowships. If the external fellowship is not sufficient to cover the standard department support level, a supplement will be provided by the University, the department or a research advisor. These fellowships strongly enhance your resume for your future career.

Funding Opportunity: Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program - Application deadline October 9, 2024, 1:00pm Pacific Time

Join dozens of Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability students who gain valuable leadership skills in a multidisciplinary, multicultural community as Knight-Hennessy Scholars (KHS).

KHS admits up to 100 select applicants each year from across Stanford’s seven graduate schools, and delivers engaging experiences that prepare them to be visionary, courageous, and collaborative leaders ready to address complex global challenges. As a scholar, you join a distinguished cohort, participate in up to three years of leadership programming, and receive full funding for up to three years of your studies at Stanford.

Candidates of any country may apply. KHS applicants must have earned their first undergraduate degree within the last seven years, and must apply to both a Stanford graduate program and to KHS. Stanford PhD students may also apply to KHS during their first year of PhD enrollment.
If you aspire to be a leader in your field, we invite you to apply.

Apply Now  

The KHS application deadline is October 9, 2024, 1:00 pm Pacific Time. Learn more about KHS admission and upcoming admission events, including the KHS Online Information Sessions.

Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability Dean’s Graduate Scholars Award

As part of advancing Stanford University’s IDEAL vision and commitment to diversity (broadly defined), the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability has established the Dean’s Graduate Scholars program. This award supports outstanding incoming graduate students who have demonstrated leadership and commitment in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and show the potential to continue their engagement in DEI service at Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability. The Dean’s Graduate Scholars receive tuition, salary, and research support. They are also part of a cohort that engages in professional development activities and annual Dean's lunches.  

The awardee receives

  • Salary and tuition support for the first year of graduate studies at Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability.
  • Scholars will be able to participate in professional development activities with a cohort of SDSS Dean’s Graduate Scholars during the first year of graduate studies.
  • Take part in a lunch with the SDSS Dean.
  • Receive up to $3,000 for professional development, research needs, and attending professional and/or DEI-related conferences or DEI leadership opportunities to be used within the first five years in graduate school. Examples of how this funding can be used: computing needs, workshops, and conferences such as AGU, GSA, SACNAS, AISES, Out in STEM, National Association of Black Geoscientists, Association for Women in Science, etc.
  • Recipients can include this award on their curriculum vitae.

How to Apply

Nominations are submitted by SDSS graduate admissions graduate program to the Dean’s office/DEI director. Prospective students must apply to one of the school’s graduate programs by the department/program deadline to be eligible for nomination.

Applicants are nominated based on academic qualifications and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in the Earth sciences, energy, oceans, and engineering or in the broader field of sustainability as demonstrated through service/leadership or through research and academic or personal experience.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to use the Background and Life Experience statement that is part of the graduate school application to illustrate how their research and/or service/leadership experience and/or personal background contributes to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the broader field of sustainability or in academia in general.


Departments and programs will notify prospective students about admissions decisions by the end of the winter quarter or early spring quarter of the new year. If a student receives admission to an SDSS graduate program and is also selected as a Dean’s Graduate Scholar, they will be contacted by the DEI office to let them know that they have received this award. The DEI director will notify departments/programs about Dean’s Grad Scholars decisions as well.

 Candidates will be evaluated by a committee based on academic excellence and their potential to support the School’s commitment to diversity through leadership, service, and/or personal experience. The committee can also take into consideration a faculty mentor’s ability to support the candidate’s research goals and to advance an inclusive working environment in the School.

Graduate Admissions FAQs


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