Admission Requirements for Graduate Programs at Stanford University

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Admission to graduate programs at Stanford University is highly competitive and is based on a holistic evaluation of the applicant's academic achievements, research experience (if applicable), letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, standardized test scores (if required), and other relevant factors.

Here are some general steps and considerations for applying to graduate programs at Stanford:

  • Research Programs: Start by researching the specific graduate program you are interested in. Each program may have its own admission requirements and application process.
  • Meet Eligibility Criteria: Ensure you meet the minimum eligibility criteria for the program, including academic qualifications, prerequisite coursework, and language proficiency (if applicable).
  • Prepare Required Documents: Assemble all necessary application documents, which may include academic transcripts, letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, a resume or CV, and any required standardized test scores (such as GRE, GMAT, or TOEFL/IELTS for international applicants).
  • Online Application: Apply online through the Stanford University Graduate Admissions website. Follow the instructions for the specific program you are applying to.
  • Statement of Purpose: Write a compelling and well-crafted statement of purpose that highlights your academic background, research interests, career goals, and reasons for choosing Stanford.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Request letters of recommendation from professors, research advisors, or employers who can speak to your academic abilities, research potential, and personal qualities.
  • Standardized Tests: If required by your program, register for and take the necessary standardized tests (such as the GRE or GMAT) well in advance of the application deadline.
  • Application Fee: Pay the application fee or apply for a fee waiver if eligible.
  • Submit Application: Submit your completed application before the specified deadline. Late applications are typically not accepted.
  • Interview (if applicable): Some programs may require interviews as part of the application process.

It's crucial to plan ahead and adhere to the specific deadlines set by the graduate program you are applying to. Additionally, contacting the program's admissions office directly can provide you with more detailed and program-specific guidance on the application process.

Keep in mind that each graduate program at Stanford University may have its own unique admission requirements and evaluation criteria. The competition for admission is fierce, so be sure to showcase your academic excellence, research potential, and passion for your chosen field in your application materials.


What are the typical GRE/GMAT/LSAT scores accepted for admission to Stanford Graduate programs?

Stanford University does not impose a minimum GMAT or GRE score requirement for admission to graduate programs. The university welcomes a diverse range of scores and evaluates applicants holistically. Admissions criteria may vary by program, with Stanford considering academic accomplishments, recommendation letters, personal statements, and relevant experience.

Notably, Stanford has adopted an optional GRE policy for the majority of its graduate programs. However, a select few programs still require the GRE, including Energy Science and Engineering (MS and PhD), Public Policy (MA and MPP), Sociology (PhD), Economics (PhD), Health Policy (MS and PhD), Management Science and Engineering (MS and PhD), Political Science (PhD), and Statistics (MS and PhD). The remaining graduate programs at Stanford have made the GRE optional.

Stanford Business School accepts both GMAT and GRE scores, with no preference for one test over the other.

In contrast, Stanford Law School strongly recommends that students submit LSAT scores. However, SLS students also have the option of submitting GRE scores in lieu of LSAT scores.


Do Stanford University's master's programs have exemptions for the GRE and GMAT requirements?

There are very few graduate programs at Stanford that require GMAT or GRE scores for admission. The scores you report must be valid as of the deadline date of the round in which you apply, and you must submit your official scores via the score reporting center prior to your score expiration date.

Stanford MBA accepts both GMAT and GRE scores and has no preference for one over the other. You can take either test before the application deadline to complete your application.

Some of the graduate programs that don't require GRE includes PhD and MS in Computer Science, Master of Arts in Psychology, ME in Mechanical Engineering, and more


How does a lower GPA impact the admission process for Stanford's Master's programs?

Admission to Stanford University's master's programs is highly competitive, and having a low GPA can make the application process more challenging. While a low GPA may not necessarily disqualify you from consideration, it can be a significant factor that admissions committees take into account when evaluating applicants.

Here are some key points to consider if you have a low GPA and are interested in applying to Stanford master's programs:

  • Holistic Evaluation: Stanford's admission process involves a holistic review of each applicant. Admissions committees consider various factors, such as academic achievements, test scores (if required), letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, work experience (if applicable), and any additional qualifications or achievements.
  • Strong Supporting Components: If you have a low GPA, it becomes even more crucial to strengthen other components of your application. Focus on showcasing your strengths through outstanding letters of recommendation, relevant work experience, impressive test scores (if applicable), and a compelling statement of purpose that demonstrates your passion for the field and explains any challenges related to your GPA.
  • Relevant Experience: If you have relevant professional or research experience in your chosen field, it can demonstrate your capabilities beyond your academic record and may be a significant asset in your application.
  • Standardized Test Scores (if applicable): Some master's programs may require standardized test scores (e.g., GRE or GMAT). Achieving a strong score on these tests can help offset a low GPA and show your academic potential.
  • Addressing GPA Concerns: If there were specific circumstances that led to your low GPA (such as personal challenges, health issues, or other hardships), consider addressing them in your application. You can use the optional essay or statement of purpose to provide context and explain any improvements or academic growth since then.
  • Consider Other Options: While Stanford is a prestigious institution, it's essential to apply to a range of programs that match your academic profile and career goals. Consider applying to other reputable universities with master's programs in your field of interest.

Admission to Stanford University is highly challenging due to its global reputation, high demand, rigorous academic standards, limited capacity, and emphasis on research and innovation. The university's selectivity and prestige attract a large number of exceptionally qualified applicants, making the competition intense for limited spots.


In what ways might international students find the admission process at Stanford to be demanding?

Admission to Stanford University is highly competitive for both domestic and international students. However, for international students, the process can present some additional challenges and considerations:

  • High Selectivity: Stanford is known for its selective admissions process, and the acceptance rate for international students is generally lower than that for domestic applicants. The university aims to maintain a diverse and talented student body from around the world, which contributes to the competition for admission.
  • Limited Spots: Like domestic applicants, international students also compete for limited spots in each program. The number of available spots for international students can vary depending on the program and the university's overall international student enrollment goals.
  • Language Proficiency: Proficiency in English is crucial for international applicants, as most classes at Stanford are conducted in English. International students may need to demonstrate their English language skills through standardized tests such as TOEFL or IELTS.
  • Financial Considerations: International students need to consider the cost of attending Stanford, as tuition and living expenses can be higher for non-U.S. residents. Stanford offers limited financial aid for international students, and they may need to explore other funding options.
  • Visa Requirements: Accepted international students must apply for and obtain an appropriate student visa to study in the United States. Navigating the visa application process can add complexity and time to the overall admission process.
  • Cultural Adjustment: Moving to a different country and adapting to a new culture can be challenging for international students. Stanford offers support services to help international students adjust to their new environment.


Are there interviews for Stanford Masters or joint-degree programs?

The interview process for Stanford University's master's or joint-degree programs varies depending on the specific program and department. While some programs may require or strongly encourage interviews as part of the admissions process, others may not conduct interviews at all.

Here are some points to consider regarding interviews for Stanford master's or joint-degree programs:

  • Interview Types: If interviews are conducted, they can be either in-person, virtual (via video conference), or phone interviews. The format may vary depending on the program's preferences and the location of the applicant.
  • Program Specifics: Some programs, particularly those with a small cohort or highly selective admissions, may use interviews as an opportunity to learn more about the applicant beyond their application materials. It allows the program to assess a candidate's fit for the program and may include discussions about their academic background, research interests, career goals, and any relevant experiences.
  • Optional or Not Required: Not all programs at Stanford University conduct interviews as part of their admissions process. In such cases, the admissions decision is based solely on the application materials submitted by the applicant.
  • Invitation Only: If interviews are required or encouraged, applicants are typically invited to participate after their initial application has been reviewed by the admissions committee.

It's essential for applicants to carefully review the application requirements for the specific master's or joint-degree program they are interested in to determine if interviews are a part of the admissions process. If interviews are conducted, applicants should be prepared to showcase their enthusiasm for the program, demonstrate their qualifications, and communicate their goals effectively during the interview.


Lets explore the admission requirements for various graduate programs at Stanford University that do not require GRE scores.

Graduate Certificate in Policy Analysis

A complete application includes the following:

1. Application form

2. Two confidential letters of recommendation, one of which must be from a Stanford faculty member familiar with your academic work (email to [email protected])

3. Undergraduate and graduate transcripts

4. GRE, GMAT, LSAT or MCAT test scores

5. Statement of purpose, not to exceed two pages

6. Resume or Curriculum Vitae

7. Preliminary program proposal

8. Pre-requisite completion statement, demonstrating completion of required prerequisite course work in multivariate calculus and intermediate microeconomics

The application to the Certificate in Policy Analysis is available here and can be submitted at any time. Upon submission, a member of the Public Policy program staff will contact you to confirm your course plan and answer any questions you may have. You must be a currently enrolled graduate student to pursue the certificate.

PhD and MS in Computer Science - No GRE

Admission requirements for MS and PHD in Computer Science are

1. Completed Online Application must be submitted by the CS application deadline.

2. Application fee of $125.

3. Statement of Purpose.

4. Three Recommendation Letters.

5. Resume.

6. Transcripts.

7. GRE: These are not required for PHD or MS applicants.

8. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required for all applicants whose native language is not English.

The application deadline for MS in Computer Science is December 1.

Admission Requirements- PhD in Finance- GRE required.

Admission Requirements for Ph.D. in Finance:

  • Statement of Purpose
  • Resume or CV
  • Three letters of reference
  • GMAT or GRE score
  • Uploaded official transcripts.

PhD in Accounting: GRE required.

Admission Requirements for Ph.D. in Accounting:

  • GRE or GMAT scores
  • Official transcripts
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Resume

Admission Requirements - MS in Statistics & Data Science - GRE Required

The admission requirements for the MS in Statistics & Data Science program are:

  • a bachelor’s degree from a U.S. college or university accredited by a regional accrediting association
  • official transcripts
  • Personal Statement
  • Resume
  • GRE scores are required.

Admission Requirements - PhD in Chemistry - GRE Optional

To apply for the Ph.D. program, candidates must submit a complete application, which includes the following components:

  • An online application form.
  • A non-refundable application fee of $125, applicable to U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and international applicants.
  • Three letters of recommendation. Preference is given to letters that detail the applicant's laboratory experience, scientific creativity, and the ability to independently tackle research problems.
  • A statement of purpose. This should outline your research projects, skills, and experience, with a focus on your specific research interests at Stanford. It is important to include details and the names of the research groups you are interested in joining.
  • One unofficial transcript from each university attended for one year or longer. If admitted, two official transcripts from each institution will be required.
  • Official GRE scores, including the general test and the subject exam in chemistry, are optional.

The review process for applications is comprehensive and personalized, taking into account each applicant's academic record, achievements, recommendation letters, and admissions essays. This approach helps to understand how an applicant's life experiences have influenced their past achievements and their potential future contributions to their field. Candidates who are aiming to pursue the Ph.D. degree are encouraged to apply, ensuring that they provide all the necessary supplementary materials for their application to be considered complete.