Admissions FAQ

Q: When is the application deadline?

The online application, required document(s), and test scores are due by:

Ph.D. applicants: end of the day (local time), December 2, 2014
M.S. applicants: end of the day (local time), January 6, 2015

Q: Can I apply to more than one department at Stanford?

No, you may apply to only one department. If you are not admitted by the department you apply to, you may request to have your application be considered by another department, pending the second department agrees to review your application.

Generally, financial aid is already awarded by the time another department agrees to review such applications, therefore even if you are admitted, you would need to be prepared to fund yourself for at least the first year.

Q: What is the most important part of my application?

Our Department does not have a "formula" for admissions. The admissions committee looks at the applicant's background and record to determine potential for success. We look at the whole package, including the strengths and weaknesses, as well as the availability of resources in the department for the applicants.

Obviously, the better your test scores, transcripts, letters, and experiences, the better your chances of gaining admission, but there are no guarantees. We can never admit all the students with the ability to succeed in graduate school, as there simply are not enough resources to support all of our excellent applicants.

Because of our "whole view" approach, we do not keep statistics of test scores, GPAs, etc. of those admitted in past years. Early application will not increase your chance of getting accepted.

Q: What are the required tests for admissions?

GRE (Graduate Record Exam): ALL applicants are required to submit GRE scores.

- No subject tests required.

- No minimum score required.

- GRE scores are valid for 5 years from the test date.

- Test scores received by Graduate Admissions prior to September 1, 2012 are no longer retained on file. If you had ETS send test scores to Stanford but you did NOT submit an application, you must request that ETS resend the scores if you submit an application in the future.

- Find GRE information here.

TOEFL: Adequate command of spoken and written English is required for admission. Applicants whose first language is not English must submit an official test score from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Stanford accepts only ETS (Educational Testing Service) scores.

- Scores must be submitted from a test taken within the last 18 months.

- Exemptions are granted to applicants who have earned a U.S. bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree from a college or university accredited by a regional accrediting association in the United States, or the international equivalent degree from a university of recognized standing in a country in which all instruction is provided in English. Therefore, applicants with degrees from the U.S., Australia, Canada (except Quebec), New Zealand, Singapore, and the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales) are exempt from taking the TOEFL and do not need to submit the TOEFL Waiver Request form.

- Applicants with degrees from institutions in countries other than those listed above and in which English was the only language of instruction must submit the TOEFL Waiver Request form in order to be evaluated for a waiver to the TOEFL requirement.

- U.S. citizenship does not automatically exempt an applicant from taking the TOEFL if the applicant’s first language is not English. Please refer to for details on the minimum test score requirement. Both the GRE, and TOEFL if applicable, are required by the University and cannot be waived by the Department. In order for the official scores from ETS to arrive in time for the deadline, they should be taken well in advance and no later than an October test date.

Q: How can I send my test scores to Stanford and where should I send my transcript(s)?

Test scores: Official scores must be reported directly to Stanford from Educational Testing Service. Stanford’s ETS institutional code is 4704. Individual department code numbers are not necessary. As long as the institutional code of 4704 is selected, the score will be electronically delivered to Stanford. The scores will be sent to the central Graduate Admissions Office at Stanford University electronically and matched by name and birthdate to the application files. The test reporting process may take up to a few weeks.

Transcript(s)*: You are required to submit transcript(s) from every postsecondary institutions you have attended for at least one year as a full-time student in a degree program. You do not have send transcripts from summer school or continuing education unless it was part of a degree program. Please send one (1) copy of your official transcript to:

Department of Materials Science & Engineering
Student Services Office
496 Lomita Mall, Room 111A
Stanford, CA 94305-4034

*Graduate Admissions website indicates two (2) copies official transcripts are required, but Materials Science & Engineering requires only one (1).

Q: I have already submitted my test score(s), mailed transcript(s) and my recommenders submitted my letters, but it's not showing as "received" on my checklist. Is there something wrong?

You must first submit your application for Stanford to be able to see your checklist. Stanford cannot match your recommendation letters, transcripts, and test scores until Test scores are sent by ETS to Stanford and it could take up to a few weeks to match your application to your scores. Official transcripts will be marked as "received" when the department receives them in the mail. If your official transcripts' status remains "not received", it will a good idea to contact your former/current schools to send another copy of the official transcript, as it is possible that mails get lost in transit.

Q: Would it be possible to modify my application after it's already been submitted?

No, you will not be able to modify your application once it's submitted.

Q: Is it possible to request an application fee waiver?

The Online Fee Waiver Application is available for only US citizens and permanent residents (not available to international applicants) for whom the fee would cause significant hardship. Such a waiver is only granted to applicants who also qualify to have their GRE test fees waived and you must include a copy of the test fee waiver when you request the application fee exception. You should submit the application online with a credit card payment and send in the fee waiver form. If a fee waiver is granted to you, the credit card charge will be refunded. This rule is established by the Graduate Admissions Office and the Department cannot overrule the requirement for a fee. Please refer to for more information.

Q: How can I request financial aid?

We are able to offer financial aid only to selected PhD students. Simply check the box on the application form that asks if you wish to be considered for aid. If you do NOT check that box, you will not be offered aid. You do not have to provide proof of need. Financial aid is administered somewhat differently in graduate school than it is in undergraduate school.

Q: What degrees can I apply for?

Applicants may ask to be considered for either an M.S. degree or a Ph.D. degree. We do not accept applicants directly to the Engineer degree program, so please do not put this on your application form. If you expect to obtain both an M.S. degree and a Ph.D. degree, apply to the Ph.D. program only. Use the M.S. program ONLY if you expect to obtain a terminal M.S. degree and not continue your education.

Q: What is meant by the question: If you applied to the Ph.D. program but are not admitted to it, do you want to be considered for admissions to the Master's Degree Program?

We have a limited number of spaces available for Ph.D. admits. Sometimes we offer an M.S. program admission to someone who has applied to the Ph.D. program. Please indicate in your application that you wish to be considered for an M.S.

Q: Can I change from the M.S. to the Ph.D. degree program?

We do have a petition procedure for students who have done extremely well during their first two quarters in our program to request a transfer to the Ph.D. program. You must have support from two faculty members, including one who is willing to act as your Ph.D. research advisor and provide funding for you. Space is limited.

Q: What are the degree requirements in Materials Science and Engineering?

Degree requirements are a combination of rules set by the University and the Department. Details can be found in the Stanford Bulletin under the listing for this department.

Q: Need more information?

If you have any questions about applying to Stanford or receiving financial support, please email or write to:

Attn: Student Services
Department of Materials Science & Engineering
Stanford University
496 Lomita Mall, Room 115
Stanford, CA 94305-4034

** You may also contacct Ms. Fi Verplanke, Student Services Manager at; (650) 724-6784. Email is the best option for communication as we cannot return long distance or international phone calls.