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Graduate Admission : How to Apply for a Graduate Program

The Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences (GES) offers Ph.D. and M.S. programs in a wide range of fields, including surface processes, hydrology, geomorphology, geomechanics, structural & regional geology, tectonics, sedimentary geology & basin analysis, life and planetary evolution, petrology, geochemistry, mineralogy & mineral physics, environmental geology, geochronology & thermochronology, and geostatistics. The size and the breadth of interest of the department's faculty provide numerous opportunities for field-based research and laboratory and numerical experiments and for the most modern applications of instrumental analysis and spectroscopy to problems in the earth sciences.

Students are encouraged to draw upon the skills of more than one research advisor in interdisciplinary projects. Complimentary programs are provided in the Departments of Geophysics, Energy Resources Engineering, and Environmental Earth System Science. Faculty in the GES department interact closely with other departments at Stanford, including Civil & Environmental, Mechanical, and Chemical Engineering; Chemistry; Biology; Statistics; and Applied Physics, as well as with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, the Center for Materials Research, the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory, and the U.S. Geological Survey.

Applicants are encouraged to contact the faculty member(s) they intend to work with.

If you are applying for another program in the School of Earth Sciences, please visit the appropriate website for admissions information and mailing address.  A list of programs within the School of Earth Sciences can be found here.

Admissions deadline for Fall of 2014-2015 is December 10, 2013.

*Online submissions will be accepted from September-December, 2013

The following items must be received in the electronic application:

  • Statement of purpose
  • Application fee
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Scanned copy of official transcript(s) (upload each transcript as a single pdf file).  Do not upload the unofficial transcript printed from your university website.  You must obtain an official transcript and make a copy.
  • GRE scores (see comments)

Two official transcripts should be mailed to:

Graduate Admissions Committee
Geological and Environmental Sciences
450 Serra Mall, Bldg 320, Rm. 118
Stanford, CA 94305-2115

Information about Required Exams

GRE - Only the general GRE test is required. Scores must be from tests taken within the past five years. Scores must be reported directly to Stanford from ETS. The Stanford score recipient number is 4704. To facilitate preliminary review of your application, please note your scores in the electronic form. If you receive your scores after submitting, send your scores to with a subject line of "GRE SCORES - YOUR NAME".  If you have previously applied to Stanford (within the past five years), we have your prior test scores.

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.

University information about Graduate Admissions and the online application.