Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.
Skip to content Skip to navigation


Geophysics is a field that integrates geology, mathematics, and physics in order to understand how the Earth works. Geophysicists study Earth processes through a combination of laboratory experiments, computational and theoretical modeling, remote imaging, and direct observation.

Research in the Geophysics Department at Stanford has both fundamental and strategic elements. Our students benefit from this breadth of exposure and are highly sought after for rewarding careers in academia, industry, and government.
 We offer a variety of research programs and educational opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students.

Our research is central to addressing challenges humanity faces in hazards, energy, and the environment, and ranges from the purely theoretical to the deeply practical, and from planetary-scale to the pore-scale.

For detailed descriptions of our research programs, please explore our website, but keep in mind that our research is constantly evolving as new discoveries are made and new research challenges are uncovered.

Application Deadline

The application deadline for the Fall of 2019-2020 is December 11, 2018.

To Apply

The following items must be received by the application deadline:

  • Please submit an online Stanford Graduate Application and find general information on applying
  • Statement of purpose
  • Application fee ($125 for all applicants)
  • Academic Transcripts***
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • GRE General Test scores*
  • TOEFL scores (if applicable)**

***Two Official transcripts should be mailed to:

Geophysics Department Admissions
397 Panama Mall, Mitchell Building, 3rd floor
Stanford, CA 94305-2215


*The GRE General Test is required. Scores must be from tests taken within five years. Scores must be reported directly to Stanford from ETS. The Stanford score recipient number is 4704 (no department code is needed for Geophysics). To facilitate preliminary review of your application, please note your scores in the electronic form.


**Applicants whose first language is not English must submit TOEFL scores from a test taken within the last eighteen months. The TOEFL is waived for individuals 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 the equivalent of either degree from a non-U.S. college or university of recognized standing where all instructions is provided in English. This exception does not apply if the courses were completed in a country where English is spoken but not all instruction is provided in English. Scores must be reported directly to Stanford from ETS. Please see the Graduate Admissions Office website for additional information about required exams.

University information about Graduate Admissions and online applications.

Application Status

Due to the high volume of applications, we cannot respond to individual inquiries about the status of documents submitted. Please view your checklist weekly for any missing materials. The office will be closed December 22-January 6.  Decisions will be made on all applications by the beginning of April 2019.

Funding and Support

To be considered for funding upon admission, simply check the box on the admissions application that indicates that you wish to be considered for financial aid; there are no additional forms or materials to be submitted beyond the regular application.

Graduate students admitted to Geophysics typically receive substantial financial aid (including tuition) from combinations of departmental fellowships, teaching or research assistantships, and other sources (including external fellowships).  Please note on your application if you are receiving other fellowships, government funding, or company financial support.

The department's funding package typically covers up to 10 units of tuition and provides a quarterly salary.

External Funding

Prospective students are strongly encouraged to apply for external fellowships, such as the National Science Foundation. If the external fellowship is not sufficient to cover the standard department support level, a supplement is typically provided by the University, the department or a research advisor. 


Graduate Fee Waivers

If you are considering applying to Stanford graduate programs and need assistance with the application fees, consider applying for a fee waiver. Please visit this website for more information:

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a Master’s degree to apply to the Geophysics doctoral program?

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

What is the minimum GRE score required in order to be considered for admission?

We do not have a cutoff GRE score requirement. The evaluation of each applicant is based on all the materials in the file and is not exclusively based on GRE test scores. 

What is the minimum GPA score required in order to be considered for admission?

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

What is an ‘official’ transcript?

The PDF version of the transcripts you upload on line are considered "unofficial." The university requires "official" transcripts that are produced and sent directly by your university in a sealed envelope. You may also send official transcripts yourself as long as the envelope has not been opened, as indicated by an unbroken seal with a signature or stamp across it. You can also request your school to send an official electronic transcript to  

What if my official transcripts are not received by the deadline?

Your file will not be considered complete until all required application materials are received. We may do a preliminary review of your file with unofficial transcripts, but we will not make a final decision until we have official transcripts.

If I do not have a Geophysics academic background, am I still eligible to apply?

We have a wide variety of students from various academic backgrounds. Please refer to our academic section to review course requirements to the degree.

For more helpful ‘Frequently Asked Questions’, please visit the Office of Graduate Admissions FAQ page or contact Rachael Madison