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Do I have to hold a Masters degree to be eligible to apply for the E-IPER PhD?

No, all individuals who hold a U.S. bachelors degree or its equivalent from a college or university of recognized standing are eligible to apply for admission to Stanford graduate degree programs. However, many of our successful applicants have a Masters degree and/or professional work experience.

Are there course prerequisites for application to the E-IPER PhD?

Though E-IPER has no course prerequisites for application purposes, it is expected that students will enter the program with foundational quantitative skills. These skills can certainly be obtained through E-IPER coursework as long as students understand that this may extend the length of their program. Additionally, the strongest candidates will be able to demonstrate coursework, experience or research in multiple disciplines including physical, biological and social sciences. Further, the admissions committee would hope to see some coursework or practical experience in the applicant's areas of proposed research.

Time to Degree

How long will it take to complete the E-IPER PhD?

E-IPER is very flexible and individualized, so program duration will vary among students. The average duration of the program is anticipated to be 5 years. Earning a PhD includes the completion of 135 units.

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Joint Degree Programs

Does E-IPER have any joint degree programs for the PhD?

Yes, E-IPER currently has a JD/PhD option for students wishing to pursue a career that incorporates the law and environment.

How do I apply for the Joint JD/PhD?

Students interested in pursuing the JD/PhD with E-IPER must apply for and gain admission to the JD program and the PhD program independently.  This means that you will need to apply directly to the Law School and directly to the PhD program in E-IPER, each requiring their own (separate) applications.  If you are admitted to both programs, that means you are admitted to pursue the Joint JD/PhD degree.

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Application Process

To which code do I send GRE scores?

You must request through ETS that your scores are transmitted to Stanford's general code 4704. E-IPER does not use a departmental code.

Can E-IPER confirm receipt of my test scores, transcripts and letters of recommendation?

We are unable to confirm receipt of application materials if you have not yet submitted your application.  Once you have submitted your application, you can check the status of your application materials on your Activities Page.  We will update application material status on a daily basis.

Must I apply using the electronic application?

All applications must be submitted through the electronic system; no paper applications will be accepted.  Applicants can access Stanford's electronic application on the Graduate Admissions website. 

What is the application deadline for the E-IPER PhD degree program? Are there autumn and spring deadlines?

E-IPER accepts applications for Autumn matriculation only. All application materials must be received by the December 3, 2013 deadline. Interviews will occur February 6-7, 2014 and offers will be extended in March.

Can I apply to more than (1) one Stanford graduate program per year?

Stanford policy allows applicants to apply for only (1) one graduate program per year. However, if the department reviewing your application feels you are better suited to another program, they may opt to transfer your file to another department if you authorize this action on your application and if the department is in a position to accept the transfer.

Are there any Stanford sponsored programs that promote or support minority applications to graduate programs?

Stanford participates in Project 1000, a program which assists minority students in applying to graduate programs. Project 1000 pays for the application and test fees. Students submit their application materials to Project 1000, which then distributes them to participating Universities. However, should you apply to E-IPER through Project 1000, you must send another essay directly to E-IPER in which you discuss specifically why you want to pursue an interdisciplinary PhD, why you want to do it at Stanford, and how your research interests relate. Visit the Project 1000 web site for more information. Please note that all communication regarding applying through Project 1000 should be done through an assigned Project 1000 coordinator.

What is the required length of the Statement of Purpose portion of the application? Should I submit a thesis proposal as well?

The Statement of Purpose should be approximately (2) pages. Your research topic should be identified in your personal statement; a separate document is not necessary. See additional instructions on the PhD Application page.

Is there a place on the application where I can explain extenuating circumstances?

In the electronic application, there is an Additional Information section in which you can explain the circumstances of an incomplete class, low grade, or low score component.

Should I contact the faculty with whom I am interested in working prior to application submission?

While applicants are welcome to contact Stanford faculty members of interest, we ask that applicants first become familiar with faculty research projects via their websites and published works (the Woods Institute for the Environment's Faculty Database is a great resource). Because applicants are not required to secure an advisor for application purposes, a faculty member may not respond to an inquiry at this early stage. This should not discourage one from applying or contacting faculty. Applicants who proceed to the interview phase will be invited to Stanford in February to meet with potential advisors and current students to discuss research interests and collaborations. Please note that the E-IPER program does not arrange meetings prior to this event.

Do recommenders send letters to E-IPER or is this done electronically?

Recommenders must submit their letters electronically through the online system. Three letters of recommendation must be received by the application deadline of December 3, 2013.  

Who should submit letters of recommendation on my behalf?

It is required by the University that at least one of the recommenders be a faculty member at the last school you attended as a full-time student unless you have been out of school for more than five years. Substitutions for faculty recommendations may include work associates or others who can comment on your potential for graduate work. It is advised by E-IPER that at least two letters of recommendation come from academic sources.

I applied to the E-IPER PhD degree program last year and was not admitted; however I am applying again this year. Do I need to resubmit all application materials and am I required to pay the application fee?

You are required to complete the online application again, which incurs an application fee. Your application must include a revised Statement of Purpose. E-IPER can reuse your transcripts and Letters of Recommendation if you wish, however, if any changes to these documents attest to your improved suitability to the program, they should be resubmitted.  We are unable to retrieve documents from other Stanford departments you have applied to previously.

How do I submit the transcript portion of my application?

You can upload unofficial transcripts from all universities and colleges you attended for one year or more in the electronic application. Also request that ONE official transcript from all colleges and universities you have attended full time for at least one year be mailed directly to E-IPER.

Are there any waivers for the $125 application fee?

There is a University-wide fee waiver application process for qualified US Citizens/Permanent Residents.

E-IPER encourages prospective international students from low and middle income countries to apply. Recognizing that the application fee may deter some candidates with limited financial means, E-IPER offers a limited number of fee waivers for international students who face a financial hardship that would prevent them from applying.

To apply for an international student fee waiver:

  • Prospective applicants must have submitted a fee waiver request no later than November 8, 2013.  Late requests not accepted.
  • Granting of a waiver does not indicate that an applicant will be or is likely to be accepted for the PhD. Applicants whose waiver requests are denied may still submit an application for E-IPER.
  • Requests for fee waivers, whether approved or denied, will be kept confidential and will not influence the application review or selection process.

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Test Requirements

Do you require the GRE Subject Exam?

No, E-IPER applicants are only required to take the general GRE exam.

When should I take the GRE and TOEFL?

GRE and TOEFL (if applicable) scores must be RECEIVED by E-IPER's annual application deadline to be considered as part of the application. To ensure ETS has sufficient time to transmit your scores, it is strongly advised that you take the required exam(s) by mid-October prior to the deadline. GRE scores must be from an exam taken within 5 years and TOEFL scores must be from an exam taken within 18 months of applying. ETS must transmit scores by the 5-year or 18-month expiration date, sometime between June 1 of the application year and the application deadline.

What if I take the GRE after mid-October?  Will E-IPER receive my scores on time?

GRE score availability depends on when you take the exam. Please see the GRE Test Score Schedule to find out when your scores will be available.   If you receive your scores after you submit your application, please email your self-reported scores to  While we cannot make any guarantees, we will do our best to add the scores to your application. 

Are there any exceptions to the GRE requirement for applicants to the PhD program?

GRE scores are required for all doctoral applicants, no exceptions. Although test scores are not the determining factor, they are considered as part of the application packet. GRE scores must be from an exam taken within 5 years of applying. E-IPER will accept both CBT (Computer Based Test) and PBT (Paper based Test) formats.

Is there a minimum GRE score requirement?

There is no score requirement. Applications are reviewed comprehensively, and other areas of particular strength can in some cases outweigh a relatively weaker GRE component. However given the competitiveness of E-IPER admissions, an all-around exceptional application, including GRE scores as a factor, is expected.

Are there any exemptions to the TOEFL requirement?

Applicants who hold a bachelor's degree or a two-year master's degree from an accredited English speaking university are exempted from the TOEFL requirement. If you believe you are eligible for an exemption, send a request to Graduate Admissions via their online form. If approved, Graduate Admissions will instruct you on how to communicate the exemption on your electronic application. For those required to take the TOEFL, a score of at least 600 on the paper-based, 250 on the computer-based or 100 on the internet-based TOEFL is expected in order to begin graduate studies. ETS must transmit scores by the 18-month expiration date, sometime between June 1 of the application year and the application deadline.

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Does Stanford offer any financial aid?

All admitted E-IPER PhD students are eligible for funding, compiled from a variety of sources including assistantships, gifts, and endowed fellowships. However, PhD applicants are encouraged, and admitted students are required to seek external funding opportunities for which they might be eligible. Some of these fellowship opportunities are listed in the Financial Resources section of our website.

Are international students eligible for E-IPER funding?

Yes, all E-IPER students are eligible for the program funding described above regardless of their citizenship. There are also several fellowship programs that which fund international students to study in the U.S. Some of these programs are listed in the Financial Resources section of our website.

How do I go about requesting E-IPER funding and are supporting documents required?

No action required, as all admitted PhD students are eligible for program funding, as specified above.

Additional Questions?

Additional questions not answered on this website? Contact Assistant Director Jennifer Mason at

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