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Admissions Requirements

ChemE Students

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IMPORTANT: These departmental instructions and requirements are SUPPLEMENTAL to the university-wide requirements for each and every application for admission to any advanced degree program at Stanford University.

PhD applicants: See Statement of Purpose section below.

From the Office of the University Registrar, Graduate Admissions:

All applicants must apply using the University’s official Graduate Admissions application process.  

All components of a graduate application must be received by the department no later than the appropriate deadline. A complete application consists of a completed application form, a statement of purpose (with a summary of research experience for PhD applications), the application fee, three letters of recommendation, ETS examination results (scores and percentages) and academic transcripts.

The PhD application season is mid-September through mid-December each year.

DEADLINE for all components of a PhD application must be recieved by the department no later than: Friday, November 29, 2019.

Components of a completed application

  1. Statement of Purpose (2-3 pages). Additionally, place at the beginning a summary outline of your research experience and then your 2-3-page statement for a total of 4-6 pages.
  2. Recommendations from three people who can knowledgeably discuss your suitability for pursuit of the selected degree.
  3. Bio-demographic information, educational history and test results (official and self-reported scores and percentages).
  4. Transcripts (one uploaded online, and two official hard-copy transcripts or electronic transcripts sent directly to the department)

Statement of Purpose

Your Statement of Purpose gives you an opportunity to distinguish yourself beyond grades and test scores. You may choose to write about previous experiences, your personal and professional goals: Why graduate school? What might follow? What inspires you? What drives you? For PhD applications: Why is a research life a good fit for you?  Have you ever written a proposal to do independent research, such as a National Science Foundation fellowship application?  Is there something else about you that you think is important for us to know? It is not necessary to address each of these issues; we want you to decide how you want to present yourself. The Chemical Engineering Graduate Admissions Committee members read this essay with interest and care because, along with the letters of recommendation, it offers us further insight into who you are as a distinct individual.

IMPORTANT for PhD program applicants:

At the beginning of your Statement of Purpose, summarize your research experience in the following three categories as applicable, formatted as follows:

a. Dates
b. Where
c. With whom
d. Nature of research in 10 words or less
e. Anything else you want us to know about this research experience, in one pithy sentence.

1. Research experience during summer internships, for example:

a. 06/15/2010 - 09/15/2010
b. Stanford Univ., Dept. of Chemical Engineering
c. Prof. Channing Robertson
d. Roles of enzyme and substrate surface charge

2. Research experience during academic year

3. Other research experience

Then, put your Statement of Purpose (2-3 pages) in the same file. It is alright if this results in a 4-5 page document. 

Letters of recommendation

Recommendations should be from full-time faculty, ideally, or others qualified to evaluate your potential for graduate study. Applicants should include one or more letters from a research advisor. At least one should be from a faculty member at the last school attended as a full-time student, unless you have been out of school for more than five years. Substitutions for faculty recommendations may be work supervisors or others who are qualified to comment on your academic potential for graduate work in chemical engineering. Letters of recommendation are submitted online.  

GRE and TOEFL examination requirements

All external applicants must take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS):

GRE — General Test results are required: both scores and percentages for each individual test.

GRE — Subject Test results are not required.

TOEFL — Scores are required from all applicants whose first language is not English regardless of citizenship, except for those who have completed a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree at an accredited institution in which English is the sole language of instruction. For more information on the TOEFL requirement, please refer to the Graduate Admissions Student Affairs Website

All ETS test results must be reported before our application deadlines, both officially by ETS (directly to Stanford University Graduate Admissions) and unofficially by the applicant.  For official scores, the Stanford University score recipient number is R4704; no department number is used. Applicants should self-report their individual scores and percentages in their application or send photocopies of ETS score reports to the department.

Academic records, transcripts and other materials

Applicants must do both of the following: (1) upload an unofficial transcript from each post-secondary institution attended for one year or more into their online application and (2) send to the departmant in their original, sealed envelopes two official transcripts (academic records) or offical electronic transcripts issued from each post-secondary institution attended for one year or more. These need to be received by the department no later than the December application deadline. 

If ETS scores are not self-reported on the application, then photocopies of ETS score reports are sent to the department.  If you have other information, (e.g. you authored a published article that is relevant to your application), you may submit it as well, preferrably by uploading it into your application.

Use this address for any supplemental materials sent directly to the department:

Graduate Admissions, Chemical Engineering
443 Via Ortega, Suite 129
Stanford, CA 94305-4125

E: (for graduate admission inquiries)
T: 650.736.6694

Application status inquiries

The Department of Chemical Engineering does not use the checklist in the online Activity Report for applicants, but you can check to see if your recommenders have submitted letters. We are unable to respond to inquiries regarding the status of any application. However, if you have followed instructions, (i.e. entered your self-reported ETS scores and percentages, ordered ETS reports to be sent to Stanford, and sent two official transcripts in sealed envelopes or offical electronic transcripts to the department), we want you to rest assured that we have what we need for evaluations. We will contact otherwise competitive applicants with incomplete applications for follow-up. Be sure your e-email address and telephone number are correct.


DEADLINE for all components of a PhD application must be received by the department no later than: Friday, November 29, 2019.