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PhD Admissions FAQ

PhD Admissions Frequently Asked Questions


My official transcripts and/or official test scores will not arrive by the application deadline! Can I still apply?

Yes, you may still apply. You should upload your unofficial transcripts and request official copies be sent to the department as soon as possible. You should take your ETS tests and request that scores be submitted to Stanford as well. Your application will not be considered complete until your official transcripts and test scores arrive. We will contact otherwise competitive applicants with incomplete applications for follow-up. Be sure your e-email address and telephone number are correct. Official transcripts can be received anytime. If they are received before your application, they will be matched with your application following the application close date. Your application is not considered complete until both your official transcripts and your official scores have been received.

Are TOEFL scores required for admission?

In general, yes, if your first language is not English. On your application, self-report both your ETS scores and percentages. The Graduate Admissions website has further details about the university-wide test requirements and exceptions. Any request for a TOEFL waiver must to directed to central Graduate Admissions. Individual academic departments may not approve requests for waivers.  In general, there is a high expectation for English language fluency in both formal use and informal interactions, in written and oral situations. One of the key goals of our educational programs is the further development of communication skills in English and ongoing opportunities are built into the curriculum.

I am an international student but did my Master’s or Bachelor’s at a US (or country in which instruction is provide in English) Institution. Do I still need to take the TOEFL?

TOEFL scores are required of all applicants whose first language is not English. Exemptions are granted to applicants who have earned a US 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 provide in English (Australia, Canada except Quebec, New Zealand, Singapore, and the UK. Stanford does not accept IELTS scores.

I’m applying to the Knight-Hennessy Program. What’s my deadline? Do I need to do both applications?

You should submit two independent applications if you are applying to the Knight-Hennessy Program. You should be sure to complete both your Knight-Hennessy application and your Chemical Engineering department application by the Knight-Hennessy deadline of November 14, 2018. These applications are independent and separate. Be sure you complete each set of requirements for each separate application.

Can I visit the department?

You may visit Stanford at any time. However, admitted PhD applicants will be invited to visit March 7-10, 2019 for the Chemical Engineering Graduate Research Symposium visit weekend. If you are admitted, you will be invited to visit the department and meet with our students and faculty.

May I apply to start graduate work in other times of the year than Autumn Quarter?

For programmatic and curricular reasons, admitted students should plan to commence studies at the beginning of the academic year, in September.

Are GRE scores required for admission?

Yes, scores must be from a general test within the past five years. There is no minimum GRE score requirement. All components of your application are evaluated by the Graduate Admissions Committee. Admission decisions are based on the aggregate of various factors, including your statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, transcripts and test scores.

Do you require the GRE subject test?

No. For our chemical engineering graduate programs, it is not recommended that you take a subject test.

What kinds of financial aid are available?

Fellowship awards, assistantship jobs and loans through the university. The department is the first point of contact for the administration of most external fellowships (NSF, NDSEG, DOD, DOE, NIH, Hughes, Bell/Lucent and various foundations,), university fellowships (Stanford Graduate Fellowship), School of Engineering and departmental fellowships, and research and teaching assistantships. The university's Financial Aid Office helps graduate students obtain loans.

What are my chances of getting financial aid?

We offer financial aid at the time of admission to approximately the top 5-10 percent of the PhD applicants, and virtually all the first-year PhD students in Chemical Engineering receive aid. Faculty hold workshops to help PhD students write research proposals and apply for external fellowships. Once PhD students join a research group, normally they are supported either by fellowship awards or assistantship jobs from their research advisors or a combination of these two sources of funds.

What is the usual size of the incoming chemical engineering PhD Class?

Recently, the incoming PhD classes have numbered in the mid-20s.

Where do I send the supplemental materials for my application?

Official transcripts may be sent electronically or physically.

Electronic transcripts may be sent from universities to CHEMICALENGINEERING@STANFORD.EDU 

Original physical transcripts (two sets) and any other items should be sent directly to the department:

Mail and courier address:

Graduate Admissions, Chemical Engineering

443 Via Ortega, Suite 129

Stanford, CA 94305 4125


What materials must be included with my application?

There are four major components required to complete a graduate application file:

1. Bio-demographic information, educational history and ETS test results (official and self-reported scores and percentages).

2. 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. 

3. Official transcripts, one (set) uploaded into the application and two (sets) sent to the department.

4. Three letters of recommendation, preferably from faculty and, for PhD applicants, from research advisors who can discuss most knowledgeably the applicant's suitability for pursuit of the selected degree.

When will I find out about the decision on my application?

All applicants must maintain current and correct email addresses so we can communicate with you via email. PhD applicants can expect to hear from us in January/February. The final PhD decisions are made after the December PhD deadline so the entire pool may be considered. PhD decisions will be communicated to all applicants, in writing, via email.

Is it possible to waive the application fee?

Fee Waiver Process