- The application deadline for Autumn 2023 has passed.
- Applications are not accepted after the deadline.
- The application deadline for Autumn 2024 will be in early December 2023.
- Applications are accepted for admission to the Autumn quarter only.
- Applications are accepted to the PhD program only.
- The department does not offer admission to a Master’s degree program to applicants from outside Stanford or current Stanford graduate students.
- For current Stanford undergraduate students only: The department accepts applications to the Coterminal Master’s degree program. Please see the Coterminal Master’s Degree page for more information.
- Please read the Steps for Applying section below.
The selection of PhD students admitted to the Department of Mathematics is based on an individualized, holistic review of each application, including (but not limited to) the applicant’s academic record, the letters of recommendation, the statement of purpose, personal qualities and characteristics, and past accomplishments.
- Before contacting the department, read the information on this page, including the Frequently Asked Questions at the bottom of this page.
- Before contacting the department, read the information on the University Graduate Admissions website.
- Please do not contact the department to check if your application materials are complete. Instead, you may Visit Your Status Page to check your application status.
- Only if your question is not answered on this page or the pages mentioned above, please send an email to: mathgradadmissions [at] stanford.edu.
Steps for Applying
- Review all information and instructions on this page. Read through the Frequently Asked Questions at the bottom of this page.
- Review the information and instructions on the University Graduate Admissions website.
- Submit your application online. Make sure you have all required items listed below.
The link to the online application is on the University Graduate Admissions website.
- Have ETS send your official test scores to Stanford University (if applicable, see below).
Statement of Purpose
See the Graduate Admissions page on statements for more information.
- Soft copy of unofficial transcripts/academic records for every post-secondary institution where you were previously or are currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate degree program.
See the Graduate Admissions page on transcripts for requirements.
- Names and contact information of your recommenders, minimum of 3, maximum of 4.
Your recommenders will receive an email with instructions for submitting their letters online after you enter their information in the application. The admissions committee will start their review shortly after the deadline so ask your recommenders to submit their letters by the application deadline so they will be included in the review.
See the Graduate Admissions page on recommendations for more information.
- TOEFL Scores (Only if applicable)
- This is required of applicants whose first language is not English. If your first language is not English, you may be eligible for an exemption or a waiver. Review the TOEFL information on the University Graduate Admissions website for more information including exemption and waiver information.
- Application Fee or Fee Waiver
- The Department is not able to provide fee waivers. Please see the link above for the available fee waivers and how to submit a request. Requests are due 2 weeks before the application deadline.
- GRE Mathematics Subject Test Score (Submitting the score is optional and your application will not be negatively impacted if you do not submit the score.)
Items that are NOT required:
- GRE General Test Scores (Not required or accepted as part of the application.)
- Official transcripts (If you are offered admission to Stanford and accept the offer, you will be required to submit official transcripts at that time.)
- Please do not upload research papers to the online application. Instead, please ensure that you have a letter of recommendation that addresses your papers, and/or provide a short description of the paper in your statement of purpose. You may also include a link to your papers in your statement of purpose if you would like.
Students in the PhD program who make satisfactory progress are fully funded for five years. Funding sources include department fellowships, teaching assistantships and research assistantships.
In addition, applicants are encouraged to apply for fellowships outside the department. See below for some of the opportunities available, including some of the fellowships received by our students in recent years.
Join dozens of Stanford School of Humanities and Sciences students who gain valuable leadership skills in a multidisciplinary, multicultural community as Knight-Hennessy Scholars (KHS).
KHS admits up to 100 select applicants each year from across Stanford’s seven graduate schools, and delivers engaging experiences that prepare them to be visionary, courageous, and collaborative leaders ready to address complex global challenges. As a scholar, you join a distinguished cohort, participate in up to three years of leadership programming, and receive full funding for up to three years of your PhD studies at Stanford.
Candidates of any country may apply. KHS applicants must have earned their first undergraduate degree within the last seven years, and must apply to both a Stanford graduate program and to KHS. Stanford PhD students may also apply to KHS during their first year of PhD enrollment.
If you aspire to be a leader in your field, we invite you to apply. The KHS application deadline is October 12, 2022. Learn more about KHS admission.
National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship
The National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowships are awarded to applicants who will pursue a doctoral degree in, or closely related to, an area of DoD interest within fifteen disciplines including mathematics.
Hertz Graduate Fellowship Award
The Hertz Graduate Fellowship Award supports graduate students working towards the Ph.D. degree in the applied physical, biological and engineering sciences including mathematics.
NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program
The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based Master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited United States institutions.
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Scholarships
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Scholarships provide financial support for studies in a master’s or doctoral program.
Frequently Asked Questions
Graduate Program Questions
Does the Math Department offer a Master’s Degree?
For non-Stanford applicants, the Mathematics Department offers admission to the PhD program only.
Please see the Explore Graduate Programs page for other departments that offer a Master's degree.
For current Stanford undergraduate students only: The department accepts applications to the Coterminal Master’s degree program. Please see the Coterminal Master’s Degree page for more information.
What fields of mathematics can students study in the PhD program?
Both pure and applied mathematics can be studied. There is no separate applied mathematics program. See the Research Areas page for information about areas of faculty research.
How many years of study is the PhD program?
Five years is the typical amount of time it takes to complete the program. See the PhD Program page for the timeline of progression through the degree.
If admitted to the PhD program, will I receive financial aid?
All admitted PhD students who make satisfactory progress are fully funded for five years. Funding sources include department fellowships, teaching assistantships and research assistantships.
In addition, applicants are encouraged to apply for fellowships outside the department. See the Fellowships Opportunities section above for some of the opportunities available, including some of the fellowships received by our students in recent years.
Can I visit the department as a prospective applicant?
We are not able to accommodate prospective applicant visits. Please review the information on our website and on the University Graduate Admissions website which should answer almost all questions about the application process and our program. If there are specific questions that are not answered on our website please email them to mathgradadmissions [at] stanford.edu.
I missed the application deadline. Can I still apply?
No, we do not accept late applications.
Who will review my application?
A committee of several math faculty members reads the files. The composition of the committee varies each year.
What do you look for in an application?
By and large, we like to see that you are eager to learn and can handle difficult mathematics. In most cases, this is evidenced by taking and doing well in advanced math courses (admitted students usually have close to perfect GPAs in math courses), as well as having close interaction with faculty who can testify to this.
If you are applying from a school from which we rarely get applicants, it is helpful if some of your recommenders can compare you to others who have gone on to comparable math graduate schools.
Do I need to have gone to an REU? Do I need research experience?
Although you’re certainly welcome to include letters from faculty mentors about research experience, we don’t expect you to have such experience or to have attended an REU.
Should I upload my research paper(s) to my application?
Unfortunately the admissions committee doesn't have the time that would be needed to look at research papers in any detail. Instead, please ensure that you have a letter of recommendation that addresses your paper(s). If you wish, include a weblink to the paper(s) in your statement of purpose.
I have an unconventional background, should I apply?
Although we do not formally require an undergraduate degree in math, we do expect you to have a math background that is comparable to it. In such cases, please explain your experience carefully in your statement of purpose.
Do I need to have a Master’s Degree to apply for the PhD program?
Applicants must hold, or expect to hold before enrollment at Stanford, a bachelor’s degree from a U.S. college or university accredited by a regional accrediting association.
Applicants from institutions outside the U.S. must hold the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor’s degree from a college or university of recognized standing.
See the Minimum Education Requirements page on the Graduate Admissions website for full details.
Do letters of recommendation need to be received by the application deadline?
Yes. The committee begins reviewing applications shortly after the application deadline so it's important to have all materials submitted by the deadline, including letters of recommendation.
Should I send an updated transcript when my Fall grades are posted?
No. Your application will be reviewed with the transcripts you uploaded to the online application. We are not able to update the transcripts of applicants.
Are students admitted in the Winter and Spring quarters?
No. Students are admitted into the PhD program for Autumn quarter only.
ETS Exam and Score Questions
What Subject GRE score do I need?
Submitting the GRE Mathematics subject score is optional and your application will not be negatively impacted if you do not submit a score.
If you do submit a score, we do not have a cutoff. Most admitted applicants who submit scores have a GRE Mathematics subject score of above 800.
I missed the Subject GRE test date. Can I still apply?
GRE Mathematics Subject scores are optional. You may still apply if you do not have a score to report and your application will not be negatively impacted if you do not submit the score.
Do I need to take the TOEFL?
The TOEFL requirement is set by the University and is required for applicants whose first language is not English unless they qualify for an exemption or a waiver of the requirement. Please see the University Graduate Admissions TOEFL information to determine if you need to submit TOEFL scores or qualify for an exemption or waiver.
What TOEFL score do I need to be eligible to apply?
How do I submit official test scores?
Official scores must be reported directly to Stanford from the Educational Testing Service (ETS). Stanford’s ETS institutional code is 4704. A department code is not necessary, but it is fine if you gave ETS a department code in addition to the institutional code.
How do I know when my GRE and/or TOEFL scores will arrive at Stanford?
Please see the ETS (Educational Testing Service) website (www.ets.org) for scoring information.
Your application will be reviewed with your self-reported scores until your official scores are received. The review of your application will not be affected by a delay in receiving official scores.
Is it okay if my Subject GRE or TOEFL scores arrive after the application deadline?
Ideally you will have taken the exam before the application deadline so that you will be able to provide your self-reported scores on the application. If you do not know your scores before the application deadline, you can indicate your test date or a future test date on the application without listing your scores. You will then need to send your self-reported scores to mathgradadmissions [at] stanford.edu as soon as you know them so that they can be added to your application.
It is OK if the official scores arrive after the application deadline.
If I applied to the PhD program last year do I still need to have ETS send official scores?
Yes. You must submit a complete application and application materials each time you apply to the PhD program. This includes letters of recommendation, test scores, and transcripts.
Application Status Questions
I had ETS send my official GRE and/or TOEFL scores to Stanford but they show as unofficial on the Applicant Status Page. What should I do?
Official scores are sent electronically to Stanford and matched to applicants’ records around once per week. If any identifying information on your ETS score report is different from your online application, your scores may not be matched to your record. As long as you self-reported your scores on your application, those will be used for the admissions committee's review and it will not adversely affect the review. Please do not contact the department to see if your official scores have been received.
Admission Decision Questions
When are admission decisions made?
Admission decisions are made between late January to late February.
How will I be notified of my admission decision?
We will notify all applicants via email once decisions have been made. Please do not contact the department to see if a decision has been made unless you haven’t heard by early March.
Can I appeal the admissions decision on my application?
No, there is not a process to appeal the admissions committee's decision, it is final.
Can I receive feedback on my application?
No, we are not able to provide individualized feedback to applicants.