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Graduate Admissions: How To Apply

Application Form

Stanford’s Online Application, information about requirements and instructions for applying are available through the Grad Admissions website. The application will open for the next round in Fall quarter.

Apply Now


The application is due by the following deadlines:

  • Ph.D.: Tuesday, to be determined for 19-20 

  • Knight-Hennessy Scholars: November, to be determined for 19-20 

  • M.A.: Tuesday, to be determined for 19-20 

  • Coterminal M.A. (internal Stanford students only) deadline: end of second week of Winter quarter


For problems with the application website, please check the online help in the website.

For fee waivers, exam waivers, or general questons, please contact the Central University Grad Admissions office:

For all other questions, please contact Jill CovingtonPhilosophy Graduate Administrator 

Mailing Address

Philosophy Department

attn: Graduate Admissions

Building 90, Room 91E

Stanford University

Stanford, CA 94305-2155 USA

(For express/overnight deliveries, you may add "450 Serra Mall" if a street address is required.)

Supporting Materials

Official Transcripts

Official transcripts should be mailed directly to the department to which you are applying (do not mail to the central university grad admissions office.)

  • Official e-transcripts should be sent directly by the school or clearinghouse to
  • 2 official copies of each transcript are required, in addition to the unofficial copies uploaded into the application.
  • Official transcripts must be sealed and unopened by the applicant. 
  • please also upload an unofficial copy of each transcript into the online application
  • transcripts are required only from universities or colleges attended for a year or more
  • your official transcripts can arrive after the deadline

Writing Sample 

  • A recent writing sample on a philosophical topic should be uploaded into the application.
  • Typically samples are around 20 pages or less; if submitting a thesis or longer document, please note most important passages.
  • We recommend you send an example of your best work.
  • Secondary samples are allowed, though not required or encouraged (please mark which sample is primary if including more than one.)

Letters of Recommendation 

  • Please have your recommenders submit their confidential letter via the online application.
  • Letters from recommenders can come in after the deadline.
  • The application requires a minimum of 3 recommendations.
  • If a recommender is unable to submit their letter via the online application, please let us know. 
  • We will accept paper/email letters directly from professors.
  • for paper/email letters, the applicant must also send us a note saying they waive the right to see the recommendation.


  • The TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) is required of most applicants whose first language is not English. This now includes US citizens as well as international students.
  • The university does not accept other tests in lieu of the TOEFL.
  • Applicants who have received a Bachelors or higher degree from a U.S. school are usually exempted from the TOEFL.
  • For test criteria, please see the international section of the Grad Admissions webpage. Test information
  • TOEFL scores can come in after the deadline. 


  • GRE scores must be from within the last 5 years.
  • Please check the grad admissions site for the most current requirements. TEST INFORMATION

  • GRE scores can come in after the deadline; please list expected test date in application.

PhD Selection process

The selection of PhD students admitted to the Department of Philosophy 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 scores on the General GRE (Graduate Record Examination), the writing sample, the statement of purpose, personal qualities and characteristics, and past accomplishments.


Knight-Hennessy Scholars 

The Knight-Hennessy Scholars program awards up to 100 high-achieving students every year with full funding to pursue a graduate education at Stanford, including Master's and PhD's in Philosophy. To be considered, you must apply to Knight-Hennessy Scholars by their September deadline, and separately apply to the Philosophy department by the November deadline above.
For more information on the Knight-Hennessy Scholars please see: