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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. 

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The online application is due by the following deadlines:

  • Ph.D.: Tuesday, January 7, 2020

  • M.A.: Tuesday, March 17, 2020 

  • Coterminal M.A. (internal Stanford students only) deadline: end of second week of Winter quarter, January 17, 2020


Please note that department and university offices will be closed for Winter Break from December 21 until January 6. Any mail sent during that time will not be received until January 6.

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 should be mailed directly to the department to which you are applying (do not mail them to the central university grad admissions office.)
  • Official paper transcripts must be sealed and unopened by the applicant.  2 sets of transcripts are needed from each school. 
  • Official paper transcripts are in addition to the unofficial copies uploaded into the application. (Any transcript uploaded by an applicant into the application is considered unofficial.)
  • Transcripts are required only from universities or colleges attended for a year or more
  • Official e-transcripts should be sent directly by the school or clearinghouse to (e-transcripts need only be sent once per school attended)
  • Official transcripts are due by the deadline

Writing Sample 

  • Should be a recent writing sample on a philosophical topic
  • We recommend you send an example of your best work
  • needs to be uploaded into the application
  • Typically samples are around 20 pages or less
  • If submitting a thesis or longer document, please include a note pointing to most important passages
  • Secondary samples are allowed, 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 are due by the deadline. Please have them in as soon as possible.
  • 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 can 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 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 are due by the deadline.
  • Please have them in as soon as possible.


  • The GRE general test is required for Philosophy applications.
  • GRE scores must be from within the last 5 years.
  • GRE scores are due by the deadline.

  • Please have them in as soon as possible.

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.