Graduate Application Materials

Do I need to take the GRE?

No, the GRE test scores are no longer required for graduate admission beginning September 2018. 

Is there an additional or separate process to apply for department funding or for financial aid?

No, the graduate application for admission to the PhD degree program includes the request for Department funding if accepted to the degree program.

I am an International applicant who speaks and reads English. Do I need to take the TOEFL?

The TOEFL test score(s) are required for all applicants to the PhD degree program whose first language is not English. For more information, please go to

Which of my transcripts am I required to include with my graduate application either by .pdf file upload or by paper copy mailing or delivery?

The electronic application requires uploaded copies (.pdf) of transcripts from each postsecondary institution attended for one or more years as a full-time student (Summer transcripts are not required).

Please do not submit official copies of transcripts with the Graduate Application submission by the published deadline. After the published deadline, the department will proceed with an evaluation of the application materials based on the uploaded, unofficial scanned transcript copy(s).

Official transcript(s) will be required only after the applicant accepts an offer of admission. At that time, the applicant may send the transcripts directly to Graduate Admissions.

Acceptable delivery methods are listed at 

If the UG degree has not yet been conferred, the incoming student should wait until degree conferral is indicated on the documents before it is sent. 

Once received, the department will upload the official transcripts to the admission system of record. Records that do not match may result in revocation of admission offers.

Graduate Admissions will review to verify transcripts are official and that UG degrees have been conferred. 

More information can be found on the Graduate Admissions website located at

Are there guidelines for the Statement of Purpose?

The Statement of Purpose is an important part of application. The graduate admissions committee is primarily concerned with information regarding the applicant’s stated research interests. Applicants should describe in the statement of purpose the following information:

- reason for applying to the proposed graduate program at Stanford University
- preparation for the field of study, research and study interests
- future career plans and other aspects including background and interests which may aid the graduate admission committee in evaluating applicant aptitude and motivation for graduate study

Generally, a shorter Statement of Purpose, clearly written, is better than a longer statement. The maximum recommended length is 1,000 words

The statement of purpose must be in keeping with the spirit of Stanford University's student honor code and representative of the applicant’s own work.

What kind of Writing Sample should I submit with my application?

An appropriate writing sample is comparable to an applicant’s Senior Paper, Honors or Master's Thesis, a published paper, or a comparable written work giving evidence of both writing ability and the capacity for research, analysis, and original thought at the graduate level, demonstrating the ability to use theory in relation to evidence. A short, effectively written sample is preferable to a longer sample and may be no more than 10 pages in length. Papers originally written in a language other than English must be submitted in English translation.

The writing sample must be in keeping with the spirit of Stanford University's student honor code and representative of the applicant’s own work.

May I send more than the required number of letters of recommendation? Will this enhance my chances of being offered admission?

Three letters of recommendation are required, only. It is not the quantity of letters, rather it is the quality of the letters that supports the graduate application. At least one recommender should be a faculty member at the last school you attended as a full-time student (unless you have been out of school for more than five years). Substitutions for faculty recommenders may include work associates or others who can comment on the applicant’s academic potential for graduate work. 

Additional considerations for Coterminal M.A. applicants: Two letters should come from  Anthropology faculty members. Third letter can come from an academic advisor and may be from outside Anthropology.

How are letters of recommendation submitted for the Graduate Application?

Letters must be submitted using the electronic application. As part of the online application, the applicant will be required to register the names and contact information, including e-mail addresses, of each recommender. Recommenders will then receive an e-mail with directions on how to proceed. For additional information, please go to Letters should be received by the published deadline.

How does my recommender upload my letter of recommendation to the graduate application?

The electronic application and web-based recommendation submission process does not accommodate applicant recommendation via a letter service (i.e. Interfolio or other service). Letters of recommendation are submitted online, by the recommender. The recommender’s email address is used as the contact. Once the recommender’s email address has been provided in the electronic application, an email message is sent to the recommender with instructions on setting up the recommender account and submitting the recommendation, electronically.

The process of making a recommendation includes submissions of an electronic form in which the recommender answers questions about the qualifications of the application (i.e. how long the recommender has been teaching and the approximate number of students the recommender has taught), and ranking the recommender gives to the applicant compared to all others taught at that level. Due to the electronic application recommendation process, a letter service is not applicable and would not function. Applicants should contact their recommenders notifying them in advance that they will be receiving an email message asking them to submit a letter of recommendation.