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PhD Admissions

How to apply to Bioengineering

Stanford Graduate Admissions

Please carefully read all information and instructions.


Applications will not be accepted after the December 5, 2017, deadline. All supporting documents must be received by the application deadline at 11:59 pm. Our faculty will begin reviewing files immediately—applications without supporting materials will be considered incomplete. In order for your application to be competitive, ensure that all of your supporting materials will arrive no later than the application deadline.


To be eligible for admission to graduate programs at Stanford, applicants must meet one of the following conditions:

  1. completion of a bachelor's degree from a U.S. college or university accredited by a regional accrediting association; or
  2. completion of an international degree that is equivalent to a U.S. bachelor's degree from a college or university of recognized standing.

The competition for admission is keen and is granted to students who exhibit an excellent academic record and strong research potential.

Students will be expected to enter with a series of core competencies in mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, computing and engineering. The backgrounds of students entering the program will be assessed by the examination of their undergraduate transcripts and research experiences. Specifically, we will require that students have completed mathematics through multivariable calculus and differential equations, completed a series of undergraduate biology courses (equivalent to BIO 41, 42, 43 series) and completed physics, chemistry and computer sciences courses required of all undergraduate majors in engineering. View a list of pre-requisite courses; full course descriptions may be found in the Stanford Bulletin.


All students admitted to the Ph.D. program are fully funded for five years; this covers all tuition plus a quarterly living stipend. For 2017-18, the living stipend is $9,855 per quarter. We encourage students to apply for fellowships; please visit the financial aid tab to read more about them. The Student Budget is a great resource for financial planning.


Applications must be submitted using the online application form.  A built-in monitor ensures that you do not forget to include important information, and you can save your progress. When your department downloads your application, you will know that it is legible and complete.

When completing the online application, please use your full legal name, correctly capitalized, and clearly denote any nicknames as such.

Application Fee

The application fee is $125. Online application fee payment: Credit card (Visa or MasterCard) ONLY. Stanford University cannot accept checks or money orders. Fee waivers are available to eligible students.  If the application fee presents a burden and you are unable to secure a fee waiver through the central university process (below) please fill out this departmental form.  Applicants selected to receive a departmental fee waiver will be notified no later than Tuesday 11/28.  Applicants that are not notified by the department by that date did not receive the waiver.

Please explore more this more detailed fee waiver information.

Statement of Purpose

Your statement of purpose should describe succinctly your reasons for applying to the Department of Bioengineering at Stanford. It would be helpful to include what you have done to prepare for this degree program. Please describe your research interests, past research experience, future career plans and other details of your background and interests that will allow us to evaluate your ability to thrive in our program. If you have interests that align with a specific faculty member, you may state this in your application. Your statement of purpose should not exceed two pages in length (single-spaced).

Letters of Recommendation

Three letters of recommendation are required; two letters must come from an academic source. If your background includes industrial experience, involvement in performing arts, athletics, public service or entrepreneurial activities, you may wish to include one reference who can comment on that part of your experience. Indicate on the recommendation form whether you are waiving your right to see the letter of recommendation. Use the provision in the online application to have your recommenders submit letters directly online.

Only under exceptional circumstances should recommendations be sent directly to the department (this includes services such as Interfolio).  Resorting to a paper copy, or use of a service such as Interfolio to directly provide a letter to our department, should only be done after you have fully explored and attempted to have your recommendation uploaded directly into the online application by the recommender (which happens through a secure link sent automatically sent to them via email).  If a letter must be sent to the department directly rather than using the online portal, know that your application could be negatively impacted.  At a minimum, there will be a 1-2 week delay between our receipt of the letter and the time when it is uploaded into the database for faculty review.  

Bioengineering Graduate Admissions
Stanford University
443 Via Ortega
Shriram Center, Room 119
Stanford, California 94305-4125

If your recommenders mail their recommendation to our department, we must receive them well in advance of December 5, 2017. If you send letters to us, they must be sealed and signed on the back of the envelope by the recommender.



Transcripts are required from every college/university you have attended for at least one year as a full-time student.

International students, in particular, should review all details provided through the central Graduate Admissions website:

To submit your transcript(s), follow both of these steps:

  1. Upload a scanned copy of your official transcript (s) into the online application. See the transcript upload information in the File Upload Requirements section for specific instructions.
  2. Arrange for your official transcripts to be sent by the institution(s) to the Bioengineering department. An official transcript must be an original document bearing the institutional seal and official signature of the Registrar or copies verified by a school administrative officer and is one that is sent to Stanford in one of four ways:
    • Electronic delivery: The use of secure electronically-delivered transcripts that are passcode protected is necessary. The document's certified digital signature embedded in the document PDF assures us that it has been prepared by the college/university and that the document is original and unaltered. Please check with the registrar's office of your college/university to see if they provide secure electronic certified transcript service. Note: Transcripts sent as email attachments are not accepted. If your previous institution issues official e-transcripts, those transcripts must be sent to  This e-transcript will function as your official transcript, and one e-transcript will satisfy Stanford’s requirement for two official transcripts.
    • CollegeNET Document Service: Applicants from international institutions are encouraged to use the CollegeNET Document Service within the graduate application to request and submit the authenticated transcript(s) and other academic documents. This service provides certified documents to the department to which you are applying.  Click here for additional information. 
    • eTranscript Service: Stanford students and alumni who have active SUNet IDs can use the eTranscript Service within the graduate application. See instructions in the application. Not available to applicants to Graduate School of Business, Law, School of Medicine MD and Physician Assistant Studies programs. 
    • Postal service: Send paper transcripts to the address below.  Note: If sending paper transcripts, two sets are required; an official transcript is one that has been signed and sealed by the college/university registrar and is received by Stanford in its original, sealed envelope

Bioengineering Graduate Admissions
Stanford University
443 Via Ortega
Shriram Center, Room 119
Stanford, California 94305-4125

CV (resume)

A resume or curriculum vitae (CV) can be submitted as part of the online application. Please be sure to list all your publications (if any) here as well.

GRE Results

Applicants are required to take the GRE aptitude test (verbal, quantitative and analytical). No GRE subject test is required. Scores must be reported to the Graduate Admissions office by the Educational Testing Service (photocopies of scores sent to you are not acceptable.) Our institution code for ETS is 4704. You do not need a department code. It is strongly recommended that the GREs be taken before the end of November for the scores to arrive in time for the consideration of your application. The department has no established absolute cutoff scores.

GRE general results must be from an examination taken within the last five years. For more information on GRE requirements, please see the "Are You Ready to Apply?" section at the Graduate Admissions website.

TOEFL Results

TOEFL results must be from an examination taken within the past 18 months. The Stanford institution code for ETS reporting is 4704. You do not need a department code. For more information on TOEFL requirements, please see the "Are You Ready to Apply?" section at the Graduate Admissions website.

Application Status Inquiries

We are unable to answer inquiries about the status of any application. We will contact you if your application is incomplete; be sure to keep your e-mail address updated. Admission decisions will be made by:

Late January/Early February for interviews for the Ph.D. program

Late March for acceptance into the Ph.D. program

If you do not receive an e-mail from our office by the posted decision date, you may e-mail us at and include your first and last names as used on the application. Please do not call our office with this particular inquiry, as we are unable to provide any applicant information over the phone.