As a graduate student of Biochemistry at Stanford, you will experience the best of both worlds: access to the diverse resources of the entire university and foundational training in a close-knit community.

Our faculty define fundamental biological questions at the level of how molecules act and interact, seeking to uncover the mechanisms behind complex intra- and intercellular processes. Our labs share all space and equipment. Graduate students and postdocs intermix.

Join our stimulating environment as you work toward becoming a leader in academia, biotech, and beyond!

General Admissions Information

The Stanford Biosciences Admissions Office, not the Department of Biochemistry, processes applications for the Ph.D. program. All materials should be uploaded electronically to the online application. If you are selected for an interview, please arrange to have official transcripts mailed directly to the Biosciences Admission Office:

Application Requirements and deadline

Autumn 2020 Ph.D. applications, including supporting documents, must be received by December 3, 2019.

  • U.S. Bachelor’s degree or equivalent (foreign transcripts must be certified)

  • Application fee of $125 (non-refundable)

  • Graduate application

  • Statement of purpose

  • Three letters of recommendation

  • Transcripts. Unofficial transcripts from all universities and colleges you attended for one year or more must be uploaded to the online application. In addition, two official transcripts should be mailed directly to the Biosciences Admissions Office. Official transcripts are not required for the December 3, 2019 deadline.

  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) test score is optional for Biochemistry applications. Please see “GRE Requirements” on the “How to Apply” page of the Stanford Biosciences website.

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) test score (required for non-native English speakers)

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I choose a home program?

Although the Stanford Biosciences Program spans the Schools of Medicine and Humanities & Sciences, each student joins a home program with a specific scientific focus. During the admissions process, applicants are allowed to select and rank up to three Ph.D. programs based on their research interests. Choosing an appropriate home program is an important decision, and students should carefully review each program’s scientific scope and the research activities of individual faculty members. We generally advise students to select programs that include several faculty whom they could consider as dissertation advisors. If the Biochemistry Ph.D. program matches your scientific interests, please rank it as your first choice on the Stanford Biosciences online application form.

Can I apply to other graduate programs (e.g. Bioengineering, Chemistry, and Regenerative Medicine, etc.)?

No, an applicant must only apply to one-degree program per academic year. An exception is within the Biosciences, in which you may apply to up to three Ph.D. programs within your one application.

Can I apply for an application fee waiver?

All fee waiver applications must be completed by Monday, Nov. 25th, 11:59pm PST. We will do our best to review and respond to your application within 10 business days of receiving it. Information can be found at https://graddiversity.stanford.edu/graduate-fee-waiver/school-based-waivers.

Is there a minimum GPA or GRE score requirement?

No, there are no minimum GPA or GRE score requirement. Each application is viewed as a complete package, and the reviewers will consider letters of recommendation, personal statements, transcripts, etc. The Department of Biochemistry values research experience as the most important criteria for admission.

How do I submit my official GRE and/or TOEFL scores to the Stanford Biosciences Program?

Applicants need to use recipient number 4704 to communicate their official GRE and/or TOEFL to the central Biosciences Graduate Admissions Office at Stanford.

Can I apply for a fellowship?

Students are highly encouraged to apply for outside fellowships, and our trainees have historically been very competitive for the most prestigious predoctoral fellowships. Students are therefore expected to apply for outside funding if eligible (e.g. National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships, National Defense Science & Engineering Graduate Fellowships, Hertz Graduate Fellowships, and Ford Foundation Fellowships). Matriculated students can also apply for internal funding opportunities at Stanford, including Stanford Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellowships, Bio-X Fellowships, DARE Doctoral Fellowships, and Gerald J. Lieberman Fellowships.

Is there a teaching assistant requirement?

Students are required to gain experience in mentoring, instruction, or teaching for one quarter. There are possibilities for formal teaching assistantship positions with Stanford courses as well as other mentoring and instruction opportunities in local community programs. Direct supervision and mentoring of undergraduate or junior students in the laboratory can also be used to fulfill this requirement.

How do I join a research laboratory?

First-year graduate students carry out research rotations in at least three laboratories and are usually ready to decide on a thesis advisor in spring quarter of their first year. Students can do more than one research rotation in a given quarter should they wish to have a more diverse experience.

What courses should I take?

Course requirements for the Biochemistry Ph.D. program are provided in the Biochemistry Student Guide.

What other educational resources are available?

The Department of Biochemistry organizes several events and programs to enhance graduate student training. The Department maintains a vibrant seminar series throughout the academic year, allowing students to hear from and interact with internationally renowned scientists. Graduate students have regular opportunities to share their research discoveries with the Biochemistry community. Throughout the academic year, the Department convenes regularly for “pizza talks,” during which students and postdoctoral fellows present their work. The Department also hosts an annual three-day conference at an off-site location. The conference is held at the beginning of the fall quarter and allows new trainees to rapidly acquaint themselves with ongoing research within the Department to meet current faculty, students, and postdoctoral fellows.

Joella Ackerman.JPG

Joella Mesa
Student Affairs Administrator of Biochemistry
(650) 725-9058