Graduate Admissions

Helpful Guides for Applying to the Biology PhD Program

The PhD program trains students for careers in research and teaching. In addition to a wide range of courses, the PhD program offers informal but intensive instruction in laboratories and seminars, characterized by close contact between students and their faculty advisors. Biology is one of fourteen home programs  in the Biosciences, which span the School of Medicine and the School of Humanities and Sciences.


How to Apply

For the 2023-2024 PhD application season, application processes will be run through existing Biology (School of Humanities & Sciences)  and the Oceans Department(Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability). 

Previously part of the Biology Department, Hopkins Marine Station is now part of the Oceans Department within the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability (SDSS).  Several faculty took appointments in Oceans, while others chose to stay in Biology; still others have joint appointments.  Additionally, several faculty members in Ecology/Evolutionary Biology now have joint appointments within Biology and SDSS. Based on these changes, the following information will provide further guidance for the application process. 

  • Faculty with 100% appointments in Biology, will only recruit through Biology.  The Biology application will be used.
  • Ecology/Evolutionary Biology faculty with 50/50 appointments in both Biology and SDSS will recruit students through either Biology or Earth Systems Science.  If you are interested in working with Ecology/Evolutionary faculty with joint Biology/SDSS appointments, you should reach out to them directly regarding the appropriate application track to choose. 
  • 100% Oceans faculty will only be recruiting students through the Earth Systems Science application.
  • Oceans faculty appointed 50/50 in Biology and SDSS (Oceans Department), will recruit students through either Biology or Earth Systems Science.  If you are interested in working with Oceans faculty with joint Biology/SDSS appointments, you should reach out to the individual faculty members you hope to work with regarding the appropriate application and track to choose. 

Faculty Affiliated with the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability

Oceans Department:

Fio Micheli 100% 

Jeremy Goldbogen 100%

Giulio De Leo 100%

Larry Crowder 100%

Steve Palumbi 50% Oceans/50%Biology

Barbara Block 50% Oceans/50% Biology


*Note Chris Lowe will remain 100% in Biology



Liz Hadly 50% SDSS/50%Biology

Rodolfo Dirzo 50% SDSS/50%Biology

Tad Fukami 50% SDSS/50%Biology

Kabir Peay 50% SDSS/50%Biology

Chris Field 50% SDSS/50% Biology

Gretchen Daily 50% SDSS/50% Biology


Application and Deadline

Stanford Biology PhD Program applications are made through Graduate Admissions. The application deadline for Autumn Quarter 2024 matriculation is December 5, 2023 at 11:59pm pst.  The application for the Autumn 2024 cohort will be available in September 2023.  Please review the Graduate Admissions website prior to starting your application. Applications are considered for admission in Autumn Quarter only. 

Application Status

To check your application status, click here to Visit Your Status Page. 


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  • U.S. Bachelor's degree or its foreign equivalent
  • Stanford Graduate application
  • Non-refundable application fee of $125 (or fee waiver found here
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Three Letters of Recommendation (a maximum of four letters will be accepted)
  • Transcripts - Unofficial transcripts from all universities and colleges you've attended for one year or more must be uploaded to the online application.  Graduate Admissions only requires admitted applicants who accept the offer of admission to submit official transcripts that shows their degree conferral. Please do not send or have sent any official transcripts to us at this time.
  • TOEFL Test of English as a Foreign Language (required for non-native English speakers)
  • A current Curriculum Vitae/Resume

Knight-Hennessy Scholars

Join dozens of Stanford School of Humanities and Sciences students who gain valuable leadership skills in a multidisciplinary, multicultural community as Knight-Hennessy Scholars (KHS).

KHS admits up to 100 select applicants each year from across Stanford’s seven graduate schools, and delivers engaging experiences that prepare them to be visionary, courageous, and collaborative leaders ready to address complex global challenges. As a scholar, you join a distinguished cohort, participate in up to three years of leadership programming, and receive full funding for up to three years of your PhD studies at Stanford.

Candidates of any country may apply. KHS applicants must have earned their first undergraduate degree within the last seven years, and must apply to both a Stanford graduate program and to KHS. Stanford PhD students may also apply to KHS during their first year of PhD enrollment.

If you aspire to be a leader in your field, we invite you to apply. The KHS application deadline is October 11, 2023. Learn more about KHS admission.

Biology PhD Program General Information


Diversity, Inclusion, Equity, and Belonging

The Department of Biology recognizes that the Supreme Court issued a ruling in June 2023 about the consideration of certain types of demographic information as part of an admission review. All applications submitted during upcoming application cycles will be reviewed in conformance with that decision. The Department of Biology welcomes graduate applications from individuals with a broad range of life experiences, perspectives, and backgrounds who would contribute to our community of scholars. Review of applications is holistic and individualized, considering each applicant’s academic record and accomplishments, letters of recommendation, and admissions essays in order to understand how an applicant’s life experiences have shaped their past and potential contributions to their field.Please see the websites below for more resources.