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How to Apply

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Application Deadline

The Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering accepts applications to our graduate programs once per year for fall quarter entry. 

The application deadline is posted on our Application Timeline & Deadlines page. 

Late applications will not be accepted. Any application materials over email will not be accepted. You cannot make any changes to your application materials after submission.

Please note that we cannot guarantee the review of materials, including letters of recommendation, received after the deadline.

Application Materials

Scores from the general or subject Graduate Record Examination (GRE) are not required for admission to any CEE Graduate Program.

1. Completed Online Application

Access online application

2. Transcripts/Education History

Applicants are required to upload copies of their transcripts/academic records (including any legends/keys) directly into the online application. Please ensure that your scans are legible since the Admissions Committee will use them in their review process. Official transcripts will only be required for applicants who are admitted and accept the offer of graduate admission. Please do not arrange for any official transcripts to be sent to the department or Stanford graduate admissions until that time.

When completing the “Educational History 1” section of the application, you will be asked to list every college and university you have attended for a year or more, and any degree program in which you are currently enrolled. Please list the highest undergraduate degree awarded (e.g. Bachelor’s, Diplom, Maitrise) in the “Post-Secondary Institution 1” section.

3. Statement of Purpose (1–3 pages)

The maximum length is three pages (single-spaced); the recommended length is two pages (about 1,000 words). Your statement of purpose should be a well-structured essay that effectively communicates the information below while demonstrating your expository writing ability; it is often effective to open with a summary paragraph rather than e.g., a personal anecdote.

In your statement of purpose, you should succinctly describe your reasons for applying to the CEE Graduate Program you are interested in, which may include:

  • Preparation and motivation for graduate study in Civil & Environmental Engineering
  • Research and relevant work experience
  • Specific features of the program you are interested in and our university that make us a good fit for you
  • Possible general areas of Civil or Environmental Engineering that you might pursue in your career
  • For PhD program applicants:
    • Possible general areas of research you might pursue
    • Any faculty member’s research that is of specific interest to you
    • Aspects of your background and interests outside of research that are directly relevant to thriving in graduate school, such as obstacles overcome and experience in service and leadership
    • PhD applicants may be contacted for follow up interviews during the review of applications. However, please note that the number and timing of interviews do not signify any particular outcome regarding admissions decisions.

4. Three letters of recommendation

Recommenders should know you well and be able to comment on your strengths and your potential for graduate study. Our admissions committees strongly prefer letters of recommendation from academic (or professional) references who can speak to your academic and/or research background (e.g., professors who have acted as instructors or research supervisors who have had extensive individual interactions with you). Additionally, our admissions committees find it helpful to hear from references who can comment on your personal qualities that would enable you to succeed in our graduate programs (such as your passion for learning, your work ethic, commitment to goals, and capacity to overcome adversity).

NOTE: CEE will not consider letters of recommendation submitted through Interfolio.

5. Resume/Curriculum Vitae

Your resume/CV provides the admissions committee with additional information to better evaluate your preparation and fit for our program. Your resume/CV is an opportunity to summarize your qualifications, honors, educational accomplishments, any research accomplishments (e.g., publications and presentations) and other interests.

6. TOEFL scores

If your first language is not English, you are required to submit an official test score from the Test of English as a Foreign Language Internet-Based Test (TOEFL iBT). Please see the Test Scores page on the Stanford Graduate Admissions website for more information on Stanford's TOEFL test requirements, reporting scores, exemptions, and waivers.

7. Application Fee

Applicants who need assistance with the application fee are encouraged to apply for a fee waiver. Preference is given to low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented minority students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

For applicants who are not receiving a waiver, a nonrefundable application fee of $125 is required for each application submitted to a graduate program at Stanford University. The fee must be paid through the payment section of the online application. The only accepted method of payment is by credit/debit card (Visa or MasterCard only).

Additional Information about Applying

Important submission notice:

Individual faculty members and staff are unable to accept informal or ad-hoc documents or appeals for informal evaluations. We encourage potential applicants to consider discussing their application materials with faculty recommenders at their home institutions who know them well and can give individualized academic advice.


While most applicants to our advanced degree programs have traditional civil engineering backgrounds, we do accept applications from students in other related fields. Those with non-traditional backgrounds should expect, if admitted, to spend some additional time acquiring the background necessary to complete a graduate degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering. For reference, the requirements for a Stanford BS in Civil Engineering can be found in the Handbook for Undergraduate Engineering Programs.

How to get more help:

Please carefully review the information on our website under the Graduate Admissions sections since most of the answers are posted there. If you still have further questions that are specific to graduate admission to the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, contact cee-admissions@stanford.eduPlease be patient as we get many inquiries, especially around admission season. For help with the online application system and required application documents, submit a help ticket through your application portal instead. 

NOTE: Decision feedback is not available to applicants denied admission. We recognize that you devote a great deal of time and effort to your application, and may wish to discuss it with a member of our admissions committee or a faculty member. Regrettably, we are unable to provide individual feedback to any applicant due to the volume of applications received.