KIPAC Post-baccalaureate FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Check out the KIPAC Post-baccalaureate Fellowship page for key program details.

What academic background is required?

  • Applicants must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited institute, college, or university, with a degree in physics, astronomy, or a related field by June 2023. 

My undergraduate degree is not in physics or astronomy; am I eligible to apply?

  • In general we intend to admit students who have already done the coursework required for admission to a graduate program in Physics or Astronomy, which typically includes an introductory physics sequence as well as more advanced physics courses including classical mechanics, electrodynamics, quantum mechanics, statistical mechanics, and relevant mathematics.

Do you offer funding?

  • Yes. This is a paid position with Stanford salary and benefits.

Do I need to identify a mentor?

  • No, but please tell us about your research interests in your Personal Statement so we can make a better match with a research team within KIPAC.

What kind of research projects will be available?  

  • Scholars will be working with KIPAC Senior Members, along with graduate student or postdoctoral members of their groups. Specific research project examples can be found here.

Do I need to take any classes during this program?

  • Course work is not a formal part of this program. You may be able to audit undergraduate or graduate courses as suggested by your mentor. 

Do I need previous research experience?

  • No, the program is intended to provide the research experience that can help to support your next application for graduate school.

How will the personal statement be evaluated?

  • Statement readers will be looking for evidence:
    • of research potential in the form of creativity, persistence in the face of obstacles, willingness to ask questions, appetite for learning, and curiosity about the universe.
    • of a commitment to attending graduate school, for example in the form of previous course preparation and self-described motivation for graduate study.
    • of a commitment to making the field more inclusive and equitable, for example through your lived experiences, demonstrated values, perspectives, and/or activities that align with these commitments.
    • that this program will make a transformative difference to your ability to be admitted to and thrive in a graduate program.

Who should I ask for a letter?

  • Anyone who can speak about your academic performance, previous experience, or capacity for research and/or graduate study.

I have already been admitted to a graduate program; am I eligible to apply?

  • No. This program aims to provide research experience and professional development opportunities that better enable college graduates to be admitted to and succeed in a graduate program. Rare exceptions may be granted with sufficient rationale of why this program would be particularly impactful for your career trajectory. 

I have applied to a graduate program, but haven not heard back yet; am I eligible to apply?

  • Yes, but before offering you a position, we will ask you whether or not you have been accepted to any programs you have applied to. 

I have a Master’s degree in physics, astronomy, or a related field. Am I eligible for this program?

  • No. This program aims to provide research experience for college graduates who have not previously been admitted to any graduate program.

Is this program a fast-track for a Ph.D. program in Stanford? 

  • No. This program aims to provide research experience and collaborative work that can support your application for a Ph.D. program in astronomy or physics. This program is not a graduate program, and admission to the program does not constitute admission to the graduate school at Stanford University. Furthermore, finishing the program does not guarantee admission to the graduate school at Stanford University or to any other graduate program.

I am an international student, can I still apply for this program?

  • It depends. In general we plan to accept students who already have appropriate work authorization in California. The post-bac program is open to international students if their visa conditions allow. For example, international students on an F1 visa may be able to work on that visa through Optional Practical Training (OPT).

Do I need a TOEFL score?

  • A TOEFL score is not required but is strongly recommended if you received your bachelor’s degree from an institution outside of the U.S where the primary language of instruction was not English. If you received your bachelor’s degree from a U.S. institution, you do not need to submit a TOEFL score. 

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