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Master's Program

The MS degree programs require a minimum of 45 units beyond the equivalent of a BS at Stanford. All programs represent substantial progress in the major field beyond the bachelor’s degree.

University requirements for the master’s degree are described in the "Graduate Degrees" section of the bulletin.

MS&E M.S. course requirements are detailed in the MS&E section of the bulletin.

The master’s in Management Science and Engineering prepares engineers for a lifelong career addressing the technical and managerial needs of private and public organizations. The program emphasizes developing analytic abilities, making better decisions, developing and executing strategies, and leading people who innovate. Unlike an MBA, the department's master’s program addresses the technical as well as the behavioral challenges of running organizations and complex systems, emphasizing quantitative analytic skills and an entrepreneurial spirit. 

MS&E students know math, engineering and behavioral science. They can conduct experiments to design better systems, organizations and work processes. They understand how to analyze data to solve real-world problems. They can develop mathematical and computational models to inform action. They know how to surface and examine unarticulated assumptions and root causes. These students can communicate effectively in the team environments found in so many contemporary organizations.

Seven M.S. Area Specialties

MS&E master’s students have breadth as well as depth. All are required to develop competence in optimization and analytics, organizations and decisions, and probability.  In addition, every student pursues a specialty in one of seven areas:

1. Financial Analytics

Students who concentrate in Financial Analytics are prepared for careers requiring analytical rigor and the ability to innovate around market challenges. Example career paths include financial services, risk management, investment management, financial technology and data processing, financial regulation and policy, exchanges and clearinghouses, and auditing and compliance. The concentration combines the in-depth study of quantitative techniques with practical, hands-on business problem solving. Students learn to use mathematical models and quantitative tools to solve complex problems in finance practice.

The concentration exploits the intellectual ties between finance, operations research, computer science and engineering. It offers a high level of flexibility and a range of elective courses that allow students to tailor the program to their specific career goals. Required courses immerse students in quantitative methods and deepen their understanding of finance fundamentals. Projects courses feature practical, data-driven team projects and case studies, fostering group learning and interaction with peers. 

2. Operations and Analytics

Students following the Operations and Analytics track become prepared in the fundamentals and applications that are critical to careers in a fields ranging from operations management in the service, healthcare, production, manufacturing, computer, telecommunications and banking industries to modern Silicon Valley information technology and data analytics.

The program emphasizes a balance between the technical rigor of methodologies with lasting value and insightful modern applications and design challenges in a variety of established and emerging industries and operations environments. It offers a portfolio of courses in probabilistic modeling, optimization, simulation, algorithms, data science, networks, markets and corresponding applications.

3. Technology and Engineering Management

Students who concentrate in Technology and Engineering Management are prepared for careers including product and project management, management consulting and entrepreneurship. They acquire skills to manage technical organizations, foster innovation, and deal with rapidly evolving technologies and dynamic markets.

Specialized coursework is flexible, allowing students to explore and gain depth, understanding technical organizations to develop a culture of successful innovation and entrepreneurship, along with methods for decisionmaking under uncertainty, financial analysis and strategic planning.

4. Computational Social Science

The Computational Social Science track teaches students how to apply rigorous statistical and computational methods to address problems in economics, sociology, political science and beyond. The program prepares students for a diverse set of career paths in data science, information technology, and policy analysis.

The core coursework covers fundamental statistical concepts, large-scale computation, and network analysis. Through electives, students can explore topics such as experimental design, algorithmic economics, and machine learning.

5. Decision and Risk Analysis

Students who specialize in Decision and Risk Analysis are prepared for careers including management consulting, policy analysis and risk management, applying engineering systems analysis to tackle complex economic and technical management problems in the private and public sectors. They acquire the skills to identify and develop opportunities in uncertain situations while recognizing and hedging the downside risks.

Specialized course work includes the mathematical foundations for modeling in dynamic uncertain environments to value and manage uncertain opportunities and risks, applications to public policy, and an opportunity to work on a client project under faculty guidance. 

6. Energy and Environment

The Energy and Environment track is designed for students interested in energy and environmental issues from the perspectives of public policy, nongovernmental organizations or corporations. This track includes core courses; courses in economic analysis, energy resources and energy/environmental policy analysis; and an individually designed concentration, typically emphasizing policy, strategy or technology.

Seminars provide insights into current corporate strategy, public policy and research community developments. Energy/environmental project courses give practice in applying methodologies and concepts.

7. Health Systems Modeling

 The Health Systems Modeling track is designed for students interested in healthcare operations and policy. The courses in this track emphasize the application of mathematical and economic analysis to problems in public health policy and the design and operation of healthcare services.

The master’s degree is designed to be a terminal degree program with a professional focus. The MS can be earned in one academic year (three academic quarters) of full-time work, although most students choose to complete the program in five academic quarters, or 18 months, and work as an intern in the summer quarter.

M.S. background requirements

Students are expected to have completed both MATH 51 Linear Algebra and Differential Calculus of Several Variables, or an equivalent multivariable differential calculus course, and CS 106A Programming Methodology, or an equivalent general programming course, before beginning graduate study.  These courses do not count toward degree requirements.

M.S. course requirements are detailed in the University Bulletin

Dual master's degree program

The dual degree program enables a small group of graduate students to obtain two master’s degrees simultaneously. Students complete the course requirements for each department. A total of 90 units is required to complete the dual master’s degree.

Admission

For the dual degree, admission to two departments is required, but is coordinated by designated members of both admissions committees who make recommendations to the committees of their respective departments. Students may apply to only one department initially. After the first quarter at Stanford, students may apply to be admitted to the second department.

Advising

Every student in the dual-degree program has one adviser in each department.

Joint MS&E and Law Degrees

The School of Law and the Department of Management Science and Engineering offer joint degree programs leading to a JD degree and an MS degree in MS&E, or to a JD and PhD in MS&E. These programs are designed for students who wish to prepare for careers in areas relating to both law and to the decisionmaking, policymaking and problem-solving knowledge and skills developed in the MS&E program.

Students interested in either joint degree program must apply and gain admission separately to the School of Law and the Department of Management Science and Engineering and, as an additional step, must secure consent from both academic units to pursue degrees in those units as part of a joint degree program. Interest in either joint degree program should be noted on the student’s admission applications and may be considered by the admission committee of each program. Alternatively, an enrolled student in either the Law School or MS&E may apply for admission to the other program and for joint degree status in both academic units after commencing study in either program.

Joint degree students may elect to begin their course of study in either the School of Law or MS&E. Students are assigned to a joint program committee composed of at least one faculty member from Law and one from MS&E. This committee plans the student’s program jointly with the student. Students must be enrolled full-time in the Law School for the first year of law studies, and it is recommended that students devote exclusively one autumn quarter to the MS&E MS program to initiate their MS&E work. After that time, enrollment may be in MS&E or Law, and students may choose courses from either program regardless of where enrolled.

A candidate in the joint JD/PhD program should spend a substantial amount of full-time residency in MS&E. Students must satisfy the requirements for both the JD and the MS or PhD degrees as specified in the Stanford Bulletin or by the School of Law. The Law School may approve courses from MS&E or courses in the student’s MS&E program from outside of the Department of Management Science and Engineering that may count toward the JD degree, and MS&E may approve courses from the Law School that may count toward the MS or PhD degree in MS&E. In either case, approval may consist of a list applicable to all joint degree students or may be tailored to each individual student’s program. The lists may differ depending on whether the student is pursuing an MS or a PhD in MS&E.

In the case of a JD/MS program, no more than 45 units of approved courses may be counted toward both degrees. In the case of a JD/PhD program, no more than 54 units of approved courses may be counted toward both degrees. In either case, no more than 36 units of courses that originate outside the Law School may count toward the law degree.

To the extent that courses under this joint degree program originate outside the Law School but count toward the law degree, the law credits permitted under Section 17(1) of the Law School Regulations are reduced on a unit-per-unit basis, but not below zero. The maximum number of Law School credits that may be counted toward the MS in MS&E is the greater of: (a) 18 units in the case of the MS, or (b) the maximum number of hours from courses outside the department that an MS candidate in MS&E is permitted to count toward the applicable degree under general departmental guidelines or under departmental rules that apply in the case of a particular student.

Tuition and financial aid arrangements are normally through the school in which the student is then enrolled.

Joint MS&E and Master of Public Policy Degree

MS MS&E students who wish to apply their analytical and management skills to the field of public policy can simultaneously pursue a master's degree in MS&E and a master's degree in Public Policy. The MPP is a two-year degree program, but MS MS&E students who pursue the joint program can earn both degrees in a minimum of two years, depending on prior preparation and elective choices, by counting up to 45 quarter units of course work toward both degrees. After admission to the Department of Management Science and Engineering, incoming or current MS students request that their application file be forwarded to the MPP program director for review.

Students in the joint program normally will spend most of their first year taking MS&E core courses.  The second year is typically devoted to the MPP core, concentration and practicum.  The joint degree requires 90 quarter units.  Tuition for the first year of study is paid at the Graduate Engineering rate, the remaining time at the Graduate rate.

Professional Education

The Stanford Center for Professional Development (SCPD) provides opportunities for local and remote students to take courses at Stanford.

The Honors Cooperative Program (HCP) provides matriculated graduate students the opportunity to earn an MS degree over a longer period, by taking one or two courses per academic quarter. Some courses are offered only on campus; HCP students may attend those courses at Stanford to meet the degree requirements. It is possible to complete this program as a remote HCP student, although the remote offerings are limited. Students must apply for a degree program through the standard application process, and must meet the standard application deadlines.

The non-degree option (NDO) allows students to take courses online before being admitted to a degree program. NDO students apply to take courses each quarter through the Stanford Center for Professional Development. Up to 15 units taken as an NDO student may be applied toward a degree program. For additional information about the NDO application process and deadlines, see the SCPD website, or contact SCPD at (650) 725-3000.

Certificate

The department offers a certificate program within the framework of the NDO program. A certificate can be obtained by completing three MS&E core courses, plus one MS&E elective course for a total of four courses. For further information, see the Stanford Center for Professional Development.