Admission FAQs for PhD, MS, and HCP (part-time MS) applicants.
For university-wide admissions policies, please review Stanford Graduate Admissions FAQ
Deadlines and application process
May I submit an application, or application material after the deadline?
Complete online applications (except for letters of recommendation and any official test scores) must be submitted by midnight Pacific Standard Time on the posted deadlines.
Any GRE and TOEFL exams must be taken by the application deadline, so that we will receive them within two weeks of the deadline.
All letters of recommendation must be received within two weeks of the deadline.
Applications will not be accepted after the posted deadlines.
Are the application deadlines the same for people applying to the Knight-Hennessey Scholars (KHS) program?
MS applicants also applying for the KHS program must submit their application by December 1, 2023, in order to be reviewed before the invitations are sent for the KHS Immersion Weekend.
PhD applicants also applying for the KHS program use the deadline for all MS&E PhD applicants.
Applications received or completed after the deadlines, cannot be considered for the KHS program.
When will I receive my decision?
For PhD applicants, decisions are usually made by mid-February.
For Master's applicants, decisions are usually made in March.
Will you give me a pre-evaluation to assess my chance of admission or my eligibility for admission before I apply?
No. We cannot review your qualifications before you apply, and we need to see the entire application pool to determine the strongest applicants.
How do I know if you have received all of my documents?
Receipt of letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, resume, unofficial (uploaded) transcripts, and both official and unofficial test scores are updated automatically by the application system. Stanford's processing of official test scores is very slow, so please do not be concerned if this takes a long time to be updated. We cannot confirm receipt of any material by email or phone. Decision letters are posted on the application status page.
Will my application still be reviewed if you receive any of my supporting materials (official test scores, and letters of recommendation) after the deadline?
Official TOEFL scores received after the deadline will not have any negative impact on the review of your application, as long as the unofficial TOEFL scores are provided in the online application by the deadline. Letters of recommendation received after the deadline will still be attached to your application, but we cannot guarantee they will be seen by the Admissions Committee if they arrive more than two weeks after the application deadline.
How long should the statement of purpose be?
The statement of purpose should be no more than two pages single-spaced. Most applicants use the statement to explain why they are applying and to answer any questions that might arise from their transcripts or resumes.
May I upload a paper that I have authored/co-authored?
You may upload an abstract of a paper. The abstract should be no more than two pages single-spaced. Please include a link to the full paper.
May I send hard copies of any documents?
No. Do not send hard copies of any documents. The applications are reviewed completely online. You may include links to any publications or professional certificates in your application. Official transcripts, and documents needed for visa processing will be collected by the central office (not the department) after admission.
Must I complete the background requirements before applying to the MS program?
Applicants must have completed a course in differential calculus of several variables before applying. Students may complete a general-purpose programming course after admission or during the MS program.
Is work experience required for admission to the MS program?
GRE and TOEFL
Where should I send my test scores?
Please send your scores to Stanford University (4704). Because we receive the scores electronically and they are matched to applications by name and birthdate, the department code is irrelevant. If ETS requires a department code, you may list 1699 or any other department code. We cannot see your scores until after your application is loaded into our system.
Official TOEFL scores received after the deadline will not have any negative impact on the review of your application, as long as the unofficial TOEFL scores are provided in the online application by the deadline. New official scores received after the deadline are automatically added to your application, but we cannot guarantee they will be seen by the Admissions Committee if they arrive more than two weeks after the deadline.
I'm an international student receiving a degree in the U.S. Do I need to submit the TOEFL?
No. The University grants an exception to the TOEFL requirement for students who have earned a bachelor's or master's degree from a regionally accredited U.S. college or university before beginning their studies at Stanford.
My TOEFL scores are low. Should I retake this test?
If you think you can significantly improve your scores, you may want to retake the test. All scores will be seen, but the highest in each section will be considered.
My scores are old. Do I need to retake them?
We must receive official scores from ETS. If ETS no longer has your scores, then you need to retake the test to have official scores sent to us. If you previously applied to a graduate program at Stanford and had ETS send official scores then, we may have the official scores already in our system.
Will you accept the IELTS instead of the TOEFL?
No, Stanford does not accept the IELTS instead of the TOEFL.
Transcript and letters of recommendation
Must I submit recommendation letters from faculty?
Current Stanford students should submit at least two recommendation letters from Stanford faculty. New applicants should submit at least one academic recommendation letter. We understand that there may be circumstances where this is not possible, but recommend that you make every effort to do so, as it could negatively affect your application.
Recommenders continue to have access to submit letters after the application is submitted, but must upload their letter no later than two weeks after the application deadline.
My recommender is having technical difficulties uploading a letter. How can they get help?
Please direct your recommender to the CollegeNet online help page, where they can find more information and submit a help ticket.
Is financial aid available?
Doctoral students without external funding are guaranteed course assistantship funding as long as they are making satisfactory progress toward the degree. First year doctoral students are typically given fellowships, and advanced students may also have fellowship and research assistantship opportunities.
Master's students are not guaranteed funding, but are eligible to apply for course and research assistantship positions on a quarterly basis. These appointments are generally confirmed at the start of the quarter, and students are appointed for one quarter only. Please keep in mind that MS&E has over 200 master's students, and we are generally able to offer funding to less than 10 percent. Most of these appointments are given to returning (not new) master's students. Master's students are sometimes able to find funding elsewhere on campus, but most departments will support their own students before they will hire students from other departments, so these appointments are not common. Many students secure fellowships or loans from other sources. Master's student must be prepared to fund themselves if they do not receive assistantship funding. Loans are available for U.S. citizens and permanent residents.
How much will the master's degree cost?
The cost depends upon how many quarters the student chooses to enroll. Tuition will be approximately the same for 45 units, regardless of whether the student completes 15 units in each of three quarters, 9 units in each of four quarters, or some other combination. Please see our Graduate Financial Aid page for additional funding information.