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Graduate Programs FAQs

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Master’s FAQs

Is this a STEM program?

Yes, this is a STEM-eligible degree program, eligible for the STEM extension on Optional Practical Training (OPT).

How long does it take to complete the MS program?

Students can complete the MS program in nine months by taking 15 units per quarter. Students also have the option to complete the program in 15-18 months by taking 8-10 units per quarter, which costs less per quarter and allows for part-time employment.

May I take a leave of absence from the MS program?

Students may take up to two years' leave of absence from the program. Leave of Absence forms must be submitted before the start of the quarter, and students on F1 or J1 visas must have approval from the Bechtel International Center.

May I complete multiple degrees at Stanford?

Students may apply to add a master's degree or a doctoral degree, or to change to a different degree program.

May I take elective courses in other departments and schools?

Yes, please do!  Many of our students take courses in Computer Science, Statistics, and the Graduate School of Business, but students may take courses across all of Stanford.

Are MS&E students guaranteed admission to MS&E courses?

No.  Some of our discussion courses and project courses are high-demand, and cannot accommodate all students that wish to take them. While preference for most class spaces is given to MS&E students, most instructors determine enrollment in limited-enrollment courses based on an application. The application may be posted on the course website or handed out in the first class.

Do courses taken as a Non-Degree Option(NDO)student count for the degree?

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 18 units taken as an NDO student may be applied toward a degree program.


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May I transfer credit to Stanford?

Doctoral students may transfer up to 45 units from another graduate program if they do not plan to complete a master's degree at Stanford.

Do I have to complete a master's degree?

Doctoral students are not required to complete a master's degree. Some students who have not previously earned a master's degree choose to receive either the MS&E master's degree or a master's degree from another department. Students should take courses that satisfy their PhD requirements first, so that they are prepared to take the qualifying exam in the second year.

May I petition to deviate from the degree requirements?

Doctoral students may work with their advisor to determine the most appropriate list of course requirements.


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