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Frequently Asked Questions

The information on this page is for PhD, MS, and HCP (part-time MS) applicants.

Please review the Stanford Graduate Admissions FAQ for university-wide admissions policies.

Deadlines and Application Process


Transcript and Letters of Recommendation

Program Related

Financial Aid








Deadlines and Application Process

When is the application deadline?

PhD application deadline is Tuesday, December 4, 2018.
GRE and TOEFL exams must be taken by the end of November 2018.
All letters of recommendation and unofficial test scores must be received by December 21, 2018.

Master's application deadline is Tuesday, January 15, 2019.
GRE and TOEFL exams must be taken by the end of December 2018.
All letters of recommendation and unofficial test scores must be received by January 31, 2019.

Online applications must be submitted before midnight Pacific Standard Time on the above date.

Are the application deadlines the same for people applying to the Knight-Hennessey Scholars (KHS) program?

PhD and MS applicants also applying for the KHS program, must submit their application by Tuesday, October 30, 2018, and must have a completed application by Wednesday, November 14, 2018.

Applications received after October 30, 2018 and/or completed after November 14, 2018, 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 by mid-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.

May I send hard copies of documents other than transcripts?

No. Please do not send hard copies of anything but original official transcripts (and only then if your institution is not sending us secure electronic certified transcripts). The applications are reviewed completely online, so hard copies of resumes, statements of purpose, publications, passports, and proof of funding are destroyed upon receipt. You may include links to any publications or professional certificates in your application. Documents needed for visa processing are collected by the central office (not the department) after admission.

How do I know if you have received all of my documents?

Go into the Review Activity section of your application. Receipt of letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, resume, unofficial (uploaded) transcripts, and both official and unofficial test scores are updated automatically by the system. We will update by hand the receipt of any hard copies of official transcripts. 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. Decision letters are posted here as well. We cannot confirm receipt of your test scores or documents until after you submit an application.

How long should the statement of purpose be?

The statement of purpose is a writing sample. The exact length and content are up to you. Most applicants use the statement to explain why they are applying and to answer any questions that might arise from their transcripts or resumes. Keep in mind that the committee is reading many applications and appreciates those that are to the point.

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. Background courses may be completed online, but there must be verification of the successful completion of the course(s).

Is work experience required for admission to the MS program?




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.

May I take the GMAT instead of the GRE?

No. Official GRE scores are required.

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 GRE and/or TOEFL scores are low. Should I retake these tests?

If you think you can significantly improve your scores, you may want to retake the tests. 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.

Is the GRE subject test required?

No, it is not required. Most of our applicants do not take a subject test. For applicants interested in taking the subject test, we recommend the engineering, math, economics, computer science or other science subject tests.


Transcript and Letters of Recommendation

How many official transcripts must I submit?

Please submit either one secure electronic certified transcript, or one original official transcript, from every postsecondary institution attended for at least one year as a full-time student. If you are not sending secure electronic certified transcripts and your international institution provides only one official copy, please send one notarized copy.

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.



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.

Is this a STEM program?

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

What is Honors Co-op?

Honors Co-op students are students who are admitted to a graduate degree program, but who participate part-time through the Stanford Center for Professional Development (SCPD). For more information, please visit the SCPD website.

How do I apply for the Honors Co-op program?

You apply as a regular applicant for the autumn quarter by 11:59pm PST on January 15, 2019. You need to send us your transcripts, because we do not have access to the transcripts you sent to SCPD for the NDO program. When you are admitted to the degree program, you may begin taking courses through the HCP program in any quarter. We'll change the admit quarter in our system, since you can only apply for the autumn quarter. We also have an early review deadline of 11:59pm PST on October 30, 2018, for current matriculated Stanford undergraduate and graduate students and current NDO (Non-Degree Option) students.

Are the admission criteria different for Honors Co-op applicants?

No. HCP students receive the same degree as full-time students, so the admission criteria are the same. This policy also allows students the ability to transfer from the HCP program to full-time and vice-versa, as needed.

Do courses taken as an 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 15 units taken as an NDO student may be applied toward a degree program.


Financial Aid

Is financial aid available?

The MS&E Department has fellowship and assistantship funding available for doctoral students only. Master's students must find their own funding. Loans are available for U.S. citizens and permanent residents.

How much will the degree cost?

The Stanford University Office of Graduate Admissions provides more information about Financing Graduate Study and an estimated expense budget.

For 2018-2019:
Most of our graduate students choose to complete the degree in five quarters, taking 8-10 units per quarter.

$11,178 per quarter - estimated ​living expenses for graduate students 
$11,700 per quarter - Tuition cost for 8-10 units
$114,390 - Estimate total cost for five quarters of graduate study

Some of our graduate students choose to complete the degree in three quarters, taking 15 units per quarter.

$18,005 per quarter - Tuition cost for 11-18 units
$87,549 - Estimated total cost for three quarters of graduate study