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Admissions FAQ

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Q. Do you offer financial aid?
A. Yes, financial aid is available to both US and international students. Financial aid usually takes the form of a Research Assistantship (RA) in which the student works about 20 hours a week for the supporting research project, while taking 10 units of courses. In most cases, the research task undertaken is the same as the research required for the degree. Students are also required to act as a Teaching Assistant (TA) in at least one quarter during the duration of their support.

Q. What are the minimum GRE scores?
A. We do not specify minimum scores, since each applicant is evaluated based on a comprehensive review of undergraduate transcripts, statement of purpose, letters of recommendation and GRE's. Nonetheless, Stanford is a very competitive school, and receives strong applicants with very good GRE scores.

Q. What is the minimum TOEFL score?
A. Please check requirements on the Graduate Admissions website

Q. Can I take the GRE and/or the TOEFL after being admitted?
A. No. The GRE and TOEFL exam results are one of the main criteria used to decide on admission. Without these results your application cannot be considered.

Q. Should I write to a faculty member and express an interest in his/her research program?
A. Most faculty members are pleased to hear from people interested in their research, however applicants need to be aware that intended area of research is not a criterion for acceptance. Some applicants believe mistakenly that lobbying a faculty member (or several faculty members) may increase their chances of admission, however this is not generally true.

Q. How much is the RA support stipend?
A. About $3500/month for first year graduate students (it changes every year, usually upwards). In addition, research assistants receive tuition support for the 10 unit requirement each quarter. This amount of money is considered to be sufficient for students to support themselves.

Q. Can students work elsewhere in addition to their RA duties?
A. Generally no. By law, international students are prohibited from working at all other than on their research. US students may work a few hours a week besides, however generally do not since research and course load is such that little available time remains.

Q. How long does it take?
A. An MS student receiving RA support can finish in five quarters, however most take six quarters. This effectively means two years (from September one year to June two years later). PhD degrees vary considerably from one student to another, the average is about 4 years beyond the MS degree.

Q. Can I apply for Spring admission?
A. No. We only accept students for Fall Quarter admission. Fall Quarter starts in late September.

Q. The application deadline has passed, can I still apply?
A. We have strict admissions deadline every year, therefore, all applications must be received by the deadline in order to be considered. 

Q. Are there any prerequisites for the program?
A. PhD applicants and MS applicants must have a BS in order to be considered for the program. PhD applicants can apply directly to PhD from the BS degree. It is also possible to apply to the PhD program from a MS degree. Please refer to our academics section to review the course requirements for the degrees.

Q. I don’t have an energy academic background, am I still eligible to apply?
A. We have a wide variety of applicants from various backgrounds, though most are in engineering or equivalent. Please refer to our academics section to review the course requirements for the degree.