Frequently Asked Questions for PhD Applicants

If you have questions about the application process, please consult the
Application FAQ


Program FAQ

I will have just earned my bachelor’s degree before starting graduate study at Stanford. Should I apply to the MS or the PhD program?
You should apply to the degree program that can fulfill your ultimate degree goal. For example, if obtaining a PhD is your ultimate goal, you should apply directly to the PhD program.

Do I need to have a master’s degree before applying to the PhD program?
No; the minimum degree requirement is a bachelor’s degree. Students who enter the PhD program may opt to pursue the master’s degree along the way to earning the PhD.

If I apply to the PhD program but do not get admitted, will I be considered for the MS program? Does this affect my chances of admission to either program?
If you are a PhD applicant who would also like to be considered for the MS program, you must select "yes" when asked if you’d like to be considered for the MS program on page 10 of the online application. Your application is given the same consideration as applications that do not have this option selected. Selecting this option does not affect your chances of admission to the PhD or MS program.

If I am admitted and enrolled to the MS program, may I enter the PhD program later on?
Admission to the PhD program is possible only through the annual general admissions process. Current MS students must reapply through this process to be considered for the PhD program.

May I apply for a start term other than autumn?
No; applications are reviewed on an annual basis for autumn quarter start only.

When is the application deadline?
December 6, 2016 is the application deadline for Autumn 2017-2018.

How long does it take to complete the PhD?
Typical completion time for the PhD program is 5-7 years.

How important is it to contact faculty before I apply?
Contact with faculty members is not a required part of the application process nor does it guarantee admission to our graduate program. Admissions decisions are made by the Admissions Committee, not by individual faculty members.

Is financial assistance available for PhD students?
Yes; all PhD students who maintain satisfactory academic progress receive full financial support for the duration of the doctoral program. For more information, please see Financial Assistance for PhD Students.

What are the minimum GRE score and GPA requirements for admission?
Applicants do not need to meet any minimum grade point average (GPA) or GRE score to secure admission, and we do not release information about average GPAs or GRE scores of admitted students. As a guideline, successful applicants typically score in the 90th percentile or higher on the quantitative section of the GRE and earn undergraduate cumulative GPAs among the top of their class. However, please keep in mind that admission to our graduate programs depends on a combination of factors, and all areas of a student’s application are weighed when applications are reviewed.

Am I eligible to apply if my undergraduate major is not Electrical Engineering?
Yes; students who meet the minimum degree requirements with a strong technical background in engineering, physical sciences, or mathematics are welcome to apply. A bachelor's degree in electrical engineering is not strictly required.

Are specific prerequisite courses required for admission?
No; we advise prospective applicants to review the EE Graduate Handbook and the Stanford Course Catalog to evaluate what prerequisites are needed for graduate-level courses in your area(s) of interest.

What is the minimum level of study required of international applicants from an academic institution outside of the U.S.?
Please refer to Stanford Graduate Admissions | International Applicants for eligibility guidelines related to study outside of the U.S.

What is the process for transferring to the PhD program from another institution?
Students who wish to transfer to our PhD program from another institution must complete the same application procedure as new applicants. If you are admitted and enrolled, you may request to transfer up to 45 units of coursework from your previous institution toward the PhD degree requirements at Stanford, by following the procedures for Graduate Residency Credit. Students must complete one quarter at Stanford before requesting to transfer units, and all transferred units are subject to approval by the Registrar’s Office.


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