Frequently Asked Questions: Application Process

The information on this page is for PhD/MS/HCP applicants. These applicants should also review the Stanford Graduate Admissions FAQ for university-wide admissions policies. In cases where the instructions on our department website differ from the Stanford Graduate Admissions website (e.g., the number of official transcripts required), you should follow the instructions on our department website.


General
Educational History
Official Transcripts
GRE
TOEFL
Official Test Scores
Statement of Purpose/Additional Documents
Letters of Recommendation
Application Fee
Reapplying


General

How do I apply?
Each step of the application process is described in the Application Instructions.

How do I check the status of my application?
Log in to your Activity Status Page to view the status of your official transcripts, official test scores, and letters of recommendation.

When will the online application system open?
The online application system will open in mid-September for the full-time PhD and MS programs. For the part-time MS program (HCP), please refer to the HCP Admissions Overview page for the application window corresponding to each quarter.

When is the latest time I can submit my application?
The application system will close at 11:59 PM PST on the application deadline (last day of the application window). For current deadlines, please refer to the Admissions Overview page for the program of interest: PhD/MS/HCP. Late applications will not be accepted.

Are applications reviewed on a rolling basis? Will my application be reviewed earlier if I submit it earlier?
No; applications are reviewed all at once shortly after the application deadline. Submitting your application earlier does not mean it will be reviewed earlier.

Can I submit my online application before I submit my supporting materials (official transcripts, official test scores, and letters of recommendation)?
Yes; we encourage you to submit your online application when you have completed all sections and you are confident that the information will not change before the deadline. You do not need to wait for your recommenders to submit their letters before submitting your application.

Can I submit my supporting materials (official transcripts, official test scores, and letters of recommendation) before I submit my online application?
Yes; we encourage you to submit your supporting materials as soon as they are available (after September 1) and you are confident that the information will not change before the deadline. Note: You will not be able to check the status of your supporting materials until after you submit the online application. It may take up to two weeks for the status of your official transcripts and test scores to be updated on your Activity Status Page, regardless of when these materials were received.

Will my application still be reviewed if you receive any of my supporting materials (official transcripts, official test scores, and letters of recommendation) after the deadline?
Official transcripts and official test scores received after the deadline will not have any negative impact on the review of your application, as long as the unofficial transcripts and test 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 after the review of applications has begun.

When can I expect to find out the decision on my application?
The EE department aims to issue all admission decisions to full-time PhD and MS applicants by the end of February. Part-time MS applicants can expect to receive the admission decision within four weeks after the application deadline.

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Educational History

I’ve attended multiple post-secondary institutions. In what order should I list them on the application?
The institution where you earned or expect to earn your bachelor's degree should be listed as "Post-Secondary Institution 1." The remaining institutions do not have to follow a particular order.

My institution does not report GPAs on a 4.0 grading scale. How should I report my GPA on the application?
Please enter "0.00" for the GPA, and use the "Unconverted GPA" and "Unconverted GPA System" fields instead. Do NOT convert your GPA to a 4.0 grading scale. A link to detailed instructions for reporting GPA is located near these fields on the application.

I’m currently enrolled in a master’s program and have attended my current institution for less than one year. Should I include this institution in the Educational History section?
Yes; please list your master’s degree institution after your bachelor’s degree institution. If you have not yet received grades in your current program, please upload the most current version of your transcript showing the classes in which you are enrolled.

I earned a double major/double degree at the same institution. Should I list this institution once or twice?
If both majors are attached to a single degree (double major), list the institution once and include both majors separated by a comma. If you earned two separate degrees (double degree), list the institution twice and enter one degree/major for each entry.

I attended an institution for more than one year but did not earn a degree there. What should I enter for the "Degree" and "Date degree conferred or expected" fields?
Please leave these fields blank. These fields are required only for Post-Secondary Institution 1 (your bachelor’s degree institution).

I have taken courses through the Non-Degree Option at Stanford for less than one year. Should I include this in the Educational History section?
Yes; please list Stanford University after your bachelor’s degree institution. Leave the degree fields blank and upload your unofficial Stanford transcript.

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Official Transcripts

Do I need to submit official transcripts?
Yes; our department requires each applicant to submit one (1) official transcript from every post-secondary institution attended for at least one year as a full-time student. Please refer to the Official Materials page for complete instructions on submitting transcripts.

How many transcripts does the Stanford EE Department require?
Effective September 2016, only one (1) set of transcripts is required from each applicant. If the institution does not issue records in English, we require one (1) official copy in the original language and one (1) official English translation.

What are the guidelines for submitting English translations of official transcripts?
We accept translations issued by the institution or a professional translating service. Translations must be literal and complete versions of the original records. Note: If your institution issues official transcripts in English, you do not need to submit an official transcript in the original language.

What constitutes an "official" electronic transcript?
The use of secure electronically-delivered transcripts that are passcode-protected is necessary. The document's certified digital signature embedded in the document PDF assures us that it has been prepared by the college/university and that the document is original and unaltered. Please check with the registrar's office of your college/university to see if they provide secure electronic certified transcript service. Note: Transcripts sent as email attachments are not accepted.

Will my application still be reviewed if my official transcript arrives after the deadline?
Yes; there will be no negative impact on the review of your application as long as the uploaded transcript is legible.

Should I submit my official transcript if my degree will still be in progress at the time of the application deadline?
Yes; please submit the most current version of your transcript at the time of application, even if the grades from your fall semester/quarter will not be available. The absence of these grades will not have a negative impact on the review of your application. If you are granted admission and accept the offer, we will ask you to submit your final transcript showing all grades and proof of degree conferral.

What should I do if my institution can issue only one official transcript and only to the student?
In this instance, please just upload a legible copy (in English) of the official transcript in your possession; we will use this unofficial copy to assess your application. Please note that the status of your transcript will remain as "Received (Not Official)" on your Activity Status Page; this status will not have any negative impact on the review of your application. If you are granted admission and accept the offer, you will need to arrange an appointment with Stanford’s Office of Graduate Admissions to verify the official hard copy.

May I send my official transcript(s) before submitting the online application?
Yes; your transcript(s) will be kept in a holding place until we receive your online application.

May I send official transcripts from my own address, or do they need to be sent directly from my institution?
Whenever possible, official transcripts should be sent directly by the institution. If you send transcripts from your own address, they must be in institution-sealed envelopes or bear the necessary characteristics to be deemed official by your institution.

Do I need to include a cover sheet with my identifying information when sending transcripts?
A cover sheet is not necessary. Transcripts are matched to applications based on the applicant's full name.

What should I do if the name on my transcript does not match the name on my application?
Please send an email to admissions@ee.stanford.edu with both versions of your name.

How do I check the status of my official transcripts?
Log in to your Activity Status Page. It may take up to two weeks (after we receive your online application or the official transcripts, whichever occurs later) for your official transcripts to show as received. Processing may be delayed or halted if the name on the transcript does not match the name on your application.

Do I need to submit official transcripts from an institution where I studied abroad?
If the coursework and grades are reflected on the transcript of your home institution, you do not need to submit official transcripts from the study abroad institution.

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GRE

Do I need to take the GRE?
All applicants must take the GRE, including students who have previously attended graduate school. The GRE scores reported must be from a test taken within five (5) years prior to the application deadline.

When should I take the GRE?
We require a complete set of self-reported GRE scores by the application deadline. If you are applying to the full-time PhD or MS program for Autumn 2017, we recommend taking the GRE by November 21, 2016 to ensure timely arrival of scores. Please refer to ETS | GRE: Getting Your Scores for the approximate timeline for receiving your complete GRE scores.

What is the minimum GRE score required for admission?
Applicants do not need to meet any minimum GRE score to secure admission, and we do not release information about average 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. 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.

I took the GRE more than once. How should I report this on my application, and which score will be reviewed?
When self-reporting your GRE scores on the application, please choose scores from one test administration (do not pick and choose scores for each section independently). When sending the official scores to us, the GRE ScoreSelect option allows you flexibility in choosing which scores are included on the report; the scores you self-report on the application should be included on this report. For more information, please see ETS | ScoreSelect Option. Please note that scores for a test administration must be reported in their entirety. The department will review all scores that are included on your official score report.

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TOEFL

Do I need to take the TOEFL?

The TOEFL is required of all applicants whose first language is not English, regardless of citizenship and length of time spent in the U.S. The TOEFL scores reported must be from a test taken within 18 months prior to the application deadline.

Exceptions may be granted to applicants who have completed (not only attended) a bachelor's or master's degree program at a recognized institution where all instruction is provided in English. For more information, please see Stanford Graduate Admissions | Required Exams.

When should I take the TOEFL?
We require self-reported TOEFL scores by the application deadline. If you are applying to the full-time PhD or MS program for Autumn 2017, we recommend taking the TOEFL by November 21, 2016 to ensure timely arrival of scores. Please refer to ETS | TOEFL: Getting Your Scores for the approximate timeline for receiving your TOEFL scores.

What is the minimum TOEFL score required for admission?
Please see Stanford Graduate Admissions | Required Exams for the University’s minimum requirements.

If my TOEFL score falls below the University’s minimum, am I still eligible to apply?
Yes, you may still apply. If your TOEFL scores fall below the university's minimum requirements and you are admitted, Stanford may require you to take an English placement exam and/or English classes.

May I submit the IELTS instead of the TOEFL to demonstrate English proficiency?
No; the IELTS is not accepted at Stanford University. Only the TOEFL is accepted to provide proof of proficiency in English.

How do I request a TOEFL exemption or waiver?
For all questions related to TOEFL exemptions or waivers, please refer to Stanford Graduate Admissions | Required Exams. Note: The central office makes all final decisions regarding TOEFL waivers; our department is not involved in the approval of TOEFL waivers.

Why does my TOEFL status show as "Not Applicable" even though I submitted a TOEFL score?
This may be because you listed English as your first language in the application. Please note that "first language" refers to your native language. If you need to update this section of the application, please send an email to admissions@ee.stanford.edu with the pertinent information.

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Official Test Scores

Do I need to submit official test scores?
Yes; official scores must be reported directly to Stanford from ETS using Stanford’s institutional code (4704). Individual department code numbers are not necessary.

I entered a department code when requesting official scores to be sent from ETS. Will you still receive my scores?
Yes, as long as the correct institution code (4704) was entered.

May I arrange for my official scores to be sent before submitting the online application?
Yes; your official scores will be kept in a holding place until we receive your online application.

How do I check the status of my official test scores?
Log in to your Activity Status Page. It may take up to two weeks (after we receive your online application or the official test scores, whichever occurs later) for your official scores to show as received. Processing may be delayed or halted if the name or birthdate on the score report does not exactly match the information on your application.

I registered for the GRE/TOEFL under a different name or birthdate from what I entered on the application. How should I proceed?
Please send an email to admissions@ee.stanford.edu with the pertinent information to locate your scores.

It has been more than two weeks since I submitted my application/official test scores, and my official test scores still do not show as received on my Activity Status Page.
Please check that the scores were sent to institution code 4704 (for Stanford University) and that you registered for the test(s) using the same name and birthdate you used on your application. Once you have checked these items, please send us an email with the pertinent information to locate your scores.

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Statement of Purpose/Additional Documents

I found a mistake in my Statement of Purpose after submitting my application. May I replace it with a new version?
No; we are unable to make changes to your application after it is submitted. Please read through your Statement of Purpose carefully several times before submitting your application.

May I include my resume/CV in the application?
Yes; we encourage applicants to upload their resume/CV under Additional Information on the Document Uploads page.

What if I want to include multiple additional documents?
Please provide a link in your resume/CV instead of uploading the full documents.

There has been a major update to my resume/CV after submitting my application (e.g., new publication or award). May I replace it with a new version?
No; we are unable to make changes to your application after it is submitted. If you foresee major updates to your resume/CV before the deadline, please hold off on submitting your application until then.

Is it a problem if my uploaded documents have a margin of less than one inch?
No; please use the preview function within the application system to ensure that the content of the document is not cut off.

Is it a problem if my uploaded documents are missing my full name and department?
No; your documents will automatically be attached to your electronic application record.

Should I mail any additional materials besides my official transcripts?
No; any additional documents we receive will be discarded. This includes letters of recommendation, GRE/TOEFL score reports, bank statements, certificates, etc. Please do not mail any hard copies of materials, with the exception of official transcripts.

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Letters of Recommendation

What is the deadline to receive letters of recommendation?
The deadline to receive all letters of recommendation is the same as the application deadline. Recommenders may start and submit their letters of recommendation as soon as they receive the recommendation request via email, which is sent when you press the "Submit Recommendation Request" button in the application. They do not need to wait for you to submit your application in order to submit their recommendations.

My recommender will not be able to submit his/her letter by the application deadline. Will my application still be considered?
We cannot guarantee that materials received after the deadline will be seen by the Admissions Committee. As such, we strongly encourage you to contact your recommenders directly to remind them of our deadline.

Will you accept letters of recommendation sent through Interfolio or my university's career center?
No; recommenders must submit their letters via Stanford’s online recommendation system.

My recommenders are having technical difficulties with the online letters of recommendation process. Who should they contact?
Please refer them to our application database provider's Letters of Recommendation Help page or have them submit an online help request form directly to our application database provider.

How can I check the status of my recommendations?
You can check the status of recommendations via your Activity Status Page.

I sent the recommendation notification to my recommender and it shows as sent on my Activity Status Page, but my recommender says he/she has not received it.
Please ask your recommender to search his/her email junk folder, as it may have been misplaced. The subject of the email should read: "Please submit your recommendation for (Applicant Name)." You can always resend the email from your Activity Status Page in the case that it was deleted.

Can I resend the recommendation invitation to my recommender?
Yes; you can resend the invitation and send reminders via your Activity Status Page.

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Application Fee

How do I request an application fee waiver?
Eligibility requirements for application fee waivers may be found on the Graduate Application Fee Waivers page on Stanford's Graduate Diversity Staff Council website. The EE department is not authorized to grant application fee waivers.

Are checks accepted as a method of payment?
No; payment of the application fee must be through the online application system, using a Visa or MasterCard credit/debit card.

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Reapplying

Please read this entire section of the FAQ if you plan to reapply. Applicants who were previously denied are welcome to reapply if they can demonstrate significant progress made since they last applied.

May I reactivate materials from a previous application to the EE department?
The only materials that may be reactivated are official transcripts and official (non-expired) test scores if you applied within the past three (3) years. You are still required to upload unofficial transcripts for all required institutions in the "Educational History" section, and provide self-reported (non-expired) test scores in the "Test Scores" section.

May I reactivate materials from a previous application to a different (non-EE) department?
No; we do not have access to records from other departments. Please submit all new materials for your application.

May I reactivate letters of recommendation from a previous application?
No; you must request 3 new letters of recommendation through the online application system.

How do I inform the EE Admissions Office that I would like to reactivate materials?
After you submit your application, send an email to admissions@ee.stanford.edu with the following information:

  • Full name
  • Year and program of previous application
  • Names of institutions corresponding to official transcripts you wish to reactivate

Official test scores previously sent to Stanford will automatically be reactivated for your new application.

I am a current graduate student at Stanford applying to the EE-PhD program. What procedure should I follow to reactivate materials?
As a current graduate student at Stanford, you do NOT need to re-submit official transcripts or official test scores that were previously sent to Stanford; these items will be reactivated automatically. Please allow 2 weeks after application submission for the status of your official transcripts and test scores to be updated on your Activity Status Page. We are unable to reactivate letters of recommendation from your previous application; you must request 3 new letters of recommendation through the online system.

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