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Frequently Asked Questions

For a list of Frequently Asked Questions related to our HCP and NDO programs, please see our Applying for Part-Time Graduate Study page.

If you have a question that is not listed below, please consult the Stanford Graduate Admission FAQ.

Program Selection

I will have just earned my bachelor’s degree before starting the program, should I apply to the M.S. or the Ph.D. program?
You should apply to the degree program that can fulfill your ultimate goal. For example, if obtaining a Ph.D. is your ultimate goal, you should apply directly to the Ph.D. program. (Note: A master’s degree is not required for admission to the Ph.D. program and applying to the M.S. program will not increase your chances of being admitted to the Ph.D. program (see next question).) Students who enter the Ph.D. program without a prior master’s degree will complete the M.S. degree requirements along the way to earning their Ph.D.

If I am admitted and enrolled to the M.S. program, may I enter the Ph.D. program later on?
Admission to the Ph.D. program is possible only through the annual general admissions process. Current M.S. students must re-apply through this process to be considered for the Ph.D. program.

If I apply to the Ph.D. program but do not get admitted, will I be considered for the M.S. program? Does this affect my chances of admission to either program?
If you are a Ph.D. applicant who would also like to be considered for the M.S. program, you must select "yes" when asked if you’d like to be considered for the M.S. program on page 7 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 Ph.D. or M.S. program.

Eligibility

What are the minimum GRE score and GPA requirements for admission?
We do not require applicants to have a minimum GRE score or GPA for admission consideration, and we do not release information about average GRE scores or GPAs of accepted 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. If our research areas meet your educational goals, we encourage you to submit an application.

Am I eligible to apply if my undergraduate major is not Electrical Engineering?
A background specifically in electrical engineering is not required for admission to our graduate programs. Students with a technical background in computer science, engineering, mathematics, or the hard sciences are welcome to apply. (Note: If admitted and enrolled, you may need to take additional undergraduate-level courses during your time here to satisfy prerequisites for some graduate-level courses in electrical engineering.)

Am I eligible to apply to the M.S. program if I have already earned a master’s degree in Electrical Engineering at a different institution?
You are still eligible to apply to our M.S. program. However, in your application you should clearly articulate your reasons for pursuing another master's degree and how this connects to your future career goals. (Note: No credits from another institution may be transferred to the M.S. degree at Stanford.)

How important is it to contact faculty before I apply?
It is not necessary to contact faculty members in our department in order to be admitted. 

Transfer

What is the process for transferring to the M.S. program from another institution?
All applicants to the M.S. program must follow the same application procedure as new applicants. No credits from another institution may be transferred to the M.S. degree at Stanford.

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

Educational History/Transcripts

What is the minimum GPA required for admission?
Please see Eligibility > What are the minimum GRE score and GPA required for admission?

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

I attended multiple post-secondary institutions. In what order should I list them on the application?
List your undergraduate institution as "Post-Secondary Institution 1." If you attended multiple undergraduate institutions, list the most recent one first (where you earned or expect to earn your highest undergraduate degree). The remaining institutions do not have to follow a particular order.

When should I submit my transcripts if my degree will still be in progress at the time of the application deadline?
Please send the most current version of your transcript in advance of the application deadline, even if the grades from your fall semester will not be available. The absence of these grades will not have a negative impact on the review of your application. If you are admitted and enrolled, 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 only provide one official copy of my transcript?
In this case, 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. If you are granted admission and accept the offer, Stanford’s Office of Graduate Admissions will need to verify the official hard copy. We will work with you to arrange this process should it be necessary.

May I send my official transcripts before submitting the online application?
Please see Submitting My Application > Can I submit my supporting materials before I submit my application?

I am in the first term of my master’s program. Do I need to send transcripts from my current school?
If you have been in your current master’s program for less than one year, please send us two (2) official copies of the transcript that is available to you, even if you have not yet received any grades. If a transcript is not yet available, please upload a statement indicating when a transcript will be produced, in lieu of the actual transcript (you do not need to send a hard copy). If you are admitted and enrolled, we will ask you to submit an updated transcript at that time.

May I send the official transcripts from my own address, or do they need to be sent directly from my institution?
Either option is acceptable. However, if you send the transcripts from your own address, the transcripts must be in institution-sealed envelopes.

Do I need to include a cover sheet with my identifying information when sending the transcripts?
A cover sheet is not necessary, unless your transcript displays a different version of your name from what you entered on the application. Transcripts are matched to applications based on the applicant's full 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 submitting your application or sending 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 exactly match the name on your application.

What should I do if the name on my transcripts does not match the name on my application?
If you are sending the transcripts (in institution-sealed envelopes) from your own address, please include an identifying cover sheet, and follow up with an e-mail to admissions@ee.stanford.edu. If the transcripts will be mailed directly from the institution, simply send us an e-mail with both versions of your name.

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.

GRE/TOEFL

When should I take the GRE and/or TOEFL?
In order to guarantee that your application will be reviewed in its entirety, we must receive your online application and all supporting materials before the deadline. Please refer to the GRE: Getting Your Scores  and TOEFL: Getting Your Scores pages on the ETS website for their approximate timelines for sending GRE and TOEFL score reports to institutions. When evaluating when you should take the GRE and/or TOEFL, please take into consideration that availability and frequency of test offerings change by location. 

What is the minimum GRE score required for admission?
Please see Eligibility > What are the minimum GRE score and GPA required for admission?

What is the minimum TOEFL score required for admission?
Please see the Required Exams page on Stanford's central Office of Graduate Admission website for more information on 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?
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 the Required Exams page on Stanford’s central Office of Graduate Admissions website. Please note, the central office makes all final decisions regarding TOEFL waivers; our department is not involved in the approval of TOEFL waivers.

May I arrange for my official GRE/TOEFL scores to be sent before submitting the online application?
Please see 
Submitting My Application > Can I submit my supporting materials before I submit my application?

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.

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 the Score Select Option page on the ETS website. 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.

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 submitting your application or sending the 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.

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 e-mail so that we can contact the central office with the pertinent information to locate your scores.

I registered for the GRE/TOEFL under a different name or birthdate from what I entered on the application. How should I proceed?
Please e-mail admissions@ee.stanford.edu with your full name and birthdate (how they appear on the application and how they appear on the score report). We will forward the request to the central Office of Graduate Admissions so that they may locate your scores and direct them to our department.

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 e-mail to admissions@ee.stanford.edu with the pertinent information. We will make the update and then let you know if we can locate your TOEFL scores.

Statement of Purpose

What should I include in the statement of purpose?
Please see the Statement of Purpose section of the Applying for Full-Time Graduate Study page.

How long should my statement of purpose be?
Please see the Statement of Purpose section of the Applying for Full-Time Graduate Study page.

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, which may be found on the Applying for Full-Time Graduate Study page. Recommenders may start and submit their letters of recommendation as soon as they receive the recommendation request via e-mail, which is sent when you press the "Submit Recommendation Request" button in the application.

Who should write my letters of recommendation?
Please see the Letters of Recommendation section of the Applying for Full-Time Graduate Study page.

Can my recommenders submit their letters via email or fax?
No; recommenders must submit their letters via Stanford’s online recommender system. 

My recommenders are having technical difficulties with the online letters of recommendation process. Who should they contact?
Should any of your recommenders experience technical difficulties with the online letters of recommendation process, 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.

I sent the recommendation notification to my recommender, and it shows as sent on my activity 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 title of the email will be, “Please submit your recommendation for (Your full name).” You can always resend the invitation 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.

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

Application Fee

How do I request an application fee waiver?
Eligibility requirements for application fee waivers may be found on the Graduate Application 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.

Additional Materials/Updates

May I submit a resume/CV, list of publications, etc. as part of my application?
Applicants are permitted to upload one (1) additional document to the online application, under the “Document Uploads” section. Please consult the File Upload Requirements page on Stanfor'd central Office of Graduate Admissions website before proceeding. Additional documents and edits to documents will not be accepted after your application has been submitted, so please complete this section carefully.

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.

I need to make a correction to my already-submitted application.
Please send an e-mail to admissions@ee.stanford.edu with the details of your request. We are unable to upload additional documents or replace previously uploaded documents (statement of purpose or additional information). If you need to change your recommenders, please use the Activity Status Page. (Note: The order of recommenders cannot be changed).

Reapplying

May I reactivate materials from a previous application to the EE department?
Yes; you may reactivate official transcripts, official test scores, and letters of recommendation if you applied within the past four (4) years. 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. We strongly recommend that these applicants submit a new statement of purpose, new test scores, and/or new letters of recommendation.

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.

Do I still need to provide unofficial transcripts and test scores on the online application, even if I am reactivating official materials?
Yes; you should upload unofficial transcripts for all required institutions in the "Educational History" section, and provide self-reported test scores in the "Test Scores" section.

How should I complete the "Recommenders" section of the application if I am reactivating previous letters?
Please list the complete information for the three (3) recommenders that you want to use for your application, even if any of them previously submitted a letter that you wish to reactivate. For the recommenders whose letters you are reactivating, please e-mail them in advance letting them know to disregard the automated email that will be sent to them when you click, “Submit Recommendation Request.” Do NOT put your own e-mail address in any of the recommender e-mail fields, and do NOT use the same e-mail for multiple recommenders – this will significantly delay processing of your application and may jeopardize its review if submitted too close to the application deadline.

How do I inform the EE Admissions Office that I would like to reactivate materials?
After you submit your application, send an e-mail 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,
  • Test scores you wish to reactivate, including test date,
  • Names of recommenders whose letters you wish to reactivate.

Application Deadline/Timeline

Are applications reviewed on a rolling basis? Will my application be reviewed earlier if I submit it earlier?
Applications are reviewed all at once shortly after the application deadline. Submitting your application earlier does not mean it will be reviewed earlier.

What is the deadline to receive letters of recommendation?
Please see Letters of Recommendation > What is the deadline to receive letters of recommendation?

What is the cutoff time for submitting my application?
All application materials must be received by 11:59:59 p.m. on the application deadline. Materials received after this deadline may still be attached to your application, but we do not guarantee that they will be considered if they arrive after the review process has begun.

When can I expect to find out the decision on my application?
The EE department aims to issue all offers of admission to full-time degree applicants by mid-March. Part-time applicants can expect to receive an answer four weeks from the deadline to which they apply.

Submitting my Application

Can I submit my online application before I submit my supporting materials (transcripts, letters of recommendation and/or test scores)?
Yes! We encourage you to submit your online application once you have completed all parts of the online application. You can submit your supporting materials at anytime before the deadline.

Can I submit my supporting materials (transcripts, letters of recommendation and/or test scores) before I submit my online application?
Yes! Once your application is submitted, we will check all transcripts we have received since September to see if there is a match with your full name; if there is a match, we will update your Activity Status Page accordingly (please allow 2 weeks). Recommenders may start and submit their letters of recommendation as soon as they receive the recommendation request via e-mail, which is sent when you press the "Submit Recommendation Request" button in the application. Official test scores received by Stanford within the past year are retained on record and will be matched to your application after it has been submitted (based on your full name and date of birth).

Will my application still be reviewed if you receive any of my supporting materials (transcripts, letters of recommendation, test scores) after the deadline?
In order to guarantee that your application will be viewed in its entirety, we must receive your entire application (online application and all supporting materials) before the deadline. We cannot guarantee that materials received after the deadline will be reviewed by our admissions committee, as our application review process begins promptly after the deadline.