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Stanford GSE coterminal bachelor and master's degree program


The coterminal (coterm) bachelor's and master's degree program permits Stanford undergraduates to study for a bachelor's and a master's degree simultaneously, in the same or different departments. Each year, a very small number of coterms are admitted to each program (between zero and four on average). This webpage describes when and how undergraduate and graduate policies pertain to coterm students.

What makes a successful coterm applicant

Curriculum Studies and Teacher Education (CTE) MA program

In general, students admitted to the CTE MA program have had successful teaching experience and are looking to broaden and deepen their understanding of educational issues and challenges. However, we will consider applicants who can demonstrate a strong interest in education either through their informal experience or the classes they have taken plus provide a strong rationale for why they want to obtain an MA rather than a teaching certification. Since applicants are considered for admission by individual faculty members who will serve as advisors, please check with prospective advisors for their specific admissions criteria. For the 2022-2023 academic year, the CTE master's program did not accept applications. Please check back in July 2022 for updates on the 2023-2024 academic year.

Education Data Science (EDS) MS program

The EDS MS program draws students from a diverse set of backgrounds. What they share is a passion for improving equitable and effective learning for all. Ideal candidates will have a demonstrated interest in applying data science skills and techniques to education research and practice. Examples of prior professional, research, or coursework experience in the education sector include work in K–12 and postsecondary institutions, government agencies, not-for-profits, and industry. Education data science graduates will be among the first in the world with cutting-edge training in both data science and education theory and practice. Their expertise will be valuable to education research firms, school districts and systems, universities, state and federal governmental education agencies, ministries of education in other countries, education technology companies, and educational for-profit ventures.

International Comparative Education/International Education Policy Analysis (ICE/IEPA) MA program

The ICE/IEPA MA admissions committee pays particular attention to the applicants' statements of purpose; previous professional and, especially in the case of U.S. applicants, intercultural experiences. Because co-term applicants have considerably less work experience than our most competitive applicants, Stanford undergraduates who are serious about the program are able to make up for it by demonstrating their excellence in research. They are encouraged to seek opportunities to advance their skills and interests in research prior to entering the program by conducting an honors thesis, major grant research project, or other research project in the social sciences.

Learning, Design, and Technology (LDT) MS program

The LDT MS admissions committee pays particular attention to the applicants' statements of purpose. Because co-term applicants have considerably less work experience than other applicants, Stanford undergraduates who are serious about the program should highlight attempts to create learning experiences, whether formally or informally. They are encouraged to seek opportunities to advance their understanding of how people learn prior to entering the program by conducting an honors thesis, research project, or design project.

Policy, Organization and Leadership Studies (POLS) MA program

POLS MA program prepares students to be agents of change across an array of educational settings. In order to maximize a student's POLS experience and his or her contribution to the cohort, we place a premium on leadership and work experience. We therefore accept co-terms on a limited basis. Historically we have admitted between one and two co-terms per year.

Stanford Teacher Education Program (STEP) MA program

Stanford undergraduates can apply to the Stanford Teacher Education Program (STEP) MA in their junior or senior year. Coterm students applying to STEP are encouraged to take EDUC 101 before applying to the program.  Additionally, students interested in STEP Secondary (Single Subject) must demonstrate subject matter competency in their intended teaching area. Transcripts should reflect coursework in the intended teaching subject even if it was not a student’s undergraduate major. For additional information please contact Viviana Alcazar, STEP Admissions Officer, at

Admission timeline for AY 2023-2024

  • Coterm application open: October 2022
  • Coterm application deadline: Early January 2023
  • Decision letters released: Early March 2023
  • Your response due to GSE: Mid-March 2023
  • Begin your program
    • STEP MA program: June 26, 2023
    • All other MA/MS programs: Late September 2023
We are no longer accepting applications for the 2022-2023 academic year.

Application requirements

Applicants for admission to a coterm program must fulfill the following conditions:

  • Applicants must have earned a minimum of 120 units toward graduation (UTG) as shown on the undergraduate unofficial transcript. This includes allowable Advanced Placement (AP) and transfer credit.
  • Applicants must submit their application and, if admitted, respond to the offer of admission no later than the quarter prior to the expected completion of their undergraduate degree. This is normally the Winter quarter prior to Spring quarter graduation.
  • Applicants must meet the requirements and deadlines established by the department or program to which they are applying.
  • Applicants are only permitted to apply to one coterm program per term.

To apply for admission to a coterm master's program, students must submit to the prospective graduate department the following:

  • Coterm application
  • Preliminary program proposal (not required for STEP applicants)
  • Statement of purpose
  • Resume
  • Undergraduate transcripts (unofficial copies are ok)
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Transcript summary (required for STEP applications only)
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are not required

Admission process

GSE considers coterm applications based on the same criteria as all other applications for admission. The process of selecting candidates for the graduate programs is difficult and painstaking. The admission committee takes many factors into consideration when reviewing an application, including compatibility of the candidate's interests and goals with the academic focus and resources of the program. The committee does not use predetermined weights of importance or cutoff limits for standardized test scores, grade point averages, academic achievement, professional experience, or references. Each year, the number of applicants far exceeds the number of students we can admit; thus many strong candidates are not offered admission.

Should admission be offered, GSE will submit the completed and approved application for admission to the Office of the Registrar no later than the quarter prior to the expected completion of the undergraduate degree. This is normally the last day of classes in winter quarter prior to spring quarter graduation.

Students may defer admission to a later quarter as long as they still meet all University and departmental requirements for coterm admission. This may require postponement of conferral of the undergraduate degree.

Tuition Assessment

Coterm students are in the undergraduate coterm student group and assessed the undergraduate tuition rate for 12 quarters. Coterm students are changed to the graduate coterm student group in the 13th quarter and are then assessed the regular graduate tuition rate. For more information on tuition assessment, please review section 1.3 of the Graduate Academic Policies and Procedures website (GAP).

Course Enrollment

Once admitted to the coterm program, students have two active careers in PeopleSoft student administration (one graduate, one undergraduate) under which they may enroll in courses.

Students must use the graduate career to enroll in courses which count toward the master's degree. Students must use the undergraduate career to enroll in courses which count towards the bachelor's degree.

Coterm students are permitted to count coursework taken in the three quarters immediately prior to their first graduate quarter toward their graduate degree. The process for applicants to indicate which courses they would like to transfer from their undergraduate to graduate career is currently under review.

No transfer of courses from one career to another is permitted after the student's coterm course approval form has been processed.

Coterm students must submit the master's program proposal during the first quarter after admission to the coterm program.

Residency Requirement

The university minimum requirements for the coterm bachelor's/master's program are 180 units for the bachelor's degree plus 45 (or higher departmental requirement, as determined by each graduate department) unduplicated units for the master's degree (see GAP 3.2, Residency Policy for Graduate Students). The requirements for the coterm program with dual undergraduate degrees are 225 units for the two bachelor's degrees, and 45 units for the master's degree. For the 45-unit university minimum for the master's degree, all courses must be at or above the 100 level and 50 percent must be courses designated primarily for graduate students (typically at least at the 200 level). Department requirements may be higher. Units for a given course may not be counted to meet the requirements of more than one degree, that is, no units may be double-counted. No courses taken more than three quarters prior to admission to the coterm master's program may be used to meet the 45-unit university minimum requirement for the master's degree.

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