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FAQ

Program Questions

The Graduate School of Education offers PhD, MA, MA/Teaching Credential, MA/MBA and MA/JD programs. The PhD and MA degrees are granted in more than twenty-five specializations and interdisciplinary programs. These specializations are grouped into three main Area Committees: Curriculum Studies and Teacher Education (CTE); Developmental and Psychological Studies (DAPS); Social Sciences, Humanities, and Interdisciplinary Policy Studies (SHIPS). In addition, the Stanford Teacher Education Program (STEP) awards a Master’s of Arts in Education with the California Secondary Single Subject Teaching Credential or with the California Elementary Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. For more information on the programs that are offered at the Graduate School of Education, please visit the Programs and Degrees section of our website.

The requirements for the PhD degree include core, methodology and area courses. However, because of the research focus and length of the doctoral program, students have more milestones to complete as part of their degree, including periodic review meetings. For more information on the requirements of the PhD degree, please see our Doctoral Handbook.

The requirements for the MA degree include required core and methodology courses, area courses and pre-approved electives. Most programs also require a project or monograph. For more information on the requirements of the MA degree, see our Master's Handbook.

All PhD programs require full-time study. The only master’s program that accepts applications for part-time study is our Learning, Design and Technology (LDT) master’s program which is offered through the Honors Co-op Program. Visit the Stanford Center for Professional Development (SCPD) website for more information. If you wish to apply to LDT through HCP, you must check the box on the application to LDT.

No, the Graduate School of Education does not currently offer courses online. To learn about other distance learning options at Stanford University, visit the Stanford Center for Professional Development (SCPD) website.

No. Contact with faculty members is not a required part of the application process nor does it guarantee admission to a graduate program. If you do decide to contact a faculty member, please read our Which Degree Which Program article by Associate Dean Eamonn Callan. It includes the typical protocol for contacting faculty with whom you share research interests.

Students interested in applying to the Joint Degree program with the Graduate School of Business (GSB) must apply via the Graduate School of Business online application. Information on applying and application requirements can be found on the GSB website.

No. Applicants who have a bachelor’s degree may apply directly to any of our doctoral programs.
Yes. We accept applicants from a wide-range of professional and education backgrounds. If you have academic interests that overlap with the faculty at Stanford GSE and programs we offer, please consider applying.

Applicants are not strictly required to have any work experience before applying to our programs. For some programs, however, relevant previous work experience is highly valued and admission is fairly rare for applicants who are lacking in that respect. Please check the website for the particular program(s) in which you might be interested. Most important, though, is the fit between applicant research interests/career plans and the program to which s/he is applying.

Please see the EdCareers webpage and their Annual Report to see where and what our students are doing after their program has concluded.

Deadlines and Application Process Questions

The application for the 2018-19 application cycle will open in mid-September 2017. Please check back later for a precise date.

Application deadlines: All PhD programs - December 1, 2017 / All MA programs (including STEP) - January 10, 2018.

The online application will give you the option of selecting up to three academic interests (doctoral applicants will have pull-down menu choices) and also give you the option to write in additional academic interests. Your academic interests can help us best match your file with the appropriate faculty reader. You may choose to indicate interests that are different from the specialization to which you are applying or they may be the same. For instance, if you are applying to the doctoral program in Teaching Education, you may indicate that you also have academic interests in Learning Science and Technology Design and Elementary Education. These are not mandatory fields.

Your statement should be typed, single-spaced and should be two pages (for non-STEP programs). Describe succinctly your reasons for applying to the proposed program, the faculty with whom you hope to work, your preparation for this field of study and why our program is a good fit for you, your future career plans, and other aspects of your background as well as interests which may aid the admissions committee in evaluating your aptitude and motivation for graduate study. Be sure to keep a copy for your records. You may also wish to review What’s a Good Statement of Purpose? STEP requires a different writing statement. Please see STEP question below.

Yes, we require a CV or resume from all applicants. The online application will prompt applicants to upload a CV or resume in the Supplemental Application section of the application.

No. Writing samples are not required, nor will they be reviewed in the admissions process.

Application deadlines are at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Standard Time. Technical glitches can occur in the final hours, so please do not wait until the last minute to submit your application materials. Staff will be on-hand to assist with technical support until 4:00 p.m. Pacific Standard Time on the deadline dates. Deadlines for the 2018-19 academic year (all materials must be submitted by these dates, and GRE or TOEFL tests must be taken prior to application submission) are:

PhD: December 1, 2017 (11:59 p.m. PST)
All PhD programs begin Fall 2018-19

MA: January 10, 2018 (11:59 p.m. PST)
All non-STEP MA programs begin Fall 2018-19

STEP (MA + Teaching Credential): January 10, 2018 (11:59 p.m. PST)
All STEP programs begin Summer 2018-2019 (June 2018)

There is only one round of application deadlines. Late applications cannot be accepted or reviewed.

*Applicants to the Joint Degree program with the Graduate School of Business should consult the GSB website for complete information on application deadlines and requirements.

The Graduate School of Education does not accept any revised documents after the application is submitted, so please be sure to review your statement of purpose, resume, and other documents very carefully before submitting your application.

Information about application fee waivers can be found at:
Online Fee Waiver Application

No supplemental application materials need to be mailed to Stanford GSE. The online application notes that applicants need to send hard copies of the transcript to the department. Please do not send hard copies at the time of application. Only admitted applicants will be contacted with instructions on sending official transcripts. We cannot accept mailed, emailed or faxed copies of your transcripts during the application process. Please note: the instructions for sending transcripts on the online application and on the general Graduate Admissions Office website differ from this Stanford GSE requirement. Transcripts should be submitted for any institution at which you spent at least one year doing academic study.

No. Stanford GSE does not grant admission deferrals. If you cannot enroll in the starting term for which you are offered admission, you must reapply for a future year.

No. Applications are accepted only once a year on the posted deadlines. All Stanford GSE PhD and MA programs begin in the autumn quarter, with the exception of STEP, which begins in the summer quarter. For the 2018-2019 admissions cycle, all non-STEP programs begin in the fall, and the STEP program begins in the summer of the academic year.

No. We are not able to re-activate applications or supporting documents from previous applications. Re-applicants must follow the same application requirements as new applicants by submitting a new online application and new supporting documents.

No. Apply for a PhD program and answer "Yes" to the question on the application form that asks you if you would like to be considered for a Master’s program. If you answer yes, please indicate in the Academic Interests section in which MA program you would like to enroll.

Yes. Apply for a PhD program and answer "Yes" to the question on the application form that asks you if you would like to be considered for a master’s program (indicate the master's program for which you would like to be considered). Your application will be considered by both the doctoral and the master’s admissions committees if there is a corresponding master’s program to your proposed area of doctoral study.

Because all application materials are submitted electronically, you may check your status through the online application checklist. Due to the large volume of incoming material, we will every effort to update checklists within two weeks of the application deadlines. All materials are required by the application deadline (including letters of recommendation). Applications submitted with unofficial transcripts (uploaded) and self-reported GRE scores are acceptable for review purposes.

The Academic Services office will send decision letters electronically for all applicants starting mid-February for doctoral programs, early March for STEP applicants, and mid-March for non-STEP masters programs.

Financial Aid Questions

The Graduate School of Education makes every effort to help students who require financial assistance to meet tuition and living expenses. Limited Stanford GSE fellowship aid is available to MA admitted students and granted on a merit basis at the time of admission (included in the admissions letter). Most students fund their studies through a combination of loans and personal funds. For more information on funding opportunities for MA students, please review the Financial Aid section of our website. (Also, please see below for additional information about financing STEP.)

Yes. Entering PhD students are automatically funded through a combination of stipends, fellowships and assistantships for the first five years of their graduate studies. Funding is contingent upon satisfactory progress toward the degree requirements. For more information on funding opportunities for PhD students, please review the Financial Aid section of our website.

PhD students are funded for a full-time course load (11-18 units) in their first year through a stipend, fellowship, and work for 10 hours/week as research assistants. In their second year and later, students are able to work for 20 hours/week as research or teaching assistants and enroll in 8-10 units of coursework. The assistantships generate tuition support through the School and provide a student salary. For more information on funding opportunities for PhD students, please review the Financial Aid section of our website.

For PhD and MA applicants (except STEP): There is no separate application form. However, you must answer "Yes" to the question on the application form that asks: "Are you applying for Financial Aid from Stanford University."

All applicants who need financial support are encouraged to apply through the Financial Aid Office for loans by March 1 to ensure receipt of financial aid packages by April 15. The Financial Aid Office services all of the University and can take up to six weeks to process applications. Applications for non-STEP students require the completion of two forms (the FAFSA and Graduate Loan Application form). STEP students must complete FAFSA forms for two academic years and the Graduate Loan Application Form. See the Financial Aid Office website for information regarding your aid, such as the cost of attendance and applying for loans.

Yes, it is. More information about the cost of our programs can be found at :
Financial Aid

All admitted students are considered for merit-based fellowships whether or not they are international. Doctoral funding is guaranteed for five academic years for all doctoral students. More information can be found on our funding page:
Financial Aid

GRE Questions

All applicants to departmental graduate programs at Stanford must take the GRE, including applicants who have previously attended graduate school. The Graduate School of Education only requires the general GRE and not the subject GRE. We will accept both the previous and the current version of the GRE.

Stanford GSE encourages all applicants to take the GRE by October 31. Applicants need to report their scores on their application and arrange to have ETS send their official scores to Stanford University at institution code 4704.

GRE scores reported must be from tests taken within five years of your application submission date (if you took the GRE on October 1, 2012, you would need to submit the application and send scores to Stanford by October 1, 2017). Please make sure to have your electronic scores sent to Stanford prior to their expiration date.  ETS may be unable to send scores after they have expired.  Stanford's institution code is 4704.

The Graduate School of Education does not have a cutoff GRE score requirement. The evaluation of each applicant is based on all the materials in the file and is not exclusively based on test scores. The Graduate School of Education does not provide average GRE score information of previous applicants or current students.

Applicants should have the Educational Testing Service (ETS) send their scores electronically to Stanford University. Our university code is 4704. It is not necessary to indicate a department code. Self-reported scores are not official until Stanford receives the electronic record from ETS.

No. The Graduate School of Education only requires the general GRE and not the subject matter portion of the GRE.

TOEFL Questions

TOEFL is required from all applicants whose first language is not English regardless of citizenship. Tests must be taken prior to the program’s application deadline and application submission. Self-reported scores should be recorded on the application.

Exception: Individuals who have completed (not only attended) a bachelor’s degree or a master's degree (or the equivalent of either degree) at a recognized institution where all instruction is provided in English. This does not apply if the courses were completed in a country where English is spoken, though not all courses were provided in English.

To request a TOEFL waiver, applicants should contact Graduate Admissions at gradadmissions@stanford.edu and provide the following information:

- First (or Given), Middle, and Last Name
- The name of the program and degree (Political Science-PhD)
- The name of the institution you are attending (or did attend)
- The degree you will receive (or did receive) - The date (month and year) of your degree was conferred (if it will be in the future, then the expected month and year of conferral).

TOEFL scores submitted to Stanford must be from a test taken within the last 18 months. No scores are valid beyond the date ETS will send or resend them to schools. Tests must be taken prior to application submission and the program application deadline.

What is the minimum TOEFL score required in order to be considered for admission? The minimum TOEFL scores required are 250 for the computer-based test, 600 for the paper-based test and 100 for the internet-based test.

Applicants should have the Educational Testing Service (ETS) send scores electronically to Stanford University. The university code is 4704. It is not necessary to indicate a department code. Self-reported scores are not official until Stanford receives the electronic record from ETS.

We do not accept IELTS scores in lieu of the TOEFL.

Other Test Questions

The Graduate School of Education does not have a minimum GPA requirement. The evaluation of each applicant is based on all the materials in the file and is not exclusively based on test scores or GPA. Stanford GSE does not provide average GPA or test score information of previous applicants or current students.

No, we do not require the Test for Spoken English.

Stanford’s institution codes are listed below. No department code is required.
GRE: 4704
TOEFL: 4704
CSET: 582
SSAT: 582
Praxis: RA4704 CBEST: 327

Letters of Recommendation and Transcripts Questions

Please note: the instructions for sending transcripts on the online application and on the general Graduate Admissions Office website differ from the Stanford GSE requirement. The online application notes that applicants need to send hard copies of the transcript to the department. Please do not send hard copies at the time of application. Transcripts should be submitted electronically- you will be asked to upload your transcripts as a PDF in the online application. Only admitted applicants will be contacted with instructions on sending official transcripts. We cannot accept mailed, emailed or faxed copies of your transcripts during the application process.

Transcripts should be submitted for any institution at which you spent at least one year doing academic study.

No. We only require you to upload PDFs of transcripts from postsecondary institutions you have attended as a full-time student for one year (i.e. three quarters or two semesters) or longer.

In the online application, you will be prompted to list your recommenders and their contact emails. The recommenders will receive an email with a link where they will answer a few questions and submit their letter electronically. We cannot accept paper, mailed, faxed or email, versions of the letters of recommendation. All letters must be submitted electronically through the online system.

No. Recommenders have only one option for submitting letters of recommendation: online via the online application. They will receive an email with a link to the system. Then they will be asked to answer a few questions and submit their letter electronically. We cannot accept paper, mailed, faxed or email, versions of the letters of recommendation.

Faculty or others who qualify to evaluate your potential for graduate study can serve as recommenders. At least one evaluation and letter should be from a faculty member at the last school you attended as a full-time student (unless you have been out of school for more than five years). Substitutions for faculty recommendations may include work associates or others who can comment on your academic potential for graduate work.

STEP Questions (Additional FAQs for STEP Applicants Only)

Additional forms are required to apply to STEP and can be found at STEP Elementary website and STEP Secondary website.

STEP essay: You are required to write a STEP-specific essay responding to the STEP prompt. You can choose to write a single essay incorporating both the prompt on the online application and the STEP-specific prompt. One or both essays can be submitted electronically with your online application by uploading them into the personal statement section. If you chose to write two essays please combine them into one word document before uploading. Transcript Summary: In the online application there will be a section to upload additional documents. Use that upload feature to submit the summary online.

Successful applicants demonstrate an intellectual passion for their subject area, commitment to teach traditionally underserved populations, and an interest in issues of social justice. Applicants should also convey why STEP is a good fit for their goals and how they can contribute to the program.

The GRE is the only exam that is required to be completed by the application deadline. However, we strongly encourage applicants to take the California Subject Exam for Teachers (CSET) in their intended subject area as early as possible. All STEP candidates will be required to pass a minimum of two subtests in their subject area prior to starting STEP in June. California residents are expected to submit passing CBEST scores with their application. Out of state residents may take the CBEST in August after they are enrolled in STEP.

The California Subject Exam for Teachers (CSET) is a subject specific test required by the state of California. We urge applicants to take the test or at least sign up for the CSET before applying to STEP. Applications will be reviewed if candidates have not taken the exams or have not received their results by the application deadline. To begin the program in June, applicants must pass a minimum of two CSET subtests in their intended teaching subject. Candidates must ultimately pass all subtests to begin independent student teaching and be credentialed upon completion of the program. Note for out of state applicants: STEP organizes an open house in March for admitted STEP students only, the Friday before the CSET exam. If you are admitted to the STEP program, you will need to take the exam no later than March in California.

Applicants to STEP do not need teaching experience to apply. However, experience working with youth (i.e. tutoring, coaching, church groups) is strongly recommended.

Yes. California has reciprocity with most states and transferring the credential is usually a simple process. Check with the state where you will seek equivalency for their requirements.

Professors and people who have seen your work with youth are good choices for writing letters of recommendation. The letters should speak to your commitment to the profession, character, work ethic, and academic ability. It might also include why you would be a good fit for the STEP program.

The STEP program makes every effort to help students who require financial assistance to meet tuition and living expenses. Fellowships range between $2,000 and $30,000 per student. The fellowship application is part of the supplemental form in the online application and should be completed before you submit your online application. In addition to fellowships, students may also apply for loans. Stanford provides sufficient loan packages to cover the cost of attending the University, which is calculated based on tuition and living expenses. Several thousand dollars of loans are forgiven every year for STEP students who teach particular subject areas or in particular schools. You are strongly encouraged to consult the Stanford Financial Aid Office website and Stanford GSE’s Financial Aid section of our website for further information about loans and loan forgiveness programs.

STEP secondary consists of approximately 70 students in five subject areas: English, Mathematics, History/Social Science, Sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Physics) and World Languages (Spanish, Japanese, German, French, Mandarin). STEP elementary consists of approximately 25 students.

The vast majority of STEP students are offered teaching jobs when they graduate. STEP works closely with students in the spring quarter to create their resumes and prepare students for the interview process. Approximately 70% of students choose to teach in California.

Yes. Please contact Viviana Alcazar (valcazar@stanford.edu) who will be happy to put you in touch with a current student or alumni from the program.

Please contact Viviana Alcazar, STEP Program Coordinator, at valcazar@stanford.edu.

International Students

Here at Stanford we have many opportunities for spouses, significant others and families of our students. You can view a checklist for newcomers to easily get acquainted with these resources with the support of the Bechtel International Center:
Checklist for Newcomers

Please see the following link for more information about: language workshops, cooking and workout classes, support groups and all sorts of family-friendly events for those accompanying a student at Stanford University!
Classes & Programs for Spouses & Partners

Applicants must obtain a certified English translation. All translations must be complete versions of the original records. Upload your transcripts with their accompanying translation as part of your application. Please see the Office of Graduate Admissions website regarding specific information about how to properly submit your international transcripts:
Transcripts (Academic Records)

Start dates are in mid-September. Please take a look at our Academic Calendar: Stanford Academic Calendar. International students can normally enter the country 30 days before the start of the school year.

Employment options for F-1 and J-1 Visa holders can be found at:
Employment Options for International Students

Employment regulations and options for F-2 and J-2 Visa holders can be found at:
Finding Employment

Please see our Bechtel International Center website for a complete overview of the support for our International Students and their families!
I-Center