Doctoral Handbook

Timetable for the Doctoral Degree

The Doctor of Philosophy degree at the GSE requires four to five years of full-time study. Possession of a relevant master’s degree may shorten this period. Per Stanford policy, students are required to enroll in each quarter of the academic year (Autumn, Winter, and Spring) from their first through final quarter in the program (i.e., until receipt of the degree). Approved leaves of absence are the only exception to this requirement. See the Registration and Student Statuses section of this Handbook and the GSE Courses section. Please note that although this timeline outlines the expected progress for doctoral students, students may always complete milestones earlier than what is outlined below.

First Year

  • Enroll in Doctoral Core: Pro Seminar EDUC 325A (autumn), EDUC 325B (winter) and EDUC 325C (spring)
  • Enroll in Methodology Core: EDUC 250A (note: EDUC 250A is not required for students entering fall 2012-13 or after; students entering fall 2012-13 or after should take another methods course of their choosing in consultation with their advisor); by the end of the second year, students should take EDUC 400B (formerly EDUC 250B) (Winter) and EDUC 450A (formerly EDUC 250C) (Spring)
    • Students who take 400B are responsible for having mastered the content of EDUC 400A. Students should consult with their advisors at the beginning of their first year about whether they need to take EDUC 400A to be adequately prepared for 400B
  • Take any required area/subplan courses
  • Take electives relevant to area and specialization
  • Enroll in 11 to 18 units in the first three quarters of attendance
  • Plan program of study in consultation with advisor(s)
  • Assist in research and/or teaching
  • First-Year Review in the spring quarter

Second Year

  • Enroll in 8 to 10 units each quarter of the regular academic year (autumn, winter, and spring)
  • Continue taking any required courses for area/subplan
  • Finish methodology core if not completed during first year
  • Take electives relevant to area and specialization
  • Assist in research and/or teaching
  • Second-Year Review in the spring quarter
  • Finalize program of study in consultation with advisor(s)
  • Transfer credit from outside institutions and/or choose a PhD Minor/Master’s Degree (recommended to be done by the end of second year, but can be completed anytime before the student goes TGR)
  • Advance to candidacy

Third Year

  • Continuing taking required coursework and electives
  • Enroll in 8 to 10 units each quarter of the regular academic year (autumn, winter, and spring quarters)

Fourth Year

  • Complete 135 units of earned residency credit (including applicable transfer credit, if any)
  • Apply for TGR status after completing all course-related degree requirements (including clearing any "incomplete" or "GNR" grades)
  • Select reading committee
  • Complete dissertation proposal hearing 
  • Note that going TGR and completing the dissertation proposal hearing are required in order to be eligible for the fifth-year funding guarantee

Fifth Year and Beyond

  • Assist in research and/or teaching
  • Complete research for and write dissertation
  • Schedule University Oral Examination (fourth or fifth year)
  • Make revisions to dissertation after the Oral Examination
  • Submit dissertation to the University (final quarter of program)
  • Graduate!

Each of these steps requires action and documentation by the student. At various times, the faculty advisor, Doctoral Programs Officer, Area Committee, or other entities participate in the completion of degree requirements. Students must ensure that each step is completed and that all appropriate parties have taken the necessary actions. See the Degree Progress Self-Tracking Checklist at the end of this Handbook.

Degree Requirements

GSE Doctoral Handbook and Stanford Bulletin

Students are held to the academic policies contained in the GSE Doctoral Handbook and Stanford Bulletin for their year of admission. Updates, corrections, or clarifications may be made after the publication of these documents via email communication and/or memoranda to the students.

Ph.D. Minor

Students who have not earned, and do not plan to pursue, a relevant discipline-based master’s degree from outside the field of Education are required to earn a doctoral minor outside of the GSE. The PhD minor must be in an acceptable field relevant to the student’s degree program. The only exceptions to this requirement are when students enter the GSE with an earned master’s or doctorate degree from a cognate discipline that fulfills the purpose of this requirement, or when a student pursues a Stanford master’s degree outside of the GSE concurrently with her or his PhD program at the School of Education. Many Education doctoral students decide to earn a Stanford master’s degree concurrently (outside of Education) instead of opting for the PhD minor. This may provide additional grounding in the relevant discipline. This choice should be discussed with the student’s academic advisor and the Doctoral Programs Officer.

Two types of minors are available to PhD students in the GSE: Departmental Minor and Individually Designed Distributed Minor. Both require substantial coursework from a department or school within Stanford, but outside of the GSE. Regardless of the PhD minor option taken, outside course work should be selected to further the intellectual goals of the student. A student’s doctoral program advisor must authorize pursuit of the PhD minor and the related course of study. Courses used toward a minor may not be used also to meet requirements for an additional Master’s degree at Stanford, when applicable. Minor courses can count toward the minimum residency and degree requirements for the PhD.

To declare the minor, the student should submit the appropriate signed forms to the Doctoral Programs Officer.

Departmental Minor

Most departments in the School of Humanities and Sciences (H&S) offer doctoral minors (see the department listings within the current Stanford Bulletin for further information. The number of required units varies but is typically within the 20–36 unit range. There usually exists within these minors some flexibility allowing students to tailor the minor to their intellectual goals.

The minimum University requirement for a Ph.D. minor is 20 units of relevant graduate course work at the 200-level or greater taken at Stanford. However, each department may add requirements beyond this minimum. The definition of relevant course work may vary somewhat by department (e.g. cross-listed courses and courses at the 100-level may or may not be accepted). And they may require all coursework to be taken on a letter graded basis, with a grade of B or higher. Also, some PhD minors require completion of a qualifying process and/or representation by the minor department on the oral exam committee.

Specific signatory and course requirements should be discussed with the applicable minor department’s Graduate Studies Administrator followed by the Doctoral Programs Officer at the School of Education. Students can also review the department requirements in the Stanford Bulletin. Only the minor department’s Chair can approve an application for the PhD minor. In addition, the application must be approved by the GSE's Associate Dean for Student Affairs (in the capacity of the Major Department Chair).

Individually Designed Distributed Minor (IDDM)

The Individually Designed Distributed Minor (IDDM) should only be undertaken if the student’s interests are not met by any Stanford departmental PhD minor. The student must meet with the faculty advisor to discuss his or her plans for an IDDM.

There are two cases where an official Departmental Minor might not be appropriate. First, that minor might require a course (or courses) with little relevance for the student’s intellectual goals. Second, in some cases a student’s intellectual interests do not fall neatly within the boundaries of one department in Humanities and Sciences (H&S); many important educational problems are interdisciplinary in nature.

The student can design (with consultation from their advisor and other faculty) a coherent set of courses that are drawn from the offerings of one of several Stanford departments. All units counted toward the IDDM must be taken at Stanford. This proposed set of courses, together with a strong rationale for how the coursework advances the intellectual goals of the student, requires approval by the program advisor, Area Chair, and Associate Dean for Student Affairs.

The IDDM requires a minimum of 20 units taken in departments other than Education. When taking cross-listed courses, only 5 cross-listed units may be taught by GSE faculty. In many cases, however, the intellectual goals of the student might be better met if more than the minimum number of courses (i.e., 20 units) is completed outside of Education. All courses counted toward the IDDM must be at or above the 200 level.

Pre-Approved Individually Designed Distributed Minor (IDDM) in Organizations

The Graduate School of Education has notable strength in the area of organization studies, particularly in terms of research on schools, universities, nonprofit and governmental organizations, as well as community or advocacy groups and grass-roots associations. Students can elect to pursue a SHIPS concentration (i.e., sub-plan or emphasis) or a pre-approved Individually Designed Distributed Minor (IDDM) in Organization Studies. The concentration offers a distinctive, processual approach to studying careers, organizations, and organizing, and understanding how ideas and practices spread. Analytically, students are expected to become familiar with computational, network and qualitative methods. These tools offer purchase to examine contemporary processes of organizational learning, adaptation and diffusion.

The Concentration in Organization Studies includes a minimum of 20 units from the courses listed in this document.

Unit or Residency Requirements

The minimum unit requirement for the PhD at Stanford and the GSE is 135 units*. This is known as residency credit at Stanford, which focuses on unit-counting. Specific degree requirements are determined by the department or school. Up to 45 units of applicable graduate level coursework transferred from another institution or completed in another graduate degree program at Stanford can count toward the 135 units required for the doctoral residency requirement. When transferring the maximum 45 units of graduate coursework done elsewhere or at Stanford prior to admission to the PhD program, students must complete at least 90 units of courses taken at Stanford after admission to the PhD program in order to meet the residency requirements for the PhD degree, for a total of 135 units.

In addition to, and consistent with, the residency requirements, the University and the GSE require at least 90 units of approved Stanford graduate coursework to be listed on the Application for Doctoral Candidacy toward the 135 unit required minimum units for the PhD. These 90 units cannot count toward any other degree at Stanford, however, they can contain units used for an applicable PhD Minor. Refer to the Advancement to Candidacy section of this Handbook or the Stanford Bulletin for more details about doctoral candidacy requirements.

Note: Courses taken through Stanford’s Exchange Scholar Program or the formal exchange program with U.C. Berkeley or U.C. San Francisco count toward the 135-unit residency minimum. Refer to the U.C. Berkeley Exchange Program section for more details about exchange programs.

Minimal Progress

The academic progress requirements for all Stanford graduate students include a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 plus timely completion of department and program requirements, (e.g., completion of First- and Second-Year reviews; admission to candidacy before the seventh quarter; submitting an approved dissertation proposal; and the oral exam).

GSE doctoral students are required to register for a minimum of 11 units per quarter during their first year and 8-10 units per quarter during the second year and beyond in Autumn, Winter, and Spring Quarters in each academic year. There is no part-time study at the GSE.

Registration during the Summer Quarter is not required in the doctoral programs at the GSE. However, registration in at least 3 units (or in a TGR section when applicable) is required in any Summer Quarter in which a student completes a degree requirement (e.g., First- or Second-Year review, oral exam, etc.) or receives graduate financial support as a research or teaching assistant.

Any student who fails to maintain full-time registration during the regular academic year (i.e., Autumn through Spring Quarters) and does not secure a formal leave of absence will be withdrawn from the doctoral program. If a student later wishes to resume study, she or he will be subject to the reinstatement policies and fees in effect for that academic year. (See the Reinstatement section) Reinstated students may be held to the policies and academic requirements in the GSE Doctoral Handbook and/or Stanford Bulletin for their year of reinstatement, not their year of initial admission. But, this is at the discretion of the School based upon a student’s specific circumstances and specialization (e.g., some specializations are phased out before a student reinstates).

Failure to meet the minimum academic progress milestones will result in a review of the student’s progress to date by the appropriate Area Committee, Area Chair, Associate Dean for Student Affairs, research or teaching supervisors, advisor(s), and staff. A letter will be sent to the student outlining the specific requirements to be met and the timeline within which to satisfy them. Actions may be taken, including the placement of an enrollment hold on the student’s account until specific conditions outlined in the letter are satisfied. The Area Committee could also recommend termination of the student’s doctoral degree program in accordance with the policies in the Stanford Bulletin and in the Termination of Student Status section of this Handbook.

Grades

Stanford permits students take courses on a letter graded or credit/no credit (i.e., S/NC or CR/NC) basis, dependent upon the course set-up, instructor consent, and compliance with applicable deadlines for updating grading bases. Some courses are only offered with one grading basis, in which case the student cannot request additional grading options. Although there is no specific required ratio of letter graded to credit/no credit courses in the GSE, students are strongly encouraged to take all courses on a letter graded basis, when that option is available. Faculty members expect to see letter grades as part of the progress reviews and to determine an appropriately weighted GPA for minimum progress standards. In addition, many PhD minors and master’s degree programs require course completion on a letter graded basis in order to count toward the PhD minor or master’s degree (contact the individual department). For more detailed information on grading policies, refer to the Stanford Bulletin chapter on Academic Policies and Statement.

Faculty Advisors

Based on similar interests identified during the application process, a doctoral program advisor is assigned to each student upon matriculation. This primary advisor (or co-advisors in some cases) assists the student in planning a program of study to meet degree requirements. However, during the first year or beyond, a student’s research may diverge from the advisor’s area of expertise or specialization, or irreconcilable differences may occur between the student and the faculty advisor. In such cases, the student or the faculty member may request a change in assignment. The process for changing advisors requires the submission of an advisor change form available from the School of Education website or the Doctoral Programs Officer. This form requires the approval of the new advisor, Area Chair, and Associate Dean for Student Affairs. Students typically select and initiate contact with a new advisor, but in cases where this is not possible, the Area Chair or Associate Dean for Student Affairs will assign a new advisor. Please read the Good Practices in the Graduate Student/Faculty Advisor Relationshipsection.

Degree Milestones

Registration or Enrollment for Milestone Completion

The University requires students to be registered in each quarter during which any departmental (i.e., GSE) or University requirement is fulfilled. This applies to the completion of milestones during any quarter, including summer. Milestones include the First- and Second-Year reviews, dissertation proposal, and oral exam. Enrollment in a minimum of 8 units is required during the regular academic year, with few exceptions, and a minimum of 3 units is required during the summer quarter.
 
Students who wish to complete a First- or Second-Year review or a dissertation proposal in the Summer Quarter without registering must contact the Doctoral Programs Officer to discuss their circumstances. Exceptions are considered by the Assistant Dean of Academic Services only in rare and extenuating circumstances. In case of First- and Second-year reviews, the Area Committee must be first made aware of the student’s situation in Executive Session prior to the end of the academic year. In case of the dissertation proposals, the Assistant Dean of Academic Services will directly consider those petitions. In either case, the student must establish that the review or dissertation proposal materials were essentially completed during quarters in which the student was registered, but the review committee cannot evaluate these materials in the following Autumn Quarter and, therefore, must do so in the Summer Quarter due to scheduling and/or administrative impediments, such as faculty member sabbatical leaves. The purpose of this process is to ensure that the student completed the relevant work and thereby used University resources during registered quarters only. Faculty time spent reviewing student materials is considered a University resource. Because most faculty member service is voluntary in summer, members of the student’s review or proposal committee must be willing to serve on a voluntarily basis. Students seeking a registration exception in Summer Quarter must have been enrolled in the prior Spring Quarter.

The Graduate Study Program

The GSP is the student’s contract with the GSE and University to fulfill requirements for the doctoral degree. Basically, it is a plan of study that lists courses and units for a student’s specialization and individual academic objectives and how these will satisfy the First Year, Methodology, General Education, and Area Core requirements.

During their first quarter, students should obtain a blank GSP from the GSE website for course planning in consultation with their advisors. The student presents a preliminary GSP during the First-Year Review at the end of a student’s third quarter, and a final GSP will be solidified for the Second-Year Review at the end of their sixth quarter. With the approval of the advisor(s), Area Chair, and Associate Dean for Student Affairs, students can make changes to the final GSP as their interests evolve and course offerings change. There is no need to formally change a preliminary GSP before the Second-Year Review, but any updates should at least be discussed with the advisor then reviewed by the Doctoral Programs Officer for other policy requirements. Early planning and development of the GSP are important. Courses offerings can change from year to year, so planning in advance enables the student to best address her or his specific research and academic interests.

Once signed by the student and advisor during the First- or Second-Year Review, the GSP should be submitted to the Doctoral Programs Officer who will review it and obtain the Area Chair’s signature. A fully signed GSP (i.e., the preliminary version and then the final one) must be in the student’s file at all times throughout the student’s program after she or he completes the third quarter.

The GSP is the student’s contract with the School of Education and University to fulfill requirements for the doctoral degree. Basically, it is a plan of study that lists courses and units for a student’s specialization and individual academic objectives and how these will satisfy the First Year, Methodology, General Education, and Area Core requirements.

During their first quarter, students should obtain a blank GSP from the School of Education website for course planning in consultation with their advisors. The student presents a preliminary GSP during the First-Year Review at the end of a student’s third quarter, and a final GSP will be solidified for the Second-Year Review at the end of their sixth quarter. With the approval of the advisor(s), Area Chair, and Associate Dean for Student Affairs, students can make changes to the final GSP as their interests evolve and course offerings change. There is no need to formally change a preliminary GSP before the Second-Year Review, but any updates should at least be discussed with the advisor then reviewed by the Doctoral Programs Officer for other policy requirements. Early planning and development of the GSP are important. Courses offerings can change from year to year, so planning in advance enables the student to best address her or his specific research and academic interests.

Once signed by the student and advisor during the First- or Second-Year Review, the GSP should be submitted to the Doctoral Programs Officer who will review it and obtain the Area Chair’s signature. A fully signed GSP (i.e., the preliminary version and then the final one) must be in the student’s file at all times throughout the student’s program after she or he completes the third quarter.

Student Virtual and Teleconference Participation in Hearings

The GSE employs a hearing process for student milestones as a means of providing a venue for formative and summative assessment of students’ progress. As a result, these meetings are of vital importance to students’ progress. The fundamental structure of these hearings involves students’ presenting research and hearing from informed faculty about ways to improve the quality and impact of the research. Ultimately, these meetings require the full participation of faculty and students.

In recognition of the benefits and limitations of the digital age, we acknowledge the value and need of participating via digital means (e.g. Videoconference/Teleconference). We encourage full participation, which involves both students and faculty being physically present in the same room for a hearing. However, under extenuating circumstances we will honor the use of digital meeting forums such as videoconferences and teleconferences as an acceptable form for participation in hearings. This is a secondary option to the preferred in-person hearing format for students. The notes below, highlight the process of earning approval and scheduling a meeting using digital means:

STEP 1: Securing Approval

The primary decision to allow for the use of digital conferencing is that of the student’s academic advisor. As a result, the student must acquire written approval from their primary advisor to host the virtual meeting instead of the traditional in-person hearing. This written approval should include the student’s rationale for missing the in-person hearing and must be accompanied an e-mail from the advisor documenting their approval. Both documents must be submitted to the Doctoral Programs Officer, Kate McKinney (kbmckinney@stanford.edu).

STEP 2: Approval From The Area Chair

Prior to hosting the videoconference, the student must share the approval documents from their advisor with their area chair for final approval. Upon receiving and email of approval from the area chair, the student is cleared to attend their hearing in digital form. These hearings include QP Hearings and Dissertation Proposals. They do not include University Oral Exams (i.e. Dissertation Defenses), as University policy stipulates that the primary adviser, the student, and the out-of-department chairperson must be present and may not participate virtually (see http://gap.stanford.edu/4-7.html).

STEP 3: Hosting the Video Conference

The videoconferencing meeting is to be held according to area rules and all corresponding materials must be completed as outlined in the doctoral handbook.

First Year (3rd Quarter) Review

At the end of the third quarter, students complete a review of their first year’s work in order to assess their progress in conducting research, ensure that their Graduate Study Program (GSP) reflects adequate breadth and depth of knowledge in their field, and identify any additional training needs of the student.

A committee, comprised of the program advisor(s) and other faculty, evaluates the student’s portfolio and overall academic progress to date in a review hearing. The portfolio normally contains the preliminary GSP, transcripts, and Area-specific materials, and it is submitted at least two to four weeks prior to the review hearing date.

Each Area’s section of this Handbook details the Area-specific requirements for the review. Students must meet with their advisor several weeks in advance of the review to discuss expectations, scheduling, and portfolio due date. Committee membership requirements are discussed in the Committee Composition for First- and Second-Year Reviews section.

The First-Year Review Committee may advise a student against continuing in the program. If a student wishes to petition such a decision, then the matter will be brought before the Area Committee, which makes a recommendation to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs for action. If a student wishes to appeal the Area Committee’s decision, a written request can be made to the Area Chairs in Education (ACE) committee via the Assistant Dean of Academic Services. The Committee will independently review the student’s portfolio materials, academic progress information, and faculty evaluations. ACE will inform the student and respective faculty members of its decision.

Registration (i.e., enrollment) is required for any quarter during which a degree requirement is completed, including the First-Year Review. Refer to the Registration or Enrollment for Milestone Completion section for more details.

Students may petition for an extension of the First-Year Review deadline to the fourth quarter of enrollment. The student should discuss this option with her or his advisor and then email the Doctoral Programs Officer explaining why she or he will not be able to complete the Review by the published deadline, the length of the requested extension (normally one quarter), and the proposed Review completion date. The program advisor should also email a statement of support to the Doctoral Programs Officer. Additional supporting documentation may be requested depending upon the nature of the request (e.g., Student Disability Resource Center support for disability-related extensions). Both emails and any supporting documentation must be received a few business days prior to the last Area Committee meeting of the student’s third quarter of enrollment, which is usually Spring Quarter. The Area Committee and Chair will review the request for an extension and render a decision.

The Doctoral Programs Officer sends out informational emails in the Winter Quarter for Area-Specific requirements and deadlines for the First-Year Reviews to be completed in Spring Quarter. Procedures and deadlines to petition for extensions are included.

Second Year (6th Quarter) Review

The purpose of the second year review is to assess a student’s preparation for dissertation research and command of the research area, identify remaining training needs, and determine whether the student should be advanced to candidacy.  Doctoral students are expected to complete their second year review/qualifying paper and advance to candidacy prior to the first day of the seventh quarter (typically fall quarter of the student’s third year); see the Stanford Graduate Academic Policies and Procedures, section 4.6.  The purpose of this policy is to help assure timely progress toward completion of the Ph.D. With permission from the advisor and area chair, students may petition for an extension of the second-year review deadline to the seventh quarter of enrollment.  If students require an extension, they must fill out the GSE Second Year Review Extension Form, have their advisor and area chair review and sign it, and submit it to the Doctoral Programs Officer by the first week of classes of the seventh quarter. Failure to successfully complete the review by the end of the seventh quarter will lead immediately to a review of program status by the Associate Dean of Student Affairs and may result in suspension of doctoral funding and/or dismissal from the program.

Each Area’s section of this Handbook details the Area-specific requirements for the review. Students must meet with their advisor several weeks in advance of the review to discuss expectations, scheduling, and portfolio due date. Committee membership requirements are discussed in the Committee Composition for First- and Second-Year Reviews section.

Registration (i.e., enrollment) is required for any quarter during which a degree requirement is completed, including the Second-Year review. Refer to the Registration or Enrollment for Milestone Completion section for more details.

Committee Composition for First- and Second-Year Reviews

All doctoral First- and Second-Year Review committees in the GSE must have at least two members who are active GSE faculty and members of the Stanford Academic Council (AC). A third member of the committee may be a GSE faculty retiree (i.e., emeritus) or an active Academic Council member from another Stanford department or school. This does not require special approval.

Situations other than the above are exceptions and require approval by the Area Chair and the Associate Dean for Student Affairs. Exceptions include having fewer than two members who are active GSE AC members or adding a member who is a Stanford lecturer, a faculty member at another university, or a PhD holder who is from outside the academy (i.e., not an active member of the Stanford AC). The student’s advisor should email the Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Area Chair requesting any exceptions to this policy and include a rationale statement (e.g., the non-AC member offers an area of expertise that is relevant to the review and that is not readily available from the current faculty).

Advancement to Candidacy

The advancement to doctoral candidacy is an acknowledgment of a student’s potential to successfully complete the specific degree requirements of the department. Students must advance to candidacy by the end of the sixth quarter, as stated in the Stanford Bulletin chapter entitled Graduate Degrees.

After passing the Second-Year review, the faculty advisor normally asks the student to apply for and advance to doctoral candidacy. The Application for Candidacy for Doctoral Degree is the University’s version of the final Graduate Study Program; therefore the student’s final GSP, the Application, and Stanford transcript (for courses already completed) should match identically with regard to courses and units listed. The GSP is a GSE form indicating a plan for coursework; the Application is a University contract replacing the GSP. When approved, the Application effectively becomes a binding agreement between the student and University regarding the coursework and requirements for completion of the doctoral degree.

Once granted, candidacy is valid for five calendar years, unless terminated by the department. Leaves of absence do not extend the candidacy period.

Extensions of candidacy are granted only with valid academic reasons that are supported by the dissertation advisor. Therefore, students are encouraged to plan their research agendas such that their degree is completed within the five year candidacy period. To petition for an extension of candidacy, students must submit an Application for Extension of Candidacy, which includes a detailed work plan, and is signed by the student’s advisor, the Area Chair, and the Associate Dean for Student Affairs. The requests for candidacy extensions are reviewed by the Associate Dean for Student Affairs.

Students who have advanced to candidacy earn a higher rate of pay for research assistantships in the GSE. Candidacy status does not affect CA, TA, or TF salaries.

Academic Program Revision

Once a student has submitted the final Graduate Study Program (GSP) and Application for Candidacy for Doctoral Degree, any changes must be discussed with the faculty advisor and recorded on the Academic Program Revision form. The advisor(s), Area Chair and Doctoral Programs Officer review and approve the Program Revision Form. Students should not use this form prior to advancing to candidacy; instead, changes or updates will be reflected in the final version of the GSP and Application for Candidacy.

This form and related instructions are on the GSE website, under current students>forms.

Dissertation Proposal

Proposal Overview and Format

Students are urged to begin thinking about a dissertation topic early in their degree program. Concentrated work on a dissertation proposal normally begins after successful completion of the Second-Year Review, which often includes a “mini” proposal, an extended literature review, or a theoretical essay, plus advancement to doctoral candidacy. In defining a dissertation topic, the student collaborates with her or his faculty advisor or dissertation advisor (if one is selected) in the choice of a topic for the dissertation.

The dissertation proposal is a comprehensive statement on the extent and nature of the student’s dissertation research interests. Students submit a draft of the proposal to their dissertation advisor between the end of the seventh and middle of the ninth quarters. The student must provide a written copy of the proposal to the faculty committee no later than two weeks prior to the date of the proposal hearing. Committee members could require an earlier deadline (e.g., four weeks before the hearing).

The major components of the proposal are as follows, with some variations across Areas and disciplines:

  1. A detailed statement of the problem that is to be studied and the context within which it is to be seen. This should include a justification of the importance of the problem on both theoretical and educational grounds.
  2. A thorough review of the literature pertinent to the research problem. This review should provide proof that the relevant literature in the field has been thoroughly researched. Good research is cumulative; it builds on the thoughts, findings, and mistakes of others.
  3. A statement on the overall design of the proposed study, which includes:
    1. its general explanatory interest
    2. the overall theoretical framework within which this interest is to be pursued
    3. the model or hypotheses to be tested or the research questions to be answered
    4. a discussion of the conceptual and operational properties of the variables
    5. an overview of strategies for collecting appropriate evidence (sampling, instrumentation, data collection, data reduction, data analysis)
    6. a discussion of how the evidence is to be interpreted (This aspect of the proposal will be somewhat different in fields such as history and philosophy of education.)
  4. If applicable, students should complete a request for approval of research with human subjects, using the Human Subjects Review Form (http://humansubjects.stanford.edu/). Except for pilot work, the University requires the approval of the Administrative Panel on Human Subjects in Behavioral Science Research before any data can be collected from human subjects.

Registration (i.e., enrollment) is required for any quarter during which a degree requirement is completed, including the dissertation proposal. Refer to the Registration or Enrollment for Milestone Completion section for more details.

Proposal Committee

As students progress through the program, their interests may change. There is no commitment on the part of the student’s advisor to automatically serve as the dissertation chair. Based on the student’s interests and the dissertation topic, many students approach other GSE professors to serve as the dissertation advisor, if appropriate.

A dissertation proposal committee is comprised of three academic council faculty members, one of whom will serve as the major dissertation advisor. Whether or not the student’s general program advisor serves on the dissertation proposal committee and later the reading committee will depend on the relevance of that faculty member’s expertise to the topic of the dissertation, and his/her availability. There is no requirement that a program advisor serve, although very often he or she does. Members of the dissertation proposal committee may be drawn from other area committees within the GSE, from other departments in the University, or from emeriti faculty. At least one person serving on the proposal committee must be from the student’s area committee (CTE, DAPS, SHIPS). All three members must be on the Academic Council; if the student desires the expertise of a non-Academic Council member, it may be possible to petition. After the hearing, a memorandum listing the changes to be made will be written and submitted with the signed proposal cover sheet and a copy of the proposal itself to the Doctoral Programs Officer.

Proposal Hearing or Meeting

Review and approval of the dissertation proposal occurs normally during the third year. The proposal hearing seeks to review the quality and feasibility of the proposal. The Second-Year Review and the Proposal Hearing are separate milestones and may not occur as part of the same hearing or meeting.

The student and the dissertation advisor are responsible for scheduling a formal meeting or hearing to review the proposal; the student and proposal committee convene for this evaluative period. Normally, all must be present at the meeting either in person or via conference phone call.

At the end of this meeting, the dissertation proposal committee members should sign the Cover Sheet for Dissertation Proposal and indicate their approval or rejection of the proposal. This signed form should be submitted to the Doctoral Programs Officer. If the student is required to make revisions, an addendum is required with the written approval of each member of the committee stating that the proposal has been revised to their satisfaction.

After submitting the Proposal Hearing material to the Doctoral Programs Officer, the student should make arrangements with three faculty members to serve on her or his Dissertation Reading Committee. The Doctoral Dissertation Reading Committee form should be completed and given to the Doctoral Programs Officer to enter in the University student records system. Note: The proposal hearing committee and the reading committee do not have to be the same three faculty members. Normally, the proposal hearing precedes the designation of a Dissertation Reading Committee, and faculty on either committee may differ (except for the primary dissertation advisor). However, some students may advance to Terminal Graduate Registration (TGR) status before completing their dissertation proposal hearing if they have established a dissertation reading committee. In these cases, it is acceptable for the student to form a reading committee prior to the dissertation proposal hearing. The reading committee then serves as the proposal committee.

The proposal and reading committee forms and related instructions are on the GSE website, under current students>forms.

Printing Credit for Use in GSE Labs

Upon completion of their doctoral dissertation proposal, GSE students are eligible for a $300 printing credit redeemable in any of the GSE computer labs where students are normally charged for print jobs. Only one $300 credit per student will be issued, but it is usable throughout the remainder of her or his doctoral program until the balance is exhausted. The print credit can be used only at the printers in Cubberley basement and CERAS, and cannot be used toward copying.

After submitting the signed dissertation proposal cover sheet to the Doctoral Programs Officer indicating approval (see above), students can submit a HELP SU ticket online at helpsu.stanford.edu to request the credit. When submitting the help ticket, the following should be selected from the drop-down menus for HELP SU:

Request Category:  Computer, Handhelds (PDAs), Printers, Servers
Request Type:  Printer
Operating System: (whatever system is used by the student, e.g., Windows XP.)

The help ticket will be routed to the GSE's IT Group for processing; they will in turn notify the student via email when the credit is available.

Dissertation Content

A doctoral dissertation makes an original contribution to knowledge, as defined in a discipline or an interdisciplinary domain and addresses a significant researchable problem. Not all problems are researchable and not all are significant. Problems that can be solved by a mere descriptive exercise are not appropriate for the PhD dissertation. Acceptable problems are those that:

  1. pose a puzzle to the field at a theoretical, methodological, or policy level;
  2. make analytical demands for solution, rather than mere cataloging or descriptive demands; and
  3. can yield to a reasonable research methodology.

The doctoral dissertation advisor, reading committee, and oral exam committee provide further guidance and details with regard to dissertation content and format. General formatting and submission guidelines are published by the University Registrar. The American Psychological Association (APA) publication guidelines normally apply to GSE doctoral dissertations, but is not required if the advisor and relevant committees determine that an alternative, and academically acceptable, protocol is more appropriate.

Published Papers and Multiple Authorship

The inclusion of published papers in a dissertation is the prerogative of the major department.  Where published papers or ready-for-publication papers are included, the following criteria must be met:

1. There must be an introductory chapter that integrates the general theme of the research and the relationship between the chapters.  The introduction may also include a review of the literature relevant to the dissertation topic that does not appear in the chapters.

2. Multiple authorship of a published paper should be addressed by clearly designating, in an introduction, the role that the dissertation author had in the research and production of the published paper.  The student must have a major contribution to the research and writing of papers included in the dissertation.

3. There must be adequate referencing of where individual papers have been published.

4. Written permission must be obtained for all copyrighted materials; letters of permission must be uploaded electronically in PDF form when submitting the dissertation.  Please see the following website for more information on the use of copyrighted materials: http://library.stanford.edu/using/copyright-reminder.

5. The submitted material must be in a form that is legible and reproducible as required by these specifications.  The Office of the University Registrar will approve a dissertation is there are no deviations form the normal specifications that would prevent proper dissemination and utilization of the dissertation.  If the published material does not correspond to these standards, it will be necessary for the student to reformat that portion of the dissertation.

6. Multiple authorship has implications with respect to copyright and public release of the material.  Be sure to discuss copyright clearance and embargo options with your co-authors and your advisor well in advance of preparing your thesis for submission.

Dissertation Reading Committee

The Doctoral Dissertation Reading Committee consists of three faculty members (the principal dissertation advisor and two other readers) who agree to read a student’s dissertation and serve on the orals committee. All members of an approved reading committee are expected to sign the signature page of the completed dissertation. The reading committee normally serves on the oral exam committee, but not always. At the very least, the primary dissertation advisor and one reader from the reading committee serve on the oral exam committee. The student is responsible for obtaining signatures from advisor and readers before submitting the form to the Doctoral Programs Officer for final processing.

The rules governing the composition of the reading committee are as follows: at least one member of the committee must be from the GSE; the principal dissertation advisor must be on the Stanford Academic Council (AC); and any member of the committee that is not a member of the academic council must be approved by the Area Chair and the Associate Dean for Student Affairs. In the last case, the Petition for Non-Academic Council Member to Serve on Doctoral Committee form (available from the Doctoral Programs Officer) and a current CV of the proposed member are required. This person must be particularly well qualified to consult on the dissertation topic and hold a PhD or an equivalent foreign degree. Non-AC members may not serve as dissertation advisors, but may serve as a co-advisor along with a member of the AC. Students may only have one non-AC member on the reading committee. The only exception to this rule is if you have more than the three members required for a reading committee. At least two members of the reading committee must be members of the Stanford AC. Reading Committee members must sign the Doctoral Reading Committee form (all forms located on the GSE website under current students>forms). Email confirmations or digital signatures will be accepted.

The reading committee formation, and any subsequent changes to the committee composition, are reviewed and approved by the Associate Dean for Student Affairs. This signature is obtained by the Doctoral Programs Officer, not the student.

The University requires approval of the Doctoral Dissertation Reading Committee form prior to advancement to Terminal Graduate Registration (TGR) status, or before scheduling a University Oral Examination–whichever comes first in the student’s program. Further instructions for form completion are on the GSE Website.

University Oral Examination

Overview

University and GSE policies require an oral examination (i.e., a defense of the dissertation) for the PhD, normally in the fifth year when the dissertation is essentially complete. This examination tests the candidate’s command of the field of study and confirms fitness for scholarly pursuits.
 
A student can schedule the oral exam only after at least three members of the reading committee agree that the dissertation draft is essentially complete and ready for defense. This means that all text sections must be drafted, all planned data analyses must be executed and represented in tables and figures, and all appendices must be in place. The draft need not be final because suggested revisions and final formatting will be completed after the exam. Students should leave adequate time (at least a couple of weeks is recommended) to complete any required revisions before submitting their dissertation. If a student schedules the oral exam too close to the dissertation submission deadline for a given quarter, they may not have time to complete revisions and may not be able to graduate that quarter.
 
Students should refer to the doctoral students section of the GSE website for the necessary forms and detailed procedures, as well as consult with the Doctoral Programs Officer, before scheduling their oral exam.
 
A copy of the dissertation must be submitted to each member of the oral exam committee at least four weeks prior to the examination date, at a time convenient for each committee member. The chair of the oral examination committee may want a copy of the dissertation, or only the abstract. At the very least, a copy of the dissertation abstract must be provided to the oral exam committee chair at least two weeks in advance of the exam. The student should communicate with the chair well in advance to determine the chair’s preference.

An Academic Services staff member will arrive shortly before the oral exam and provide all necessary paperwork and instructions to the chair, including ballots. Students do not need to bring any administrative paperwork to the oral exam, though they may bring to the oral exam their dissertation signature page. Stanford requires that students obtain original ink signatures from all reading committee members on this document. High-quality, long-lived, acid-free (neutral pH) bond paper must be used; please check the packaging or contact the manufacturer if you are unsure about this. The student’s typed name should be included on the header of the signature page, in the upper right hand corner (right justified). A sample signature page with further instructions can be found in the electronic dissertation submission guidelines. The faculty on the dissertation reading committee may elect to sign the page after the exam has been passed. They may also wish to wait until revisions are completed, in which case an appointment to get the physical signature should be set. The advisor, in addition to signing the page, will also need to approve via Axess when the dissertation has been finalized and approved, so a signature on the physical page is not the only required action before the final version is submitted.
 
Each requirement and procedure is discussed in further detail in the sections below and on the GSE website.

Scheduling the Oral Exam

The required paperwork and logistics (e.g., room reservation) are normally completed at least four weeks prior to the exam date, including distribution of dissertation copies to each committee member. Faculty and Academic Services staff reserves the right to request a postponement of an oral examination if all of the necessary steps are not completed at least two weeks before the exam date.
 
Because of registration requirements and faculty availability, oral examinations are normally completed in Autumn, Winter, and Spring Quarters only. Scheduling of orals during the Summer Quarter is often impractical because most faculty members are off-duty or absent from campus in the summer, and students are required to register.


The University Oral Examination Schedule form must be completed and submitted to the Doctoral Programs Officer at least two weeks prior to the oral exam. The Doctoral Programs Officer will obtain the signature of the Associate Dean for Student Affairs as the “Department Chair”. Students with departmental PhD minors (e.g., Psychology, Sociology, etc.) must first obtain a signature from that department’s chair or authorized student services administrator before submitting the Schedule form to the GSE. The minor department may require representation on the oral exam committee. Often, this person may be a GSE faculty member who holds a courtesy or joint appointment in the minor department and can already be a member of the student’s reading committee, but not necessarily.

Registration Requirement

Students must be registered and their candidacy must be valid during the quarter in which the oral examination is completed. The period between the last day of final exams of one term and the first day of the following term is considered an extension of the prior term, only if the student was registered for that quarter. For example, a student who was registered in Spring Quarter can complete the oral exam up until the day before Summer Quarter begins without having to register for summer. For oral exams on or after the first day of Summer Quarter, students must register in their regular TGR section – or enroll in at least three units if they have not yet advanced to TGR status.

Room Reservations

Students are responsible for reserving an appropriate room for the date and time of the oral examination. For information on how to reserve a room, please go to: https://25live.collegenet.com/stanford.  The GSE IT group located in CERAS can assist with any technology needs (e.g., audio/visual).

The Oral Examining Committee

The oral examining committee is composed of a minimum of five faculty members, four examiners and the University chair selected by the advisor, in consultation with the student. The committee must include the dissertation advisor and at least one other member of the dissertation reading committee. The oral exam and reading committees are separate and distinct bodies; however, the reading committee normally sits on the oral exam committee. In other words, the three readers are normally also examiners for the defense. Students may only have one non-AC member on the orals committee. The only exception to this rule is if a student has more than the required five for an orals committee. A non-AC member must hold a PhD and contributes an area of expertise that is relevant to the orals and that is not readily available from the Stanford faculty. A petition must be submitted and approved well in advance of the oral exam for a non-AC member of the oral exam committee.

University Chair

The University chair of the oral exam committee must be an Academic Council (AC) member and from a department or school outside of the GSE. In some circumstances, the chair may hold a courtesy appointment in the GSE, or be a GSE faculty member from another Area Committee. If the chair is a GSE faculty member, they must be fully outside of the student’s area (i.e. a person with a full or joint appointment in the student’s area cannot serve as University chair of that student’s oral exam committee).  The Stanford Bulletin outlines the specifics regarding the chair. Professors Emeriti from any department outside of the GSE may serve as oral exam chairs. Advisors are responsible for contacting and making arrangements with the chair, in consultation with the student. If locating a chair is problematic, the Area Chair, and/or the Associate Dean for Student Affairs may be approached for assistance.

The Abstract

No less than two weeks prior to the examination, students must submit one copy of the dissertation abstract to the oral exam chair. The abstract should be 1,000 to 1,500 words, or approximately six pages long, and should include the following:

  1. a summary of the problem;
  2. the primary research questions or hypotheses;
  3. the methods used to conduct the study; and
  4. the most important findings and conclusions.

Submitting the Dissertation

After successfully completing the revisions recommended during the oral exam and obtaining the signatures of all reading committee members, which are not necessarily the same people from the oral exam committee, the dissertation is ready for submission to the Office of the University Registrar.

The American Psychological Association (APA) publication guidelines normally apply to GSE doctoral dissertations, but is not required if the advisor and relevant committees determine that an alternative, and academically acceptable, protocol is more appropriate.

General formatting, submission directions and deadlines are published by the Stanford University Registrar. All doctoral students should read these instructions thoroughly and contact the appropriate Registrar’s Office staff or the GSE Doctoral Programs Officer with any questions. Students should read the supplemental materials required for submission closely as it can be confusing. Dissertation submission information is available at: http://studentaffairs.stanford.edu/registrar/students/dissertation-thesis

It is recommended that all students make an appointment for a both a dissertation format check and submission. Format checks will not be done in the final week of the submission deadline. To assure a time slot, appointments for format checks and submissions should be made well in advance. For appointment scheduling, go in person to the Student Services Center at Tresidder Memorial Union or file a HelpSU ticket.
The Registrar's Office offers students the option to submit their dissertation/thesis in electronic format. This electronic submission process is free of charge and allows students the ability to log into Axess and check their pre-submission requirements in the eDissertation/eThesis Center under the academics tab. Once these requirements have been met the "Proceed to Dissertation/Thesis Submission page" button will open up in the student eDissertation/eThesis center and this will allow the student proceed and upload a soft copy of their dissertation/thesis.
Prior to online submission:

  • “Application to Graduate” filed online through Axess by the appropriate deadline
  • One hard copy of an original signed signature page (acid-free paper) submitted to the Student Services Center, located on the 2nd floor of Tresidder Union
  • One hard copy of the dissertation title page submitted to Student Services Center, located on the 2nd floor of Tresidder Union (acid-free)
  • Confirm the names of all reading committee members in Axess, and designate a Final Reader
  • Confirm candidacy as valid through your degree conferral date
  • Confirm completion of all required University Milestones

All dissertation submissions must be completed in their entirety before noon on the deadline day for the applicable quarter. When a student misses the submission deadline, she or he must register and submit their dissertation the following quarter, or take an approved leave of absence and register upon her or his return. Students must be registered for the quarter in which they submit their dissertation and graduate.

Students in their final quarter who have completed all milestones aside from the oral exam and/or dissertation submission can apply for a one-time, $150, Graduation Quarter. This is a special registration status in the final quarter at Stanford with the same status as TGR but with a tuition charge of $150, instead of the full TGR rate. See the Graduation Quarter section for more details.

Registration and Student Statuses

Terminal Graduate Registration (TGR)

Terminal Graduate Registrant (TGR) status is a special enrollment status for graduate students who have completed all departmental and University requirements indicated below.

  1. Completed the First- and Second-Year Reviews;
  2. Advanced to doctoral candidacy;
  3. Completed all course listed on the final Graduate Study Program (GSP) and Application for Candidacy (incompletes in required courses will prevent TGR status);
  4. Accrued the applicable residency units for their degree program(s) at Stanford (135 units for the PhD, at least 90 of which are exclusively courses taken as part of the doctoral coursework); and
  5. Submitted the Doctoral Dissertation Reading Committee form with signatures from each reader

Though strongly encouraged to do so, students are not required to complete their doctoral dissertation proposal prior to advancing to TGR status.

TGR students are charged a reduced tuition rate (see https://registrar.stanford.edu/students/tuition-and-fees) each quarter in which they enroll in their dissertation advisor’s TGR section (EDUC 802). This is a zero-unit course that yields certification as a full-time student by Stanford. In addition to EDUC 802, TGR students are usually allowed to enroll in up to three units of electives “free of charge.” However, this may change from year to year, so verification with the University Registrar’s Office or the GSE Doctoral Programs Officer is recommended before enrolling in any electives while in TGR status. TGR students who exceed the maximum allowable “free units” of electives are responsible for any tuition charges in excess of the normal TGR fee. For example, students who take four units of electives will be charged the four-unit tuition rate, instead of the cheaper TGR rate and are responsible for the difference. Fellowship, assistantship, or other aid money will only cover the TGR fee in most cases.

TGR students must enroll in EDUC 802 in Autumn, Winter, and Spring Quarters before the published Study List Deadline. Failure to do so will result in a non-refundable $200 penalty charged to your student account. The Registrar’s Office provides no waivers for this late study list fee. Enrollment in Summer Quarter is optional for TGR (and regular) GSE students. An assistantship at the 25% level typically provides sufficient tuition allowance to cover the TGR fee. As a result, many TGR students work at the 25% level, instead of the 50% level, in order to spend the remainder of their time on

their dissertation work.

Requests for TGR status must be submitted to the Doctoral Programs Officer before the first day of the effective quarter. Students can only advance to TGR when all unit and course requirements are completed. A reading committee also must be in place before filing for TGR status. Only the student’s advisor needs to sign the form. The Doctoral Programs Officer will obtain the final sign off and forward to the Registrar’s office for processing. TGR status cannot be granted retroactively for prior quarters. Final review and approval of the TGR request is conducted by the Registrar’s Office.

Students who make adequate progress in their dissertation receive the grade of “N” from their dissertation advisor for the TGR section until the dissertation is completed, at which time they receive an “S” grade in the final quarter only. The Registrar’s Office runs an automated process that converts all prior N grades for TGR sections to the final grade awarded (e.g., S). Students who are not making adequate dissertation progress receive “N-“ grade, which denotes inadequate progress and puts the student on academic probation. The Stanford Bulletin discusses the grading policies in greater detail, including the meaning and consequences of the N-minus (N-) grade.

Graduate Tuition Adjustment

On a one-time basis, students can enroll in and pay tuition for three to seven units in their final quarter before advancing to TGR status or graduating (if not already TGR). Graduate tuition adjustment will only be considered when students will advance to TGR status or confer the degree in the following quarter. After advancement to TGR status, students are ineligible for the one-time tuition adjustment to the unit-based rate because they are no longer taking courses, other than EDUC 802 for zero units.

A petition from the student must be submitted to the Doctoral Programs Officer with a signature from their advisor. The Associate Dean for Student Affairs will review and approve the petition as the “Department Chair,” which will then be forwarded to the University Registrar’s Office for final review and processing. Students with approved petitions are required to enroll in at least three units.

Enrollment in less than eight units does not constitute full-time student status. Full time student status is required for campus housing and for the deferment of many student loans. Students with loans in deferment from prior degrees should contact their lender(s) to discuss the impact of falling below full-time student status.

International students with an F-1 or J-1 visa must maintain full-time student status during the regular academic year (i.e., autumn, winter, and spring) in order to maintain legal status in the United Status. F-1 or J-1 visa holders must consult with an advisor from the Bechtel International Center and obtain an authorized signature on the petition before submitting it to the Doctoral Programs Officer.

The Graduation Quarter

Students who have completed all doctoral milestones aside from the oral exam and/or submitting the dissertation are usually eligible for a one-time, $150, Graduation Quarter for the quarter in which they graduate. This is a special registration status similar to TGR, but with a $150 tuition charge for the effective quarter. All requirements on the petition must be met before the start of the designated Graduation Quarter. A graduate or professional student must have an active program status, which may include an approved leave of absence, in the term immediately preceding the requested Graduation Quarter. The university makes no exceptions to these criteria.
 
The petition is submitted in the student eForms section of Axess. The Graduation Quarter replaces the old “Grace Quarter.” Students who used their one Grace Quarter are not eligible for the Graduation Quarter. The petition is due before the first day of the designated Graduation Quarter.
 
Students who fail to submit their dissertations and graduate by the deadline during a designated Graduation Quarter will need to enroll as a regular TGR student when they do submit their dissertation and graduate in a future quarter.
 
Students registered under the Graduation Quarter rubric enroll in their advisor’s EDUC 802 section, like a regular TGR student, but their tuition is reduced to $150 for the quarter. They are certified as full-time students while on Graduation Quarter, and the normal applicable Student Activities and Cardinal Care fees will apply, unless waived by the deadline according to procedure.

U.C. Berkeley Exchange Program

The U.C. Berkeley Exchange is used often by GSE doctoral students. It enables Stanford students to take and receive academic credit for UC-Berkeley courses that are otherwise unavailable at Stanford.
 
Interested students should obtain the necessary form from the University Registrar’s Office and consult with the GSE Doctoral Programs Officer for advice on form completion. The authorized signatures must be obtained in a very specific order at Stanford and UC-Berkeley.
 
When approved, Stanford students in the UC-Berkeley Exchange program enroll in UC-Berkeley courses via the UC-Berkeley Registrar’s Office, but tuition is paid only to Stanford, the home campus, at the applicable Stanford rate. Students should be cautious in exceeding ten units of total enrollment between Stanford and UC-Berkeley because additional tuition at the 11-18 unit rate will be assessed by Stanford. One semester unit at UC-Berkeley equals one and a half quarter units at Stanford. For example, a 3 unit course at UC-Berkeley will count as 4.5 units at Stanford. UC-Berkeley courses taken in the Spring Semester are considered part of Stanford’s Winter Quarter only for purposes of enrollment and tuition assessment.
 
When UC-Berkeley courses are completed, students must ask the UC-Berkeley Registrar’s Office to forward an official transcript to the Stanford Registrar’s Office in order for the UC-Berkeley course(s) to count toward graduate residency credit at Stanford. Taking courses via the UC-Berkeley Exchange is equivalent to taking courses at Stanford for the purposes of residency credit. It does not count as graduate transfer credit; these UC-Berkeley courses are treated as if they were taken at Stanford. So, students could transfer 45 units from a previous master’s degree and still take courses through the UC-Berkeley Exchange program and earn Stanford residency credit via the UC-Berkeley courses. Because of the Exchange agreement between the two universities, UC-Berkeley and Stanford do not charge for official transcripts to be sent between them; however, UC-Berkeley has charged students for transcript services in the past. As a result, students should be prepared to pay any transcript fees, but at the same time should ask if a waiver is available because of the Exchange status.
 
Students who enroll in less than eight units at Stanford and take additional courses via the UC-Berkeley Exchange program for a total of eight or more quarter units of courses between both universities in the same quarter are considered full-time students for that quarter. However, due to systems limitations at Stanford, such students may not be reported as a full-time. If this occurs, disbursement of fellowship, assistantship, or other aid money may be affected and any loans in deferment from prior degree programs could be jeopardized. Students should consult with the GSE Doctoral Programs Officer regarding Stanford graduate aid issues and contact their lenders about any deferment matters before the quarter in which they are participating in the UC-Berkeley Exchange.
 
The Stanford Bulletin discusses the various Exchange programs in more detail. Questions should be directed to the applicable staff member in the Registrar’s Office, normally the Graduate Degree Progress Officer.

Accommodation Policy for Women Graduate Students

The GSE honors the University's policy to provide an accommodation for the demands placed on a woman by late-stage pregnancy, childbirth, and the care of a newborn. The policy is designed to make it possible to maintain the mother's full-time, registered student status, to facilitate her return to full participation in class work, and, where applicable, to continue research and teaching in a seamless manner. The eligibility accommodation period is up to two academic quarters around the birth. The student is eligible to enroll full-time during this period, maintain health insurance coverage, and continue to receive funding according to the provisions of the childbirth accommodation policy. The student also normally receives an automatic one quarter extension on degree requirements and milestones, and may postpone course assignments and examinations, Students who wish to pursue benefits under this policy should consult the Graduate Academic Policy (GAP) at http://web.stanford.edu/group/gap/5-9.html, and must subsequently contact the Doctoral Programs Officer and their faculty advisor to make the necessary arrangements, no later than the beginning of the third trimester of the pregnancy.

Leaves of Absence

Students working toward advanced degrees at Stanford University are required to enroll in the three regular quarters of each academic year (Autumn, Winter, and Spring Quarters) from the time of matriculation until degree conferral. Stanford has no part-time degree programs and requires continuous enrollment for its students, with few exceptions. Summer Quarter enrollment is optional for GSE doctoral students. Students who need to take time away from their degree programs during the regular academic year should request a leave of absence. Students may not take a leave of absence in their first quarter of a new degree program.

If it becomes necessary to take a leave of absence for one or more quarters, students should first discuss the matter with their advisor. If it is advisable that the student take leave, the student will need to file a leave of absence form. Leaves are granted for a maximum of one calendar year (or three quarters) initially. Extensions for up to one additional year (or three quarters) may be submitted before the current leave expires. The total number of leave quarters may not exceed six quarters. For a medical leave, be sure to contact the Doctoral Programs Officer and the Student Disability Resource Center. Students on leave cannot fulfill any GSE or University requirements (e.g., milestones) during the leave period.

Students must apply for leave by the first day of the effective quarter in order to receive a full-refund. Otherwise, the prorated refund schedule may apply. If stipend, tuition allowance, and/or assistantship salary has already been disbursed when a student applies for a leave of absence, the student may be responsible for repaying part or all of the graduate aid received that quarter. Students should consult with the Doctoral Programs Officer about how a leave will affect their funding.

Leaves of absence do not extend the five-year candidacy period or other degree requirements, unless otherwise stated. Some GSE and Stanford financial awards can be postponed or banked while on a leave of absence, but students should discuss this with the Doctoral Programs Officer first.

Students who fail to maintain minimum enrollment and do not secure a formal leave of absence will be discontinued from their degree programs for non-enrollment. If a discontinued student later wishes to resume study, she or he will be subject to the reinstatement process and fees outlined in the Stanford Bulletin.

Registration Status: Active, Inactive, Holds

Holds that block enrollment in courses via AXESS can be placed for various reasons by different departments at Stanford (e.g., the GSE, libraries, or Student Financial Services). The GSE may block enrollment when students fail to meet minimal progress requirements; for example, full-time enrollment each quarter (except summer); GPA of at least 3.0; or milestone completion in a timely manner. If a student receives a hold from the GSE for academic reasons, he or she should immediately consult with the Doctoral Programs Officer to determine what action is necessary to remove the hold. Academic Services notifies students of degree progress or of hold placement issues. A copy of the letter may be sent to the student by email. Students who fail to take the necessary action as required from them to remove the hold will not be able to enroll which will result in program discontinuation. It is therefore imperative that students address enrollment holds in a timely manner.

Verification of Enrollment (Full-Time Status)

Students must enroll in eight or more units to be reported as a full-time student by the Office of the University Registrar. Active students can print an official enrollment certification online via AXESS, or they can obtain one directly from the Registrar’s Office by presenting a valid photo I.D.

Enrollment cannot be reported until shortly before the start of the effective quarter. All enrollment verifications should indicate the student’s expected degree completion date. So even if students are not reported as enrolled (e.g., for summer), lenders can see that the student is a continuing student by looking at this date from their spring enrollment data. This is especially important for doctoral students who earned a master’s degree in the Spring Quarter but are continuing as a doctoral student afterward. In these cases, it may appear to lenders that the student completed all degree programs. Students must therefore obtain the more up to date enrollment and degree verification letter directly from the Registrar’s Office and provide it to their lender (when applicable). The electronic verification via the National Student Clearinghouse is not sufficient for this situation and may cause the student’s prior loans to fall out of deferment.

Reinstatement

Students who have been discontinued, terminated or otherwise voluntarily withdrew from their degree program may apply for reinstatement if they wish to re-enroll. The decision to approve or deny reinstatement is made by the applicable Area Committee and Associate Dean for Student Affairs. Stanford and the GSE are not obligated to approve reinstatement requests. The student must file the Application for Reinstatement with GSE Admissions and pay the required University fee before the requested quarter of reinstatement begins. If approved by the Area committee and the Associate Dean of Student Affairs, the petition will be submitted to the University for final review and approval. Reinstatement is normally granted only once, when approved by the applicable committee and dean.

Some students who undergo the reinstatement process will also have lapsed candidacy and must petition for an extension of candidacy.

Note: students who were discontinued for non-enrollment in the current quarter because they missed a registration deadline to add courses do not need to apply for reinstatement if they wish to enroll in the current quarter. For example, if a student missed the add deadline for Winter Quarter and was discontinued for non-enrollment, she or he could petition the Office of the Registrar to add a course after the deadline for Winter Quarter without having to apply for reinstatement. The Office of the University Registrar reviews course enrollment petitions. If a student failed to enroll in Winter Quarter and wants to re-enroll in the subsequent Spring Quarter, she or he would need to apply for reinstatement because one quarter will have lapsed between enrollment periods.

Changing Specializations

Program Area

When admitted to the doctoral program in the GSE, students identified and were accepted into a specific program Area (DAPS, SHIPS, or CTE). However, after sampling a variety of courses at Stanford, the student may wish to change his or her program Area, in which case Area Committee approval is required. The receiving committee (e.g., SHIPS) and the committee into which the student was originally accepted (e.g., CTE) must approve the transfer. The fulfillment of the new Area requirements may delay degree completion. Forms and instructions are on the GSE Website.

Program Area Specialization

Students are also admitted into a specialization, emphasis, field of study (as referred to in AXESS), or sub-plan of their Area (e.g., Educational Policy in SHIPS or Science Education in CTE). Intellectual specialty will become apparent as students interact with faculty and peers during the first years in the program. Students may specialize in any topic for which they have adequate preparation and for which there is appropriate faculty advisement, but they must petition to change specialty when desired. Students may also change advisors.

Changes of Area, specialty, or advisor must be made via the appropriate petition with the Doctoral Programs Officer. Signatures of involved parties are required. All forms and instructions are on the GSE website, under current students>forms.

Graduation, Degree Conferrals, and Walking in the Graduation Ceremony

Degrees are conferred by the University four times a year, after the end of each quarter, and only when all requirements for the degree have been met (including the submission of the final dissertation).

Definitions

Degree Conferral: the awarding of the degree (i.e., graduating).
Commencement: the large, University-wide ceremony for graduates that occurs at the end of Spring Quarter. It includes the “Wacky Walk.” (http://commencement.stanford.edu/).
Diploma Ceremony (a.k.a., GSE Commencement): the smaller, GSE-only ceremony where individual names of graduates (and names of eligible doctoral candidates who have not graduated) are announced and diplomas are distributed on stage. Tickets are not required for this ceremony. (https://ed.stanford.edu/commencement)
Walking: Eligible students who have not yet conferred their degrees (e.g., those who completed the oral exam by the last day of classes in the Spring Quarter but did not submit dissertations by the end of Spring Quarter to the University Registrar) may participate in Commencement by indicating on the Commencement RSVP survey that they plan to walk at Commencement.  Note that students must have defended by the last day of classes of Spring Quarter in order to be eligible to walk at Commencement.

Ceremony Participation without Graduation (i.e., Walking-through)

The Area Chairs and Committees determined that doctoral candidates can participate in Commencement only if they meet all degree requirements in the Spring Quarter, including doctoral dissertation submission, or complete their Oral Exam (i.e., defended their dissertation) by the last day of classes in Spring Quarter.
 
Revisions recommended during the Oral Exam do not need to be completed before Commencement. The dissertation can be revised and submitted and the degree conferred in the Summer Quarter (with a valid registration status). Candidates walking-through do not receive a diploma at the Ceremony; however, a blank diploma cover will be provided and their name announced. They are treated the same as the graduates for the purposes of the Ceremony.

Grievances

Grievances about University or School policy and guidelines may be brought to the attention of the Assistant Dean of Academic Services or Associate Dean for Student Affairs; an appeal could then be made to the Dean. Grievances related to program-specific guidelines that are integral to the student’s program of study are addressed by the Area Chair in discussion with the student and advisors. If necessary, any party may request that the full Area Committee consider the issue. An appeal can be made to the Area Chairs in Education Committee or the Dean if a satisfactory resolution is not accomplished at the Area level. The Stanford Bulletin contains a section entitled Statement on Student Academic Grievance Procedures in the Academic Policies and Statements chapter.

Termination of Student Status

Much of the information below was excerpted from the Stanford Bulletin’s section entitled Guidelines for Dismissal of Graduate Students for Academic Reasons located in the Graduate Degrees chapter.

Each student is admitted to the doctoral program in the GSE with the expectation that he or she will receive the doctoral degree. The faculty has the right and obligation to terminate the degree program of any student whose academic performance or progress is deemed unsatisfactory based upon a review process. The Area Committee may vote to dismiss any student who is clearly not making academic progress.

The following process outlines the general steps followed prior to reaching a decision to terminate a student from the doctoral program on academic grounds:

  1. A warning is issued in writing to the student as early as practicable detailing the situation and deficiency.
  2. Extenuating circumstances, if communicated by the student, are considered.
  3. A plan of action to remedy the deficiencies, with stated goals and deadlines, are communicated to the student in writing.
  4. The issue of continuation in the program or dismissal is subsequently decided upon by majority vote of the applicable Area Committee. At least three faculty from the Area Committee must participate in the deliberations. A recommendation for action is made by the Area Committee to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs. A written summary of the decision is sent to the student.
  5. A summary of the GSE discussions, votes, and decisions is placed in the student’s file.
  6. The student is provided the opportunity to examine his or her file, if desired.
  7. The student is advised on her or his rights to appeal under the Student Academic Grievance Procedures, as detailed in the Stanford Bulletin.

Termination Before Doctoral Candidacy

The Area Committee can vote to dismiss a student who is not making minimum progress or completing requirements in a timely manner, prior to the student’s review for admission to candidacy. Before deciding to dismiss a student, the committee should communicate with the student (which may include a meeting with the student) concerning academic progress to date, the specific deficiencies, and how to correct them (only if these deficiencies are deemed correctable).

If the Area Committee votes not to recommend a student for admission to candidacy, the student will be dismissed from the doctoral program as a result of the vote.

The Associate Dean for Student Affairs, Area Chair, or advisor will communicate the committee’s decision to the student in writing and orally. The student may petition for reconsideration, to which the committee will respond in writing. The Area Committee can decline to reconsider its initial decision. Further appeal follows the University appeal process as described in Stanford Bulletin (Statement on grievance procedures).

Termination During Doctoral Candidacy

The Area Committee can vote to dismiss a student who is admitted to candidacy when she or he is not making minimum progress or completing University, GSE, or program requirements in a timely manner. The advisor, Associate Dean for Student Affairs, Area Chair, and other relevant faculty will meet with the student. A written summary of these discussions will be sent to the student and the advisor and added to the student’s academic file. The summary will specify the academic deficiencies, the steps necessary to correct them (only if deemed correctable), and the period of time allowed for their correction (normally one academic quarter). At the end of the warning period, the student’s progress will be reviewed by the area committee, and the student will be notified of the proposed action. If the student has made satisfactory progress, he or she will be notified in writing that the warning has been lifted.

If the Area Committee deems the deficiencies are not correctable (e.g., failing a required course or examination, or a pattern of unsatisfactory performance), or if at the end of the warning period the committee determines that the student has not corrected the deficiencies, the committee may initiate proceedings for dismissal. The student will be notified in writing that the case of dismissal will be considered at an impending area committee meeting. The student has the right to attend a scheduled portion of the meeting and to present his or her own case; or a student may make his or her case to the committee in writing.

After a full discussion at the Area Committee meeting, the committee, without the student present, reviews the case and votes on the issue of dismissal. A minimum of three faculty members must be present. The Associate Dean for Student Affairs or Area Chair will communicate the committee’s decision to the student in writing, including reasons for it and a written summary of the discussion. The student may submit a written request for reconsideration, to which the committee will respond in writing. The Area Committee can decline to reconsider its initial decision.

Graduate Financial Support

There are two basic sources of funding provided by the GSE: fellowships and assistantships. Other sources of funding, such as loans and scholarships, are administered by the University’s central financial aid office. Further information can be found on their Web site at http://www.stanford.edu/dept/finaid/.

Graduate Student Assistantships

Assistantships are graduate financial support (aid) in the form of student employment, earning compensation for the performance of research, teaching, or course support services to the University while students continue their academic and professional development. A salary is paid twice per month (i.e., bimonthly) through University Payroll. In addition, a tuition allowance is awarded that covers partial to full tuition depending upon the student’s level of employment (i.e., the total number of weekly hours worked).

The types of assistantship appointments available to graduate students are as a Research Assistant, Teaching Assistant, and Teaching Affiliate.

The assistantship level or percentage is determined by the amount of weekly hours worked. For example, a student who works 20 hours per week is a 50% assistant (i.e., half of 40 hours or 100% employment). Likewise, a student who works 10 hours per week is a 25% assistant. The most common assistantships are offered at the 25% and 50% levels, though there are variations. While enrolled in 8 to 10 units, Stanford students cannot exceed the 50% assistantship level during the regular academic year (Autumn, Winter, and Spring Quarters). This is a University-wide policy applicable to all graduate students. In summers, however, students can work up to the 90% assistantship level, which translates to 36 hours per week with a minimum course enrollment of 3 units. See the Summer Funding section for more details.

A University committee determines the policies, salary structure, and terms of graduate student assistantships. In addition, GSE reserves the right to clarify and augment these regulations.

In relation to the GSE guaranteed funding policy, a student’s work performance in assistantships will be part of the student’s yearly academic progress review. The review determines whether the student’s funding may continue, conditional upon satisfactory performance in research work, for another year.

Policies Governing Teaching Assistantship and Teaching Affiliate Appointments

Course Eligibility

Courses of 3-5 units with one instructor and 20 or more students warrant one 25% teaching assistant (TA). Courses of about 40 students can generally expect two TA’s, and so forth. Courses that meet those criteria are normally approved for a TA.

Cross-listed courses: A number of GSE courses are listed in Education and in another department(s). Students in the course register under either listing. It is expected that courses with high enrollments in the non-GSE listing (or section) of the course will not automatically receive TA funding from the GSE unless an agreement is made with the department that “owns” the course. Cost-sharing between departments or schools occurs by agreement made with the faculty member, the Assistant Dean of Academic Services, and the Administrator of the other department.

Special cases and exceptions: Under exceptional circumstances, courses that do not meet the above criteria may be approved for TA positions by the Associate Dean for Student Affairs. Examples of exceptions include special instructional needs for a class (special pedagogy, or extensive student work to give feedback on, etc.). Other factors that play into a decision for an exception are availability of funding, course enrollments (past and present), and equity across faculty and areas.

Student Eligibility

GSE doctoral students within their guaranteed funding periods (normally in years one through five) receive priority for TA positions. Instructors who want to hire a GSE student who is beyond his/her fifth year in the doctoral program need to make a case, as early as possible to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs, indicating the reasons this particular advanced student is the only qualified person available to fill the position.

In addition, GSE doctoral students receive first hiring priority for GSE course and teaching assistantships over non-GSE students. Graduate students from other schools or departments may be hired as a TA for a School of Education course in rare circumstances provided that all eligible GSE students are fully-supported on other teaching or sponsored (i.e., not base budget) research assistantships.

Students must be in good academic standing. Students on full graduate support from an alternate source may not receive additional paid TA appointments:

  1. unless other assistantships held by the student are reduced in order to accommodate the TA position up to the maximum 50% total level for all appointments per student in a given quarter, OR
  2. in cases of full fellowship funding from non-GSE sources (e.g., SGF, NSF), a maximum of one paid 25% course, teaching, or research assistantship may be added to the student’s funding package per academic year without reducing the fellowship support. Students should consult with the Doctoral Programs Officer for more information.

Types of Appointments

There are two types of student appointments:

Teaching Assistant (TA): A TA helps with course preparation and grading, holds office hours, and maintains course websites. A TA may lead one or more regularly scheduled discussion sections and hold office hours. The faculty member is the primary course instructor and awards grades. A TA receives TA course evaluations from the University for her or his section(s).

Teaching Affiliate (TF): A TF is an advanced graduate student with substantial teaching experience and has full responsibility to deliver a course under the mentorship of a faculty member. A TF awards the final grade and is listed as the primary instructor for the course. A TF may be assigned a TA if the course is eligible. A TF receives instructor course evaluations from the University. TFs are usually hired to teach required or popular GSE courses when a faculty member is on sabbatical.

All positions are part of the University permanent records. Names of TAs and TFs are part of the University’s course files and of the graduate financial support records and the GSE course records.

Course Scheduling Considerations

Faculty members must ensure that their courses are setup as “lectures” in order to allow for the addition of discussion sections (if their TA will be teaching a section). Courses that are not setup as lectures (i.e, seminars or workshops) may not have discussion sections. Faculty or staff can consult with the GSE course manager on the University deadlines to set up courses. The deadline is usually in the Spring Quarter of the prior academic year.

English Proficiency

All international students must pass an English proficiency screening before being appointed to any teaching position (i.e. teaching assistants and teaching fellows/affiliates). Students in this situation who wish to work in a teaching position must contact the English for Foreign Students Office to arrange a English screening. http://www.stanford.edu/group/efs/tascreen.html
This must occur before the start of the quarter in which the teaching appointment will take place, otherwise the appointment and/or paychecks may be delayed.

Other Administrative Matters

TA and TF-ships are a form of graduate financial support. The student receives salary in addition to tuition support. As such, University policy prohibits hiring students for TA or TF work through clerical hourly positions (“casual employees”). All TA appointments are processed as graduate aid through Academic Services in the University’s Graduate Financial Support (GFS) system. The appointment is part of the student’s funding package, which does not exceed the equivalent of 50% time per quarter (i.e., 20 hours per week). Students who wish to add a TA-ship to their existing 50% support must discuss a reduction in their other commitments with their Principal Investigator and the Assistant Dean of Academic Services in order to accommodate the additional TA-ship beyond the 50% level, during the regular academic year. Students cannot exceed the 50% assistantship level when enrolled in 8 or more units. (See the “Summer Support” section below for exceptions during Summer Quarter.)

The appropriate assistantship appointment form must be submitted to the Doctoral Programs Officer in Academic Services at least 5 weeks prior to the beginning of the quarter in order to initiate the hiring of a TA/TF. Check with Academic Services for specific deadlines.

The University monitors faculty teaching loads, class sizes, and TA use on a regular basis. Therefore, it is important that all course and teaching activity is documented for all students.

Student Pay

Students are strongly encouraged to sign-up for direct deposit of their stipend and salary online via AXESS.

Stipend

When awarded, fellowship stipends are available the first day of each quarter when students enroll in the minimum required units by the published deadline. During the regular academic year, eight units is the enrollment minimum. During the Summer Quarter, the minimum is three units. If the enrollment deadline is missed, stipends are disbursed a few business days after the student eventually meets the minimum enrollment requirements. Mandatory charges on the student bill, including rent for campus housing, will be deducted from the stipend before it is issued. No taxes are withheld, but stipends are reportable and taxable income. (Fellowship tuition and tuition allowance are not taxable in most cases.)

Research Assistant Salary – Two Tier System

School of Education pays doctoral research assistants on a two-tier system:

  1. Tier I is for doctoral students who have not yet advanced to candidacy, typically first and second years. The salary will be the University's minimum RA salary rate, known as the pre-candidacy rate at GSE.
  2. Tier II is for doctoral students who have advanced to candidacy by the first day of the effective quarter and been enrolled at the GSE for at least seven doctoral quarters. The Tier II pay is equal to the teaching assistant (TA) rate.

Candidacy status does not affect the pay rate for teaching assistantships and teaching affiliate appointments. Those salaries are solely dependent upon the type of appointment, regardless of candidacy status.

STEP Supervisors

All STEP Supervisors are paid the candidacy rate regardless of candidacy status.

Salary

Students with assistantships are paid their salaries through bi-monthly (i.e., twice monthly) pay checks from the Stanford Payroll Office. Students are strongly encouraged to sign up for direct deposit online via AXESS. The normal pay days are the 7th and the 22nd of every month. Students who opted out of direct deposit can retrieve their checks in their student mailboxes in the basement of Cubberley. Student assistantship salary is taxable income, and applicable taxes and deductions will be withheld in accordance with the W-4 Tax Data form completed by each student. This form and other payroll forms will be provided to new students during the Orientation in Autumn Quarter.

Pay Periods

Assistantships are for the entire academic quarter. Partial quarter employment is not permitted for assistantships. Summer Quarter has two possible assistantship termination dates (see below).

Pay periods within each quarter are based on a calendar year, not the academic year. Pay cycles run two weeks behind the actual pay date. Therefore, a student's first Autumn Quarter pay check is issued on October 22 (for work completed during the pay period of October 1st to the 15th). Thereafter, students are paid every 7th and 22nd of the month.

  • Autumn Quarter pay periods run from October 1 – December 31
  • Winter Quarter pay periods run from January 1 – March 31
  • Spring Quarter pay periods run from April 1 – June 30
  • Summer Quarter pay periods run from July 1 – August 31 or July 1 to September 30, depending on the type and duration of the assistantship.
    • All summer teaching assistantships and teaching affiliate appointments end on August 31
    • Some research assistantships end on August 31 whereas others end on September 30, depending upon funding and project needs.

Pay Rates 

Type

Time/Hours a week

Tuition per quarter*

Bi-monthly pay

Quarterly pay

Research Assistant
(Pre-candidacy)

25%, 10 hours

5 units of tuition

$985

$5,910.00

50%, 20 hours

8, 9 or 10 units

$1,970.00

$11,820.00

Research Assistant
(Candidacy)

25%, 10 hours

5 units of tuition

$1,020.50

$6,123.00

50%, 20 hours

8, 9 or 10 units

$2,041.00

$12,246.00

Teaching Assistant

25%, 10 hours

5 units of tuition

$1,020.50

$6,123.00

50%, 20 hours

8, 9 or 10 units

$2,041.00

$12,246.00

Teaching Affiliate (Fellow)

25%, 10 hours

5 units of tuition

$1,044.00

$6,264.00

50%, 20 hours

8, 9 or 10 units

$2,088.00

$12,528.00

*One 25% assistantship covers full TGR tuition. If a TGR student secures more than one assistantship in a given quarter, TGR tuition is usually split evenly among the funding sources.

*These assistantship pay rates break down to an hourly rate of $49.25 for a pre-candidacy RA, $51.03 for a TA or a candidacy RA, and $52.20 for a TF.

*Pay rates are for the 2021-22 year (autumn through summer) only.

Sick Time for Graduate Student Employees

A new California law titled “AB 1522 - Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014,” known as the “Paid Sick Leave Law” took effect July 1, 2015, and requires employers to provide sick time to all employees. More information about this law can be found on Stanford's website and on the State of California website.  

This law affects graduate students hired hourly and graduate students with teaching and research assistantship appointments.

Hourly student employment. These students will accrue sick time as they work, and will record sick time used on their Axess time card. More information is in the new Admin Guide 10.3.1 and on the attached FAQ page.

Assistantships. Students with assistantships will receive a lump sum of 24 hours of sick time per calendar year at the start of their assistantship.  More information is in the updated Admin Guide 10.2.1, and on the attached FAQ page.

Registration Requirements

All students who receive funding (assistantships, fellowships, and loans) must register in at least 11 units in their first three quarters in the GSE doctoral program and in 8-10 units for subsequent quarters during the regular academic year (i.e., Autumn, Winter, and Spring). In the Summer Quarter, students must register in at least 3 units to receive any type of graduate aid funding, when applicable, which includes assistantship salary, tuition allowances, and stipend payments.

Additional Work

During the academic year (Autumn, Winter, and Spring Quarters), GSE students may work for pay as “casual labor” at Stanford for up to 8 hours a week, beyond the 50% assistantship level, provided that the work would not normally be paid as an assistantship. The University requires that the additional 8 hours of work be in an area or a project which differs from the student’s regular 25% or 50% assistantship. (Please note that the rules regarding additional casual employment differ for international students due to visa regulations. Student should consult the Bechtel International Center).

The GSE funding policy is that Stanford Graduate Fellows (SGFs) and others, who are fully funded (i.e., equal or above the 50% assistantship level) by external fellowships or other funding sources, can work a maximum of one 25% assistantship per academic year, excluding summer, in addition to keeping the full funding level of their fellowship or other funding source. Alternatively, SGFs can bank their funding in a given quarter, when eligible, and instead work at the 50% assistantship level when such assistantships are available and secured. In these cases, working at the 50% level while other funding is banked does not count as the one allowable quarter of 25% assistantship in addition to the fellowship.

Regardless of funding source or level, all students may work up to 8 hours per week as a casual employee, as discussed above, with few exceptions that are largely due to the student citizenship status; international students have slightly different policies because of their visas – contact the Bechtel International Center.

Summer Funding and Employment

Doctoral students can work as regular graduate assistants or casual hourly employees, or any combination therein, for Summer Quarter. For example, a student could work as a 50% teaching assistant (TA) only. Or, they could work as a 50% TA plus work 16 hours per week as a casual hourly employee on a project. Various rules apply for enrollment and maximum hour requirements. Please see the sections below for more information.

Assistantships in Summer Quarter

Assistantships are full quarter appointments with a fixed salary based upon a student's percentage of employment (e.g., 25% TA). Assistantships require enrollment in at least three units for Summer Quarter, even when students work as a casual hourly employee in addition to the assistantship.

The maximum percentage for summer assistantships is the 90% level (i.e., 36 hours per week). Students can combine different assistantships to reach the 90% level, or they can blend assistantships with hourly employment. Regardless, students cannot exceed 36 hours of employment per week when enrolled in any courses for the summer.

The amount of tuition allowance depends upon the percentage of the assistantship. For example, a 25% assistantship pays for 5 units and a 50% assistantship pays for 10 units. However, students are only required to enroll in a minimum of three units for Summer Quarter, so any unapplied tuition allowance will be refunded to the GSE. For example, if a 25% assistant enrolls in three units, two units worth of tuition credit will be refunded to the school; it will not be applied to the student account for other non-tuition or future charges.

The Cardinal Care health insurance subsidy rules are the same in the summer as during the regular academic year. See the Health Insurance Subsidy section.

Casual Hourly Employment in Summer Quarter

Students who work on an hourly basis are hired as casual employees by GSE Human Resources, not the Doctoral Programs Officer.

Enrollment is not required for summer casual employment if the student is not also employed as a graduate assistant. In other words, students who are working solely as hourly employees are not required to enroll in summer.

Casual hourly employees with no graduate assistantships do not receive any tuition allowance. Students in this category who enroll in courses are fully responsible for any tuition and related costs incurred. Students who need to take courses and work in the summer are strongly encouraged to pursue graduate assistantships to cover the related tuition costs.

Students who do not enroll in Summer Quarter and are employed as casual hourly employees can work up to 40 hours per week (i.e., the 100% level).

Pre-Term (STEP)

If students will be working with STEP pre-fall term, this may be considered a summer casual hourly position. However, students working pre-fall term for STEP will receive the tuition portion of the pre-fall commitment in the fall quarter (equivalent to 25% TA tuition). By default, half of fall tuition will be covered by pre-fall tuition, so students will only need a 25% assistantship fall quarter to cover the rest of the tuition. If students choose to work 50% in the fall, the pre-fall tuition will be cancelled.

Note: If students are signed on for a year's commitment STEP supervisor role, they will receive an additional stipend in early October.

GSE Fellowships and Grants

Funding During the First Year

Most doctoral students in their first year in the GSE receive a funding package that is a combination of graduate assistantships, fellowship stipends, and fellowship tuition and allowance. The package normally consists of a 25% assistantship, fellowship stipend, and fellowship tuition plus tuition allowance (from the assistantship). Basically, tuition at the 11–18 unit rate is covered by the funding package, and assistantship salary plus stipends are paid in total amounts equivalent to the 50% graduate assistantship salary level.


Because GSE doctoral students in their first year are required to take 11–18 units per quarter in their first three quarters, they receive a combination of fellowships and 25% graduate assistantships. Students cannot work more than 25% time when enrolled in more than 10 units. Once students drop to the 8–10 unit enrollment level after their first year in the doctoral program, GSE fellowships are replaced with 50% graduate assistantships. A bi-monthly salary and a tuition allowance (for 8–10 units) are provided for 50% assistantships.

Guaranteed Funding Period

The first five years of the GSE doctoral program are commonly referred to as the “guaranteed funding period” for the purposes of graduate aid. This is a safety net that helps students when they are unable to secure 50% worth of graduate assistantships (or combined fellowships and assistantships) on their own during the first five years of the program. The guaranteed funding covers deficiencies below the 50% assistantship level in the form of an assistantship paid from the GSE operating (or base) budget during the academic year, and in the form of a stipend during the summer.

The fifth-year funding package, which consists of a 25% assistantship and a fellowship stipend equal to the salary of a 25% assistantship, is only guaranteed if the student has completed their dissertation proposal and gone TGR prior to the first day of autumn quarter of their fifth year. Students who do not meet this requirement may still seek out funding on their own, but they are not covered by the funding guarantee and forfeit the funding package.


Students must contact faculty members directly to identify research, course or teaching assistant opportunities. In cases where students cannot secure 50% assistantships, they should reach out to the Assistant Director of Degree Programs as soon as possible. Every effort will be made by Academic Services to help identify opportunities. Funding through the base budget is used as a last resort.


Graduate assistants who will be paid from base budget will be placed with a faculty member and/or on a project that normally does not afford to hire a research assistant. In order to be paid from the GSE base budget under the guaranteed funding provisions, students must work at the GSE on a project to which she or he is assigned. Students who are funded through base budget must be in residence (i.e., at Stanford) and available to work on campus for a regular weekly schedule. By securing assistantships on their own (i.e., not from base budget), students ensure that they will work for projects, courses, and/or faculty of their choosing that best match their interests and goals.

The guaranteed funding period applies to doctoral students in their first five years of enrollment. Other than for a childbirth or medical accommodation, or for a leave of absence taken under extenuating circumstances approved by the Associate Dean, students cannot bank partial or full quarters of guaranteed funding for future use. The impact of leaves of absence on the guarantee period must be discussed in advance with the Assistant Director of Degree Programs. Regardless of how students fund their studies, the GSE's guaranteed funding only applies to the first five years of enrollment in the doctoral program, except in the cases noted above. Students who choose to work below the 25% (in years 1 and 5) or below the 50% assistantship level (in years 2-4) in a given quarter and/or rely upon other sources of financial support, such as loans or personal funds, do not bank the guaranteed funding for subsequent quarters.  For example, if a student wishes to not work on an assistantship during her or his fifth year, she or he is not eligible to receive additional guaranteed funding from the GSE in the sixth year. The GSE's funding guarantee is contingent upon students being able to physically come to campus for work. If a student chooses to spend a quarter away from campus, they may seek out assistantship work that can be done remotely, but the GSE will not guarantee funding for a student in this case, even if they are in their guaranteed funding period. Students should contact the Associate Dean for Student Affairs if they would like to request an exception to this policy.

Travel Fellowships

These fellowships are intended to enhance student careers by enabling them to attend professional meetings to present papers or to advance in their research. Students must document that they are presenting a paper at a conference or provide documentation on how this will benefit their research for fellowship eligibility.

Students are eligible for a maximum of $700 (for North America travel or virtual opportunities) or $1100 (for international travel). These funds are determined on an individual basis as a partial contribution to expenses. The GSE cannot guarantee that the maximum will be awarded. For the purposes of this fellowship, travel within all of North America constitutes domestic travel (including, but not limited to, Canada and Mexico).  Please check with the Assistant Director of Degree Programs if you are unsure as to whether the country you are applying to constitutes domestic travel.

GSE students are limited to one pre-candidacy and two post-candidacy fellowships. Pre-candidacy travel fellowships are forfeited if not used before advancing to candidacy. These cannot be banked for future use after advancing to candidacy. It is a “use it or lose it” deal.

Further information and the forms are available on the GSE website, and the Assistant Director of Degree Programs can provide further information.

School of Education Dissertation Support Grant (School of Education-DSG)

The GSE makes available grants of up to a total of $6000 per student for advanced doctoral students needing support for dissertation research activities.

These grants are available to students who do not have access to other funds to cover their dissertation costs.

Ann Porteus (aporteus@stanford.edu) administers this program and should be contacted for any questions. Ann will send an email to all doctoral students at the start of autumn quarter with application instructions and materials.

Assistantship Support from Stanford (i.e., non-GSE Departments, Schools, Centers

GSE students may work in research or teaching assistantships outside of the GSE. Pay rates are set by the hiring department or school and may be less than what the student would normally receive at the GSE. However, the University’s minimum salary levels for graduate assistantships must be met. The student is expected to discuss the relevance of this non-GSE appointment with her or his advisor. Support through other Stanford departments or schools is considered part of the GSE guaranteed funding period. Students who receive non-GSE funding in their first four academic years do not prolong or bank their GSE support by doing so. See the Guaranteed Funding Period section for more details about guaranteed funding.

Stanford Graduate Fellowships

Stanford Graduate Fellows (SGFs) at the GSE are expected to use their SGF fellowship funds during the first 3 years of their program, followed by 50% (maximum) research and teaching assistantships in the fourth year and either 50% research and teaching assistantships or the fifth-year funding package during the fifth year. See the Guaranteed Funding Period section for further details.

The SGF program provides great opportunities for students to engage in faculty research regardless of the faculty member’s ability to fund the student. SGFs have flexibility to select their research or teaching advisor and to not be tied to a particular funding source. Like other departments at Stanford, SGFs at the GSE are expected to participate in faculty research activities and groups in a similar fashion as research assistant who are paid by the same projects. This participation, known as apprenticeships, ensures that the student is receiving adequate academic preparation to become a researcher and scholar. This participation becomes part of the student’s progress towards the degree; the student is expected to speak to his or her apprenticeship experiences during the First- and Second-Year reviews. SGFs must discuss with their faculty advisor the expectations and scope of work and time commitment that the student will be expected to make for apprenticeships. At the dissertation stage, students on SGF support are expected to use any remaining SGF funding to free their time for emphasis on dissertation research and writing, not apprenticeships. In the spring of 2005, the Deans, Area Chairs and the University Stanford Graduate Fellowship Committee approved a policy change for SGF recipients at the GSE:

The Fellowship provides funding for two summers with 8–10 units of tuition. Students may elect to use their summer funding in their first and second, second and third, or first and third years.
Through Autumn, Winter, and Spring Quarters, students may have a maximum of one 25% teaching or research assistantship in addition to their Fellowship stipend. This means SGFs can work one 25% assistantship in addition to their SGF stipend per academic year, unless they bank quarters. If a student wishes to work a total of 50% worth of teaching or research assistantships in a Autumn, Winter and Spring Quarters, she or he must bank the SGF funding for that quarter and be supported only by the 50% assistantship(s) during that banked quarter.

During summer quarter, SGF recipients are expected to enroll in 8 units and use full summer tuition, unless a banked quarter is arranged. Banked quarters must be used before the end of the SGFs fifth year in the doctoral program. Further details are available on the SGF website. Questions about general SGF policies should be directed to the SGF Program Officer or to the GSE Doctoral Programs Officer.

Outside (non-Stanford) Support

Students are encouraged to actively seek and apply for outside fellowships. Per University policy, depending on the amount of the external funding, it will substitute in part or entirely the GSE’s support; outside awards are supplemented up to the level of support the student would normally receive from the GSE during her or his five years of guaranteed funding (this includes working a research or teaching assistantship). Students who receive outside awards must contact the Doctoral Programs Officer to discuss the details and structure of the award, especially if it requires institutional contributions.

In some cases, outside agencies and companies may want to pay the cost of attendance for a GSE student. Arrangements for the payment to be made directly to Stanford should be made by the company with Student Financial Services through the University’s third party billing system. Students should contact Student Services Center for more information. Their telephone is (650) 723-7772 or students can submit a HELP SU ticket and select the “Student Accounts” option online via AXESS.

In all cases of external (i.e., non-Stanford) funding, the Doctoral Programs Officer must receive a copy of the award letter outlining the terms, amount, and duration of the award. This award letter enables Stanford to pay the student the University health insurance subsidy, when eligible, even if the external funds are not handled in any way by Stanford. The health subsidy saves students $780 per quarter in the 2015-2016 academic year.

As is the case with other Stanford departments, the GSE requires its doctoral students to participate in faculty research activities and groups, usually as paid research assistants. GSE doctoral students who are not paid via an assistantship because they are funded by an external source are nonetheless required to participate in research activities at the GSE. This participation (i.e., apprenticeships) ensures that the student is receiving adequate academic preparation to be a doctoral level researcher and scholar. When fully funded by an external source, students have the opportunity to pursue research as an apprentice with a faculty member whose project is most interesting to the student regardless of that faculty member’s ability to fund the student. An apprenticeship becomes part of the student’s progress towards the degree; the student is expected to discuss his or her apprenticeship experiences during the First- and Second-Year reviews. Apprentices must discuss with their faculty advisor and the principal investigator (if different) the expectations, scope of work, and time commitment that the student will be expected to make. At the dissertation stage, students fully funded by external sources are expected to focus primarily upon dissertation research and writing, not apprenticeships.

Leaves of Absence

When considering a leave of absence, students should always consult with the faculty and/or staff responsible for administering their funding–whether the GSE, another Stanford department, or an outside agency–to discern whether a leave will affect their continued funding. Repayment of funding and tuition received for leaves taken mid-quarter may be required, depending upon the funding source and applicable stipulations of the award. Students with outstanding educational loans should consider carefully the effect of taking a leave on their loan status.

Tuition

The tuition portion of fellowship and/or assistantships appears as a credit on the student’s quarterly online bill in AXESS. Bills prior to the start of the quarter will reflect a tuition charge at the 8-10 unit rate, regardless of the number of units the students plans to register for, and it may not reflect the tuition credit if the student has not provided her or his assistantship paperwork to Academic Services. If students register for more than 10 units, their bill will be adjusted to the higher 11–18 unit rate. When students register for less than 8 units during the regular academic year (autumn, winter, and spring), their tuition will not be reduced and funding will not be disbursed unless the student is in approved Terminal Graduate Registration (TGR) status or has submitted a petition for a Graduate Tuition Adjustment.

Campus Health Service Fee

The Campus Health Service Fee covers many services provided by Vaden Health Center. This includes primary care medical visits, psychological evaluation and short-term therapy at Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), and access to health and wellness programs.
 
The mandatory fee applies to all undergraduate and graduate students enrolled on the Stanford campus, including visiting researchers and students participating in high school summer programs that result in course credit at Stanford.

Cardinal Care and Health Insurance Subsidy

Cardinal Care is an annual enrollment insurance plan which includes coverage in summer quarter, whether the student is enrolled that quarter or not. The annual cost of this coverage will be charged over three quarters of the academic year, i.e., in Autumn, Winter and Spring quarters.

Students enrolled in Cardinal Care will be covered during leaves of absence, breaks, quarters in which they are not registered (including summers), and immediately following graduation.

The insurance carrier, Health Net of California, will provide the medical benefits and Value Options will administer the mental health benefits.

Enrollment in Cardinal Care is a once-a-year event. In their first registered quarter of each academic year, students will decide whether or not to waive Cardinal Care coverage for that year. International students will be required to enroll in Cardinal Care, but may request an exception if they have an insurance plan with benefits that meet or exceed minimum standards set by the university.

Stanford University will automatically pay a health insurance subsidy that covers part of the Cardinal Care premium for students who fall into one of categories below and who do not waive Cardinal Care coverage online via AXESS.

Health insurance subsidy eligibility and amounts are determined by the criteria below:

Enrolled students with 25% assistantships or more, or with fellowship stipends (non-tuition stipend payments) at or above the minimum salary for a 25% assistantship (CA or RA), will receive a subsidy payment equal to one-half of the premium cost. The student is responsible for paying the other half of the cost. As in the past, two of the smaller subsidies can be combined to total the amount of the larger subsidy.
Enrolled students who do not qualify for the subsidy described above, but who have lower-level assistantships, or fellowship stipends at or above the minimum salary for a 10% assistantship, will receive a payment equal to one-quarter of the premium cost.


Students automatically receive the subsidy when their complete assistantship paperwork is submitted by the established deadlines to the Doctoral Programs Officer. Forms received after the Monday of the third week of classes normally results in the health subsidy being charged to the hiring faculty member or principal investigator's account. The student still receives the subsidy, but it is paid for by a faculty account instead of the University's funds.

A table outlining the Cardinal Care costs and University subsidy can be found here: https://financialaid.stanford.edu/grad/funding/subsidy.html. 

Managing Student Online Bills (Statements)

All graduate students have an online bill or statement viewable in AXESS. Those who are employed as research or teaching assistants also have an online pay statement, which is separate from the online bill.

Bills/Invoices in AXESS

Students can log in to AXESS to view their billing history and balance due. The online bill contains information about financial aid (e.g., stipends and loans), expenses (e.g., housing and dining), and payments (e.g., credit card or check payments by the student). The tuition allowance from assistantships, stipends from fellowships, the health subsidy, and student loans will appear as “Anticipated Aid” in the online statement at the start of each quarter. Once those funds are disbursed, they move from the Anticipated Aid to the Payments section. Salary from assistantships does not appear as Anticipated Aid. Students are encouraged to sign up for direct deposit online via AXESS to expedite receipt of refund and stipend payments.

Students can now pay their bills online via the ePay feature in AXESS. More information is available in AXESS or at http://co.stanford.edu/students/stanfordepay/.

Online Pay Statements

Salary from assistantships is paid bi-monthly approximately on the 7th and 22nd of each month. This money appears in the online pay statement (i.e., not the online bill/invoice) in AXESS only after the pay has been disbursed. Students can verify that an assistantship is in the system by looking for their tuition allowance in the Anticipated Aid section of their online bill. Assistantships will not appear in the online pay statement prior to the first pay date. Students are encouraged to sign up for direct deposit online via AXESS.

The ability to view the online pay statement is disabled when students are no longer employed by the University (e.g., during quarters in which they are not working as research or teaching assistants). Therefore, it is recommended that students print their online statements if they anticipate needing a hardcopy at a future date. Otherwise, hardcopies can be ordered directly from the University Payroll Office for charge.

Payroll Deductions

Students can apply for payroll deductions online via AXESS to cover housing, dining services, and other costs. These expenses can be deducted directly from their net pay from assistantship or other salaries. Student Financial Services, in conjunction with the Stanford Payroll Office, administer this program. Questions or issues should be submitted online via the HELP SU system. The “Student Accounts” or “Payroll” category should be used when filing the help ticket. Or, Student Financial Services can be reached at (650) 723-2181.

Emergency and Additional Support Funding

Financial Aid Office Stanford Support Programs

The Financial Aid Office has limited funds available to help graduate students dealing with challenging financial situations. These currently include the Grad Cash Advance Program, Emergency Grant-in-Aid Funds, the Graduate Student Aid Fund, the Graduate Family Grant Program, and Graduate Housing Loans.  Please see below for details.

Grad Cash Advance Program

A Cash Advance option is available to graduate and professional students to assist with expenses before graduate financial support is posted to their student account and/or TA/RA salary is paid.  Active degree-seeking graduate students can request an advance in the amount of $1000, $2000, or $3000 per term via Axess. For more information including repayment requirements, visit Student Financial Services.

Emergency Grant-In-Aid Funds

Emergency Grant-in-Aid Funds assist graduate students who experience a financial emergency or unanticipated expenses (e.g., medical or dental) causing financial hardship. Please note that students at the Graduate School of Business, Law School, and Medical School (MD program) are not eligible for this program; these students should contact their respective financial aid offices for assistance. For more detailed information and application procedures please refer to the Emergency Grant-In-Aid instructions and application form.

Graduate Student Aid Fund

The Graduate Student Aid Fund has been established to assist a limited number of graduate students with University fees such as the Campus Health Service Fee and Cardinal Care Insurance when those fees cause a significant hardship.  Students who demonstrate need will be eligible for small amounts to cover specific charges.  Please note that students at the Graduate School of Business, Law School, and Medical School (MD program) are not eligible for this program; these students should contact their respective financial aid offices for assistance. For more detailed information and application procedures please refer to the Graduate Student Aid Fund instructions and application form.

Graduate Family Grant Program

The Graduate Family Grant will provide up to $10,000 per year for graduate students with dependent children (including those in professional programs). Funds may be used flexibly to cover expenses such as childcare, healthcare, and rent.  Please review the program guidelines before completing the application.

Graduate Housing Loan

Graduate and professional students may apply for loan funds from the University to help with move-in costs for off-campus housing, such as first and last month's rent and security deposit. Details on eligibility, loan terms, and application process are available at Graduate Housing Loan

GSE Student Emergency Funding Program

The GSE Student Emergency Funding Program assists graduate students who experience a financial emergency or unanticipated expenses* causing financial hardship. This program is designed to assist those who cannot reasonably resolve their financial difficulty through fellowships, loans or personal resources. 

Emergency funding provides grants that reimburse actual expenses. These awards are not a loan, and do not need to be repaid. Emergency funds awarded are tax-reportable income.

Eligible expenses: Unanticipated or unusual expenses (most commonly medical, dental, or legal, but other expenses can be considered) outside of the standard student budget outlined by the University that may hinder the student’s academic progress will be considered.  Costs must have been incurred while enrolled at Stanford, and costs for a previous or future academic year will not be considered.  Each case is considered on its own merits.

*Emergency funding is not intended for tuition or fees, standard living expenses, research-related expenses, travel to and from internship/practicum/research sites and conferences, or when other aid has ceased.

Limit:  up to $2,000 per academic year

Process: Student submits an Emergency Grant-in-Aid application to the Financial Aid Office (FAO). FAO reviews the application and makes the determination that the student is eligible for emergency funds. If FAO is not able to cover your expenses either partially or in-full (max amount of $5,000 per year), then you may apply for GSE Student Emergency Funds by submitting a copy of the Emergency Grant-in-Aid application (include supporting documents) and the response from FAO to Wesley Horng, Associate Director of Admissions and Academic Affairs. You may receive a max amount of $2,000 in GSE Student Emergency Funds per year.

GSE Courses

Courses Overview

The Doctoral degree at the GSE is a very individualized program of study. It is designed by a student, in conjunction with his or her faculty advisor, based on the student’s research needs and interests. The Core requirements guide each student’s educational plan as established by the faculty of the program or concentration within the student’s Area, the faculty of the GSE, and the University.

Appropriate courses in other departments of the University (e.g., Anthropology, Linguistics, or Psychology), as well as courses within the GSE, may be used to fulfill GSE course requirements. Students must consult with their advisor when selecting courses outside the GSE to fulfill degree requirements.

Note: All units must be in courses at or above the 100-level in a degree-granting program in order to count toward the doctoral degree requirements in the GSE. The GSE expects students to take all of their courses at the 200 level or above (at least 50 percent of courses at the 200 level are required by the university). A limited number of 100-level courses may count with advisor and Area Committee approval. English for Foreign Students (ESFLANG 600 level) courses and Athletic (ATHLETIC) courses, e.g., social dance or yoga, do not count toward the doctoral degree requirements in the GSE.

Core Courses

The doctoral program consists of five groups of required courses:

  1. In the first year: Proseminar 1, 2, 3 (EDUC 325A, B, C) in Autumn, Spring and Winter.
  2. Autumn Quarter of the first year: EDUC 400A (formerly EDUC 200C), Introduction to Statistical Methods in Education.
  3. By the end of the second year: Research Methods Core:
    1. For students who entered in the fall of 2011 or earlier: EDUC 250A; for students who entered in the fall of 2012 or later: a research methods course chosen by the student in consultation with their advisor (course must be at least 3 units, be at or above the 200 level, and have a research methods focus)
    2. EDUC 400B (formerly EDUC 250B), Statistical Analysis in Education: Regression
    3. EDUC 450A (formerly EDUC 250C), Qualitative Analysis in Education
  4. Advanced Research Methods
  5. Area requirements or Area Core courses specific to a student’s Area and emphasis (e.g., Higher Education Administration).

With the exception of EDUC 325A, B and C, a student may use the same course to satisfy more than one of the above areas. For example, 400B counts toward Core requirements, and could possibly count toward an Area-specific requirement as well (see Area Course Requirements section below).

Research Methods Core

Doctoral students are required to complete a Research Methods Core within their first two years of the program.

Students who take 400B are responsible for having mastered the content of EDUC 400A. Students should consult with their advisors at the beginning of their first year about whether they need to take EDUC 400A to be adequately prepared for 400B.

Students are encouraged to complete the Research Methods Core as soon as possible because their Qualifying Paper, due at the end of the second year or sixth quarter, will depend upon methodology skills and expertise acquired in these courses.

Students who are interested in further methods course offerings may wish to explore the GSE Qualitative Course Guide and the GSE Quantitative Course Guide.

Area Requirements or Area Core Courses

Each of the School’s three program Areas (CTE, DAPS, and the subplans within SHIPS), as well as the cross-area specializations (LSTD and RILE) require specific courses, dependent upon a student’s emphasis or concentration. See the applicable Area sections in this Handbook for more details.

Course Waivers

In the GSE, students have the ability to request a course waiver exempting them from needing to take a required GSE methods or area course. These courses include the methods sequence: EDUC 400A (formerly EDUC 200C), EDUC 400B (formerly EDUC 250B), and EDUC 450A (formerly EDUC 250C); as well as required courses for a student's area or subplan (see that area/subplan's section of the handbook for course requirements). For methods courses, approval is required from the instructor of the course the student is waiving, and for area/subplan courses, approval is required from the advisor and area chair. Students are should obtain written confirmation from the required parties and submit it to the Assistant Director of Degree Programs. The same procedure should also be followed in cases where a student would like to substitute another course in place of an area or methods requirement.

Curriculum Studies and Teacher Education (CTE)

CTE Core Courses Requirements

First year CTE doctoral students are required to take:

  • EDUC 400A
  • EDUC 325A, 325B & EDUC 325C in Autumn, Winter, and Spring Quarters, respectively
  • EDUC 424 in Spring Quarter, followed by EDUC 466 in Autumn of the second year in order to receive support in designing and carrying out a study for their Qualifying Paper (see below)

By the end of the second year, students are expected to have finished the Methodology Core: EDUC 400A (formerly 200C), 400B (formerly 250B), 450A (formerly 250C), and an additional research methods course of their choosing (this course should be at or above the 200 level and be a minimum of 3 units). Also see the relevant sections of this Handbook for more details.

These are the only course requirements for CTE students. Students work with their advisors to develop their Graduate Study Program (“GSP”).

Course offerings within CTE:

First Year Review

See the First-Year Review section for review requirements that apply to all Areas. The CTE review portfolio should contain the following materials:

  • A selection of two or three papers written by the student during their first year in the doctoral program
  • A one- to two-page summary or outline of possible research area, possible research questions, and possible design for Qualifying Paper 
    • The final product for EDUC 424 may be used instead of the one- or two-page summary or outline if the First Year Review is held late enough in the Spring quarter. If the First Year Review is held before the final paper for EDUC 424 is due, students may use the one- or two-page summary described above. During the First Year Review, faculty will provide feedback on the research area and questions, including scope, and help students think about a feasible, small study they can conduct in their  second year. This study will be the basis for the Qualifying Paper and Second Year Review (see below)
  • A transcript of the first two or three quarters of work at Stanford (an unofficial transcript printed from AXESS is fine)
  • The preliminary GSP, to be reviewed and signed by the program advisor(s) at the first year review
  • The Preliminary Review Evaluation forms, located in  the “Forms” section of the GSE website

Students are responsible for assembling copies of this portfolio and delivering them, two to three weeks in advance of the review, to the faculty members participating in the review. Students should check with faculty to determine how far in advance of the review meeting the portfolio should be delivered and whether faculty request a hard copy or emailed version.

The student’s advisors (or advisor and at least one other faculty member selected by the advisor and the student) will meet to discuss and review the portfolio. The review will conclude with an appraisal of the portfolio and an assessment of the student’s prospects for completing the doctoral program. The student’s primary advisor will complete a Preliminary Review Evaluation form, based on a personal review and the other reviewer’s feedback from the First-Year Review. The student will forward the signed GSP and Preliminary Review Evaluation form to the Director of Degree Programs. After the Director of Degree Programs has reviewed the signed preliminary GSP and evaluations of the First Year Review committee, the results will appear on the students’ record on Axess. If the preliminary GSP is not approved, it will be returned to the student with a request for the student to make the required additions and/or corrections. After the appropriate changes have been made in consultation with the advisor, the GSP should be returned to the Director of Degree Programs for further review.

Second Year Review

The Second-Year Review is the qualifying process for advancement to doctoral candidacy. (See the Second-Year Review section for review requirements that apply to all Areas.) It is also known as the Sixth-Quarter Review.  A committee of three faculty members appraise the student’s research skills and preparation for work on the doctoral dissertation. The Second-Year Review should be scheduled prior to the first day of the seventh quarter (see the Second-Year Review section for more details on this policy). It is possible to request an extension with advisor approval to do the Second-Year Review during the seventh quarter; see the Doctoral Forms page for the Second-Year Review Extension form. Note: the Second-Year review and Dissertation Proposal Hearing cannot happen within the same meeting.

For the Second-Year Review, the primary advisor and co-advisors or two other faculty members selected by the advisor and the student (three faculty members total) will review a portfolio of material including the following:

  • A Qualifying Paper, the requirements of which are outlined below
  • The CTE Second-Year Review forms, which can be obtained from the GSE website
  • Unofficial transcripts from AXESS
  • A schedule for remaining degree work which includes a time frame for the dissertation proposal, research, oral exam, and dissertation submission
  • A list of possible faculty members to serve on the Dissertation Reading Committee ( if the Second-Year Review Committee is identical to the Reading Committee, students may take the Doctoral Dissertation Reading Committee form with them to the review in order to obtain the signatures of the committee members)
  • The preliminary Graduate Study Program (GSP), a copy of which can be obtained from the Doctoral Programs Officer, plus a newly updated final GSP for Review Committee approval. Because course offerings, academic interests, and goals change, the preliminary GSP can differ from the final GSP, with Committee approval

Doctoral Qualifying Paper

The doctoral qualifying paper (or QP) has two purposes: The first is to provide the student with  direct experience in conceiving, designing, carrying out, and writing up an original piece of research before the student sets out on their dissertation. The second is to demonstrate that the student is capable of undertaking a doctoral dissertation that meets the academic standards of this university. (See "GUIDELINES FOR CTE QUALIFYING PAPER" for more detailed information about the content and expectations for the QP.)  See in FAQs below, "Where can I find examples of successful QPs?" for location of guidelines on the GSE site.

The qualifying paper (QP) must be a work of original research.  In carrying out the  QP study, the student should address a research question by collecting and analyzing original data or primary materials, or by analyzing an existing data set. In structure, format, and length, the QP should be modeled on articles in a scholarly journal that the student, in consultation with the adviser, has identified as appropriate for the research undertaken. The student should be able to identify at least one published article that has served as a guide or model for the present paper. The QP should adhere to publication guidelines of the identified journal; thus length and format of papers may vary. Except in exceptional circumstances, the QP should not exceed 60 double-spaced pages.

The committee reviewing the QP can reach one of the following four possible decisions:

  • A satisfactory or better completion of the requirement
  • Acceptable with completion of revisions, as agreed upon by the committee and provided to the student in writing, to the satisfaction of the advisor
  • Requiring revision and resubmission for review by the committee. The resubmission must be submitted by __________ (due date). Student should submit a cover memo specifically indicating how the revisions addressed concerns indicated during the review. The Office of Academic Services will be notified that the student is required to re-submit if s/he wishes to be considered for advancement to candidacy
  • Failure to demonstrate the capacity necessary to proceed to the dissertation, for reasons agreed to by the committee and attached to the CTE Qualifying Review Summary Sheet

Preparing for and writing the QP

Although students are encouraged to be thinking about possible research topics from the time they begin the doctoral program, work on the QP commences in the spring of the first year, in EDUC 424. In that course students will read extensively in areas that they would like to explore for possible QP research topics. Students will read articles in detail, study how educational researchers report their findings, and review research in an area of interest. By the end of that course students should be familiar with at least one area in some depth, although not necessarily exhaustively. Students will at a minimum have identified possible questions they might pursue initial study designs. Depending upon how clear or focused the students’ research interests are, they may also be able to begin drafting a proposal for the possible study.

Over the summer, after the first year, students should read extensively in possible research areas and think about a study they could design to answer an interesting and useful question in one of these areas. In the fall of the second year, students will take EDUC 466. This course provides continued support as students shape research questions and design a study to address them. Students read published articles closely in order to understand in more detail the genre of academic writing in education. At the end of this course, students produce an approximately 5-8,000-word proposal that justifies and describes the study they will conduct for their QP.

The timeline and milestones outlined above reflect typical progress toward completion of the QP. However, students enter the program with varying degrees of clarity about their research interests and differences in prior research experience. Progress on the QP will vary because of these factors and other individual differences.

FAQs

What should be the scope of a QP study?   The QP study should be fairly modest in scope. For many QP studies, you should be able to collect all data in approximately a quarter, most likely in winter of your second year, although some students begin in late fall. You can also do a QP with an existing dataset, which means you will not have to collect your own data. As with all other questions about the QP, check with your advisor.

Where can I find examples of successful QPs?  There is a QP archive at https://ed.stanford.edu/academics/doctoral/cte (go to bottom of page and login with your SUNnet ID) where successful QPs have been posted.. Ask your advisor if they have examples of successful QPs you can see. Keep in mind that different advisors can have different criteria regarding length, scope, and other features. Be sure to check with your advisor regarding QPs they consider useful exemplars.

Does QP have to be a pilot for the dissertation? No. It can be, but it's not required.

After 466, is there a course that provides support for writing up the QP? Not specifically. If there is interest among students, an individual faculty member might agree to meet, as a group, during the winter and/or spring quarters. Check with your advisor about enrolling in directed research units with your advisor while you work on your QP. This will give you more time to focus on your QP.

Is there an expectation that QPs will be submitted for publication?  No, submission for publication is not an expectation. You are encouraged to try and publish your QP if you wish, but it's not an expectation.

If my QP is not a pilot for my dissertation, how will the QP help me with my dissertation? Even if it's not a pilot, the QP should help in at least 2 ways: First, the QP will provide experience in conceptualizing, planning, and carrying out an original piece of research. This will be extremely helpful when it comes time to carry out your dissertation research. Second, your dissertation can comprise 3 or 4 standalone and ready-to-submit-for-publication manuscripts rather than a single long write-up of a study*. One of these standalone manuscripts could be your QP or a paper based on your QP.  Even if you do not publish your QP or include it as part of your dissertation, conducting and writing up a QP will provide you with useful experience in producing this type of writing. 

* Consult with your advisor about appropriate structure for your dissertation. You have two basic options: the typical monograph or 3-4 standalone, close-to-submission ready papers. The following guidelines for including published or "ready-for-publication papers" as part of your dissertation come from the registrar's office.(http://studentaffairs.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/registrar/files/e...)

Published Papers and Multiple Authorship

The inclusion of published papers in a dissertation is the prerogative of the major department. Where published papers or ready-for-publication papers are included, the following criteria must be met:

1. There must be an introductory chapter that integrates the general theme of the research and the relationship between the chapters. The introduction may also include a review of the literature relevant to the dissertation topic that does not appear in the chapters.

2. Multiple authorship of a published paper should be addressed by clearly designating, in an introduction, the role that the dissertation author had in the research and production of the published paper. The student must have a major contribution to the research and writing of papers included in the dissertation.

3. There must be adequate referencing of where individual papers have been published.

4. Written permission must be obtained for all copyrighted materials; letters of permission must be uploaded electronically in PDF form when submitting the dissertation. A sample permission letter is included in this packet on page 16.

5. The submitted material must be in a form that is legible and reproducible as required by these specifications. The Office of the University Registrar will approve a dissertation if there are no deviations from the normal specifications that would prevent proper dissemination and utilization of the dissertation. If the published material does not correspond to these standards, it will be necessary for the student to reformat that portion of the dissertation.

6. Multiple authorship has implications with respect to copyright and public release of the material. Be sure to discuss copyright clearance and embargo options with your co-authors and your adviser well in advance of preparing your thesis for submission.

Developmental and Psychological Sciences (DAPS)

The Committee on Developmental and Psychological Sciences, one of three Area Committees within the GSE, is responsible for graduate training and research leading to the Ph.D. degree.

The program in Developmental and Psychological Sciences (DAPS) emphasizes disciplined inquiry aimed at understanding psychological functioning and/or human development in relation to all forms of formal and informal learning and teaching contexts. The goal of the program is to develop theory and research for the improvement of educational practice in education. Consequently, faculty and student research is centrally concerned with the psychology of learning, teaching, socialization, and developmental processes as well as with research on the design of learning environments and technologies for learning. The program prepares students for professional careers in scholarly research and in teaching. Students in the program acquire knowledge and expertise in several substantive domains of scientific psychology, as well as, research methodology, and embrace the highest scientific, professional and ethical standards.

Historically, psychological research in education has often been divided into several categories with labels such as Educational Psychology, Counseling Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Educational Measurement, and the like. In some graduate training programs there are further subdivisions; within Educational Psychology, for example, research on Learning and Instruction has often been distinguished from research on Teaching and Teacher Education. These subcategories persist because they identify well-known professional associations, societies, and scientific journals, and DAPS graduates may choose to affiliate with one or another of them. However, DAPS faculty believe that imposing divisional boundaries can also stifle new initiatives, syntheses, and other evolutionary changes in the field. For example, new research on the design of developmentally appropriate, technology-supported learning environments cuts across several categories. There are also new initiatives that combine psychology with other disciplines such as neuroscience. Importantly, in DAPS as a doctoral research training program, faculty treat all such divisions as identifying individual specializations within the general program, not as formally separate subprograms or sub-areas.

Faculty expect all DAPS students to develop an understanding and appreciation of psychological and developmental research in education in the broadest sense, as well as to develop their own specialty within it. This means working with faculty advisors to develop one’s own specialization statement. It also means building a graduate study plan that ranges across the major domains of psychology relevant to education as it is broadly defined.

Program and Objectives

Core Courses

All DAPS students are required to take a minimum of four (4) of the following courses during their graduate training program:

Please note that not all courses will necessarily be offered during a given year; refer to explorecourses.stanford.edu for course schedules. The core courses are designed to provide students with the necessary foundational (theoretical and methodological) skills required to understand the major psychological, social, and developmental issues in educational research and practice.  To support the development of methodological skills these courses include assignments in the form of reasonably constrained, small-scale research projects or shorter exercises.  It is expected that some projects may be of a quality that is reportable at a scientific or professional meeting. It is not expected that a research project conducted in a core course will lead into the dissertation research, though that possibility is not precluded.

A new feature of the DAPS core course requirement is EDUC 465 which is offered to first and second year DAPS/LSTD students.  This is a voluntary seminar led by a faculty member with strong student input and support that is offered for one unit of credit each quarter.  Students can take the seminar up to 6 times. Importantly, if a student enrolls for EDUC 465 and completes the seminar at least 3 times this will count toward one of the core course requirements. 

Students who would like to request permission to count a course not on this list as a DAPS core course should fill out this petition, have it signed by their advisor, and submit it to the Assistant Director of Degree Programs for review. Courses taken within the Stanford Graduate School of Education as well as courses taken at Stanford in departments outside of Education (for example, Psychology) may be petitioned to count as DAPS core courses. Courses taken outside of Stanford may NOT be petitioned to count as DAPS core courses.

Additional Courses Offered by DAPS Faculty

Program Advisors

Near the end of the first year of the program and as the student prepares for the 3rd quarter review, the DAPS doctoral student, in conjunction with her or his primary advisor, selects a second advisor who serves in this capacity until the student advances to doctoral candidacy.

The Primary Advisor

Upon acceptance into the program, DAPS faculty assign an initial program advisor to the incoming student based on identified special interests. The faculty advisor ordinarily serves as a student’s “primary” advisor for at least the first year of residence. The student consults with the advisor about course choices, research experiences, and other aspects of his or her program. The primary advisor is responsible for signing programs of study and other official documents and will arrange for advisement when off-duty for any extended period.

The Second Advisor

During the first Autumn Quarter, students will become acquainted with other faculty members, in part through the required DAPS core courses, the Proseminar core course, and other GSE courses. Students should also take other opportunities to discuss common interests with faculty members. During Winter Quarter, students will choose a second advisor, having discussed options with their primary advisor. Since the role of the second advisor is to provide breadth to advisement and training, students are encouraged to choose a second advisor whose interests do not overlap substantially with those of the primary advisor. Students have several options. The second advisor may be chosen from within DAPS, from another Area Committee in the GSE, or from another department in the University, as best fits the student’s special interests. However, students should note that faculty within Developmental and Psychological Sciences will be more familiar with the role of the second advisor than will faculty in other GSE programs or from departments outside of the GSE.

The second advisor’s responsibilities end following successful completion of the student’s Second Year Review (the 6th quarter). Students then have only one official academic advisor who represents their interests in departmental affairs and who must be a member of DAPS and meet other advisor requirements (e.g., member of the GSE faculty and Academic Council). This may be the primary or second advisor or another DAPS faculty member whom the student has chosen to serve as dissertation advisor. If a student chooses a dissertation advisor from an Area other than DAPS or a school other than the GSE, the student must also retain a DAPS academic co-advisor.

Approval from the proposed new (e.g., second) advisor, the existing primary advisor, the DAPS Area Chair, and Associate Dean for Student Affairs is required for advisor updates or changes. The relevant form and procedures are on the GSE website.

Changing Advisors

DAPS uses a two-advisor system to ensure that students have ready access to a range of advice in formulating and pursuing their program. The first year of graduate work will expose students to many new ideas; it is not unusual for students to shift away from areas proposed as specializations at application time. If a change of advisor seems appropriate given these or other important circumstances, students may request the change by using the appropriate GSE form, which can be found on the GSE Intranet. The DAPS Area Chair is a third advisor to all students as well as an ombudsman who endeavors to resolve points of concern or dispute among or between students and faculty members. Approval from the proposed new advisor, the existing primary advisor, the DAPS Area Chair, and the Associate Dean for Student Affairs is required for advisor updates or changes.

Preliminary and Specialty Review

A portfolio system is used to document student progress throughout the program. Students should begin developing the portfolio during the first quarter and use it to organize their program and plans. As students progress through the program, preparation and experiences are reviewed periodically by the DAPS faculty. Normally, formal review occurs at two points in a student’s career: (1) a Preliminary Review conducted at the conclusion of the first year (third quarter); and (2) a Specialty Review conducted at the conclusion of the second year (sixth quarter). See below for a description of Preliminary Review portfolio contents.

The Preliminary Review

The Preliminary Review is a comprehensive review of all aspects of a student’s graduate work. The review allows the faculty to consider the breadth and depth of the student’s preparation to date and the adequacy of future plans for coursework, research experience and professional training. The intent of the Preliminary Review is to facilitate progress by providing informative and constructive feedback about academic and research accomplishments and plans. Most students complete the Preliminary Review satisfactorily, usually with some recommendations or requirements for additional and/or change in coursework.  Once these are satisfactorily addressed, as determined by the DAPS Area Chair in consultation with the student’s Academic Advisor, results are posted on the students’ record on Axess.

See the Degree Milestones section for general First-Year Review requirements that apply to students in all GSE Areas.

The Portfolio

The portfolio should contain the following materials, in the order specified below. Students may assemble hard copies of the portfolio or distribute electronic copies of the portfolio depending on the faculty member’s choice.  A copy of the portfolio should be delivered to each member of his or her First-Year Review Committee at least two to four weeks before the Review date.

Portfolio Contents

  • A copy of the original Statement of Purpose from the admissions application, which can be obtained from the Doctoral Programs Officer.
  • An unofficial Stanford transcript printed from AXESS.
  • An explanation for any incomplete grades and a plan for fulfilling of incompletes.
  • A preliminary Graduate Study Program (GSP). The GSP should include the courses required of all DAPS students as outlined in the above sections. Both the first and second advisors must sign the original copy of the GSP during the Review.
  • A description of previous and current professional activities. This statement, typically 2-3 pages long, should describe developing capabilities as a researcher and as a teacher. It should cover (1) experiences to date, (2) priorities for further development, and (3) future plans.
  • Curriculum vitae. This will include post-secondary degrees earned and in progress, professional experiences, professional honors or awards received, publications and/or presentations, professional memberships, significant professional services and other relevant information.
  • Major course papers and exams including, but not restricted to, all such products from courses offered by the DAPS faculty. When possible, submit copies with original comments from the course instructor.
  • Accompany the set of writing samples with a brief statement explaining why each one was chosen for inclusion. Explanations might refer to the kinds of writing proficiencies each piece illustrates, specific areas of interest or competence the piece addresses, or perhaps particular problems students would like to discuss with the Preliminary Review committee. A minimum of three writing samples should be included. There is no maximum, but it is not helpful to submit an excessive amount of material. The set of writing samples as a whole should be chosen to give a good picture of the student’s developing professional competencies, especially proficiency in academic writing.
  • Research reports, for example, including publications, conference presentations, technical reports, and any other papers on which you are an author or co-author.
  • Any other relevant scholarly or professional documents (e.g., certificates from professional workshops attended).

Work Statements

In addition to the materials outlined above, the student must also arrange for at least two work statements (evaluation letters) from faculty or others with whom they have worked regarding the nature and caliber of their work. These work statements are to be given directly to the student; they are not confidential. Email is acceptable. They should be included in all three copies of the portfolio. Written statements are required even if the faculty member providing the statement is expected to be present at the Preliminary Review meeting. Work statements typically have two parts: one paragraph describing the student’s strengths and the nature of experiences to date, and the other describing areas where further growth or improvement is desirable. Typically, students request these letters from their first advisor and Stanford research supervisors. Students may also request letters from additional faculty or others with whom they have worked since beginning doctoral training at Stanford.

If requesting statements from faculty outside of DAPS, some suggested wording for a statement request might be:

This is a request for a brief statement regarding my work with you. This statement will be reviewed by faculty in the Developmental and Psychological Studies (DAPS) Program for the purposes of the Preliminary Review and will be included in my review portfolio. The Preliminary Review in DAPS is a collaborative process involving students as well as faculty, and so I will also read the statement you provide. Work statements typically have two parts: one paragraph describing my strengths and the nature of my experiences to date, and the other describing areas where further growth or improvement is desirable. It would be helpful if your comments documented the nature of the work I have done with you and the qualifications and skills involved. An email response is all that is required.

Student Procedures

  • Obtain advisor approvals and sign the GSP.
  • Assemble Preliminary Review materials during the third quarter and review it with the primary and secondary advisors before submitting it to the Preliminary Review Committee.
  • Schedule the review date and communicate the date and committee composition to the Doctoral Programs Officer.
  • The committee should include the primary and secondary advisors as well as one additional faculty member chosen in collaboration with the primary advisor. Committee composition rules are outlined in the Dissertation Reading Committee section.
  • Provide each member of the Review Committee with a copy of the portfolio at least two to four weeks before the Review date.
  • On the scheduled date, meet with your three-member committee to discuss your progress in the program. The portfolio is the central focus of this meeting.
  • Recommendations and requirements are formulated based on discussion and recorded on the Preliminary Review Summary Sheet and signed by all faculty attending.
  • Submit the signed Preliminary Review Summary Sheet and preliminary GSP to the Doctoral Programs Officer.

Students should retain a complete copy of their portfolios. It will be necessary to update and submit the Preliminary Review portfolio as part of the sixth quarter Specialty Review.

First Year Research Project and Poster Presentation

Because DAPS follows an apprentice research training model students are expected to become engaged in a research project during their first year in the program.  This can be research carried out with the student’s advisor or with another member of the faculty.  The research can take several different forms, for example, original data collection on a project the advisor is conducting, becoming a member of a research team and taking responsibility for some part of a research project, doing secondary analysis on a data set provided by a faculty member.

As a continuation of their first year program, all DAPS/LSTD students in the autumn of their second-year will participate in a poster session presentation attended by faculty and students. Posters are intended to summarize students’ first year research project.  Ideally the student poster will summarize empirical findings from a study conducted by the student, but may also include original data obtained from the advisor or another source.  The poster will be prepared in consultation with the student’s advisor and will be similar to a poster presentation at a professional conference.  Students will make a 5-7 minute oral presentation of the research summarized on the poster.  This will be followed by individual discussions of their work with faculty and others in attendance at the DAPS/LSTD poster session. 

The final part of the research requirement is the writing up of a Second Year research report that should be done in consultation with your advisor.  The Second Year research report becomes a part of the Specialty Review – Part I. 

Specialty Review (Second-Year Review)

The purpose of the 6th quarter Specialty Review is to enable the faculty to determine whether students are prepared to move on to dissertation research. The review includes assessment of all coursework, grades, research activities and research documents, especially the final write-up of the student's Second-Year Project and the Qualifying Paper. The successful completion of the sixth quarter Specialty Review is intended to reflect a judgment that the student is capable of doing dissertation-level work, not only in his/her area of specialization, but also in DAPS more generally. Upon successful completion of the Specialty Review, students must apply for Advancement to Candidacy. See the Second-Year Review section for general requirements that apply to Second-Year Reviews for all Areas. The Specialty Review is made up of two parts: I and II.

Part I of the Specialty Review is an update of the Preliminary Review Portfolio, with particular emphasis on the report of the Second-Year Research Project. The primary and secondary advisor and one additional faculty member chosen by the primary advisor in collaboration with the student, to determine that his/her research competence is at a level sufficient to begin a dissertation study, evaluate each student’s progress. Specific committee composition requirements are outlined in the Dissertation Reading Committee section. The particular competencies expected might depend upon the modes of inquiry that a student anticipates using in her/his dissertation research. Also considered is the student’s ability to integrate, evaluate and communicate the research literature on a substantive topic. On occasion, recent research reports done for other classes or an integrative literature review within the student’s area of concentration may also be included to document developing competencies.

To prepare for the first part of the Specialty Review, the student will update the Preliminary Review Portfolio to include the following:

  • A summary statement of evidence that any outstanding requirements (e.g., completion of Incompletes, recommended course work) of the Preliminary Review have been satisfied. This statement should be co-signed by the advisor.
  • A schedule for completing remaining degree work (e.g., remaining coursework, other research, dissertation, oral examination).
  • Suggestions of possible faculty for a dissertation reading committee.
  • An update of the Preliminary Review statement of previous and current research activities, providing specific information about the experiences that have prepared the student to undertake the research tasks involved in a dissertation study.
  • Updated Curriculum Vitae.
  • A copy of the proposed final Graduate Study Program (GSP).
  • An unofficial Stanford transcript from AXESS.
  • A copy of the second-year project research report.
  • A copy of the DAPS Specialty Review Summary Sheet, available online from the GSE Intranet.

Part II. The primary goals of Part II of the Specialty Review are threefold: (1) provide the student with an opportunity to develop early expertise about a domain of research and carefully organize his/her expertise into an informative Qualifying Paper; (2) facilitate the student’s exploration of possible dissertation trajectories; and, (3) generate a document that reflects a sustained effort and provides an evaluation point for advancement to candidacy. The Specialty Review meeting itself provides the student with the opportunity to gain feedback and guidance from the faculty readers regarding his/her research direction and plans for the future.

Students will write a Qualifying Paper that builds on the past and present empirical and theoretical literature. In developing the Qualifying Paper the student will present a thesis and an argument, rather than a general overview. The specific content and the format of the paper will be determined by each student in collaboration with their primary advisor. There is some margin of flexibility in how a student approaches the preparation of the Qualifying Paper. Some possible alternatives include: A major literature review around an unresolved debate; a largely empirical paper describing the students’ own research and findings; a single authored manuscript that has been prepared for journal submission; or a focused paper that presents a potential research direction and methodology for study. The Specialty Review Qualifying Paper will be approximately 6,000 words in length (excluding references) and, if appropriate, contains figures and tables.

Timeline

The Specialty Review should be completed in the Spring Quarter of the second year. Please refer to the Second Year Review section for more information on this requirement.

Specialty Review Meeting- Procedures for the Student

·         Schedule a joint appointment with the primary and second advisors and one additional faculty member chosen by the primary advisor. Provide the date and committee composition to the Doctoral Programs Officer. See the Committee Composition section on p. 18 for more information.

·         Portfolio materials should be distributed to Review Committee members at least two to four weeks in advance of the Review date. The appropriate form for Specialty Review evaluation from the Specialty Review meeting, the student and committee will evaluate the Specialty Review materials, discuss any necessary revisions to the final Graduate Study Program (GSP), and consider recommendations for future work.

·         The committee will conduct an oral assessment based on the Specialty Review Qualifying Paper; this discussion is usually completed within one hour, but may run longer if necessary.

·         If the committee is satisfied with the student’s progress toward degree completion and preparation to begin dissertation-level work, the committee will indicate this on the Specialty Review Summary form. If the committee determines that the student’s progress does not meet all of the requirements for the Specialty Review, the advisor on behalf of the committee will describe what actions must be taken before the student can fully pass the Specialty Review and advance to doctoral candidacy. In either case, all committee members sign the Specialty Review Summary form that the student then submits to the Doctoral Programs Officer along with a signed final GSP.

·         The results of the Specialty Review will be posted on the students’ record on AXESS. When appropriate, the advisor will further discuss the results of the final review with the student.

Satisfactory completion of the Specialty Review is required before a dissertation proposal may be submitted for oral review or a student advances to candidacy. The Specialty Review and Proposal Hearing may NOT happen at the same time. If students pass the Specialty Review subject to requirements (e.g., subject to the removal of incompletes or satisfactory completion of work required), then they may submit a dissertation proposal for oral review as soon as these requirements have been met.

Planning the Dissertation Research

The Dissertation Proposal may be developed and submitted any time after successful completion of the Specialty Review. The proposal should be conceptually concise, methodologically detailed, and clearly written. It may include the results of pilot work and prior data on measuring instruments where appropriate. The proposal should demonstrate its theoretical grounding and relation to educational practice.

There should be a review of the relevant literature (although this does not need to be an exhaustive review), and the review may be presented as an appendix. It may also be that the student has prepared a previous paper that consists of an exhaustive review of literature in which case the student may cite this paper as an indication of knowledge of the research area. There should also be discussion if appropriate of probable uses of the results expected and potential pitfalls in the approach taken. The main body of the proposal (excluding references and appendices) should not exceed 25 double-spaced typewritten pages. Liberal use of appendices (e.g., for pilot studies or literature reviews) is encouraged.

The dissertation proposal should conclude with an estimated budget that the student might prepare with the consultation of their advisor. The budget should offer a realistic estimate of the costs (e.g., travel, copying, transcription of interviews, etc.) associated with carrying out the study to completion. If possible, sources of funding to assist the student with the dissertation should be provided.

Beyond these guidelines, a formula for good proposals cannot be given. Form follows function, and the variety of investigative approaches and styles in psychological research is substantial. For ideas, students should look to discussion with advisors and examples from relevant literature (e.g., Psychological Bulletin). Examples of previously approved Dissertation Proposals may be available from your advisor, the Area Chair, or in Cubberley Library.

History of the Developmental and Psychological Sciences Program at Stanford University

Overview

Psychology in education at Stanford can be traced back to the creation of the university in the 1890s. However, the first formal program in psychology and education was organized in the early 1960’s under the title of Psychological Studies in Education (PSE). PSE continued until the spring of 2010 when the faculty decided to rename its program – Developmental and Psychological Sciences (DAPS). This change was made to align the program with contemporary perspectives in developmental studies and with advances in the psychology of learning and teaching that reflect cognitive, social, and neuroscience research methodologies and findings.

Leland and Jane Stanford had specified a Department of History and Art of Education in their founding grant. David Starr Jordan, who had been President at Indiana University, became the first Stanford President; the Indiana connection would prove to be especially productive for both psychology and education at Stanford in the coming decades.

President Jordan appointed Earl Barnes from Indiana as one of his first faculty members, and a one-man Department of Education, in 1891. Barnes taught the history of education, but he also began courses and research projects to pursue his interest in child study, following the style of G. Stanley Hall, one of the pioneers of American developmental psychology. However, Barnes abruptly resigned for personal reasons in 1897 and the Chair went to E.H. Griggs, a professor of ethics. The ethics and education departments were then combined and Griggs hired another of Jordan’s former associates from Indiana, Ellwood P. Cubberley, as an assistant professor to cover the education side.

When Griggs suddenly left Stanford in 1898, Cubberley was given a probationary period by Jordan to prove that education could be made a scientifically respectable field of scholarship. Cubberley did so using his background in physics, but also his growing knowledge of psychology gained from study leaves to Columbia’s Teachers College, where he worked with the famous psychologists J. McKeen Cattell and E.L. Thorndike, among others.

The Department of Education prospered, especially after Cubberley was made Professor of Education in 1905. In 1908, he hired John A. Bergstrom, also from Indiana, as the first Stanford Professor of Educational Psychology. Bergstrom died within a year, so the position was next offered to Lewis M. Terman, Bergstrom’s former Indiana student, starting in 1910. Also arriving on the faculty in 1911 was Jesse B. Sears, who had been an undergraduate at Stanford and then a graduate student at Chicago and Columbia as well as Wisconsin.

Sears and Terman became close friends and colleagues. Although Sears went on to teach in educational administration and research on school surveys, it is noteworthy that his diverse graduate work included studies with three of the founding fathers of educational psychology: John Dewey, Charles Judd, and E.L. Thorndike.

It is also noteworthy that Sear’s son Robert conferred with Terman while a Stanford undergraduate, and chose his career in psychology as a result; Robert Sears ultimately returned to Stanford in the 1950’s to become Professor of Psychology, Department Chair, and then Dean of Humanities and Sciences. Terman’s son Frederick, meanwhile, became a radio engineer, then Dean of Engineering at Stanford, and finally an illustrious Provost; Fred Terman was the academic advisor of Hewlett and Packard, and is regarded as the “Father of Silicon Valley.”

Psychology in education owes its lasting place at Stanford to Lewis Terman. With Cubberley and Sears as strong supporters, Terman pursued programs of research that placed Stanford on the psychological map. He pioneered the longitudinal approach to research on child development with his study of gifted children, and he mounted other major studies on the health and welfare of children and their development both in and out of schools. Both Fred Terman and Robert Sears, incidentally, were subjects in Terman’s study for gifted children. So was Lee J. Cronbach, whose career in educational psychology and measurement would also bring him to the Stanford education faculty. Robert Sears and Cronbach eventually became co-directors of the Terman Gifted Children Project at Stanford.

As Terman built the psychology emphasis in education, Cubberley continued to strengthen the GSE faculty in other directions. The GSE was founded in 1917 with Cubberley as its first Dean. It has progressed ever since, from strength in history, to the development of professional dimensions of education in curriculum, teacher training, educational administration, and international development, and then into social sciences, statistics, and philosophy related to education and educational research.

Meanwhile, the Stanford Psychology Department had been established in 1892 with Frank Angell, a psychophysicist and student of Wilhelm Wundt, as chair. In 1899, Lillian Martin, also a psychophysicist, was added. The two were excellent teachers, but unproductive researchers, and the department remained undistinguished. Only one Ph.D. was produced in the Angell years, and this came from “psychical” research funded by bequests from Leland Stanford’s youngest brother, T.W. Stanford. The recipient, J.F. Coover, became a psychology faculty member. However, the term “psychological science” later appeared in T.W. Stanford’s will (apparently due to the influence of Jordan) and then-President Ray Lyman Wilbur took advantage of this wording to start, finally, a successful psychology department.

Unfortunately, Cubberley, Angell, Coover, Terman, and Wilbur were unable to cooperate. They failed to agree on what was “basic” and what was “applied,” but they also had radically different views of the future for psychology at Stanford. For the next faculty appointment, Angell and Coover wanted a clinical neurologist and abnormal psychologist named S.I. Franz. Cubberley and Terman wanted the young Karl Lashley whom Terman saw as the future of basic neuropsychology. Ultimately, it was E.L. Thorndike who advised Cubberley and Wilbur that Terman should head psychology at Stanford, not the others; in Thorndike’s words, he was one of the “most promising younger men in psychology.” Terman became head of the Stanford Department of psychology in 1922.

Terman’s psychology group consisted of: W.R. Miles in experimental psychology; Coover: C.P. Stone, who was a Lashley student; Maud Merrill, who was Terman’s student and coworker; and Gertrude Trace, appointed by Angell. Soon, however, Terman expanded. E.K. Strong was added in 1923; he became famous for his research on vocational interests.

Truman Kelley, a joint appointment in educational and psychological statistics, also came in 1923. When Kelley moved to Harvard, his student Quinn McNemar joined the faculty in 1933. Terman also appointed Paul Farnsworth in 1925 and Ernest Hilgard in 1933. Along with Terman and Merrill, McNemar and Hilgard also held appointments in the GSE, beginning in 1935 and 1937, respectively. Hilgard remained a Professor Emeritus of Education and of Psychological Studies in Education, until his death in 2001.

The table below sketches the history of the initial faculty in education and psychology after the 1930s. Terman’s view of psychology within the progressive education movement had three aspects or dimensions that have been represented within psychological studies in education, in one way or another, ever since. In the table, three columns identify these dimensions: Counseling and Health Psychology (CHP), Child and Adolescent Development (CAD), and Educational Psychology. Faculty members are listed in whichever column represents their principal emphasis, but it should be understood that all contributed to psychological studies in education as a whole, beyond their particular specializations. The fourth column shows other Stanford faculty members who have held courtesy appointments in the GSE and who have made significant contributions to education and psychology over the years.

In the 1940s, H. Bonner McDaniel began a formal program in guidance counseling. John Krumboltz, who introduced doctoral research in modern counseling psychology, joined him in 1961. Lois Meek Stolz, from the Department of Psychology, promoted the child development emphasis, until Pauline Sears joined the GSE in 1953. Pauline was the daughter of David Snedden, a Stanford education faculty member, who along with Robert Sears was inspired by Terman while an undergraduate at Stanford. Robert and Pauline married, forming a life-long partnership for research in the psychology of child development.

Lloyd Humphreys, a Psychology Department graduate, taught educational psychology. Arthur Coladarci and his student Frederick McDonald built this field further. A major further addition was Nathaniel L. Gage, who had pioneered psychological research on teaching. When Gage and Lee J. Cronbach arrived in the early 1960’s, along with John Krumboltz in counseling, they joined with Coladarci, McDonald, and Pauline Sears to formally organize the program as Psychological Studies in Education (PSE).

After nearly six decades the program in Counseling Psychology was discontinued in 2003. Students in the program were allowed to continue until they completed all requirements for the Ph.D. including their mandated APA internship. By every measure the program was a success.

Beginning in the fall of 2010 the program changed its name to Developmental and Psychological Sciences (DAPS) and the lines between educational psychology and child and adolescent development were relaxed so that students with their advisors could determine how they want to specialize within DAPS.

The table on the next page shows the continuing flow of faculty along the three dimensions of DAPS (formerly PSE) to the present day. The deanships of I. James Quillen (1953-1966), H. Thomas James (1966-1970), Arthur Coladarci (1970-1979), Marshall Smith (1986-1992), Richard Shavelson (1995-2000), Deborah Stipek (2000-2011; 2014-15), Claude Steele (2011-2014), and Dan Schwartz (2015- ) have marked particular growth periods, but there has never been a period of significant retrenchment. The alumni of PSE/DAPS now number close to a thousand and include many leading researchers in colleges and universities and public and private education and research agencies.

Developmental and Psychological Sciences - Historical Outline

Lewis Terman, 1910-1942
Maud Merrill, 1920-1953
Quinn McNemar, 1935-1965
Ernest Hilgard, 1937-1969

Counseling/Health

  • H.B. McDaniel 1947-1968
  • John Krumboltz 1961-2015
  • Carl Thoresen 1967-2000
  • Steven Zifferblatt 1970-1976
  • Susan Krantz 1980-1983
  • Teresa LaFromboise 1985-

Child & Adolescent

  • Lois Meek Stolz 1946-1957
  • Pauline Sears 1953-1972
  • Edith Dowley 1967-1975
  • Joan Sieber 1967-1970
  • Robert Hess 1968-1987
  • Sueann Ambron 1973-1979
  • Alfredo Castaneda 1973-1979
  • Martin Ford 1980-1993
  • Amado Padilla 1988-
  • Robbie Case 1989-1999
  • Rafael Diaz 1989-1995
  • Kenji Hakuta 1989-2003: 2006-2017
  • Brigid Barron 1995-
  • Robert Roeser 1996-2004
  • William Damon 1997-
  • Deanne Perez-Granados 2000-2007
  • Na'ilah Nasir 2000-2009
  • Deborah Stipek 2000-
  • Jelena Obradovic 2009-
  • Bruce McCandliss 2014

Educational Psychology

  • Lloyd Humphreys 1949-1952
  • Arthur Coladarci 1952-1970
  • Frederick McDonald 1956-1968
  • Nathaniel Gage 1962-1987
  • Lee Cronbach 1964-1980
  • Richard Snow 1967-1997
  • Robert Calfee 1969-1998
  • Richard Shavelson 1970-72
  • Lyn Corno 1978-1980
  • Edward Haertel 1980-2015
  • Lee Shulman 1982-1997
  • James Greeno 1987- 2003
  • David Rogosa 1991-
  • Clea Fernandez 1995-1996
  • Richard Shavelson 1995-2010
  • Michael Kamil 1998-2004
  • Daniel Schwartz 2000-
  • Roy Pea 2001-
  • Sam Wineburg 2002-
  • Paulo Blikstein 2008-
  • Geoff Cohen 2009-
  • Claude Steele 2011-2014
  • Candace Thille 2013-
  • Ben Domingue 2015-
  • Willy Solano-Flores 2016-
  • Ayita Ruiz-Primo 2016-

Other Contributors

  • Robert Sears 1953-1962
  • Alberta Siegel 1957, 1963-1996
  • Richard Atkinson 1961-1965
  • Nevitt Sanford 1961-1967
  • Patrick Suppes 1967-201
  • Frank Hawkinshire 1968-1971
  • Denis Phillips 1974-1995
  • Mark Lepper 1975-2002
  • David Rogosa 1980-1991
  • Marshall Smith 1986-1992
  • Carol S. Dweck 2006-

Note: Charter members of PSE appear in Bold. Years indicate period of service.

Learning Sciences and Technology Design (LSTD)

Learning Sciences and Technology Design Cross-Area Specialization

Mobile multimedia computing devices, networks, and applications are now pervasive throughout society, whether in schools, homes, work, or communities as new tools for enabling and augmenting cultural practices, such as formal education, informal learning, and collaborative work. Computational and communication tools also provide new instruments for investigative research on cognition, learning, and social interaction. Integrations of computing, AI and new digital media provide tools for deeper analyses of learning and teaching situations, and designs for novel architectures of learning, teaching, and assessment. Learning Sciences Research is dedicated to the systematic study and design of the cultural, psychological, and technological processes that support learning and its improvement through learning environment designs.

Learning scientists seek to understand and shape how learning and collaboration is enabled by knowledge, tools and networks, and multiple contexts of socio-cultural experience and layers of social structures.

Our program seeks to integrate student learning of three foundational contributions to the Learning Sciences: The three foundations are theory and research in Culture, Cognition and Computing. By integrating these three foundational areas in its core coursework and methodological foundations, the Learning Sciences and Technology Design Program pays both constructive and critical pedagogical attention to these issues.

Culture: Deepening understanding of the ubiquitous social, material, contextual, and cultural dynamics of being and learning in doing within situations ranging from classrooms to out-of- school settings, to research-practitioner partnerships, including issues of differential access to power.

Cognition: Articulating scientific models of the structures and processes of knowing, learning and teaching of organized knowledge, skills, and understanding, from brain to behavior, and from human to machine intelligence.

Computing: Supporting learning, teaching and collaboration processes through theory-guided design, construction, and uses of multimedia computing, communications, sensing, and human- centered AI.

An illuminating introduction to this field is provided in the Vision Statement of the International Society of the Learning Sciences, ISLS. Also see the Cambridge University Handbook of the Learning Sciences (2015, 2nd edition), and the International Handbook of the Learning Sciences (2018).

Stanford's Learning Sciences and Technology Design program is one of the leading global programs in this rapidly emerging field (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Learning_sciences). In order to prepare scholars with expertise in both the research and design methodologies relevant to technology-enhanced learning environments, the Learning Sciences and Technology Design (LSTD) curriculum includes courses on learning, research, and design, coupled with integrative seminars and explicit apprenticeship activities in research with faculty. The LSTD curriculum builds upon current GSE Area requirements. Students admitted to the LSTD program and one of the CTE, DAPS, or SHIPS Program Areas need to fulfill the requirements in the first year of coursework (and in subsequent years) for their applicable Area and their Area-specific milestones, while simultaneously participating in the “community of learning” for two cohorts: LSTD and either CTE, DAPS, or SHIPS (as applicable).

The curriculum also assumes that students will develop special expertise in learning, design research, computer science, engineering or a cognate field—such as psychology, linguistics, human-computer interaction (HCI), machine learning, neuroscience or data science—as their Ph.D. minor. Students may also elect to design with their faculty advisor(s) the GSE Interdisciplinary Distributed Minor (IDDM), which includes a minimum of 20 course units from non-GSE departments at the 200-level or greater taken at Stanford.

The first LSTD program year emphasizes the development of prerequisite knowledge, typically in courses within the school and university offerings. Students primarily work within the requirements of their Area (e.g., CTE, DAPS, or SHIPS) while developing additional competencies needed for LSTD. Student experiences in the second year and beyond are focused more intensively on the process of integrating the sciences of learning and technology design. These years emphasize the intertwining of distinct competencies and GSE Area perspectives in the application of theoretical, research, and design competencies to the topic of learning being studied.

For LSTD, students must take the following courses and meet the following milestones:

LSTD Proseminar EDUC 291 (Autumn, Winter and Spring Quarters of the first year, and then again for an overall total of nine quarters altogether): As a condition for receiving the Ph.D. with the LSTD cross-area specialization, students are required to attend the colloquium for at least 9 quarters, and they must attend at least five quarters in the first and second year. This colloquium provides a forum for students and faculty to present and critique research relevant to the LSTD doctoral program. The goal is to develop a community of scholars who become familiar with one another's work and can inform each other in the diverse areas relevant to LSTD. The colloquium is also intended to give students practice and feedback pertaining to the arts of presentation and scholarly dialog, while introducing seminal issues and fundamental works in the field.

First Year Project: LSTD students will complete and write-up a first-year project that constitutes a significant component of their first-year review to be conducted in the Autumn of their second year. LSTD students will also need to demonstrate proficiency through coursework or prior achievements (such as course equivalencies), determined in consultation with their faculty advisor, in the following domains:

  • Two courses in research methodology
  • Two courses in design skills (e.g., user experience design, programming, graphic design, robotics, video/film, simulation modeling, animation, industrial design, game development).
  • Two courses on learning (e.g. Introduction to the Learning Sciences, Introduction to Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning).
  • One course on technology from a critical/social scientific/historical/philosophical perspective.
  • One course focused on learning in a disciplinary content area (e.g., mathematics, science, literacy, computer science, engineering, history).

See the “General Education Courses” Section for additional information about these requirements.

Prospective students will also benefit from study of the learning resources provided by NAPLeS— the Network of Academic Programs in the Learning Sciences (NAPLeS) — a network of Ph.D. and Master’s programs in the Learning Sciences. NAPLeS is part of the educational mission of the International Society of the Learning Sciences. The overall mission of NAPLeS is to foster high quality Learning Sciences programs internationally through several mechanisms that support teaching and learning. As one of its founding members, we are glad to report that as of December 2020, 39 universities offering 60 different programs have joined NAPLeS.

Course offerings within LSTD:

Race, Inequality, and Language in Education (RILE)

Race, Inequality, and Language in Education Cross-Area Specialization

Students in R.I.L.E. will complete the core and methodological requisite courses in their base area (C.T.E., D.A.P.S., S.H.I.P.S.), as well as complete a master’s or minor outside the GSE as is required for all GSE doctoral students.  R.I.L.E. students are expected to participate in a regular R.I.L.E. colloquium seminar and select 5 courses that fit R.I.L.E.’s distribution requirements.  R.I.L.E. students should take the Colloquium (EDUC 489) during the Autumn, Winter and Spring Quarters of the first year, and then again for an overall total of at least eight quarters.  This colloquium provides a vibrant forum for students and faculty to present and critique new and original research relevant to the R.I.L.E. doctoral program, to help develop a community of scholars who become familiar with one another's work, and to introduce seminal issues and fundamental works in the field.  The R.I.L.E. courses may double count with courses that satisfy other area and school requirements, as well as come from outside the school (e.g., CCSRE) to keep the overall course burden on students and faculty manageable.  The suggested study plan should include courses in each of three main areas: (1) Issues of race in education; (2) Studies of inequality and schooling; and (3) Linguistic diversity and identity. This course distribution will remain under the purview of the academic advisor. The courses are designed to help students gain an interdisciplinary understanding of the confluence of a broad range of economic, historical, political, social, and cultural factors that sustain and shape relationships among race, ethnicity, language and inequality in education within and across societies.

Photo of SHIPS, DAPS, and CTE with path into RILE

Courses in R.I.L.E.

Area 1: Issues of race in education

Area 2: Studies of inequality and schooling

Area 3: Linguistic diversity and identity

Faculty in R.I.L.E.

Please click here for a current list of R.I.L.E. faculty.

Social Sciences, Humanities, and Interdisciplinary Policy Studies in Education (SHIPS)

The doctoral programs in SHIPS combine two kinds of approaches to research in education. One approach is disciplinary, in which we prepare students to study education issues from one of a wide array of disciplinary perspectives. We call this approach Humanities and Social Sciences in Education (HSS). These disciplinary perspectives include:

  • Anthropology
  • Economics
  • History
  • Linguistics
  • Organizational studies
  • Philosophy
  • Sociology

The other approach is issue based, in which we focus on major issue domains in education that are of particular salience to educational policy. We call this approach Issue Domains in Education (IDE). These issue domains include:

  • Education data science
  • Educational policy
  • Higher education
  • International comparative education
  • Race, inequality, and language in education

The power in the SHIPS approach to doctoral study is the way it opens up the possibilities for educational research that comes from combining the two approaches: deep expertise in a disciplinary tradition (HSS) applied to major issue areas in education (IDE).

The result is a SHIPS matrix:

SHIPS Matrix image

All doctoral students in SHIPS may pursue one of three programs options, enrolling in one of the following:

  • A program in one of the seven HSS disciplines, or
  • A program in one of the five IDE areas, or
  • A dual specialization program in one HSS discipline and in one IDE area

The dual-specialization option draws on the particular strengths of the SHIPS area within the GSE– combining disciplinary expertise and policy relevance, which allows students to apply a deep understanding of a single discipline to a major issue in educational policy. It also gives students a credible dual identity as scholars, which can be helpful in the job market. Students with a dual specialization will earn a Ph.D. from the GSE that lists both programs on the diploma. A key point is that pursuing the joint degree option does not entail taking more total units than pursuing either an HSS or IDE degree.

SHIPS Program Requirements

Humanistic and Social Science Disciplines in Education (HSS)

For students enrolling in one of the disciplinary programs within HSS:

  • Normally a student will complete the equivalent of a master's program in an appropriate department (e.g., sociology, philosophy, economics, etc.).
  • In addition, in consultation with the advisor and program committee, the student will construct a major course of studies in education appropriate to his or her disciplinary specialty from courses and individual studies offered within SHIPS, the GSE, and elsewhere on campus as needed.
  • Students must pursue studies beyond the introductory level in one other field of HSS offered within the program.
  • Students must meet GSE requirements.
  • Beyond coursework, a research apprenticeship is required from each student, to obtain intensive training on an on-going project or undertake supervised fieldwork. If a student plans a career in college teaching, he or she is also encouraged to do some supervised teaching during the graduate career.
  • Students completing one of the disciplinary concentrations in HSS will graduate with a degree in Anthropology and Education, Economics and Education, Educational Linguistics, History of Education, Organizational Studies, Philosophy and Education, or Sociology of Education.

Issue Domains in Education (IDE)

Education Data Science

The program in Education Data Science serves students looking to employ modern data science analyses and computational methods to solve the world’s greatest educational challenges. It offers training in data science skills anchored in educational data, applications, and concerns. Analytically, students are expected to become familiar with statistics, programming languages, computational methods (machine learning, data mining), data visualization, and specialized analytic concerns, such as relational and textual data (network science and text analysis). These skill sets enable students to perform state-of-the-art analyses salient to digital data found in most educational, organizational and web-based companies.

Students will take coursework focused on key data science principles, topics and applications common to the use of data science in education contexts to ensure that they attain a common cohesive base of knowledge and skills with which to pursue academic areas of interest and specialization tracks later in their course plan. Students will also complete data science specializations in their course of study. The areas of specialization are Natural Language Processing, Network Science, Experiments & Causal Methods, Measurement, and Learning Analytics.

Subplan Requirements

Students are required to complete a minimum of 5 courses: 2 education data science core courses, and a minimum of 3 data science specialization courses (1 course each in 3 specializations).

Education Data Science Core Sequence

Central to the curriculum are two required courses uniquely focused on key data science principles, topics and applications common to the use of data science in education contexts. These courses are EDUC 423A: Introduction to Data Management and EDUC 423B: Introduction to Data Science. These courses ensure that students attain a common cohesive base of knowledge and skills with which to pursue academic areas of interest and specialization tracks later in their course plan.

Should a student already possess the background to pursue more advanced courses, potential substitutions should cover data management, data mining, and machine learning:

Data management & mining (choose 1)

  • CS 102 Working with Data - Tools and Techniques
  • CS 145 Data Management and Data Systems
  • CS 246 Mining Massive Data Sets
  • STATS 202 Data Mining and Analysis

Introduction/machine learning (choose 1)

  • CS 129 Applied Machine Learning
  • CS 229 Machine Learning
  • CS 230 Deep Learning
  • CS 234 Reinforcement Learning
  • POLISCI 251A Introduction to Machine Learning for Social Scientists
  • POLISCI 355A Data Science for Politics
  • POLISCI 355B Machine Learning for Social Scientists
  • STATS 191 Introduction to Applied Statistics
Data Science Specializations

Students will also complete data science specializations in their course of study. Students will fulfill this requirement by completing at least one course in three of five available tracks (See Table 1 below). The areas of concentration that will be offered are Natural Language Processing, Network Science, Experiments & Causal Methods, Measurement, and Learning Analytics. These courses are established courses at Stanford University and will allow for inter-professional education of GSE students and graduate students from other departments. We anticipate that these tracks may change overtime with advances in data science.

Table 1: Overview of Specialization Tracks

NATURAL LANGUAGE PROCESSING

Introductory

  • POLISCI 452: Machine Learning with Application to Text as Data
  • LINGUIST 278: Programming for Linguists
  • OB 637: Modeling Culture
  • CS 124: From Languages to Information

Advanced

  • LINGUIST 284/ CS 224N: Natural Language Processing with Deep Learning
  • CS 224U:Natural Language Understanding

NETWORK SCIENCE

Introductory

  • EDUC 316: Social Network Methods (SOC 369)
  • MS&E 135: Networks
  • SOC 379: Methods for Network Analysis

Advanced

  • CS 278: Social Computing
  • MS&E 334: Topics in Social Data
  • ESS 360: Social Structure and Social Networks
  • CS 224W: Analysis of Networks
  • CS 375: Large-Scale Neural Network Modeling for Neuroscience

EXPERIMENTS / CAUSAL METHODS

Introductory

  • EDUC 430B: Causal Inference in Quantitative Educational and Social Science Research
  • EDUC 260A: Statistical Methods for Group Comparisons and Causal Inference
  • POLISCI 355C: Causal Inference for Social Science
  • SOC 304: Experimental Methods in the Social Sciences

Advanced

  • ECON 293: Machine Learning and Causal Inference
  • POLISCI 450B: Political Methodology II: Causal Inference
  • PSYCH 241: Psychometrics and automated experiment design
  • PSYCH 251: Experimental Methods

MEASUREMENT

Introductory

  • EDUC 252: Introduction to Test Theory
  • EDUC 430C: Using Data to Describe the World: Descriptive Social Science Research

Advanced

  • EDUC 252L: Introduction to Test Theory - Lab
  • PSYCH 241: Psychometrics and automated experiment design
  • EDUC 353A: Problems in Measurement: Item Response Theory

LEARNING ANALYTICS

Introductory

  • EDUC 390: Learning Analytics and Computational Modeling in Social Science

Advanced

  • HRMGT 203: People Analytics
  • CS 398: Computational Education

Educational Policy

For students enrolling in the program in Education Policy:

  • In consultation with the advisor and program committee, the student will construct a major course of studies in education appropriate to his or her program interests in Educational Policy from courses and individual studies offered within SHIPS, the GSE, and elsewhere on campus as needed.
  • This program should include at least one course in each of the four main areas within the program: economics, sociology/organization studies, policy, and history.
  • Students must pursue a minor or master's outside the GSE. This can either be a departmental minor, under the terms defined by the appropriate department, or an Individually Designed Distributed Minor. Both require substantial coursework from a department or school within Stanford but outside of the GSE.
  • Students must meet GSE requirements.
  • Beyond coursework, a research apprenticeship is required from each student, to obtain intensive training on an on-going project or undertake supervised fieldwork. If a student plans a career in college teaching, he or she is encouraged to do some supervised teaching during the graduate career.
  • Students completing this program will graduate with a degree in Educational Policy.

Higher Education

For students enrolling in the program in Higher Education:

  • In consultation with the advisor and program committee, the student will construct a major course of studies in education appropriate to his or her program interests in Higher Education Policy from courses and individual studies offered within SHIPS, the GSE, and elsewhere on campus as needed.
  • This program should include the following three courses:
    • EDUC 265/165 - History of Higher Education
    • EDUC 347 - Economics of Higher Education
    • EDUC 355 - Higher Education and Society
  • In addition students must take two electives in higher education.
  • ED 346 – Research Seminar in Higher Education – is not required but is strongly recommended for students who have not had previous training in higher education.
  • Students must pursue a minor or master's outside the GSE. This can either be a departmental minor, under the terms defined by the appropriate department, or an Individually Designed Distributed Minor. Both require substantial coursework from a department or school within Stanford but outside of the GSE.
  • Students must meet GSE requirements.
  • Beyond coursework, a research apprenticeship is required from each student, to obtain intensive training on an on-going project or undertake supervised fieldwork. If students plan a career in college teaching, they are encouraged to do some supervised teaching during the graduate career.
  • Students completing this program will graduate with a degree in Higher Education.

Course offerings within Higher Education:

International Comparative Education

For students enrolling in the program in International Comparative Education (ICE):

  • In consultation with the advisor and program committee, the student will construct a major course of studies in education appropriate to his or her program interests in International Comparative Education from courses and individual studies offered within SHIPS, the GSE, and elsewhere on campus as needed.
  • This program should include the following courses:
    • EDUC 202 - Introduction to Comparative and International Education
    • EDUC 306A and 306D - ICE core sequence on education and development (EDUC 306B is recommended but not required)
  • Students must pursue a minor or master's outside the GSE. This can either be a departmental minor, under the terms defined by the appropriate department, or an Individually Designed Distributed Minor. Both require substantial coursework from a department or school within Stanford but outside of the GSE.
  • Students must meet GSE requirements.
  • Beyond coursework, a research apprenticeship is required from each student, to obtain intensive training on an on-going project or undertake supervised fieldwork. If students plan a career in college teaching, they are encouraged to do some supervised teaching during the graduate career.
  • Students completing this program will graduate with a degree in International Comparative Education.

Course offerings within International Comparative Education:

Dual Specialization in HSS and IDE

For students enrolling in a joint degree program including one program in HSS and one in IDE:

  • In consultation with the advisor and program committee, the student will construct a program that meets the requirements of both his or her HSS program and his or her IDE program.
  • Students must meet School of Education distribution requirements.
  • Beyond coursework, a research apprenticeship is required from each student, to obtain intensive training on an on-going project or undertake supervised fieldwork. If students plan a career in college teaching, they are encouraged to do some supervised teaching during the graduate career.
  • The dual degree program will require no more units in total than a program in HSS or IDE.
  • Students completing this program will graduate with a degree listing both areas of specialization, one in HSS and the other in IDE.

First-Year Review

During the third quarter of enrollment, usually the Spring Quarter of the first year, in the program, each student shall submit a portfolio containing:

  • A preliminary Graduate Study Program (GSP) signed by the advisor.
  • An unofficial transcript from AXESS.
  • An explanation of any "incompletes" and when the incompletes will be removed.
  • A finalized plan for a doctoral minor or a disciplinary master's (as appropriate).
  • Copies of two class papers to illustrate writing and analytic abilities.
  • Three copies of a short (2-3 pages) statement of purpose describing the rationale for the proposed GSP including future research interests and plans.

A copy of the portfolio should be submitted to each Review Committee member individually at least two weeks before the Review date.

There should be a face-to-face meeting between the student and a committee made up of two or three faculty members. The number of committee members is up to the discretion of the advisor. One member should normally be the program advisor; the other one or two members should, if possible, be acquainted with the student's class work, or work as an RA). At least two members of the committee must be GSE academic council faculty. See the Committee Composition requirements. The SHIPS First-Year Review committee is a special case that permits two faculty members instead of the usual three. After the review meeting, the student will submit the signed SHIPS first-year review form and preliminary GSP to the Doctoral Programs Officer. After these documents are submitted, the results of the first-year review will be posted on the student's record on Axess.

Only in extreme cases, a student can petition for an extension of the deadline for the First-Year Review (see the First-Year Review section). The petition should be endorsed by the faculty advisor, and it will be considered by the SHIPS Area Committee in Executive Session.

Second-Year Review (Qualifying Review)

During the sixth quarter of enrollment, normally the Spring Quarter of the second year, in the doctoral program, students shall submit a portfolio containing:

  • An unofficial transcript from AXESS.
  • A final Graduate Study Program (GSP) ready for approval by the advisor and Area Committee.
  • A copy of the Qualifying Paper (QP).

A copy of the portfolio should be submitted to each Review Committee member individually at least two weeks before the Review date.

The QP shall be read by three faculty members (one being the advisor, and the other two either assigned by the advisor or by the Area Chair). The Second-Year Review committee must have at least three faculty members (see the Committee Composition section).

The QP and the rest of the portfolio will be discussed with the student in a review meeting no later than a few days before the final SHIPS Area Committee meeting of Spring Quarter with the three faculty readers who comprise the Review Committee. The faculty will have reviewed in advance the qualifying paper and the portfolio. The QP will be deemed one of the following: acceptable as is; acceptable with minor revisions or addendum; acceptable if a revised and resubmitted paper is approved by the committee; or unacceptable. After the review meeting, the student will submit the signed SHIPS second-year review form and final GSP to the Doctoral Programs Officer. After these documents are submitted, the results of the second-year review will be posted on the student's record in Axess. If the results are favorable, the student will be eligible for advancement to candidacy as soon as they submit a signed and completed Application for Doctoral Candidacy (all forms available on the GSE Website, under current students>forms). If the results of the Review are unacceptable, the advisor should confer with the Area Chair and the Associate Dean for Student Affairs on the appropriate course of action.

See the Second-Year Review section of the handbook for more details on the second year review, including the expected timeframe and procedure for requesting extensions.

Dissertation Proposal Hearing

Doctoral students are expected to complete a dissertation proposal during the fourth year. Students who plan to do extensive field research should plan to complete the proposal by the end of the third year.

Contact Information

Academic Services & Administration

Academic Services
acadserv@gse.stanford.edu

Associate Dean and Director of Academic Services
Shu-Ling Chen
shulingchen@stanford.edu

Assistant Director of Degree Programs
Kate McKinney
kbmckinney@stanford.edu

Director Admissions & Financial Aid
Loida Feliz
loifeliz@stanford.edu

Admissions & Academic Services Officer
Wesley Horng
wjhorng@stanford.edu

Admissions & Community Engagement Officer
Kim McCabe
kgmccabe@stanford.edu 

Assistant Director of Degree Programs
Caroline Stasulat
stasulat@stanford.edu

STEP Program Officer/ Credential Analyst
Viviana Alcazar
valcazar@stanford.edu

Assistant Director of Degree Programs
Tommy Liu
liutommy@stanford.edu

Admissions and Community Engagement Officer
Kim McCabe
kgmccabe@stanford.edu

Academic Services Administrator
Terrance Turner
tturner2@stanford.edu

GSE EdCareers
Director of EdCareers Office
Nereyda Salinas
edcareers@stanford.edu

Administration
Dean, Graduate School of Education
Dan Schwartz
daniel.schwartz@stanford.edu

Associate Dean for Student Affairs
Bryan Brown
brbrown@stanford.edu

Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs
Tom Dee
tdee@stanford.edu

Senior Associate Dean for Finance & Administration
Geoff Cox
gcox@stanford.edu

Head Librarian, Cubberley Library
Kathy Kerns
650-723-2121
kkerns@stanford.edu

Area Chair, CTE
Hilda Borko
hildab@stanford.edu

Area Chair, DAPS
Amado Padilla
apadilla@stanford.edu

Area Chair, SHIPS
Eric Bettinger
ebetting@stanford.edu

Area Chair, LSTD
Roy Pea
roypea@stanford.edu

Area Chair, RILE
Arnetha Ball
arnetha@stanford.edu

Email Lists

There are a number of listservs used in the School of Education community, and students are subscribed to the lists that serve their cohort, as well as to the general list for doctoral students at School of Education. Students must be subscribed to the lists in order to post to them. Click here to view the list of emails.

Stanford University Honor Code

In the spring of 1921, after a seven-Year campaign by the student body, the first campus-wide honor system was formally adopted by the University. The code underwent various changes through the years, most recently in the spring of 1977.

The standard of academic conduct for Stanford students is as follows:

  1. The Honor Code is an undertaking of the students, individually and collectively:
    • That they will not give or receive aid in examinations; that they will not give or receive unpermitted aid in class work, in the preparation of reports, or in any other work that is to be used by the instructor as the basis of grading;
    • That they will do their share and take an active part in seeing to it that others as well as themselves uphold the spirit and letter of the Honor Code.
  2. The faculty on its part manifests its confidence in the honor of its students by refraining from proctoring examinations and from taking unusual and unreasonable precautions to prevent the forms of dishonesty mentioned above. The faculty will also avoid, as far as practicable, academic procedures that create temptations to violate the Honor Code.
  3. While the faculty alone has the right and obligation to set academic requirements, the students and faculty will work together to establish optimal conditions for honorable academic work.

Examples of conduct which have been regarded as being in violation of the Honor Code include:

  • Copying from another’s examination paper or allowing another to copy from one’s own paper
  • Unpermitted collaboration
  • Plagiarism
  • Revising and resubmitting a quiz or exam for re-grading, without the instructor’s knowledge and consent
  • Giving or receiving unpermitted aid on a take-home examination
  • Representing as one’s own work the work of another
  • Giving or receiving aid on an academic assignment under circumstances in which a reasonable person should have known that such aid was not permitted

In recent years, most student disciplinary cases have involved Honor Code violations; of these, the most frequent arise when a student submits another’s work as his or her own, or gives or receives unpermitted aid. The standard penalty for a first offense includes a one-quarter suspension from the University and 40 hours of community service. In addition, most faculty members issue a “No Pass” or “No Credit” for the course in which the violation occurred. The standard penalty for a multiple violation (e.g. cheating more than once in the same course) is a three-quarter suspension and 40 or more hours of community service.

Note: students may not use the same paper or other coursework to satisfy the requirements of more than one course or degree.

Stanford University Fundamental Standard

The Fundamental Standard has set the standard of conduct for students at Stanford since 1896. It states:

“Students at Stanford are expected to show both within and without the University such respect for order, morality, personal honor and the rights of others as is demanded of good citizens. Failure to do this will be sufficient cause for removal from the University.”

Over the years, the Fundamental Standard has been applied to a great variety of situations. Actions which have been found to be in violation of it include:

  • Physical Assault
  • Property damage; attempts to damage University property
  • Theft, including theft of University property such as street signs, furniture, and library books
  • Forgery, such as signing an instructor’s signature to a grade change card
  • Sexual harassment or other sexual misconduct
  • Charging computer time or long distance telephone calls to unauthorized accounts
  • Misrepresentation in seeking financial aid, University housing, discount computer purchases, or other University benefits
  • Misuse of University computer equipment or e-mail
  • Driving on campus while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Sending threatening and obscene messages to another student via e-mail, phone or voice-mail

There is no standard penalty that applies to violations of the Fundamental Standard. Infractions have led to penalties ranging from formal warning and community service to expulsion. In each case, the nature and seriousness of the offense, the motivation underlying the offense, and precedent in similar cases are considered.

Doctoral Programs Degree Progress Checklist

Consult the GSE Doctoral Handbook and Stanford Bulletin for your year of admission for detailed PhD requirements.

  • Maintained enrollment or registration status in each quarter of the regular academic year (i.e., autumn, winter, and spring) unless on an approved leave of absence.
  • Satisfied English language proficiency for international/foreign students.
  • Completed First-Year (a.k.a., Third-Quarter or Preliminary) Review.
  • Submitted preliminary Graduate Study Program (GSP).
  • When applicable, prior graduate credit from another institution transferred to Stanford. Consulted Doctoral Programs Officer regarding forms and potential residency implications.
  • Completed Second-Year (a.k.a., Sixth-Quarter or Specialty) Review. This is the qualifying process for doctoral candidacy and includes a Qualifying Paper.
  • Submitted final Graduate Study Program (GSP).
  • Applied for doctoral candidacy. Candidacy application is consistent with final Graduate Study Program (GSP), with no incomplete or missing grades.
  • Maintained valid candidacy status (or pre-candidacy status before advancing to candidacy) at all times. Pre-candidacy is valid for two years from the start of the PhD program, and candidacy is valid for five years after advancement.
  • Completed disciplinary minor or master’s requirement outside of education. PhD Minor, Interdisciplinary Distributed Minor (IDDM), or Stanford MA/MS declared or finished, when applicable. (Can be satisfied by a prior, non-Stanford MA/MS when outside of Education and approved by advisor and review committee.)
  • Earned at least 135 units of doctoral residency credit
  • Completed all courses listed on final Graduate Study Program (GSP) and Doctoral Candidacy form with passing grades. Includes PhD Minor or Stanford MA/MS courses, when applicable.
  • Completed dissertation proposal and hearing.
  • Dissertation Reading Committee formed and paperwork submitted.
  • Changes to courses listed in final Graduate Study Program (GSP) and Candidacy Application were made via Academic Program Revision form, when applicable.
  • Oral Examination scheduled. Forms and dissertation drafts submitted at least one month in advance.
  • Dissertation revisions completed and final drafts submitted to Registrar’s Office by the published deadline.
  • Applied to graduate online via AXESS before the published deadline for the quarter in which you graduate. Resolved any enrollment, or other, holds before graduating.

GSE Open Access Policies

An Open Access Motion was passed unanimously by the faculty of Stanford Graduate School of Education (GSE) on June 10, 2008 and a similar motion was passed by Stanford GSE doctoral students between May 21-24th, 2013 with 95% support. These motions commit the faculty and students to making a copy of their peer-reviewed journal articles publicly and freely available through the Stanford GSE Open Archive. The motions exemplify the faculty and student’s commitment to sharing as widely as possible what we been able to learn about education from our research and scholarship.

https://openarchive.stanford.edu/policy