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Applying to STEP

Application Requirements

The STEP application process gives applicants the opportunity to display their full range of experience, education, and enthusiasm for teaching. We carefully review and consider every application.

The online application for the STEP 2018-2019 program is now closed.

1. Application Form

The application process is conducted entirely online through the Office of Graduate Admissions.  Please complete and submit Stanford's graduate online application.

Applicants for 2018-19 program will start during the summer quarter of 2018, which is part of Stanford's 2017-18 academic year. Please indicate summer 2017-18 as your application start term.

2. Application Fee

A non-refundable application fee of $125 is required with the submission of the online application. Please visit Graduate Admissions for information on fee waiver eligibility and process.

3. STEP Essay

To complete the STEP application, applicants must write a STEP-specific essay responding to the prompt below.

STEP Essay

  • In 750-1250 words, please describe your educational background, your experience working with youth, and your interest in teaching. 
  • Please specify your interest in teaching a particular subject matter area at the secondary level (STEP Secondary, Single-Subject program) or your interest in teaching at the elementary level (STEP Elementary, Multiple-Subject program). 
  • In addition, explain your views on the role of education in society and your reasons for wanting to enter the teaching profession.  Indicate how your strengths, skills, and experiences might contribute to the STEP community.

Personal Statement (Optional)

  • Applicants may choose to write an optional second essay answering the general prompt on the online application. 
  • One or both essays should be submitted electronically with the online application by uploading them into the personal statement section.
  • If submitting two essays, please combine them into one document before uploading.
  • The essay should be typed, single-spaced, and a maximum of three pages in length.

4. Resume

Resumes are required of all applicants and should be uploaded after the essay(s).

5. Three (3) Letters of Recommendation

  • Applicants are required to submit three letters of recommendation. 
  • The online application will prompt applicants to identify and provide email addresses for their recommenders.
  • Applicants should notify recommenders that they will receive an email prompting them to submit their recommendation online.
  • The Stanford Graduate School of Education  only accepts online recommendations through the application system; Stanford GSE cannot accept mailed, emailed or faxed recommendations.
  • The letters of recommendation should speak to an applicant’s commitment to the profession, character, work ethic, academic ability, and general fit for STEP.  Instructors, supervisors and colleagues who have observed an applicant’s work with youth are often good choices for writing letters of recommendation.

6. STEP Supplemental Form and Fellowship Application

The STEP supplemental application is required of all applicants.  It is included in the online application.  If interested in receiving a STEP fellowship, applicants should complete the fellowship section found on the supplemental information form in the online admissions application.

7. College and University Transcripts

To complete the online application, applicants are required to upload transcripts as a PDF document. Transcripts that are mailed, emailed or faxed will not be accepted. Transcripts should be submitted for any institution at which an applicant has studied for at least one year. Upon admission, admitted students will be required to submit official transcripts by mail.

Concerning Course Work Completed in a Study Abroad Program

If the course work and grades are reflected on the transcript from a home institution, it is not necessary to submit original transcripts from the study abroad institution.

Concerning Foreign Institutions

If an institution provides a transcript in a language other than English, applicants must also submit a translation of the transcript that is either provided by the institution or a certified translator.

8. STEP Transcript Summary

In a separate document, applicants must summarize all college course work following the format below. The applicant should include any courses in which they are currently enrolled or plan to take before enrolling in STEP. Please upload this transcript summary along with the transcripts in the online application.  This summary does not replace official transcripts.

Please group courses under the following headings:

  1. English
  2. Fine Arts (art, drama, music, etc.)
  3. Foreign Languages, grouped by language
  4. Humanities (philosophy, religion, speech, etc.)
  5. Mathematics
  6. Natural Sciences (biological and physical sciences)
  7. Social Science (history, economics, political science, sociology, psychology, anthropology, geography)
  8. Other (business, education, physical education, etc.)

Example: Social Science

Year Dept. & Course Number Title Institution Units Grade
Qrt Sem
Aut 08 Poli Sci 183 Criminal Justice UCSD 5 A
Wtr 09 Psych 101 General Psych UCSD 5 B+
Aut 10 Soc 01 Intro Sociology Scripps 4 B
Spr 10 Econ 151 Econ Analysis Scripps 4 A-

Testing Requirements

1. GRE

The GRE is required of all Graduate Applicants*. 

  • Applicants are required to take the GRE General Test before the application deadline.
  • The University strongly encourages all applicants to take the GRE General Test before submitting the application and by November 30.
  • GRE Subject Test scores are not required.
  • Scores must be from an examination taken within the last five years from the application date.
  • Be sure to take the test in time for your scores to be received at Stanford by the application deadline.

Stanford Institution code: 4704 (no department code is required).

GRE website

*Current Stanford undergraduate students who apply to a coterminal program at the Graduate School of Education are not required to submit GRE scores.


Stanford University requires the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) from all applicants whose native language is not English.

  • The Test of Written English (TWE) portion of the TOEFL is not required.
  • Applicants who have completed a four-year bachelor's degree or a two-year master's program (or its equivalent) in the U.S. or at an institution where English is the main language of instruction are not required to take the TOEFL.
  • The Graduate School of Education requires a minimum TOEFL score of 250 for the computer-based test, 600 for the paper-based test, or 100 for the internet-based test to be considered for admission.
  • The test may be taken no earlier than 18 months prior to the application deadline. Be sure to take the test in time for your scores to be received at Stanford by the application deadline.

For more information on TOEFL requirements, please see the FAQ - TOEFL.

Stanford Institution code: 4704 (no department code is required).

TOEFL website

3. California Basic Skills Requirement

A basic skills examination is required of all admitted students.

  • Applicants residing in California should take the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) by the application deadline and receive passing scores prior to the start of the program in June.
  • Applicants residing outside of California admitted to STEP will need to pass the CBEST no later than the end of their first quarter in the program. Some out of state basic skills exams can be used in lieu of the CBEST.  To verify eligibility Out-of-State Basic Skills Exams Guide to find your state's basic skills exam.
  • Multiple Subject candidates may also choose to take the CSET: Writing Skills exam to meet the basic skills requirement.
  • The Basic Skills Requirement can be satisfied with other options. For more information please see Commission on Teacher Credentialing Basic Skills Requirement.
  • All admitted STEP students must satisfy the basic skills requirement before they can assume daily teaching responsibility in their placements.
  • If you have previously passed the exam, include a score report with your application.

CBEST website

Stanford reporting code: 327

4. California Subject Matter Competence Requirement

Only STEP teacher candidates who have demonstrated satisfactory subject matter competence may assume daily classroom student teaching.

Subject Matter Competence – STEP SECONDARY (Single Subject Candidates)

STEP Single Subject Candidates** must demonstrate subject matter competence in one of the following two ways:


California Subject Exam for Teachers (CSET)

The CSET is the primary way to verify your subject knowledge. Due to California credentialing requirements we do not accept subject matter competency tests from other states. We strongly urge applicants to take the CSET before applying to STEP. Applications will be reviewed if candidates have not taken the exams or have not received their results by the application deadline.

To begin the program in June, however, applicants must pass a minimum of two CSET subtests in their intended teaching subject. Candidates must ultimately pass all subtests by January of their program year.

**STEP Secondary Science Applicants - When registering for the CSET please choose the "Science" series (not "Foundational Science").  All Science applicants should take subtest 118 and 119 in addition to their subject specific area (ie Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science or Physics - subtests 120, 121, 122, or 123).  Keep in mind only two subtests are required to start the program. All three subtests will be required by January of the program year.

**STEP World Languages Applicants – CSET subsets for World Languages applicants are only available during specific 4-week testing windows. Follow this link to learn more about the testing windows.

CSET single subjects exams are now offered as a computer based test, year round, Monday through Saturday in California and across the country.  STEP applicants should plan on taking the CSET no later than March 31, 2018. Advanced registration is required. 

Please visit California Basic Educational Skills Test page for information on test date locations, registering for the exam and test preparation materials.

If you have previously passed any of the exams, include a score report with your application.

CSET Stanford reporting code: 582


Subject Matter Program:

Certain California institutions have been approved by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC) to offer subject matter programs (essentially, specialized majors) that meet state requirements for subject matter competence, in lieu of the approved exams. This program verifies you have completed the course work (undergraduate or graduate level) that the university feels is critical to a solid subject matter understanding. If you are completing/have completed one of these approved subject matter programs, contact the teacher education department at your institution for an evaluation of your course work.

Subject Matter Competence – STEP ELEMENTARY (Multiple Subject Candidates)

STEP Multiple Subject Candidates must demonstrate subject matter competence by completing the California Subject Exam for Teachers (CSET).

We urge applicants to take the CSET before applying to STEP. Applications will be reviewed if candidates have not taken the exams or have not received their results by the application deadline. Multiple subject applicants are expected, however, to take the CSET Multiple subject exam and pass two of the three subtests before the program. Candidates must ultimately pass all subtests by January of their program year.

Applicants to STEP Elementary should plan on taking the CSET no later than March 31, 2018.  CSET: Multiple Subject is computer based and offered year round in California and across the country, Monday – Saturday. Advanced registration is required.

If you have previously passed any of the exams, include a score report with your application.

Please visit California educator credentialing examinations website for information on test dates and locations, registering for the exam and test preparation materials.

CSET Stanford reporting code: 582