Stanford Electrical Engineering

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Applying for Full-Time Graduate Study

The Electrical Engineering department offers the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) and Master of Science (M.S.) degrees to students who are looking for full-time graduate study (the Ph.D. degree is offered exclusively as a full-time program). More information regarding our Ph.D. and M.S. degrees, as well as the department’s research interests, can be found on our Admissions homepage.

The department's degrees are highly flexible, and allow students a wide range of options in the courses they study. Information on each degree's specific requirements can be found in the Electrical Engineering Graduate Handbook. We are also able to offer various forms of financial assistance to our full-time students. Please refer to our Financial Assistance page for more information regarding these opportunities.


To be eligible for admission to the full-time M.S. or Ph.D. program, applicants must meet one of the following conditions:

  • Applicants must hold, or expect to hold before enrollment at Stanford, a bachelor’s degree from a U.S. college or university accredited by a regional accrediting association.
  • Applicants from institutions outside the U.S. must hold the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor’s degree from a college or university of recognized standing. For the minimum level of study required of international applicants, please refer to the International Applicants page on Stanford's central Office of Gradate Admissions website. 

Applicants may apply to only one (1) graduate program at Stanford per academic year.

How to Apply

Applications for full-time study toward the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees are accepted for Autumn quarter start only. All application materials must be received by the below application deadline:

Proposed Start Quarter Application Deadline
Autumn 2014-2015 December 10, 2013

All applications must be submitted via Stanford’s Online Application System.

Paper applications are not available; the central Office of Graduate Admissions does not provide paper applications for any reason.

Required Materials

The materials outlined below are required if this is your first time submitting an application for graduate study to the EE department. If you have previously submitted an application for graduate study to the EE department, please consult our FAQ section for further instructions.

1. Transcripts (Academic Records) [+/-]

a. Required Institutions

Academic records must be submitted from the following:

The institution where you earned or expect to earn your bachelor's degree
The institution where you earned or expect to earn your master's degree
If Applicable
Any additional postsecondary institutions you attended for at least one (1) academic year as a full-time student
If Applicable

b. Guidelines for Submitting Transcripts

Two modes of submitting transcripts are required:

  • Official transcripts (2 copies) must be mailed to our department at the below address:
    Stanford University
    Department of Electrical Engineering
    Graduate Admissions Office
    350 Serra Mall
    Stanford, CA 94305-9505
    • International applicants: If the official transcripts are in a language other than English, please submit two (2) copies in the original language and two (2) copies of the official English translation. For complete requirements regarding official transcripts, please read the Transcript (Academic Record) guidelines on Stanford's central Office of Graduate Admissions website. 
    • If the name listed on your transcript is different from the name you used to apply to our program, please send an e-mail to with the pertinent information.


  • Unofficial transcripts (preferably scans of the official transcript) must be uploaded to the "Educational History" section of the online application.
    • List your bachelor's degree institution FIRST ("Post-Secondary Institution 1").
    • All uploaded transcripts should be legible and in English (the original-language version is not required to be uploaded for international transcripts).

2. Test Scores (GRE and TOEFL) [+/-]

a. Required Exams

The table below summarizes the exams you may be required to take. Please consult the Educational Testing Service website for more information about the exams (including when scores will be released) and to register for the exams.

Exam Name
Required For...
Scores Valid For...*
Graduate Record Exam (GRE)
All applicants
5 years
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
Applicants whose first (native) language is not English
18 months

*For Autumn 2014 applications: GRE scores must be from July 1, 2008, or later, and TOEFL scores must be from March 1, 2012, or later.

b. Guidelines for Submitting Test Scores

Two modes of submitting test scores are required:

  • Official test scores must be reported directly to Stanford from Educational Testing Service (ETS). Stanford’s ETS institutional code is 4704; an individual department code number is not necessary. As long as the 4704 institutional code is selected, the score will be electronically delivered to Stanford.
    • If the name and/or birthdate you used to register for the exam is different from the information you provided in your application, please send an e-mail to with the pertinent information.
  • Unofficial test scores must be reported on the online application. If you have already submitted your application without the scores, you may self-report your scores by sending an e-mail to with the following information: test date, score for each section, and percentile for each section (GRE only).

c. TOEFL Minimum Requirements

Please refer to the Required Exams page on Stanford's central Graduate Admissions Office website for details on Stanford's minimum TOEFL requirements. Note that, if your TOEFL score falls below the University's minimum requirements and you are admitted, Stanford may require you to take an English placement exam and/or take English classes.

d. TOEFL Exemptions and Exceptions

Applicants who earned a bachelor’s or master’s degree from an institution where English is the primary language of instruction may be eligible to receive an exemption or exception from the TOEFL requirement, but some restrictions apply. For more information on TOEFL exemptions and exceptions, please refer to the Required Exams page on Stanford’s central Office of Graduate Admissions website.

TOEFL exception requests are reviewed and approved by Stanford’s central Office of Graduate Admissions. They will send you an e-mail notification once a decision has been made. 

3. Statement of Purpose [+/-]

Applicants are required to provide a statement of purpose. Note, only one (1) file may be uploaded in the online application for the statement of purpose.

  • In your statement of purpose, you should succinctly describe your reasons for applying to the proposed program, which may include:
    • Preparation for this field of study,
    • Motivation for graduate study,
    • Why our program is a good fit for you,
    • Future career plans,
    • Other relevant aspects of your background and interests,
    • Interest in specific research at Stanford or specific Stanford faculty (if applicable).
  • There is no word limit, but it should not exceed two (2) pages in length, single-spaced.
  • Make sure to set your computer to a Western European or other English-language setting. (We cannot guarantee the ability to access your statement if it is submitted in other fonts.)

4. Letters of Recommendation (3) [+/-]

A maximum and minimum of three letters of recommendation are required.

a) Choosing Your Recommenders

Our admissions committee is charged with evaluating your aptitude and motivation for graduate study. Therefore:

  • Letters should come from academic (or professional) references that speak to your academic and/or research background.
  • Recommenders should know you well and be able to comment on your strengths, as well as your potential for graduate study.

b) Submission Guidelines

  • All recommendations must be submitted via the online application system. Paper copies sent via post will not be accepted. The online recommendation submission system is easy to use and has been thoroughly tested.
  • All letters of recommendation must be received by the application deadline in order to guarantee that your application will be reviewed in its entirety.
  • If you submit more than three (3) letters of recommendation, only the first three (3) that you list will be reviewed, as our department accepts a maximum of three letters of recommendation.
  • Please do not wait for all of your letters of recommendation to be submitted before submitting your application. The online recommendation system will remain open for your recommenders until they submit their letter. You may view the status of received letters of recommendation on your status page.
  • Should any of your recommenders experience technical difficulties with the online letters of recommendation process please refer them to our application database provider's Letters of Recommendation Help page or have them submit an online help request form directly to our application database provider. 

5. Application Fee [+/-]

A nonrefundable application fee of $125 is required for each application submitted to a graduate program at Stanford University. The fee must be paid through the payment section of the online application. The only accepted method of payment is by credit/debit card (Visa or MasterCard only). To request an application fee waiver, please see the Graduate Application Fee Waivers page on Stanford's Graduate Diversity Staff Council website. The EE department is not authorized to grant application fee waivers.

Online Application System

Application Link

Click on the above link to access the application gateway. Before starting your application, read all the material in the links on the left side of the page, under “Starting Your Application.”

You may also use the above link to return to your saved application. After you check the agreement box and click “Start Application,” you will need to log in with your ApplyWeb username and password.

Activity Status Page
Use the above link to check the status of your transcripts, test scores, and letters of recommendation. You will not be able to view the status of transcripts and test scores until after you submit your application (allow up to two (2) weeks). You may edit your recommenders from this page at any time before the deadline.


Decision Notification and Acceptance

Admission decisions will be distributed via e-mail by the second week of March. Decisions will not be posted on your Activity Status Page, nor will they be given out by phone or e-mail before the official notification is sent via e-mail.

The letter you receive via e-mail serves as your official decision letter; we do not mail any decision letters via post.

Admitted students should follow the directions for responding to an offer of admission on Stanford’s Central Office of Graduate Admissions website. Directions will also be provided to admitted students in the offer of admission letter.

Stanford is a member of the Council of Graduate Schools and is committed to the Council of Graduate Schools Resolution. Therefore, we hope that all admitted students will take a moment to review Stanford’s policy regarding accepting financial awards.


Full-Time Application Timeline and Deadlines

October All GRE and TOEFL tests should be taken in early fall to ensure a timely submission.
December 10, 2013 Application deadline for full-time M.S. and Ph.D. programs (all supporting materials must be received).
Mid-March Target date for all applicants to be notified of admissions decisions. All admissions decisions will be communicated via e-mail.
April 15 Deadline for admitted students to respond to offers of admission via Axess, including offers of funding.
May Deadline to apply for on-campus housing using the Stanford online registration system.
September New Graduate Student Orientation. More information on this event will be distributed to newly-admitted students over the summer.