FAQ's


Program Related Questions     ↑up

Q: Do you have to be a Computer Science undergraduate major to apply?

Q: If I already have a MS or Ph.D. degree in Computer Science from another institution, may I apply to the MS or Ph.D. program at Stanford?

Q: Are my units transferable?

Q: Do you accept visiting scholars, exchange students, and postdocs?

Q: Where can I find housing information?

Q: What is HCP and how do I apply to that program?

Q: If I am accepted into the HCP program, can I go Full-Time once I enroll?

Q: What is NDO and how do I apply to that program?

Q: If I take NDO classes, does that mean I will automatically get into the CS Masters program if I apply?

Q: How many units from my NDO courses can I transfer to the HCP program if I apply and am accepted?

Q: When will I receive my I-20 form?

Q: Does the CS department offer a MS/Ph.D. program?

Q: How can I find out more about course requirements for the CS Master's or Ph.D. program?

Q: Where can I find information about the CS Master's program?

Q: Where can I find information about the CS Ph.D. program?

Q: How am I assigned an advisor?

Deadlines and Application process Questions     ↑up

Q: Where do I get an application?

Q: How do I submit an On-line application?

Q: What are the application requirements?

Q: What is the application deadline?

Q: If I previously applied, can my application be re-activated?

Q: What supporting documents should I send and where?

Q: Can I reapply to the MS or Ph.D. program?

Q: Can I get a waiver on the application fee?

Q: Where can I list my publications and website?

Q: How long is the statement of purpose?

Q: How do I find out about the status of my application?

Q: How/When will I be notified of the admissions committee decision?

Q: What if I don't receive notification about an admissions decision by the posted decision date?

Q: If I am admitted to a CS graduate program, can I defer admission?

Q: What is your GPA requirement?

Q: How do I calculate my major GPA?

Q: What do I put for my overall GPA and max GPA at your school on the online application form?

Q: Can I apply to start in Winter or Spring Quarter?

GRE/TOEFL Questions     ↑up

Q: Do I need to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)?

Q: Do I need to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)?

Q: How recent must my TOEFL scores be?

Q: When should I take the GRE/TOEFL?

Q: What are the minimum GRE scores required to apply to the Computer Science MS or Ph.D. program?

Q: What is the TOEFL recommendation?

Letters of Recommendation and Transcript questions     ↑up

Q: Should I send an updated transcript with my fall quarter/semester grades?

Q: I've been working for several years and it's difficult to get 3 letters of recommendation from former professors. Will you accept letters from my employer or supervisors?

Q: How should my recommenders send their letters?

Q: Is a CV or resume required?

Financial Aid Questions     ↑up

Q: Do you offer financial support for MS students?

Q: Do you offer financial support for Ph.D. students?


Answers:

Q: Do you have to be a Computer Science undergraduate major to apply?

A: No, it is not required that a student have majored in CS but it is important that you have strong quantitative and analytical skills.

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Q: If I already have a MS or PhD degree in Computer Science from another institution, may I apply to the MS or PhD program at Stanford?

A: No, if you already have a MS degree in Computer Science from another school, you cannot apply to our MS program in Computer Science. However, if you have a MSCS degree from another institution, you may apply to our CS PhD program. The same is true for applying to the CS PhD program. If you have a PhD in CS from another institution, you cannot apply to the CS PhD program here at Stanford.

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Q: Are my units transferable?

A: Units are not transferable to the MSCS program. However, units may be transferable to the Ph.D. program. This determination is made via petition to the Registrar's Office AFTER attending our Ph.D. program for at least one quarter.

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Q: Do you accept visiting scholars, exchange students, and postdocs?

A: No. The Computer Science department does not have such a program, per se. All visiting scholar, exchange student, and postdoc arrangements are made between individual professors of the universities involved.

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Q: Where can I find housing information?

A: You can find housing information at: http://www.stanford.edu/dept/hds/shs/.

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Q: What is HCP and how do I apply to that program?

A: HCP stands for Honors Cooperative Program. The Honors Co-op Program is a part-time Masters program for people working for Stanford Center for Professional Development (SCPD) member companies. For more information, visit SCPD's web site at http://scpd.stanford.edu.

The admissions process and application requirements for HCP applicants is the same as it is for full-time Masters program applicants.

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Q: If I am accepted into the HCP program, can I go Full-Time once I enroll?

A: Yes, you can move from a part-time student to a full-time student status and vice-versa. You will need to let SCPD know that you would like to change your student status. You are allowed to do this no more than twice (PT-FT-PT or FT-PT-FT).

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Q: What is NDO and how do I apply to that program?

A: NDO stands for Non-Degree Option program and is a program that allows interested individuals the opportunity to register for Stanford courses and earn grades and credit without matriculating as a regular Stanford graduate student. The CS Graduate Admissions office does not handle NDO admissions. Go directly to the Stanford Center for Professional Development web site at http://scpd.stanford.edu for more information or call them at (650) 725-3016.

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Q: If I take NDO classes, does that mean I will automatically get into the CS Masters program if I apply?

A: No, taking NDO classes does not ensure admission into the MS program. You may transfer up to a maximum of 18 units of NDO courses to the Master's program once you have been admitted provided that the courses fulfill MS program requirements.

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Q: How many units from my NDO courses can I transfer to the HCP program if I apply and am accepted?

A: A maximum of 18 units may be transferred.

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Q: When will I receive my I-20 form?

A: Foreign students offered admission to a U.S. university are required to fill out an I20 form. The central office of graduate admissions begins processing your I-20 form after you accept the offer of admission in Axess indicating your intention to enroll at Stanford and return the Financial Resources Certification form, along with a copy of your passport, to the Graduate Admissions office. Once this response form is received from you, it typically takes several weeks for Stanford to mail an I-20 to you. Please see this website for more information: http://icenter.stanford.edu/students/new/visa_stanford_grad.html.

At the department level, we cannot do anything to speed up this process. Foreign students are encouraged to seek a visa promptly upon receiving their I-20 because it may take up to several weeks to be processed by the U.S. Consulate due to increased security considerations.

All new international students will be assessed a SEVIS fee in addition to other fees associated with processing visa applications. For details, please see: http://www.ice.gov/sevis/i901/.

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Q: Does the CS department offer a MS/Ph.D. program?

A: No, the MS program and Ph.D. program are two separate programs. The MS degree also does not automatically lead into Ph.D. degree. Applicants planning to pursue a Ph.D. degree should apply directly to that program. For more information about the MS & Ph.D. programs, see the MS versus PhD section of the graduate admissions web page.

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Q: How can I find out more about course requirements for the CS Master's or Ph.D. program?

A: See the Stanford University bulletin for program requirements or visit http://www.stanford.edu/dept/registrar/bulletin/.

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Q: Where can I find information about the CS Master's program?

A: Please visit the Computer Science Master's program website at: http://cs.stanford.edu/education/masters.

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Q: Where can I find information about the CS Ph.D. program?

A: Please visit the Computer Science Ph.D. program website at: http://cs.stanford.edu/degrees/phd.

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Q: How am I assigned an advisor?

A: Each MS student admitted to the CS program is assigned a faculty advisor within the two weeks following the start of autumn quarter by the Master's program administrator.

Each Ph.D. student spends the first few months becoming better acquainted with the various faculty and their research areas before aligning with a faculty member to pursue their doctoral research.

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Q: Where do I get an application

A: External applicants and current Stanford graduate students applying to the MS or Phd program must apply online at http://studentaffairs.stanford.edu/gradadmissions. Current Stanford undergraduate students applying for the PhD must also apply online at http://studentaffairs.stanford.edu/gradadmissions. Current Stanford undergraduate students applying to the MS program must apply as a co-term with a paper application, instructions can be found here: https://cs.stanford.edu/content/coterminalprogram.

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Q: How do I submit an On-line application?

A: To apply on-line, go to http://studentaffairs.stanford.edu/gradadmissions. Submit the online Graduate Admissions application. The Statement of Purpose must be no more than 8000 characters in length. This includes spaces in between words.

The only items that you should be sending to CS Graduate Admissions by mail are your transcripts. These should be sent to:

Computer Science Graduate Admissions
Gates Bldg. Room 196
353 Serra Mall, Stanford University,
Stanford, CA 94305-9015

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Q: What are the application requirements?

A: Please refer to the CS Admissions web page at http://cs.stanford.edu/admissions for admission requirements.

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Q: What is the application deadline?

A: The deadline to apply for both the PhD and MS programs in Computer Science is Tuesday December 9, 2014 at 11:59 PST.

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Q: If I previously applied, can my application be re-activated?

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

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Q: What supporting documents should I send and where?

A: No paper materials will be accepted except 2 sets of official transcripts. Please send them to:

Computer Science Graduate Admissions
Gates Bldg. Room 196
353 Serra Mall, Stanford University,
Stanford, CA 94305-9015

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Q: Can I reapply to the MS or Ph.D. program?

 A: Yes, however you cannot apply more than once for the same academic year. Regular Ph.D., MS, and HCP applicants can look under the Reapplying section of the CS graduate admissions web page for instructions on how to reapply. Additional degree applicants should click on the Additional Degree link at the beginning of the CS graduate admissions page to see instructions for reapplying.

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Q: Can I get a waiver on the application fee?

 A: If you are unable to pay by credit card, or if the application fee is considered to be a financial burden, please see the Review Requirements section of the Stanford University Graduate Admissions website at: http://studentaffairs.stanford.edu/gradadmissions/applying/fee-waiver.

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Q: Where can I list my publications and website?

 A: Please list your publications (if any) and URL to your website on the supplementary form which is part of the online application. Please also list your publications and website on your resume.

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Q: How long is the statement of purpose?

 A: The Statement of Purpose must be no more than 8000 characters in length. This includes spaces in between words. Please upload it in the online application.

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Q: How do I find out about the status of my application?

 A: Please do not contact us about your application status. Due to the large volume of applications our office receives, we are unable to respond to inquiries regarding the status of any application. Our office will contact you via e-mail if your application is incomplete, so please be sure that our office has your current e-mail address and mailing address on file.

We recommend that you retain copies of the supporting documents that you send us and have your recommenders retain copies of what they send us. It is very important to make sure your first and last names remain consistent throughout the application process and in your correspondence with the department.

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Q: How/When will I be notified of the admissions committee decision?

 A: The Admissions office will send decision letters electronically for all applicants starting by mid Feb for PhD applicants and end of March for MS applicants.

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Q: What if I don't receive notification about an admissions decision by the posted decision date?

 A: If you have not received an e-mail from our office by the posted decision date, you may e-mail us at admissions@cs.stanford.edu and include your mailing address and a fax number (if available). Please do not call our office with this particular inquiry as we are unable to provide any applicant information over the phone.

The decisions are made in late February for Ph.D. applicants and late March for Master's applicants.

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Q: If I am admitted to a CS graduate program, can I defer admission?

 A: Deferrals are granted on a case by case basis and usually for only compelling reasons. If granted, generally PhD admits can only defer admission for a year and MS admits for a quarter. Deferral petition requests are due by April 11 for PhD admits and by April 30 for MS admits.  Requests for deferrals should be sent to Jayanthi Subramanian at jayanthi@cs.stanford.edu. Co-terms cannot defer admission.

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Q: What is your GPA requirement?

 A: GPA's should be at least 3.6 (on a 4.0 scale) for Ph.D. applicants and 3.5 for MS applicants.

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Q: How do I calculate my major GPA?

 A: You have to identify all the courses you are counting towards the "major" requirement and find the average GPA of all those courses. If you have a double major, you need to calculate two different GPAs based on the separate group of courses that are being used to meet the requirement.

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Q: What do I put for my overall GPA and max GPA at your school on the online application form?

 A: Maximum GPA varies from school to school. Most U.S. universities follow a 4.0 scale. There are some exceptions where the scale extends to 15 points; case in point, Harvard University. Stanford follows a 4.3 scale which distinguishes the minus and plus grades for the top three letter grades. It is best to state the cumulative GPA (CGPA or the UG GPA) that appears at the end of the latest quarter/semester grades. This is an average of all your quarter/semester grades.

A weighted average calculation is necessary when courses have variable credits /units structure.

Note to International Students: If your institution does not follow a GPA system, please enter the required GPA in the "Unconverted GPA" field on the application. If your institution follows an absolute grading system, please use the maximum absolute aggregate for your institution in the "Unconverted GPA System" field and the aggregate score you have obtained in the "Unconverted GPA" field. At most foreign universities, it is typically out of 10, 20 or 100 points. The maximum score per course is defined on the transcript in almost all cases. For example, if the maximum score is 100 points per course and you have 6 courses per semester, your unconverted scale value would be 4800 (8x6x100) for the eight quarters of undergraduate program. If you obtained, 3700 points out of the potential 4800 points, that will be your unconverted GPA. Please do not normalize your GPA to reflect a value relative to the highest achieved aggregate score in your class/batch/year. The only exceptions are Physical Education and Military History; these two courses can be eliminated from the calculation. Please utilize the "Additional Information" section under Statement of Purpose section to briefly highlight the grading system used by your institution and your relative placement in that grading scheme.

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Q: Can I apply to start in Winter or Spring Quarter?

 A: No, we only offer admission to the Autumn Quarter for MS, Ph.D., and HCP applicants.

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Q: Do I need to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)?

  A: All applicants to departmental graduate programs at Stanford must take the General GRE test. The GRE scores reported must be from tests taken within the last five (5) years of the application deadline. You must email or fax to the CS department a copy of the ETS score report that was sent to you by the deadline in addition to having your score reported directly to the University by ETS.

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Q: Do I need to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)?

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

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

For more information on TOEFL requirements, visit Stanford University's central Office of Graduate Admissions website.

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Q: How recent must my TOEFL scores be?

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

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Q: When should I take the GRE/TOEFL?

  A: If you are taking the paper-based GRE and TOEFL tests, it is recommended that you take the tests at least six (6) weeks before the application deadline. Three(3) weeks before the application deadline for computer-based GRE revised General test.

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Q: What are the minimum GRE scores required to apply to the Computer Science MS or Ph.D. program?

 A: While there is no minimum requirement for GRE scores, a strong application would include percentiles in the high 90s for the Ph.D. program and scores in the 90th percentile for the MS program.

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Q: What is the TOEFL recommendation?

 A: We expect applicants to have "good" english skills.

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Q: Should I send an updated transcript with my fall quarter/semester grades?

 A: Yes; if you are currently a student, submit transcripts before mid-year posting of grades and submit updated transcripts when Autumn grades become available. All records should clearly indicate the name under which you are applying to Stanford.

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Q: I've been working for several years and it's difficult to get 3 letters of recommendation from former professors. Will you accept letters from my employer or supervisors?

 A: Yes, we will accept letters from your supervisors, bosses, and managers at work; however, the strongest applications tend to have letters from both academic and industry sources.

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Q: How should my recommenders send their letters?

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

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Q: Is a CV or resume required?

A: Yes, please upload your CV or resume in the online application. Please be sure to list all your publications (if any) here as well.

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Q: Do you offer financial support for MS students?

 A: The Computer Science Department does not offer financial support for MS students. The only form of financial support available is in the form of Student Loans. In order to qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Graduate students can learn more about financial programs at: http://financialaid.stanford.edu or by calling the Financial Aid office at: (888) FAO-3773.

CS RA/CA resources are very limited, and are largely used to support ongoing PhD students. Stanford MS students are discouraged from relying on assistantships to pay for tuition. Teaching and research assistantships can only be arranged once you are a registered student, and negotiated one quarter in advance.

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Q: Do you offer financial support for Ph.D. students?

A: All incoming Ph.D. students are supported by teaching and/or research assistantships, but are strongly encouraged to apply for outside fellowships as well. Therefore, we review all applications on the same basis, regardless of the financial situation of the applicants. Currently, we offer full financial support for the Ph.D. program, provided satisfactory academic progress is maintained.

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