EFMH Admissions FAQ 2014-2015
Which program will I be admitted to: M.S. or Ph.D.?
All students are admitted to the M.S. program unless they already have an M.S. degree. Students with an M.S. degree are admitted to the Ph.D. program. Please clearly state your interest in pursuing a Ph.D. in your application.
What are the requirements for admission?
All components of the application (GRE scores, Reference letters, GPA, statement of purpose) are weighted equally when making admissions decisions. We recommend that students take courses covering material in the following classes prior to enrolling in the EFMH program. For a description of these classes please see explorecourses.stanford.edu
Undergraduate fluid mechanics (CEE101B)
- Watersheds and wetlands (CEE166A)
- Statistics and Probability (at the level of CEE203, STATS110, or STATS116)
- Calculus, including Math41, Math42, Math51
- Engineering economy (at the level of CEE146A)
- Programming Methodology (at the level of CS106A)
Please note that this is only a suggested list of courses and we encourage applications from a broad range of disciplines. In many cases some of these taken during your M.S. degree.
What is the minimum acceptable TOEFL score?
We do not consider applications with overall TOEFL scores of 89 or lower.
What are the requirements to obtain an M.S. degree?
To obtain the M.S. degree in EFMH, the following is required. Please note that one course is typically 3 or 4 units:
- 45 units of coursework
- At least 24 units must be offered by the School of Engineering
- At least 36 units must be 200-level or higher
- No more than 6 units of credit/no-credit if course offers a letter grade
- No limit on satisfactory/no-credit if that is the only option
- GPA 2.75 or higher
For a list of recommended courses please see EWS course listing. There are no specific course requirements, although the study list must be approved by the M.S. academic advisor. The academic advisor does not need to be the research advisor (i.e. the advisee can pursue research with other faculty), nor is the student committed to working with the M.S. academic advisor for a Ph.D.
How long will it take to obtain an M.S. degree?
The typical load is 15 units per quarter for three quarters (nine months) to obtain the requisite 45 units for the M.S.. Depending on financial constraints, some may elect to spread the degree out over 4 or 5 quarters with a smaller load per quarter. If possible, we recommend spreading the load out over 5 quarters as this allows students to focus more on fewer classes each quarter. However, since most M.S. students complete the degree in 3 quarters, this is also encouraged because a closely-knit cohort of students is formed that will take many of the same classes and graduate with their M.S. degrees at the same time in following nine months of intense study.
How much will it cost for me to obtain my M.S. degree?
Below is a summary of costs for engineering graduate school for the 2012-2013 academic year. For more information please refer to http://studentaffairs.stanford.edu/registrar/students/tuition-fees_12-13.
Engineering graduate quarterly tuition:
11-18 units: $15,160
8-10 units: $9,850
Total cost (Tuition + living expenses):
- 3 quarters at 11-18 units: $72,621
- 5 quarters at 8-10 units: $95,516
How much will it cost for me to obtain my Ph.D. degree?
It is extremely rare for students to fund their own Ph.D. since Ph.D.s are typically funded by fellowships, RAships, or TAships.
Should I come the summer beforehand to get started on research or get ready for the courses?
There is no specific advantage to coming early unless your prospective advisor has a research project that you can work on the summer prior to your arrival.
Where will I live?
Many graduate students live on campus given the cost-effectiveness of on-campus housing. Please refer to http://www.stanford.edu/dept/rde/cgi-bin/drupal/housing/housing/housing-options for more information on housing.
How long will it take me to obtain a Ph.D. degree?
It typically takes 5 years after completion of the M.S. to complete the Ph.D. degree.
Can I obtain financial aid (TA, RA, or fellowship) for my M.S.?
Departmental and university financial aid is very competitive. We typically grant aid that may cover all or part of tuition and stipend for the M.S. to 4-5 students each year. This aid can be in the form of a Research Assistantship (RA), Teaching Assistantship (TA), or fellowship. TAships for M.S. students are rare because preference is given to Ph.D. students or to students who have taken and performed very well in the course.
Outside fellowships that are exclusively for the M.S. degree are very rare, although it is possible to obtain an outside Ph.D. fellowship that funds the M.S. degree (assuming no prior M.S. degree) since that is a requirement for the Ph.D. degree.
How do I apply to the Ph.D. program?
Most students enter the EFMH program as M.S. students. On average, five of these students stay on for a Ph.D. each year. Students with M.S. degrees seeking to enter the EFMH Ph.D. program are strongly encouraged to contact faculty directly prior to applying. Admissions decisions for Ph.D. applicants are typically made by individual faculty members with whom the prospective Ph.D. student wishes to work.
Do I need to reapply for the Ph.D. once I am admitted to the M.S. program?
No. Once a student is admitted to the M.S. program, admission to the Ph.D. program is contingent upon finding a faculty member who agrees to be the Ph.D. advisor. No formal application to the Ph.D. program is required other than submission of a Graduate Program Authorization Petition via Axess http://studentaffairs.stanford.edu/registrar/students/grad-auth-pet. A faculty member will typically require a prospective Ph.D. student to work on an independent study project for a few quarters to assess performance in research prior to taking on the student.
Upon admission to the Ph.D. program, students are given a formal admission letter from the advisor stating the terms of funding for the Ph.D., which may be in the form of RAships, TAships, fellowships, or a combination of the three.
Can I obtain a TAship, RAship, or a fellowship to support my Ph.D.?
Yes. Students are typically not admitted to the Ph.D. program unless a faculty advisor agrees to support them for the entirety of the Ph.D.. Support can be in the form of RAships, TAships, or fellowships, or a combination of the three.
Students are strongly encouraged to apply for outside fellowships even if aid is granted for the Ph.D.. National fellowships are extremely competitive. The DOE CSGF, for example, received over 700 applications in 2012 and awarded 21 (3% acceptance rate). A list of common national fellowships is given below.
- DOE Computational Science Graduate Fellowship (CSGF; www.krellinst.org)
- NSF Graduate Research Fellowship (GRFP; www.nsfgrfp.org)
- DOD National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship (NDSEG; ndseg.asee.org)
- EPA Science to Achieve Results Research Grants (STAR; epa.gov/ncer/rfa)
- Delta Science Fellows Program (csgc.ucsd.edu/EDUCATION/DELTA/DeltaIndx.html)
What are the requirements to obtain a Ph.D. degree?
The Ph.D. requires a minimum of two years of study (including one year of course work, which includes a course in TA training) beyond the M.S. degree, and Ph.D. students are required to TA at least one course. Typically during the second year of the Ph.D., students take their qualifying examination. The exam entails submission of a dissertation proposal that consists of a detailed literature review and outline of proposed work. The proposal is presented at an open session which is followed by a closed exam roughly two hours in length, typically during the second year of the Ph.D.. After passing the exam, students typically take 3 more years to complete their dissertation.
Can or should I do research during my M.S.?
If you are interested in a Ph.D. then you are strongly encouraged to pursue independent study as part of your M.S. coursework by seeking out research opportunities with faculty members. Faculty members must agree to a research project before the student can enroll in research units. There are two possible courses students can enroll in to obtain credit for independent study:
- CEE299 Independent Study in Civil Engineering --
Can only be taken for satisfactory/no-credit and can be repeated for 1-5 units.
- CEE365(A,B,C,D) Advanced Topics in Environmental Fluid Mechanics and Hydrology --
Can be taken for a grade and can be repeated for 2-6 units.
If you are not interested in a Ph.D. then you should discuss the option of taking independent study units with your academic advisor.
Who will be my advisor?
You will be assigned an academic advisor upon admission to the EFMH M.S. program. See Do I need to reapply for the Ph.D. once I am admitted to the M.S. program? for details on who will be your Ph.D. advisor.
Where do EFMH graduates work?
We are strongly committed to ensuring that our M.S. and Ph.D. graduates obtain employment after graduating from our program. Below is a list of organizations where many of our former graduates have been employed or are currently employed:
California Department of Water Resources (DWR)
Contra Costa Water District
Delta Modeling Associates
East Bay MUD
ESA PWA (Phillip Williams and Associates)
Flow Science Incorporated
Hazen and Sawyer
Mineral Acquisition Partners (MAP)
Moffatt and Nichol
Resource Management Associates (RMA)
Risk Management Solutions (RMS)
Schaaf and Wheeler
USGS (Menlo Park and Santa Cruz offices)
US Army Corps of Engineers