Skip to content Skip to navigation

Master's Admissions Overview

The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering has two distinct advanced degree programs: MS and PhD. Our Master of Science (MS) program is intended to be a terminal degree for those seeking advanced knowledge in a focused discipline of civil and environmental engineering to pursue a career in industry or another professional degree (e.g., law, business). It is based on the completion of coursework focused on a theme within the discipline. No thesis is required, nor is research required.

IMPORTANT: Regardless of whether you are currently obtaining or already have an undergraduate degree or an MS degree, if you are applying to Stanford with the expectation of earning a PhD, you should apply to the PhD program in your application. Those students who do not already have an MS degree will most likely be admitted to the MS program. Provided that you are able to identify a faculty member to supervise your doctoral work, advancement to the PhD cohort is then made during the last quarter of MS work.

At the master's level, CEE offers a degree program in the disciplines of Structural Engineering and Geomechanics (SEG), Sustainable Design and Construction (SDC), Environmental Engineering (EnvEng), and Atmosphere and Energy (A/E). As you consider applying, please visit each program's website to learn more about the faculty, research, and courses within these exciting programs.

This master’s degree program is open to two cohorts of applicants.

  1. External applicants who have completed a bachelor’s degree or will have completed one before matriculating as a graduate student. Potential applicants in this group apply online. Please see the Application Timelines & Deadlines page for this year’s application deadlines.
  2. Active Stanford undergrads. If you are currently a Stanford undergrad, please visit the Coterm page for information and instructions on the Coterm admissions process.

Each department conferring graduate degrees establishes its own application deadlines. An applicant may apply to only one degree program at Stanford University, meaning the applicant must choose one degree program within CEE (e.g., Environmental Engineering (EnvEng), Structural Engineering and Geomechanics (SEG)), and can have only one active application. All components of an application to the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering must be received by the department no later than the appropriate due date. Please see the Application Timelines & Deadlines page for this year’s application deadlines.

All applicants must make an official application, using the university's online forms and procedures, and following the directions from the Office of the Registrar, Graduate Admissions. Visit the Graduate Admissions website for more information about the graduate admissions process at Stanford and to apply for graduate admission.

IMPORTANT: Please note that this page provides department-specific requirements that you will need to fulfill as part of your application. These details are not on the Graduate Admissions website.

Graduate Application Checklist

A completed application consists of:

  • Application (must be submitted on-line through Graduate Admissions)
  • Application Fee (must be paid on-line through Graduate Admissions)
  • Statement of Purpose (must be submitted on-line through Graduate Admissions)
  • Supplemental Questions for students applying to graduate programs (must be submitted on-line through Grad Admissions)
  • Letters of Recommendation (must be submitted by your recommenders via Email through Graduate Admissions)
  • Transcripts (must be submitted on-line through Graduate Admissions) You need to have two official copies sent to the CEE department.
  • TOEFL Results (if required - submitted directly to Stanford's ETS Institutional Code: 4704 by ETS)


The application can be accessed through Stanford's Graduate Admissions website. Please carefully read all information and instructions.

Statement of Purpose

Rather than simply summarizing your CV, your Statement of Purpose should identify personal and professional goals. While reflecting on your development to date, it should discuss your intentions relative to graduate study and life beyond Stanford. The CEE Graduate Admissions Committee reads your Statement of Purpose with interest because, along with the Letters of Recommendation, it offers insight into who you are as an individual. Your Statement of Purpose should not exceed two pages in length (single spaced).

Supplemental Questions

CEE advanced degree applicants must submit a supplemental questionnaire. (A supplemental form with these questions has been included with the online application.)

Letters of Recommendation

Please carefully follow the instructions on the Graduate Admissions web site for letters of recommendation.

IMPORTANT: The email address provided for each recommendation letter writer must be the official email for their university or workplace. Use of a personal email address for a recommendation letter writer may result in a significant delay in reviewing your application, as the admissions committee will have to contact the letter writer directly to verify the authenticity of the letter.

Letters of Recommendations must be submitted online.


Two original, official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended full time for one year or more are required. Please send them to:

CEE Admissions Committee
473 Via Ortega, Room 314, m/c 4020
Stanford, CA 94305

IMPORTANT: Please do not use registered or certified mail which requires a signature upon delivery. The United States Postal Service does not deliver such mail to our address. If you wish to have someone at our office sign for your mailing upon receipt, please use a courier service (e.g., UPS, FedEx, DHL).

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) Results

Adequate command of spoken and written English is required for admission. Scores are required of all applicants whose first language is not English. Exceptions are granted for applicants who have earned a U.S. bachelor's or master's degree from a college or university accredited by a regional accrediting association in the United States, or the equivalent of either degree from a non-U.S. college or university of recognized standing where all instruction is provided in English. This exception does not apply if the courses were completed in a country where English is spoken but not all courses were provided in English. Stanford does not accept the IELTS.

For applicants applying to MS programs within the School of Engineering at Stanford, the minimum TOEFL scores are 89 (internet-based TOEFL test) and 575 (paper-based TOEFL test).

Application evaluation

The admissions committee for each degree program within the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering carefully considers all completed applications to our advanced degree programs. Decisions are based on the student’s academic record and experiences, letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, and test scores (if applicable). While most applicants to our advanced degree programs have traditional civil or environmental engineering backgrounds, we do accept applications from students in other related fields. Applicants with non-traditional backgrounds should expect, if admitted, to spend some additional time acquiring the background necessary to complete a graduate degree in civil and environmental engineering. For reference, the requirements for a Stanford BS in Civil and Environmental Engineering can be found in the Handbook for Undergraduate Engineering Programs.

Committees of CEE faculty members in each degree program make all decisions regarding admission to our advanced degree programs. Decisions by are based on thorough evaluations of all aspects of completed applications. Applications are evaluated in their entirety and within the context of the program pool. Hence, final decisions are not made on a rolling basis, but rather when the pool is complete, after the deadline date.

We are unable to provide informal recommendations or evaluations on the basis of partial information (e.g., a CV or test scores or a transcript). Inquiries and materials sent to individual professors will be redirected to administrative staff. We encourage potential applicants to consider discussing their issues with faculty recommenders who know them well and could give better, individualized academic advice.

If You Have Questions

For further general information on admission to the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, contact or call the department at 650-723-3074.

If you think one of our graduate programs is a good fit with your educational background and future academic and career goals, we in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering very much look forward to receiving your application. Applicants with completed applications should expect to hear from us in early April regarding admission. If you do not receive an email from our student services office by these decision dates, you may email with this particular inquiry. (Subject: PhD decision? MS decision?) as we are unable to provide any applicant information over the phone.

We wish you all the best as you make your decisions about your educational future!