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Admissions FAQ

​If you still have questions after reviewing this page please email strgeo-admissions@lists.stanford.edu.

Application Process

Why should I study at Stanford?

Why study engineering at Stanford? The world-renowned yet approachable faculty might be a key factor. Or the opportunity to conduct research in state-of-the-art labs, or the chance to study engineering within a liberal arts environment ... Story continues on SoE's Prospective Students Page

When should I apply?

We review the first round of applications early in the calendar year. To have the best shot at financial aid, please make sure to submit your application by the deadlines on our admissions timeline page.

Can I apply after the deadlines?

Yes, you can apply after the deadline. Your chances of admission and financial aid are greater, of course, if we receive your application by the deadline.

Should I wait to apply until I have all the documents ready?

No, you can submit the application form, your statement of purpose and the extra question as soon as you can and add the other documents by the deadline or as soon as possible.

What documents do I need to submit for my application?

Application form, statement of purpose, answers to the additional questions, curriculum vitae (resume), transcript and GPA, GRE scores, three letters, TOEFL if applicable. If possible, it is helpful to indicate how you ranked among your undergraduate peers. To see if you are eligible for a fee waiver for the GRE exam, please go to the Graduate Fee Waiver page.

How can I afford Stanford?

We have fellowship funding available that can offset the difference in tuition to many other institutions.

Are there minimum GPA, GRE and TOEFL scores?

Stanford requires a minimum score for the TOEFL. We do not have a minimum GRE score requirement. For our decision about admission and financial aid, we consider the entire application. However, many successful applicants have GRE scores in these ranges or higher: Math 750-800, Verbal 400-500. We also have access to additional funding for applicants with scores above 1,400 for the combined verbal and quantitative scores. A strong analytical score is also important, in particular for applicants interested in Post-MS Studies.

If my TOEFL score is below the minimum, will my application still be considered?

You will not be screened out right away, but, if admitted you will not be able to enroll until you have a TOEFL score that meets the Stanford University requirement. Since this is a university-wide requirement it is not negotiable, that is, we cannot make any exceptions. So, all applicants must, before coming to Stanford, show a TOEFL score that meets the minimum requirement. Honestly, your application will look a lot stronger if you have a conforming TOEFL score because the competition for admission is quite strong. If you come to Stanford, you hope to have excellent peers from around the world and you need to have a common language that everyone can use well to communicate with everyone, so your English proficiency is critical for your and everyone's success in the program.

Will an MBA or other degree enhance my admission competitiveness if my TOEFL score is below minimum?

This will depend on your statement of purpose, that is, how well you can motivate why you would like to study with us given what you have done so far and what you hope to accomplish in your career. It will also depend on your recommendations, since we assume that you'll have one or two recommenders from your MBA studies and the good grades you achieved in the MBA program.

Is IELTS accepted as an alternative to TOEFL and what is the minimum requirement?

International applicants may submit IELTS scores as part of the application, but Stanford does not recognize the IELTS as a measure of English proficiency

How do I apply for financial aid?

Check the "financial aid requested" box on the application form. If I apply for financial aid and I don't get it will it affect my chances of admission? No, we make the decision about admission independent of the decision about financial aid.

Can I apply directly to the PhD program?

Yes, but direct admission to the PhD program is rare. Note that it is quite easy to change your degree program once you are at Stanford, provided strong performance at Stanford and identification of a faculty advisor. If you are truly interested in a PhD it is helpful, though, to indicate this in your application. In most cases, we will then admit applicants without a MS degree to the MS degree program and applicants with a MS to the Engineer degree program, both with options to continue toward the PhD degree.

Can I send you my CV and transcript before applying so you can give me an idea about my chances of admission?

No. Out of fairness to all applicants, we evaluate only complete official applications we receive through the Stanford application system. Please do not send us emails with this question since we are not in a position to answer you.

My educational background is not in civil and environmental engineering. Will I still be considered for admission?

Yes. Sustainable design and construction requires many different educational and professional backgrounds. Each year we admit a number of students with undergraduate degrees in other engineering fields, architecture, and also outside engineering who show experience, passion and promise for sustainable design and construction.

Application Process Review

By when can I expect a decision?

We usually send out notifications of admission or rejection in late February or early March at the latest. How will I be informed of a decision? You will receive an e-mail message from us, followed by a letter in the mail. Therefore, it is critical that you indicate an e-mail address and mailing address where you can be reached in February and March.

Can or should I visit the program?

It's not a requirement, but we do welcome visits or phone calls. Please contact the program's Administrator, Kimberly Vonner, to schedule a visit or phone call. It is particularly important for Engineer and PhD degree applicants to contact the faculty whose research program looks most interesting to you.

Questions About the Program

What are the degree requirements?

The degree requirements are summarized for both Structural Engineering and Geomechanics.

Do you help students find jobs?

Yes, we help you find temporary or permanent jobs by introducing you to many leading practitioners who give guest lectures in our courses, through our alumni network, and through facilitated recruiting sessions.

Who are the instructors in the program?

The courses are taught by award-winning and visionary academic and professional faculty.