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Admissions Frequently Asked Questions

Applying to Mechanical Engineering Graduate Programs at Stanford

Contact Information

Application Requirements

  • Application with fee
  • Three letters of recommendation (maximum of six letters allowed)
  • An official transcript (from any institution attended for at least one year, or degree conferred)
  • GRE general results (Stanford University institution code: 4704, department code not required)
  • TOEFL results (scores are required of all applicants whose first language is not English)

Application Deadlines 

Autumn – September 2017 Start Date (MS, PhD, and HCP*)

  • MS admission: December 6, 2016
  • PhD admission:  December 6, 2016

Most Autumn Quarter applicants will receive a decision in March 2017.

Winter – January 2017 Start Date (PhD and HCP* only)

  • MS-HCP* admission: October 11, 2016
  • PhD admission: October 11, 2016

Spring – April 2017 Start Date (PhD and HCP* only)

  • MS-HCP* admission: January 17, 2017
  • PhD admission: January 17, 2017

All application materials—including test scores—are due by midnight on the posted deadline. You can submit supplemental material at any time before the deadline; material will be matched when you submit your online application.

A completed (or in-progress) MS degree is required for admission to the ME-PhD program. Students who hold only an undergraduate degree must apply to the MS program. Students who hold, or are in the process of obtaining, an MS degree in a related field should apply directly to the PhD program. If you are a reapplicant, all materials listed above are required to reapply, including letters of recommendation. If test scores are less than five years old on the date of the deadline, we may be able to reinstate them. Please contact us for more information on reapplying.

*HCP (Honors Cooperative Program) is the part-time program for working professionals. The part-time MS program cannot be completed solely online. Students must be able to come to campus.

General application requirements

Q: I have submitted all of my application materials. Why does my checklist still say my application is not complete?

A: The checklists will not be updated until after the application deadline. Thereafter, we will update them approximately weekly. We will be in touch with you if you are missing any materials.

 

Q: My school(s) have sent an official transcript. Why does my checklist say that only my unofficial transcript(s) have been received?

A: The checklists will not be updated until after the application deadline. Thereafter, we will update them approximately weekly. We will be in touch with you if you are missing any materials.

 

Q: I have taken my required tests (GRE and/or TOEFL) and requested the scores be sent to Stanford. Why is my checklist saying that the official scores have not been received?

A: The checklists will not be updated until after the application deadline. Thereafter, we will update them at least weekly. We will be in touch with you if you are missing any materials. Test scores are uploaded by an automated process each week. If you are concerned that your test scores have not been received, please contact the appropriate testing service office.

 

Q: What is Stanford’s ETS (Educational Testing Service) institutional code for sending test scores? What is the department code?

A: Stanford’s institutional code is 4704. You do not need to indicate a department code. As long as you have indicated the institutional code of 4704, your scores should get to Stanford even if you also included a department code.

 

Q: What if my test scores are not received by the deadline?

A: Your file will not be considered complete until all required application materials are received. We may do a preliminary review of your file with unofficial (self-reported) test scores, but we will not make a final decision until we have official test scores. Late materials may jeopardize your chances for admission and/or financial aid.

 

Q: What are the minimum GRE scores required for admission?

A: We do not have required minimum GRE scores. We encourage all students to apply as we review application packages as a whole. However, our program is competitive and successful applicants tend to score very well on the GRE, especially the math section.

 

Q: What are the minimum TOEFL scores required for admission?

A: Stanford University requires a score of 89 (Internet)/575 (paper) for the MS program, and 100 (Internet)/600 (paper) for the PhD program.

 

Q: What if my official transcripts are not received by the deadline?

A: Your file will not be considered complete until all required application materials are received. We may do a preliminary review of your file with unofficial transcripts, but we will not make a final decision until we have official transcripts. Late materials may jeopardize your chances for admission and/or financial aid.

 

Q: What is an ‘official’ transcript?

A: The PDF version of the transcripts you upload online are considered "unofficial." The university requires "official" transcripts that are produced and sent directly by your university in a sealed envelope. You may also send official transcripts yourself as long as the envelope has not been opened, as indicated by an unbroken seal with a signature or stamp across it. You can also request your school to send an official electronic transcript to meinquiry@stanford.edu.

 

Q: I am an international student, do my transcripts need to be translated into English?

A: In order for the admissions committee and university to read your transcripts, any text must be translated into English. Please see the Office of Graduate Admissions’ page on international transcripts: https://gradadmissions.stanford.edu/applying/international-applicants/transcripts-academic-records.

 

Q: I am an international student and my grades are not on a 4.0 scale. Should I compute my GPA to compare to the U.S. 4.0 grading scale?

A: No. The department will either calculate your GPA or review it with the given scale if it cannot be calculated. If your school has not converted your GPA for you, enter 0.00 in the GPA fields of the online application. 

 

Q: What happens if my letters of recommendation are not received by the deadline?

A: We will not review your file unless we have three letters of recommendation. If you have requested more than three letters, your file may not be reviewed until we have received all of the letters listed on your application. Late materials may jeopardize your chances for admission and/or financial aid. 

 

Q: What happens if I need to remove or change a recommender?

A: Once you have submitted your application you will not be able to revise your list of recommendation letters. If you need to update your list or let us know that a recommender will not be submitting a letter, please send an e-mail to meinquiry@stanford.edu with the subject line: “Update to recommenders list on submitted application.” In the email, please state your full name and what changes you need made to your recommenders.

 

Q: I am reapplying to the program. Can I reuse any application materials?

A:  All materials including letters of recommendation must be resubmitted. Test scores are good for five years.

 

Q: I made an error/need to add something on my personal statement/CV, but I already submitted my application. Can I email meinquiry@stanford.edu to update my application?

A: No.  Once your application has been submitted and if it is after the deadline, we are not able to make any corrections to your materials. Any updates to CVs, personal statements or the application itself after the deadline cannot be accepted. Official test scores to back up the self-reported ones, online letters of recommendation, and the official transcript are the only things that can be added to your application after the deadline.

 

Q: Can I connect with you on LinkedIn?

A:  The meinquiry@stanford.edu address is an organizational email and does not have an active LinkedIn account.

MS Program

Q: My undergraduate degree is not in an engineering discipline. Am I eligible to apply?

A: You are eligible to apply, but you may be at a disadvantage compared to engineering majors who have applied. Please throughly review the requirements of the program in the MSME Graduate Handbook to help you decide if you are prepared for our program.

 

Q: I already have a MS degree in another discipline. Am I eligible to apply for an MS degree in Mechanical Engineering at Stanford?

A: Students who have already received (or are enrolled in) an MS degree must apply to the PhD program regardless of what discipline the MS degree is in.

 

Q: May I apply to more than one Stanford MS program at the same time?

A: No, you may only apply to one MS program at a time. If you apply to more than one, both applications may be disqualified.

 

Q: I cannot afford graduate school. How can I apply for a fellowship?

A: All MS applications will be considered for a limited number of fellowships. These awards are competitively allocated and are based on academic merit. We encourage all applicants to apply for outside fellowships such as the National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Fellowship Program.

 

Q: Is it possible to get a teaching or research assistantship?

A: It is quite rare for a first-year MS student to secure an assistantship. Most MS students support their first few quarters with loans and search for assistantships once they have built relationships with faculty in the ME or other departments. There is no central hiring process. Students must contact faculty members directly to inquire about assistantships.

 

Q: I want to apply now, but I won’t be able to start until Autumn 2018-19. Should I still apply?

A: If you know you are unable to start until a later quarter, please do not apply now. 

 

Q: If I am admitted can I defer for a quarter or two?

A: The MS program starts in Autumn 2017. If you need to defer, you will need to request a whole-year deferral. Deferral requests are not always approved. If you know in advance that you cannot start school in Autumn 2017, please wait to apply in a future year.

 

Q: I don’t live in the area. Can I do a part-time MS program completely online?

A: It is not possible to complete an entire MS degree online. Stanford does offer a part-time MS program in Mechanical Engineering, but there are some caveats. The program is designed for local students to come on campus on a part-time basis, supplemented by a few classes online. 

 

Q: I accidentally applied for the PhD program, but I meant to apply for the MS program. What should I do?

A: Please send an e-mail to meinquiry@stanford.edu with the subject line: “Applied to the PhD in error. Please move me to the MS pool.” In the email, please state your full name so we can find you easily.

 

PhD Program

Q: I am currently getting my BS degree. Can I apply for the PhD program?

A: No. Under our current policy, to be eligible to apply to the PhD program, you must have an MS degree. You may also apply if you are currently enrolled in a MS program that will be completed prior to the initiation of the PhD program. If you apply to the PhD program without an MS degree, we will review your application for the MS program. If you are admitted to the MS program, you will have the opportunity to apply internally for the PhD in the future.

 

Q: What can I do to maximize my chances to get into the PhD program?

A: PhD admission is based upon the willingness of an ME faculty member to work with you on a project and to support you through your program both as an academic advisor and a research supervisor. The best thing you can do is contact a faculty member who is doing research in your area of interest. (Faculty members will need to see your complete application in order to fully evaluate your suitability for the program). You will not be admitted unless a faculty member explicitly states that they support your application for admission.

 

Q: What is the best way to contact faculty and find out about their research?

A: All of the faculty members have public pages on the Stanford online directory, including contact information, and many have links to their labs. These websites are is a great place to start. The ME website also has a search option where faculty are sorted by topic.