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PhD Admissions

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree is intended primarily for students who desire a career in research, advanced development or teaching.

PhD programs are designed to give students a broad background in mathematics and engineering sciences, together with intensive study and research experience in a specialized area. Current Stanford MS students interested in adding a PhD program to their academic career should speak with the staff at the Student Services Office about the necessary paperwork and relevant policies. If you are a current master's student in the Stanford Mechanical Engineering department, to apply for the PhD, you must complete paperwork prior to conferring the MS degree. Failure to do so will require an application through the online admissions process along with all other external applicants.

The majority of PhD students at the Mechanical Engineering Department completed the Stanford MS program. A small number of students who acquired a master's degree from other institutions are admitted each year, but in order to enter the PhD program, a prospective student first must find an ME faculty member willing to supervise and fund a research project. We highly recommend that undergraduate students interested in a PhD from Stanford Mechanical Engineering apply for the Stanford MS program first. The PhD program only admits students who already hold (or are currently studying for) an MS degree.  If you are applying from another institution, your MS degree must be conferred prior to starting the PhD. Applications for PhD are accepted throughout the year. To apply for the PhD, please complete the Stanford Graduate Degree Application via the Stanford Graduate Admissions Office. Required materials and test scores are the same as the requirements for the MS degree.

Application deadlines

Autumn 2017-2018: December 6, 2016

Winter 2016-2017 (January start date): October 11, 2016

Spring 2016-2017 (April start date): January 17, 2017

Note: for students wishing to apply to the PhD program, to start in winter or spring quarter, please contact directly first.


If you plan to visit us, e-mail for an appointment. We are a very small office and do not have dedicated staff to meet with prospective students, and therefore we are unable to accept drop-in visitors. Drop-in visitors will be turned away if we are occupied with other activities, events, or deadlines. We are happy to meet with people who pre-arrange an appointment at a mutually convenient time.