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Coterm Admissions

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The Coterminal Degree Program allows undergraduates to study for a Master’s Degree while completing their undergraduate degree. The Master’s Degree requires the completion of 45 units beyond the undergraduate degree.

Eligibility Requirements

1. Stanford undergraduates who wish to continue their studies for the Master of Science degree in the coterminal program must have earned a minimum of 120 units towards graduation. This includes allowable Advanced Placement (AP) and transfer credit.

2. Applicants must submit their application no later than the quarter prior to the expected completion of their undergraduate degree. If admitted, they must respond to the offer of admission no later than the quarter prior to the expected completion of their undergraduate degree. This is normally Winter Quarter (late January) prior to Spring Quarter graduation.

3. Undergraduate coursework should demonstrate adequate preparation for pursuing graduate level study in Mechanical Engineering, which typically includes mathematics through ordinary differential equations (CME102 or Math 53), programming (e.g., CS106A) and several 100 level engineering courses. Students in Mechanical Engineering or closely related majors generally achieve this by the beginning of the 4th year of undergraduate study. Students in majors not closely related to Mechanical Engineering should take at least two of the 100 level courses required for the Mechanical Engineering major (Mechanical Engineering core or concentration courses as listed in the Engineering Undergraduate Handbook).  All applicants will be asked to describe how their undergraduate coursework has prepared them to pursue graduate studies in their chosen area of Mechanical Engineering. 

The application must provide evidence of potential for strong academic performance as a graduate student. The Mechanical Engineering department graduate admissions committee makes the decision, on each application. Criteria for admission include: (1) outstanding performance in engineering, science and math courses (typically, an “A” average is expected), (2) demonstrated engagement in mechanical engineering or other technical fields through work experience, research projects, and/or elective courses, and (3) a commitment to pursuing graduate study in mechanical engineering as part of a larger career and educational plan.

For University coterminal degree program rules and University application forms, visit the coterm section of the Registrar’s website.

Application Deadlines

Start Quarter

Application Deadline

Autumn 2024-2025March 25, 2024
Winter 2024-2025October 14, 2024
Spring 2024-2025January 20, 2025
Autumn 2025-2026March 24, 2025

How to Apply

The coterm application is completed via an on-line application (available mid-September):

Elements of the application include:

  • Transcript: Submit an unofficial or official transcript electronically through the on-line application. Do not request or submit a paper transcript.
  • Statement of Purpose: Your Statement of Purpose should identify personal and professional goals. It should also discuss your development to date and your intentions regarding graduate study and life beyond Stanford. The ME 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).
  • CV or Resume
  • Letters of Recommendation: Two letters of recommendation from Stanford professors are required, but you can include up to three. The recommenders should be able to speak to your ability and potential, as relevant to the MS degree in Mechanical Engineering. Recommenders must submit the recommendation form and letters using the online system; letter requests are emailed after you submit the recommender information via the online application form. We recommend that you contact letter writers for permission before submitting their information online, and send them the letter request at least two weeks before the application deadline (your recommenders may ask for more time). Letters of recommendation are due by the application deadline. 
  • Academic Interests: The online form asks you to select up to three areas of academic interest; these are based on the MS ME depth and breadth areas defined in the ME Graduate Handbook (SUNetID required).
  • Additional Information: The online form requests that you enter information about your Awards and Publications, as well as Financial Support (fellowships or other forms of support). You are also asked to write a short diversity statement; see instructions provided in the online form.
  • Supplemental Information: In this section, you will be asked (1) whether you have interest in a Ph.D. and/or research, (2) to write short statements about your motivation, independent inquiry, challenges, and academic preparation and (3) to enter course details in a Preliminary Program Proposal, which can include courses already taken to be used toward the MS degree. Once admitted, a new program proposal with your advisor’s signature is required.

The GRE will not be accepted for applications received through September 2024. We ask that you do not submit or reference GRE scores in your application, as they will not be considered. (Updated July 2023)

After the Application is Submitted

You can expect to receive your admission decision 4-6 weeks after the application deadline.

If you are accepted into the program, you will need to:

  • Send a response to the offer of admission to and meet with a member of the student services staff to discuss the coterm plan and complete paperwork at least one week before the last day of class of the quarter before your MS start quarter (usually this is the same quarter in which you submit your application).
  • Submit a new MSME program proposal, signed by your advisor, by the third week of your first co-term quarter. The advisor can be the same as your undergraduate advisor, or you can request a new one by filling out the Change of Advisor form.

New coterm students should be sure that all paperwork is completed in a timely fashion to ensure the appropriate transfer of undergraduate coursework towards the MS program. More information is on the University Registrar's website.

Financial Aid

Fellowships: See the university financial aid website. The School of Engineering Dean’s office has a pilot coterminal fellowship program to which students can apply after admission to the coterm. Standard Stanford Fellowships are generally not awarded to coterm applicants. We recommend that you apply for external fellowships to fund your graduate program.

Assistantships: Information about Course Assistantships (CAs) is available here (requires SUNet ID). For Research Assistantship (RAs), the student must approach individual faculty members and make appropriate arrangements.