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Graduate Education

Graduate education has been central to Stanford’s reputation for academic excellence, intellectual innovation and entrepreneurial spirit since the university’s founding. In Stanford’s first year, 1891, 39 men and 12 women from 19 states enrolled as graduate students, representing one of the first opportunities for graduate study on the West Coast. Currently, they constitute 57 percent of Stanford’s overall enrollment.

Today, 9,688 students are pursuing 15 distinct post- baccalaureate degrees in about 150 graduate programs in all seven of Stanford’s schools: Business; Doerr School of Sustainability; Education; Engineering; Humanities and Sciences; Law; and Medicine. Stanford offers several doctorates, the PhD, JD, MD, DMA, JSD, and a variety of master’s degrees, including the MS, MA, MBA and MFA. About half of Stanford’s graduate students are pursuing a doctoral degree; Stanford is consistently among the leading private U.S. universities awarding the highest number of PhDs each year. Stanford’s schools, departments and faculty have considerable autonomy in shaping their graduate program requirements, allocating resources and creating innovative learning opportunities.

Grads by the numbers

Academic Life

Stanford’s highly collaborative intellectual community provides an unparalleled environment for graduate study and research. Students who pursue graduate and professional degrees have opportunities to study with a wide array of faculty. Graduate students engage in learning, teaching and research that often extend beyond departmental and disciplinary boundaries, and they may study in interdisciplinary or joint degree programs that span schools.

Graduate students are encouraged to engage in a variety of professional and career development opportunities at Stanford as they prepare for a diversity of career paths.

By engaging in professional development in teaching and mentoring, leadership and management, and diversity, equity and inclusion, graduate students prepare for the next stages of their careers while enhancing the university’s mission of education and research. 

Fellowships and Awards

About 85 percent of Stanford graduate students receive financial assistance from Stanford or external sources. The Office of the Vice Provost for Graduate Education administers nine university-wide graduate fellowship programs. The Stanford Graduate Fellowships in Science and Engineering program annually awards three-year fellowships to over 100 exemplary incoming doctoral students. Since 2008, over 396 doctoral students have received the three-year Stanford Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellowship for innovative research that crosses traditional disciplinary boundaries. The EDGE (Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education) Doctoral Fellowship and the DARE (Diversifying Academia, Recruiting Excellence) Doctoral Fellowship programs provide funding and professional development and mentoring opportunities to exemplary doctoral students who enhance diversity within their academic fields and in the professoriate. 

Stanford graduate students have a long history of competing successfully for national and international fellowships as well as research grants. For example, over 400 graduate students are supported by a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, a three-year fellowship awarded to the nation’s most promising scholars.

The Knight-Hennessy Scholars program, the largest fully endowed scholars program in the world, supports a community of future global leaders to address complex challenges through collaboration and innovation. Every year, up to 100 high-achieving students from around the world receive full funding to pursue any graduate degree at Stanford.

Student Life

Students with a variety of diverse backgrounds and life experiences pursue graduate studies at the university. International students come from over 123 countries. The top five countries other than the U.S. that Stanford graduate students call home are China, India, Canada, South Korea and Brazil. 

The majority of graduate students live in university-subsidized housing, and many others live in nearby neighborhoods. Living in close proximity to campus allows graduate students to engage fully in Stanford’s vibrant intellectual community. Stanford has made a major investment in graduate housing, building a complex with 2,400 spaces, which opened in 2020. The university now has the capacity to house 75 percent of graduate students in subsidized housing.

Learn more at Stanford Graduate Life Office.