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, 9,292 students are pursuing 14 distinct postbaccalaureate degrees in nearly 200 graduate programs in all seven of Stanford’s schools: Business; Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences; 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 US 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.
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. Many graduate students have the opportunity to undertake research or teaching assistantships, where they hone their skills as researchers and teachers while also contributing to the university’s mission of education and research. The Office of the Vice Provost for Graduate Education works collaboratively across the university, leading initiatives and providing resources that enhance the quality of graduate students’ educational experiences and position Stanford at the forefront of innovation in graduate education.
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 325 doctoral students have received the three-year Stanford Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellowship Program 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 Graduate Students Fall 2021 successfully for national and international fellowships as well as research grants. For example, over 700 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.
Students with a variety of diverse backgrounds and life experiences pursue graduate studies at the university. Approximately 34 percent of the 2021-22 graduate student population, over 3,144 students, are international students from over 117 countries. The top five countries other than the US that Stanford graduate students call home are China, India, Canada, South Korea and Brazil. Students from underrepresented backgrounds account for 15 percent while women constitute 45 percent of graduate enrollment in 2021-2022.
The majority of graduate students live in universitysubsidized 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 new 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.