The master’s program provides training in solid-state fundamentals and materials engineering through advanced lecture courses and laboratory classes. It is a terminal degree, meaning these students typically do not continue on to our PhD program.
To receive the master’s degree, a student must take 45 units of courses (approximately 15 quarter-long classes). The list of classes that are required is given in the Materials Science and Engineering section of the Stanford Bulletin. Some students take five classes per quarter and graduate in one year, but most take between four and five quarters to graduate. No thesis or research are required, but some master’s students opt to earn 6 to 15 units of credit by doing research with a professor in the lab and writing a master’s report. Students interested in this opportunity should make arrangements with a faculty member to supervise their research and enroll in MSE 200. See the Student Services Manager after the MSE Orientation for details and approval.
The online application for 2023-2024 Autumn entry will open in mid-September 2022. Applications will be due at 11:59 pm on January 4th, 2023
Feel free to review this year's info (below) in preparation for a future application.
TOEFL: Please note Applicants whose first language is not English must submit an official test score from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Please see Stanford's Graduate Admissions Student Affairs Website (Required Exams) for information regarding Minimum TOEFL Requirements, Exemptions, and Waivers.
GRE: Students who wish to apply for admission to our graduate program in the 2023-24 academic year may not be required to take the GRE or submit a GRE score report as part of their application process.
Did you just apply to the MS (or PhD program)? We will contact you if we need anything.
MS Program Specific Q&A
Q: My undergraduate degree is not in an engineering discipline. Am I eligible to apply?
A: Yes, you are eligible to apply. Any engineering discipline or related science discipline (such as physics, chemistry, etc.), or mathematics is a good base for graduate study in materials science and engineering. Please thoroughly review the requirements of the program in the Stanford Bulletin.
Q: Can I change from the MS to the PhD degree program?
A: We do have a petition procedure for students who have done extremely well during their first two quarters in our program and wish to request a transfer to the PhD program. You must have support from two faculty members, including one who is willing to act as your PhD research advisor and provide funding for you. Space is limited.
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: Does your department consider diversity, equity, and inclusion during the admissions process?
A: Yes. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are core values at Stanford, ones that the MSE department strives to cultivate and enhance. We value the rich perspectives, skills, and ideas people from varied backgrounds bring to the Stanford community. Diversity is woven throughout Stanford and is reflected not only in our people but also in the curricula and research enterprises. The teaching and research of our faculty provide opportunities to engage deeply in concerns related to diversity in every sphere of life. Today diversity at Stanford, in its myriad forms, is essential to maintaining our educational excellence. Diversity leads to better ideas, more informed decisions, and enriches the learning and research environment. Finally, we expect members of the community to contribute to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion at Stanford. Applicants are asked to write an essay that describes how their own unique experiences and personal identity would contribute to a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable environment at Stanford. These might include: first in the family to attend graduate school (or university), gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, work and life experiences, special interests, culture, socioeconomic status, religion, citizenship status, nationality, campus leadership activities, among others.
Q: I cannot afford graduate school. How can I apply for a fellowship?
A: MS applications may be reviewed 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).
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 fund their studies with loans and search for assistantships once they have built relationships with faculty in the MSE 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 will not be able to start until next Autumn September 2023. Should I still apply?
A: If you know you are unable to start until a later quarter, please do not apply. We generally do not offer deferrals to MS students unless there is an urgent, valid medical/family reason.
Q: If I am admitted, can I defer for a quarter or two?
A: The MS program starts the Autumn term following admission. 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 next Autumn, please wait to apply in a future year.
Q: I do not 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 MatSci, but there are some caveats – please contact the Stanford Center for Professional Development for more information. The MS 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 email@example.com 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.
Q: When will I hear about my Master’s admission status?
A: You can expect an answer by the end of March 2022. We work diligently to finalize the list and get word out as soon as possible. Please DO NOT CALL/EMAIL asking for your status as it slows the process.