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Coterminal Study in Engineering

At Stanford, undergraduate students can apply to study for a master’s degree and complete their bachelor’s degree in parallel.

All engineering graduate programs offer coterminal study in their MS programs – an option chosen by about 40 percent of the school’s undergraduates, according to recent data. Most engineering coterminal (commonly known as “coterm”) students earn both degrees within five years, and nearly all do so within six years.

Benefits of a Coterm

Students surveyed have cited these as the primary reasons to coterm:

  • Opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of undergraduate major
  • Chance to expand engineering perspective and/or skills
  • The value of an engineering master’s degree in the workplace (Surveys of hiring managers have confirmed this.)
  • Ability to take better advantage of Stanford undergraduate opportunities (for overseas studies, research opportunities, etc.)
  • Cost savings of combined degrees

Who Can Apply

Stanford undergraduates who have completed at least six non-summer quarters at Stanford, and at least 120 units toward graduation, including applicable advanced placement (AP) and transfer credits, are eligible to apply for coterminal study. Students can apply to only one coterminal program per term.

When to Apply

Each graduate program sets timelines for review of applications. The university requires that coterms complete the entire admission process (including accepting the offer of admission) at least one quarter before conferral of the bachelor’s degree.

How to Apply

To apply, students should submit applications to their preferred MS programs. The application is available on the Registrar’s coterm website

All applications must include a statement of purpose, a preliminary program proposal and letters of recommendation from Stanford professors.

Many programs require Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores or other materials. Although there is a fee to apply, it is assessed only for students who are admitted and enroll as coterms.

Each department has unique requirements or deadlines, so be sure to check the appropriate link below.

More information

For more information about the coterm program, students may:

  • Talk with a department student services manager
  • Talk with faculty, including their advisors
  • Review the Stanford Bulletin’s section on Coterms
  • Review departmental websites
  • Consult staff in School of Engineering Student Affairs (Huang Engineering Center, Suite 135)