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Nearly 1,000 new graduate students make up Stanford Engineering’s 2023 cohort

The incoming graduate class gears up for a year filled with unique opportunities, creative collaborations, and the support of community.
Group shot of incoming graduate class of 2023, taken from an above balcony.
This fall, Stanford Engineering welcomes 986 new graduate students — 637 master’s students and 349 doctoral students. | Photo by Saul Bromberger

Stanford Engineering’s 2023 cohort of 986 new graduate students were officially welcomed to the school at this year’s Dean’s Welcome Event, an annual tradition celebrating the start of the next phase of their educational journey.

The 637 master’s and 349 doctoral students who gathered in the Science and Engineering Quad represent a wide range of experience and backgrounds. With interests ranging from spacecraft design to artificial intelligence to water equity, each faces an academic journey filled with tremendous opportunity and new challenges, said Jennifer Widom, the Frederick Emmons Terman Dean of the School of Engineering.

“Don’t limit yourself; meet students from across the university, explore classes and seminars outside your area of study and your comfort zone, and be open-minded about collaborations. A lot of the best work we do is the result of lucky happenstance and people meeting each other,” said Widom, who is also the Fletcher Jones Professor in Computer Science and a professor of electrical engineering. “Graduate school is rewarding, but can be a big adjustment. When you have challenges, don’t face them alone. Look around at your cohort here. They and the rest of our community are here to support you.”

As in years past, the new cohort comes from a wide geographical swath, hailing from 64 countries ranging from China to Ghana to Turkey. There are 39 home states represented; California leads the way, with the most students coming from San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Fremont, and Santa Clara. This year’s new students attended over 300 different institutions, where their majors ran the gamut from robotics, electrical engineering, and space science to public policy, geography, and visual art. Each will find an academic home at one of Stanford’s nine engineering departments, where they’ll have a responsibility not only to gain new knowledge but also to share their own backgrounds and insight, said student speaker Edward Apraku, PhD candidate in Civil and Environmental Engineering.

“Whether you study environmental remediation, human-computer interaction, or a niche interdisciplinary topic that only a Stanford mind could think of, you’ll leave a lasting impact on this campus and the people in this community and beyond,” he said.

This year’s cohort represents an age span of nearly 30 years, with the most senior born in 1976 and the youngest born in 2005. Women make up 39 percent of this year’s incoming graduate students.

Apraku urged the new graduate students to “find your community; talk to professors, make friends with your classmates, and connect with alumni. There are groups and resources that will embrace each of you and fill you with the sense of belonging we all crave. Create a constellation of mentors during your time here, and use it to thrive. Then take those connections and open doors and windows for others who will follow you.”