The school, departments and university all are home to programs and services designed to support graduate students.
As a graduate student in the Stanford School of Engineering, your primary resource for guidance and information about academic requirements, deadlines and procedures is your departmental student services manager.
The Office of Student Affairs is located in the Dean’s office in the School of Engineering. Student Affairs works with our departments to make sure that graduate financial and academic policies are well understood and implemented fairly — at the university, school and department level — and to develop administrative support for all aspects of graduate education. A graduate student’s first line of communication is usually at the department level (your advisor and your department student services office), but please come to our office if there are questions or issues that need further explanation.
Degree requirements, milestones, tuition, fees and many more vital pieces of information are contained in your departmental handbooks/websites, and in related university sites.
The most relevant for graduate students include the Stanford Bulletin, the Research Policy Handbook and the Registrar’s Office.
Stanford’s Gateway for New Graduate Students also provides a very useful compendium of services, information, and programs for continuing students as well as new.
The GAP (Graduate Academic Policies and Procedures) includes policies such as pregnancy, childbirth and adoption leave options and support and other leaves of absence options.
The Office of the VPGE works collaboratively across the university to enrich students’ academic experiences, advancing diversity, preparing leasers, and positioning Stanford at the forefront of innovation in graduate education. Engineering doctoral and master’s students contribute to and benefit from VPGE’s programs promoting professional development, interdisciplinary learning, fellowship programs and many forms of educational innovation.
Many resources are available to help you fund graduate study. Each graduate department manages fellowships, research assistantships and teaching assistantships for graduate students; in addition, many students hold external fellowships (NSF, NDSEG, or equivalent international awards) or Stanford-wide fellowships. The VPGE’s “Graduate Student Funding” offers a useful guide to these external and University-wide programs. The university’s Financial Aid Office administers some need-based funding for graduate students, including the Grant-in-Aid program and federal loan programs, in addition to managing all support for Stanford’s undergraduates.
All SoE PhD students who are in good standing relative to their PhD program requirements should be funded to the department’s 20-hour-RA level (which provides full payment of tuition and a salary/stipend consistent with the SOE-recommended minimum stipend). Arranging for this funding is the responsibility of the department and the faculty PhD advisor, and can include fellowships, research assistantships, training grants and teaching assistantships.
Often, our PhD students apply for and may receive individual fellowships which can reduce the department’s or advisor’s cost of funding. In these cases, the guarantee of funding to the student will include the fellowship award and additional support from the department/advisor to reach the department-standard level. For educational purposes, departments and advisors may encourage their students to apply for such fellowships and provide resources to strengthen their applications; however, no department or faculty member may require students to obtain external individual funding or to “self-fund” as a condition of admission, entry to or continuation in the PhD.
At the School of Engineering, departments have different program requirements – some require research, others don’t. Some PhD programs match students with research advisors before matriculation, others expect you to find your own placement. The departments have varied policies and procedures, so it is important to read your graduate handbook and communicate with your student services office frequently.
If you are graduate student who was not assigned a research placement upon admission, there are a few ways to find research opportunities on your own. Check out department and lab websites, do literature searches, and find faculty members you would like to work with. Put together your resume and transcripts, and compose an e-mail asking for a lab rotation. Some labs have open meetings that you can attend to get a feel for the people and projects. Be assertive, and don’t give up if you don’t hear back right away. Go to office hours and be persistent. If you have a fellowship, be sure to let the faculty member know, and if you are willing to volunteer, there will be more incentive to bring you on board. If you have questions or need guidance on this, please reach out to your student services manager.