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M.S. Admissions Frequently Asked Questions

Application instructions and information about admissions requirements and procedures are available from the Graduate Admissions section of the Registrar's Office.

The information below addresses common questions about applying to the Statistics and the Data Science degree programs. Please also review the department's bulletin for details about the program's degree requirements.

TIP: Make sure your first and last name remains consistent throughout the application process and in your correspondence with the department.


Please review the information presented below. If your question was not answered on this list or addressed by Graduate Admissions, please email:

Prospective Applicants

These are suggested topics that would helpprepare an applicant for the program. Our office does not evaluate an applicant's qualifications.

  • For the Statistics M.S. program, recommended preparatory courses include advanced undergraduate level courses in linear algebra, statistics/probability and proficiency in programming (java, C++).


  • For the Data Science program, fundamental courses in mathematics and computing may be needed as prerequisites for other courses in the program.
    •  Recommended preparatory courses include advanced undergraduate level courses in linear algebra and probability, and introductory courses in stochastic processes, numerical methods and proficiency in programming (Basic usage of the Python and C/C++ programming languages).


A strong mathematics background, especially in probability, statistics and linear algebra, is important in the admission process. However, it is not the only factor that determines which applicants are admitted. If such is the case, it is strongly suggested that prospective applicants consider strengthening their math skills and apply later.

No, our office does not offer evaluation of applicant's qualifications. Due to the significant demand of student services responsibilities we cannot accommodate in-person visits.
The admissions committee reviews an applicant's overall attributes in the context of the entire applicant pool each year and is not based solely on high ranking test scores or GPAs.

Academic credentials can be verified on the graduate admissions webpages and vary by the country in which you earned your undergraduate degree:

The Statistics department does not accept applicants who were accepted by other graduate programs for the purpose of transferring to the Statistics program.

Stanford students who wish to add the Statistics graduate program must have completed their current Masters program and must apply as an EXTERNAL applicant.

Stanford University does not accept transfer (graduate) students from other Universities. Whether you are a student in another graduate degree program at Stanford, or started a gradute program elsewhere, you are considered an external applicant and must apply through Graduate Admissions.



Units from a graduate program completed at other institutions may be transferred for those completing a doctoral degree at Stanford.

Graduate credit from other institutions is not transferrable to any Masters program at Stanford.

See Graduate Residency Credit in the Stanford buletin.

No. The Department of Statistics does not offer an online M.S. degree. The department offers a few Statistics courses online through SCPD, many of which are offered in the summer only, the majority of courses can only be completed on-campus during normal business hours. Courses offered online are those listed on the SCPD website.

Although there are many eligible courses offered via SCPD that can be taken to fulfill the degree’s requirements, there are certain core requirements that cannot be replaced by online courses.

Applicants who have already earned a graduate degree are advised to write a compelling statement of purpose describing your motivation for graduate study, future career plans and other relevant aspects of your background and interests. Ordinarily, the committee does not admit those who already hold graduate degrees, especially those in related fields. Applying to this program ought not to duplicate a degree you currently hold or are earning elsewhere.



Due to time constraints we cannot accommodate requests to meet one-on-one with our faculty prior to submitting an application, give individual tours, or meet to provide guidance about applications, the admissions process, and career planning. Prospective applicants are more than welcome to visit the campus, however, the department does not have dedicated staff available for such requests.

Unfortunately, our faculty are unable to respond to questions about admissions or application status reports. All such solicitations will be discarded.

Many students find employment in data science, research analysis, software engineering, program management  within the technology sector (operations research), or finance industry (asset management, acquisitions/mergers, business analytics) as well as various governmental services. Graduates have found employment in the Bay Area and other major cities around the world.

Most graduates are finding work in the greater Bay Area's technology sector which is increasingly expanding into new markets.

The campus hosts several career fairs during the year:


We do not track starting salaries as this is confidential information that we do not ask our graduates to divulge these details.

No. Choosing to enroll in Stanford courses via SCPD should be based on intellectual development.

You may apply to only one degree program per academic year, e.g. Department of Statistics.

You may apply concurrently to one departmental program and to a professional school program (law, medicine or business), e.g. Department of Statistics & Graduate School of Business.

Applicants who submit more than one application to multiple departments will have their application cancelled by the Graduate Admissions Office.

Applicants who are admitted for the 2019-2020 academic year may take Stanford courses online via SCPD before arriving on campus. Registration and enrollment is administered through SCPD.

SCPD tuition rates apply.

Please notify the Student Services Officer of your intentions if you plan to enroll summer quarter before the end of April.

Individuals who are interested in taking classes online can do so through Stanford Center for Professional Development (SCPD). Students registered in courses via SCPD are classified as non-degree option (NDO) students and are expected to complete courses entirely online.
Individuals must apply before the start of the quarter. Application portal for new students. NDO Student handbook
Only select courses are offered through SCPD and there are limitations as to when you can enroll. NDO students are not part of a degree program unless they've been accepted into a graduate degree program at Stanford.

There is no interview component of the application to the Statistics M.S. program.

Master’s students usually finish within 5 quarters, (Year 1: Autumn, Winter, Spring; Year 2: Autumn, Winter).

The Statistics M.S. program is a terminal degree program; completing the Master's degree does not lead to our doctoral program. Applicants with a strong mathematical background who wish to go on to a Ph.D. in Statistics should consider applying directly to the Ph.D. program.

No. External applications are accepted only once a year on the posted deadlines for autumn quarter start. Please refer to the Internal or External deadline pages.

The number of applications increases by 100+ every year, our most recent year with combined 700+ applications for both programs. The department admits 30 applicants for the Statistics M.S. program and between 15-18 for the Data Science program each year.

Statistics & Data Science

No. Applicants who select Data Science will only be considered for this program and NOT in addition to the Statistics M.S. degree program.

The application is the same as that of the Statistics Masters application process. Applicants should indicate their interest in the Data Science track by selecting Data Science from the Specialization section.

Program Selection:

Program Name: Statistics MS

Term: Autumn 20xx-20xx

[next page]

Departmental Specialization:
Drop down: Data Science
[Only applicants who intend to pursue the Data Science subplan should select the specialization from the drop down menu.]

No, the Data Science track is not offered as a coterminal degree nor is it open to graduate students currently at Stanford.

Students must apply through graduate admissions application system as an external candidate.

No, the Statistics Data Science track is not offered as a part-time degree (HCP). Only the Statistics Master's degree is offered as an HCP degree.

The Data Science program curriculum requirements are exactly the same. The Data Science program in Statistics is intended as a terminal degree. Please refer to ICME graduate program application page for department specifications (School of Engineering). Applicants can only apply to one program.

Yes, both programs qualify as a STEM field.

Tuition & Financial Aid

Masters Students are expected to fund their course of study at Stanford in its entirety. Applicants are very strongly advised to apply for external fellowship support early in the application process so that the funding decision is known before the admissions process is complete.
Financing the Degree

The Department of Statistics does not match or supplement fellowship funding in any way.

The Department of Statistics does NOT offer Research or Teaching Assistants (RA/TA) to master’s students. These positions are for Statistics doctoral students only as part of their training.

Masters students are advised not to depend on obtaining an assistantship as significant source of financial support. 

Tuition rates for the current academic year can be found in the Stanford bulletin: Registrar's Office: Student Affairs - Tuition & Fees

Graduate tuition increases (approximately) 3.5% each year, therefore you can calculate the cost of tuition based on the current year's rate. Minimum enrollment for graduate students is 8 units per quarter. Most students take 10 units per quarter and can finish in 5 quarters by enrolling in the 8-10 unit tuition bracket.

Note: Estimated living costs while attending Stanford:


Please be sure to also review the estimated cost of living at Stanford (or the Bay Area):;



No. Graduate tuition rates are the same for U.S. citizens/permanent residents as it is for international graduate students. Graduate programs within the School of Humanities and Sciences (Statistics) are assessed the regular graduate tuition rate.


Please visit Estimated Expense Budget for information about the estimated cost of living on-campus as a graduate student (this is only an estimate; your actual expenses may differ).

A scholarship opportunity for any applicant who has aspirations of major impact on society. In their words, "Knight-Hennessy Scholars will prepare a new generation of leaders with a deep academic foundation and the broad skill set to develop creative solutions to effect positive change in the world." Criteria:

Any full-time graduate degree programApplicants to any graduate program at Stanford are eligible to apply for this fellowship. Applicants must apply to the K-H Scholars program by the 2019 deadline.

The Department does not provide assessment of an applicant's prospects of admission. The Knight-Hennessey fellowship is a university-wide opportunity and not governed by the Statistics department.

Questions about the Knight-Hennessy Fellowship should be directed to the program’s office:




Please note: Determination and nofication of Knight-Hennessy awards is separate from department admission decisions.

The admissions committee does not consider an applicant's financial situation when deciding admission for the Statistics or Data Science program.

The department's admissions committee does not consider an applicant's financial situation when deciding admission.

Please do not send any financial documents to the department. We do not require evidence of financial support during the application process. Admitted applicants who require a student visa will need to show proof of funding before Stanford will issue the student visa.


Proof of funding must be a minimum of 1 year of tuition at the 11-18 unit rate, plus living expenses.

3 (academic quarters) x 11-18 unit rate

Plus living expenses for that period of time.

Please visit Student Housing for information about campus housing at Stanford, including information on eligibility, application process, and deadlines.


Applying for housing

Admissions Exams

The University does not accept IELTS scores in lieu of the TOEFL.

Although Stanford University no longer requires the general GRE as part of the application, the Statistics Department continues to require the exam.

Applicants who have earned, or will earn, a doctoral degree by autumn quarter start  can request to waive the GRE exam. Please send an email upon submission of the graduate application. The student services officer will be able to process the waiver in the application when official transcripts have been received (official documents will be required - degree certificate or diploma).

Please enter  01/01/2019 as 'future test date.'


send email to:

Please verify that you do not have to take the TOEFL by visiting the Graduate Admissions Required Exams webpage:


Once you have received confirmation from the Graduate Admissions Office that your TOEFL waiver request has been approved, please remember to forward this notification to

Applications checklists can only be updated with the TOEFL exemption when the application has been submitted and official transcripts have been reconciled with application.

Note: To bypass the entry of TOEFL scores in the application, enter a future exam date. You can add in the Additional Information section of the application that you have received a waiver from Graduate Admissions.
The University does not accept IELTS scores in lieu of the TOEFL.


(The University does not accept IELTS scores.)


The minimum TOEFL score required in order to be considered for admission is: 250 for the computer-based exam, 600 for the paper-based exam and 100 for the internet-based exam.

The Statistics Department does not have a minimum GPA or GRE score requirement. The evaluation of each applicant is based on all the materials in the file and is not exclusively based on exam scores.

Average admissions exam scores (in percentiles) of admitted applicants:

Verbal 92%
Quantitative 97%
Analytical Writing 82%

Data Science:
Verbal 97%
Quantitative 97%
Analytical Writing 82%

Average TOEFL scores of admitted applicants for both programs: 110 Total, Internet-Based

The Statistics M.S. degree application only requires the General GRE. Please arrange to take the exam early to ensure that your scores reach us by the application deadline. If you will not have your unofficial scores by the deadline, then it will be too late for you to apply. We cannot update an applicant's scores after the application deadline.


Applicants are encouraged to register early to maximize the chances of scheduling preferred test dates and times. For details and registration information explore the ETS web site. Official scores must be reported directly to Stanford from Educational Testing Service. Stanford’s ETS institutional code is 4704.  Individual department code numbers are not necessary.  As long as the institutional code of 4704 is selected, the score will be electronically delivered to Stanford.


For tests taken on or after July 1, 2016, scores are reportable for five years following your test date. For example, scores for a test taken on July 3, 2018, are reportable through July 2, 2023.

Please make sure to have your electronic scores sent to Stanford prior to their expiration date.

GRE scores are valid for approximately five years from the exam date.
TOEFL scores submitted to Stanford must be from a test taken within the last 18 months. (If your scores are still valid, but are close to the 18 month cut-off, please submit them to Stanford as soon as you start your application.)
ETS will not send scores that have expired.

No, it is not required for the Master's application. Most of our applicants do not take a GRE subject test. For applicants interested in taking the subject test, we recommend the engineering, math, economics, computer science or other science subject tests.

 No, we do not accept any tests in lieu of the GRE general.

Stanford's institution code for the GRE and TOEFL is 4704. No department code is required. You may leave that field blank.

(Please be advised, it can take up to 3 or 4 weeks for an applicant's official ETS scores to be reconciled with the submitted application.

Recommendation Letters

At least one of the letters be an academic mentor/adviser/instructor (unless you have been out of school for more than five years). Individuals ought to be qualified to evaluate your potential for graduate study. We recommend applicants ask those who:

  • Know you well through significant, direct involvement during the last three years.
  • Will provide detailed anecdotes and examples to support their assertions.
  • Are truly enthused to write a recommendation for you and will spend sufficient time writing a thoughtful letter.

What not to submit:

  • letters verifying your employment status
  • letters supporting employment or contractual work with a company/industry

The department only requires three letters of recommendation, however, we suggest that applicants ask four recommenders to submit letters - well in advance - in case one of them is not able to submit the letter by the application deadline.


Letters should be uploaded by the recommender themselves via the CollegeNet portal - NOT by the applicant.

Technical difficulties should be reported to CollegeNet at

We can accommodate letters submitted by your university's letter service (e.g. Interfolio). You will still need to enter information for each recommender in the online application, including e-mail addresses. An automatic email will then be sent to the recommender requesting a letter. You will need to contact them to let them know that they should follow your institution's letter service protocol. Please use this email address when routing through the letter service:

Problems regarding the Recommendation Info portion of the application can be resolved via collegenet:

We will not accept recommendation letters sent by the applicant.


Your recommenders are required to submit their letters through the online application by the deadline of the round in which you apply. You are responsible for ensuring the letters are submitted on time. You will be able to see the status of each letter (either notified, started, or submitted). Students are able to send a reminder to any recommender who has not yet submitted.

Register your recommenders.
Go to the “Letters of Reference” tab on the application, and enter each recommender’s information carefully. It is essential that you enter the recommender’s email address correctly so that your recommender can access the instructions and form.
Read the waiver statement and determine whether or not you will waive your right to review each recommendation.
Your recommender receives an email with log in information.
Your recommender completes and submits his/her recommendation.
You and your recommender receive an email confirming the recommendation has been submitted.

Do not email, mail, or fax letters of recommendation that have already been submitted through the online application.

Waiving Your FERPA Access Rights

Once you are an enrolled student, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) provides you with a right of access to your education record, including letters of reference if they are retained by the school. The law also permits you to waive that right of access to your letters of reference if you so choose. Waiving your right of access to your letters of reference is optional; your decision to waive or retain that right will have no bearing on the handling of your application.

The recommenders whom you notify will be able to see whether or not you have waived your FERPA right of access during the letter of reference submission process. You must waive or retain your rights of access to your letters of reference (using the online application system) before you invite recommenders to submit information for you.



All applicants are required to send official transcripts to the degree program in which they are applying by the application deadline. Transcripts are documents establishing an applicant's academic record from their previous institution for (full-time) one year or more.* Students who transferred between any undergradaute institutions will need to provide a set of transcripts for each college.

An official transcript is one that has been signed and sealed by the college/university registrar and is received by Stanford in its original, sealed envelope.

Paper transcripts must be in a sealed envelope and sent either by the applicant or directly from the institution (see protocol for submitting e-Transcripts below).
Transcripts must be in English (see related question below).

Tip: We recommend that applicants send their transcripts to the department within 7 days of SUBMITTING the application. (The arrival of the transcripts will coincide with the processing of the applicant's recently SUBMITTED application.)

Transcript requirements:

  • If submitting paper documents, the department requires two sets (2) of official transcripts.
  • Official transcripts/e-transcripts must be submitted to the department using an approved electronic method or by mailing hard copies. If possible, applicants are encouraged to use one of the electronic methods, as these options are eco-friendly and provide the same level of authenticity as official paper transcripts.
    • E-transcripts sent from the student without a method of validation/authentication are not considered official and will be rejected.


Hard copies of your official transcripts should be mailed to:

Statistics M.S. Graduate Admissions
Statistics Department, Sequoia Hall
Stanford University
Stanford, CA  94305-4020

Electronic Transcript Submission

  • Stanford accepts electronic transcripts that are digitally signed and certified by the institution. If your institution offers this service, your transcript should be sent from the institution to:
  • Electronic transcripts sent from the student without a method for validation/authentication are not considered official and will be rejected (e.g. Transcript Validation Service -
  • Applicants who have attended an institution(s) in China are encouraged to submit CHESICC verified credentials electronically. To initiate a request, go to your ApplyWeb Activity page.
    • By choosing CHESICC, applicants are not required to submit hard copies as well


For those who choose to send certified electronic transcripts, please do not also send paper transcripts.

Please submit the most current version of your transcripts available when you are ready to submit your application. It is recommended that you send your transcripts within 5-7 days of submitting your application. We will accept transcripts up to 2 weeks after the application deadline.

> Please do not send additional copies of your transcripts to the department, regardless of the status of most your recent grades. All transcripts will be reconciled with the submitted application.

>Please do not send your transcripts again, if your application checklist status has not changed right away. Sending updated transcripts via mail or electroically requires repeating the same process, thus more work for department admin.


The department will contact you if there are any missing items.


Applicants whose materials require further verification will be contacted by the department or the Graduate Admissions Office.

Transcripts are documents establishing an applicant's academic record from their previous institution for one year or more (full-time enrollment).

Please do NOT submit the following:

  • Hard copies of your transcripts from continuing studies programs; extension schools; online courses; all other transcripts that reflect less than 1 year of a full-time degree program. These programs should not be listed under Academics: Educational History.
    • Instead, these can be included under the Additional Information: Document Uploadssection on page 15 of the application.

If the institution does not issue records in English, original language records must be submitted with official English translations. We accept translations issued by the institution or a professional translating service. Translations must be literal and complete versions of the original records. Transcripts submitted through a credentials evaluation service will also need to be accompanied by the original documents.


International students do not need to submit transcripts via an evaluation service unless your institution does not offer these documents in English.

Receipt of official transcripts will be recorded in the applicant checklist (Activity Status page and viewing your checklist). Transcripts cannot be reconciled with the student's application until the it has been submitted. We recommend sending your transcripts to the department within 7 days of submitting your application.

Please note, the purpose of the checklist is to allow applicants to monitor the status of their application materials. Please allow up to 3 weeks for official transcripts to be recorded as "RECEIVED" on the application status page.


Application materials, once submitted as part of your application, become the property of Stanford University. Materials will not be returned and copies will not be provided for applicants nor released to other institutions. Please keep a copy for your records.

Official transcripts from Chinese university's will now be processed via CHESICC and routed through graduate admissions application system. This service is optional, however, it is preferable to receiving hard copy transcripts by mail.

If you choose to use this service, you will still need to upload your transcripts in the application and then proceed with the request to process your transcripts within the application. When your CHESICC electronic documents are processed and received by Stanford, applicants will not need to send official paper transcripts to the department.



Official Document Request:

In order to initiate the process for attaching official documents, please indicate that you have entered your complete and accurate educational history.

Yes, I have entered my complete and accurate educational history to the best of my knowledge.

This service costs $12 for the first document, and $10 each for any additional documents. All orders are final and non-refundable.




Note: Using this service will provide official validated documents to the department to which you are applying. You may either submit your request now, or after completing your application.
For further details, please visit:

Statement of Purpose

Please write a brief essay on the following subjects concerning you and your intended field of study:

  • Your statement of purpose should identify personal and professional goals.
  • It should also discuss your development to date and your intentions regarding graduate study and life beyond Stanford.

The admissions committee reads your statement of purpose with interest because, along with the letters of recommendation, it offers insight into who you are as an individual. Be sure to include your past work on relevant issues, research projects you have completed with faculty (with a faculty member who is writing a letter of reference for you), areas of research you're interested in and would like to pursue. Your SOP should be no longer than 2 pages.


If you have any academic or professional articles you've had published, including those you have recently submitted, you may wish to upload an abstract of your work** in your application under Additional Information in the Document Uploads section on page 15. This part of the application only allows one document to be uploaded (file size 10 MB max). We suggest you combine your document, including a table of contents page. Uploaded documents must have a top margin of at least one inch.

Include your full name and department to which you are applying at the top of the document.


(**This includes honors thesis/problem-sets/analytical skills/participation in hackathons/innovator/application developer competitions, etc.)


Application Submission

An incomplete status may be due to several reasons:

  • Your ETS scores may not have been reconciled with your application yet. This process can take up to three weeks after the application has been submitted. The Statistics department has no authority in this process in any way.
  • Your transcripts have not yet arrived to the department.
  • Your transcripts have not yet been manually entered into your checklist by dept admin. Please realize that if you only recently submitted your application, we have not yet had time to enter your transcripts as received in your checklist. With the volume of mail received, please allow minimum of two weeks after the application deadline for checklists to be updated.

Deferrals are not granted automatically; requests are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Requests are never granted for more than one year.


Please contact the department's student services officer if you have questions about requesting a deferral.

The admissions decisions for Statistics Masters applicants are sent out by the end of March. Notification is sent via email only. All decisions are final.


The information you provide in your application upon submission should reflect your current academic/professional standing. Supplementary documents provided after this deadline will not provide further benefit to your overall application and any requests for document upload will be denied.


Do not email, fax, or mail supplemental application materials to our office: we will not review these items. Please do not email the department administrative staff or its faculty questions or attachments. These emails will be discarded.

What not to submit:

  • copies of your passport or other visa related documents.
  • financial documents; bank statements (personal or familial accounts)
  • government documents pledging financial aid/support.
  • photos of yourself.
  • personal webpages.
  • letters verifying your employment status.
  • letters supporting/verifying employment or contractual work with a company/industry.

We are not able to provide individual feedback to unsuccessful applicants.


Submitted Documents

Application materials, once submitted as part of your application, become the property of Stanford University. Materials will not be returned and copies will not be provided for applicants nor released to other institutions. Please keep a copy for your records.

Yes, you must submit a complete application, pay the application fee and submit new letters of recommendation and official copies of transcripts.