M.S. Admissions

Instructions for Applying to the Symbolic Systems MS Degree Program


Referring page: Symbolic Systems Master of Science Program


[this version: July 31, 2017]


The Master of Science degree program in Symbolic Systems is open both to current Stanford undergraduates on a coterminal basis and to students who enter the program with a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution of higher learning. Admission for both groups of students is competitive.

Please review the Master's Program requirements before applying. If you have questions about the program that are not answered on this website, send a message to symsys-admissions at lists.stanford.edu.

Please note that students in the Master's Program are generally responsible for providing their own funding. Limited teaching and research assistantships may be available on a quarter-by-quarter basis through affiliated departments or, in some cases, a student's supervisor, but there is no general program of financial support for Master's degree students at Stanford.

Because we just recently began recruiting and admitting students who did not attend Stanford as undergraduates, we cannot offer meaningful statistics on admit rates that will be applicable from one year to the next. We hope to be able to do this in future years, once our student population has stabilized.

Please go to the section below that matches your situation: "A. Non-Coterm/Outside Applicants (Regular admission" or "B. Coterm Applicants (Current Stanford Undergraduates Only)."

Please see Symbolic Systems M.S. Admissions - FAQ for answers to frequently asked questions about admissions to our masters program

A. Non-Coterm/Outside Applicants (Regular Admission)

  1. Before you begin, review the University’s Graduate Admissions website and carefully follow their instructions. Graduate information and University requirements for application to Graduate Study at Stanford are available at this website.

  2. Students who previously completed a Symbolic Systems undergraduate degree are strongly encouraged to include a Project Area Statement (PAS) with a commitment from a prospective project advisor when they apply for admission to the M.S. program, since the expected completion time for such students is just one year and the project area must be approved by May 1 of the year prior to the expected graduation year. Students who expect to take more than one year beyond the bachelor's degree to complete the Symbolic Systems M.S. program may apply without including a PAS. More information about the requirements for the PAS is available on the program's website.

  3. All applicants are encouraged to include in their application one original research paper (or draft, if it is a work in progress). If admitted, this paper may, if deemed appropriate, later be approved as the student's Qualifying Research Paper (QRP). The QRP is due no later than the end of the Summer Quarter prior to the expected graduation year. Including an original research paper as part of one's application is not required, but it improves a student's chances of admission. More information about the requirements for the QRP is available on the program's website.

  4. In addition to any Project Area Statement and/or original research paper, your application dossier must include the following materials. The entire application and supplemental materials are submitted through the online system. Official transcripts are the only paper documents that should be mailed to the Symbolic Systems Program (in addition to uploading copies online). Please DO NOT mail any other paper documents, all documents must be submitted through the online application system.

    • Official online application and application fee.

    • Statement of Purpose outlining your goals and motivations for applying to the program.

    • Three letters of recommendation. Recommenders must submit the letters online. When you enter the names and email addresses of your recommenders in the online application, they will receive a message with instructions on how to set up a recommender account. They will then be able to electronically submit their recommendations directly to Stanford. You can check the status of your recommendation letters through the Activity Log on the Application Menu. Click “Review Activity” and then click the information button next to your application. In the activity log, you can send your recommenders reminder emails if their letter has not been submitted. Please note that you cannot add additional recommenders after submitting the application so please plan in advance and contact your recommenders before submitting their information in the online application.

    • Report of your GRE (general test) scores. Official test scores must be reported directly to Stanford from Educational Testing Service (ETS). Stanford’s ETS institutional code is 4704; an individual department code number is not necessary. Please be sure to list Stanford University as a Score Recipient in addition to listing it as your Graduate Institution (GI). GRE scores are valid for five years from the date taken.

    • TOEFL scores are required of all applicants whose first language is not English regardless of citizenship status unless you have earned a U.S. Bachelor’s or Master’s degree from a college or university accredited by a regional association in the United States or the equivalent of either degree from a non-U.S. institution of recognized standing where all instruction is provided in English. This exception does not apply if the courses were completed in a country where English is spoken but not all instruction is provided in English. Please see the University Graduate Admissions website for TOEFL requirements. TOEFL scores must be from a test taken within the last 18 months.

    • Two official copies of your undergraduate and any graduate transcripts. You are required to upload a copy of each transcript into the online application. Please scan your official transcript and attach the PDF to your application. You must also mail two official copies of your transcript to the Symbolic Systems Program Office.

  5. The application deadline for the 2017-2018 academic year has passed.  For the 2018-2019 academic year, the application deadline for the Symbolic Systems M.S. program for applicants who are not enrolled in an undergraduate program at Stanford is February 6, 2018. Students will be notified of their acceptance status by March 15, 2018.

B. Coterm Applicants (Current Stanford Undergraduates Only)

  1. Before you begin, review the Coterm Information page for University requirements and policies.

  2. All applicants must have earned 120 units towards graduation (UTG) as shown on the undergraduate unofficial transcript. These units can include Advanced Placement (AP) and transfer credit.

  3. Students applying for the coterminal program are strongly encouraged to include a Project Area Statement (PAS) with a commitment from a prospective project advisor when they apply for admission to the M.S. program, since the expected completion time for such students is just one year and the project area must be approved by May 1 of the year prior to the expected graduation year. Students who expect to take more than one year beyond the bachelor's degree to complete the Symbolic Systems M.S. program may apply without including a PAS. More information about the requirements for the PAS is available on the program's website.

  4. All applicants are encouraged to include in their application one original research paper (or draft, if it is a work in progress). If admitted, this paper may, if deemed appropriate, later be approved as the student's Qualifying Research Paper (QRP). The QRP is due no later than the end of the Summer Quarter prior to the expected graduation year. Including an original research paper as part of one's application is not required, but it improves a student's chances of admission. More information about the requirements for the QRP is available on the program's website.

  5. In addition to any Project Area Statement and/or original research paper, your application must include the following (**Please note that all materials to be uploaded (Statement of Purpose, PAS,QRP,etc should be bundled into ONE PDF as there is only space for one document upload in new online application):

    • Official SU coterminal application form, available at the Registrar's Office website.

    • Statement of Purpose outlining your goals and motivations for applying to the program.

    • Two letters of recommendation (one of which should come from a student’s prospective project advisor if a Project Area Statement is included in the dossier).

    • Report of your GRE (general test) scores. Official test scores must be reported directly to Stanford from Educational Testing Service (ETS). Stanford’s ETS institutional code is 4704; an individual department code number is not necessary. Please be sure to list Stanford University as a Score Recipient in addition to listing it as your Graduate Institution (GI).

    • Two official copies of your undergraduate and any graduate transcripts. Official Stanford transcript is requested and submitted through the online application. Please do not request an official paper transcript from the Registrar’s Office.

  6. The coterm application deadline for students entering the program in the Spring of 2017-2018 is February 6, 2018. A later deadline of May 1, 2018 is available to students who wish to enter the coterm program (for Stanford undergraduates only) in Autumn Quarter 2017-2018. Students will be notified of their acceptance status by March 15, 2018  (for the Feb. 6 deadline) and by June 1, 2018 (for the May 1 deadline).

  7. Coterminal applications with all materials, should be submitted online through the applyweb system  (**Please note that all materials to be uploaded (Statement of Purpose, PAS,QRP,etc should be bundled into ONE PDF as there is only space for one document upload in new online application)





 

For Internet Explorer users: Click on the Tools menu, located at the top of your browser window. When the drop-down menu appears, select the option labeled Full Screen.

For Chrome users:Click on the Chrome "wrench" icon, located in the upper right hand corner of your browser window. When the drop-down menu appears, select the choice labeled Full Screen.

For Firefox user:Click on the View menu, located at the top of your browser window. When the drop-down menu appears, select the option labeled Full Screen.

For Safari users: Safari currently does not support the ability to go fullscreen.