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Coterminal Master’s Degree: Application & Admission

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Application and Admission to a Coterminal Master's Program

Undergraduates with strong academic records may apply for admission to a Stanford Master of Arts (M.A.) or Master of Science (M.S.) program that offers coterminal admission via the process outlined below. Any master’s degree granting program may elect not to offer coterminal admission.

Eligibility Requirements

An undergraduate is eligible to apply for admission to a coterminal program once all of the following conditions have been met:

  • An admitted coterminal student must have a minimum of one quarter overlap between the undergraduate and graduate degree programs. If this is not possible, students should consider applying as an external candidate via the Graduate Admissions process. Such applicants are not coterminal students and coterminal policies do not apply.
  • Completion of 120 units towards graduation as shown on the undergraduate transcript, including credit earned from transfer credit, Advanced Placement exams, and other external test credit.
  • Completion of six non-Summer quarters at Stanford; or two non-Summer quarters at Stanford for transfer students.
  • Declaration of an undergraduate major.
  • Students may apply to one coterm program per quarter, and may not apply to another coterm master's program until the admissions process for the initial application has been completed, including the student's response to the offer of admission (if admitted).

Undergraduates interested in applying to a coterm program should contact the coordinator of coterminal advising in Academic Advising. Note that departments may have additional eligibility requirements, so students are encouraged to check with the department prior to applying for the coterm program.

Application Deadlines

There are two application deadlines in the coterm process: the application deadline that students must submit their completed applications to their departments by, and the quarterly deadline that all admitted coterm applications must be sent to the Registrar's office for program activation. Coterm applicants are responsible for meeting all eligibility requirements and submitting their completed coterm application to the department by the department's coterm application deadline. Coterm applicants should contact their prospective coterm department for more information about the coterm application deadline. Departments are responsible for routing approved coterm applications to the Registrar's office for processing. Approved coterm applications are processed by the Registrar's office every quarter, and coterm department administrators are required to submit approved coterm applications to the Registrar's Office no later than the last day of classes of the quarter prior to the coterm matriculation quarter.  

Application Fee

Students who accept an offer of admission and are matriculated into the graduate degree program are assessed a $125 coterm application fee. 

Eligibility for a coterm graduate application fee waiver is based on the Financial Aid Office’s evaluation of your need-based aid application. Those from families with income below $125,000 and typical assets for that income range will qualify. The waiver is automatically applied and no special request is necessary. 

Application Process 

To apply for admission to a coterm master’s program, students must submit all of the following to the prospective graduate department:

Note: Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores and additional requirements may be specified by the prospective program, and may be found in the bulletin and on department websites (links to department websites found on the Registrar's website).

Admission Process

Each department is responsible for its admissions/acceptance decisions for coterm applicants. Once a coterm application is approved, the departments create the coterm application record in Axess (department staff should refer to the Coterm Resources for Staff page). Additionally, the department must route the completed and approved coterm application to the Office of the Registrar by the quarterly deadline.

If the coterm program permits deferral, students may defer admission to the coterm program and the first graduate quarter to a later quarter as long as their graduate career has not yet been activated and if the later matriculation will still meet all University and departmental requirements for coterm admission. Deferring a coterm matriculation may require that students postpone the conferral of their undergraduate degree. If the graduate coterm career has been activated, then deferring to a later term is not an option. Deferral is coordinated with the master's degree program, prior to the program submitting the completed application to the Office of the University Registrar. 

​First Graduate Quarter

The first graduate quarter is the quarter in which the coterm student first matriculates into their master’s degree program. The first graduate quarter does not necessarily correspond to the first quarter in which a student enrolls in a course in the graduate career, nor is it affected by course transfer (please see Coterm Course Transfer for additional information). 

Admitted students must have at least one-quarter of overlap in the undergraduate and graduate career prior to conferring their undergraduate degree. For example, if the first graduate quarter for the coterm degree is Spring Quarter, then the earliest that the undergraduate degree can be conferred is the Spring Quarter. Once matriculated, students may enroll in graduate courses, however, enrollment in graduate courses is not required by the University in the overlap quarter. Students should work with their department to complete a Program Proposal that outlines the graduation/program completion plan by the end of the first graduate quarter.

Adding or Changing Master's Degree Programs

Students wishing to add a second graduate program to their academic plans may only do so after the conferral of the undergraduate degree. Adding or changing a graduate program after the conferral of the undergraduate degree can be done via the Graduate Program Authorization Petition. For additional information, see the "Changes of Degree Programs" section of this bulletin, the Graduate Program Authorization section of the Graduate Academic Policies and Procedures site, and the Graduate Program Authorization page on the Registrar's website.

Coterm students who wish to change from one master’s degree to another before conferral of the bachelor’s degree must submit an approved request to withdraw from the original degree program using the Request to Permanently Withdraw from Degree Program form, in addition to a completed and approved application for admission to the new program in the same quarter. In this case, all courses, including any prior course transfer from the undergraduate career, remain in the graduate career. The new degree program may choose not to approve all courses towards the new master’s degree program requirements. The student may elect to transfer courses back to the undergraduate career if the bachelor’s degree has not yet been conferred. Coterms interested in doing a coterm program switch should contact the coordinator of coterminal advising in Academic AdvisingNote: The discontinued program is listed on the transcript in a 'Discontinued' status, though it is not considered an academic demerit.