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Coterminal Admissions


Stanford undergraduates with strong academic records can apply for admission to a Master of Arts (M.A.) or Master of Science (M.S.) program through a coterminal admission process, provided they meet certain conditions. These conditions include having a minimum one-quarter overlap between their undergraduate and graduate programs, completing a specific number of units, spending a certain number of quarters at Stanford, declaring an undergraduate major, and adhering to application procedures. If eligible, students can apply for admission to only one master's program at a time, and if accepted, they are subject to an application fee. Deferral of admission and changing programs are possible under certain circumstances.

Policy Statement

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. A coterminal student has met the minimum overlap requirement if the undergraduate degree is conferred at the conclusion of the quarter of matriculation into their coterminal program, or at the conclusion of any subsequent quarter. 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 graded 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.

  • Regardless of the application process, coterminal application or traditional admissions process, undergraduates who wish to pursue a coterminal master’s degree may apply to only one master’s program at a time. Once the application process has been completed and the student has responded to an offer of admission (if admitted), the student may then apply for admission to another master’s degree program. Departments may adopt local policies that are more restrictive.

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 follow the process described on the Coterm Application page.

Deferral Admission Process

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 the student postpones 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 but enrollment in graduate courses is not required 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.

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.

Contact Information

Degree Progress, Office of the University Registrar