Students should always start with their department to learn about applicable policies and procedures. However, several university-wide policies govern student progress through graduate degrees. They are found in the Bulletin. A few related to Stanford graduate degree requirements are summarized below.
Ph.D. students must satisfy the general requirements for advanced degrees, the program requirements specified by their departments, and three University-wide requirements: candidacy, the dissertation, University oral examination.
Candidacy: Students are expected to complete department qualifying procedures and apply for candidacy by the end of their second year in the Ph.D. program.
TGR: Terminal Graduate Registration (TGR) is a reduced tuition rate for doctoral students to complete their dissertations. Students are eligible for TGR if they have been admitted to candidacy, completed all required courses and degree requirements other than the University oral exam and dissertation, completed 135 units, and submitted a Doctoral Dissertation Reading Committee form. TGR students may enroll in up to 3 units of course work.
Dissertation: The doctoral dissertation is expected to be an original contribution to scholarship or scientific knowledge, to exemplify the highest standards of the discipline, and to be of lasting value to the intellectual community. Every doctoral dissertation is read and approved by members of the Stanford faculty to ensure that standards for departmental and university quality are met.
University Oral Examination: The purpose of the University Oral Examination is to test the student’s command of the field of study and to confirm fitness for scholarly pursuits. The oral examination is a teaching experience and intellectual encounter for the student; a milestone; and promotes communication among faculty in the different departments of the University. Every Oral exam is chaired by an out-of-department chairperson, who serves as an impartial representative of the academic standards of the University. The defense of the dissertation is often the University Oral exam.
Most master’s degrees require the construction, review, and approval of the Program Proposal using the Program Proposal for a Master's Degree form (pdf)
Generally, requirements for a master’s degree must be completed within three years after the student’s first term of enrollment in the master’s program.
Requirements for these degrees are specified within the schools that give them: medicine, engineering, and law.
Always start with your department, program, and school dean's office to clarify policies and procedures. Detailed university policies can be found:
Graduate academic policies for all degree types are outlined in the Bulletin.
Most forms are found online through the University registrar's office.
Contacts in each school with expertise on graduate academic policies.
University-wide academic policies and procedures are collected in the GAP handbook. The GAP includes policy explanation and implementation procedures. Written primarily for staff, students may also find this helpful.