First year Stanford Biosciences students in class

Living at Stanford

From housing deadlines to transportation and shopping, here is some important information for you to know about living at Stanford:


We highly recommend you live on campus your first year.

Living in student housing connects you to the full range of opportunities that Stanford has to offer as well as to graduate students from a variety of backgrounds and interests. This is why more than 50 percent of graduate students—and nearly all first-years—choose to call Stanford graduate housing home.

Some key 2014-15 academic year deadlines:

Answers for students living in housing

Do you need directions to a campus building? Instructions for your heating system? A repair for your room? Stanford's Living in Housing page has answers for you.

Off-campus options

For off-campus options, check out these sources:

Local newspapers are also a good source of off-campus housing. In addition to the Palo Alto Weekly (published on Tuesdays and Fridays), the Peninsula has several daily newspapers, including the San Jose Mercury News and the San Francisco Chronicle.


Most graduate students are paid quarterly, but this may vary depending on the source of your funding. Your stipend checks and refunds can be tracked and managed through Axess. Consult your Student Services Administrator (SSA) to learn about your specific payment schedule and for any questions about your stipend check.

National Science Foundation Fellowships

The NSF Pre-Doctoral Graduate Research Fellowship is a prestigious and nationally competitive three-year fellowship. PhD students may apply during their first and second years, and everyone who is eligible should apply. Our students are highly competitive for outside fellowships, and we encourage and mentor these applications. Consult the front page of the Incoming Students section for links to current workshops that cover fellowship writing.

Application deadlines for 2014 are the week of November 4 (specific date depends on your discipline), with reference letters due by November 14. For more information, application details, and eligibility requirements, see the NSF website.

Estimated taxes

Student Affairs houses information and forms regarding tax status and payments. Stipends are subject to income tax, but not automatic withholding, so students must pay estimated taxes. The page also includes:

  • Information specifically for graduate students who receive financial support
  • Direct links to Form 1040-ES for paying estimated taxes
  • An online form to ask Stanford Payroll about tax withholding and forms

Personal transportation

Stanford Parking & Transportation is your one-stop shop for transportation in and around Stanford. If you drive to campus, they will help you find the best place to park and sell you a parking permit that meets your needs and budget. If you use alternative transportation to commute to campus, they can assist you in planning your commute by public transportation, finding rideshare partners, using the real-time Marguerite bus schedule, or selecting the area's best bike routes.


Stanford has a great biking culture—most students get around the area with a bike, using dedicated bike lanes and parking areas.

Bicyclists must follow the same rules of the road as automobile drivers, not pedestrians. Palo Alto and other nearby cities have established a network of bike lanes and paths marked with signs and painted lines to make biking safer. Helmets are recommended but not required. Please lock up your bike with a quality U-lock anytime it is parked.

The California Vehicle Code requires registration of bicycles. The Campus Bike Shop at Tresidder Union registers bicycles and can be reached at 650-723-9300. They also offer repairs and a full shop. You can also register your bicycle at the Parking & Transportation Office at 340 Bonair Siding. Engravers are available at the Police Station to engrave a license number or Stanford student ID number on bicycle frames. Stolen bicycles should be reported to the Police Station (650-723-9633).

*Note that bicycles are not permitted within the Beckman Center. Please use the locking areas outside.


Permits are required for parking on campus. Three types are available: "Resident" permits allow you to park at your campus dorm or apartment. "A" stickers entitle you to park in any lot. "C" stickers enable you to park only in the "C" lots. Both A and C permits are available to commuters (students not living on campus). Carpool and vanpool permits are also available to eligible persons. Visit the Parking & Transportation Services website or call 650-723-9362 for more information.

Additional automobile resources include:

  • The Department of Motor Vehicles in Mountain View (595 Showers Drive, 800-777-0133) and in Redwood City (300 Brewster, 800-777-0133). It is recommended that you call in advance to set up an appointment.
  • California State Automobile Association (430 Forest Ave., Palo Alto, 800-777-0133).
  • Zipcar has a strong presence at Stanford, with 50 at 18 locations around campus.

Public transportation

Marguerite Shuttle

This free shuttle is the main campus public transportation option. It operates Monday through Friday all year, except on University holidays. Shuttles run between various locations around campus, Palo Alto, SLAC, Menlo Park, and Mountain View. Maps and time schedules are available at Parking & Transportation Services or by calling 650-723-9362.


Caltrain provides commuter rail service along the San Francisco Peninsula, from downtown San Francisco to San Jose (and farther south). The nearest station for Stanford students is the Palo Alto stop, right on the edge of Downtown Palo Alto and just minutes east of campus. You will need to purchase your fare at one of the station terminals before boarding the train. Train frequency varies by day and time, so consult the Caltrain website for schedules.

Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART)

BART is the Bay Area's rapid-transit system, connecting areas such as San Francisco, the East Bay, and Berkeley. The southernmost BART station on the Peninsula is Millbrae, where Caltrain shares a station. There, you can transfer easily between the two, though each requires their own fare. You can also park at the Millbrae BART station (20 miles north of campus) for $2 a day.

SamTrans and VTA buses

Stanford Parking & Transportation Services provides a helpful list of buses that connect Stanford/Palo Alto to nearby cities, including those outside of the Marguerite shuttle's reach.

SamTrans connects the Palo Alto train station (and the free Marguerite shuttle service) to all of San Mateo County (north of campus), including service to San Francisco International Airport.

VTA buses connect the Palo Alto train station (and the free Marguerite shuttle service) to Santa Clara County (south of campus). VTA also provides light rail service in the South Bay. All VTA buses have front-mounted racks that can hold two bikes.



The Wells Fargo Bank in Tresidder Memorial Union and the Stanford Federal Credit Union at Tresidder and on Pampas Lane are conveniently located on campus. You can use your student identification card in tandem with Wells Fargo Bank for ATM services. ATMs for Bank of America, Stanford Federal Credit Union, and Wells Fargo Bank are on the second floor of Tresidder and near the hospital's emergency entrance.

Post office and ZIP codes

The post office at Stanford is a branch of the Palo Alto U.S. Postal Service and is located at White Plaza. The hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday. P.O. Boxes are available for annual or semi-annual rental, in a variety of sizes.

The ZIP code for campus addresses is 94305, and the code for P.O. Boxes at the Stanford University branch is 94309.


From groceries to retail, you have plenty of stores within reach at Stanford. Here are some of the most popular options around campus:

  • Town & Country Village is just outside of campus, at the corner of El Camino Real and Embarcadero. Major stores include a CVS, a pharmacy and drugstore with many convenience items, as well as a Trader Joe's, an excellent option for fresh produce, packaged goods, and frozen food. It also has several local retail and restaurant options.
  • Stanford Shopping Center is one of the region's premier open-air shopping and dining destinations. It includes full restaurants and fast food, as well as retail stores, like Gap. The major department stores in this mall are Bloomingdale's, Macy's, Nordstrom, and Neiman Marcus.
  • Downtown Palo Alto is a popular destination for shopping, coffee shops, dining, and nightlife.
  • San Antonio Shopping Center has stores such as Target, Walmart, Safeway, Trader Joe's, Ross, and Kohls. It is four miles east of campus and is accessible through the on-campus Marguerite Shuttle Service.
  • IKEA has tons of furniture and home items, including bookcases, desks, chairs, kitchen supplies, and more. If you are looking to furnish your kitchen, room, or desk, IKEA will have plenty of options at reasonable prices.


  • Safeway is one of the most convenient grocery stores in the area. One that is frequently used by Stanford students is located off of El Camino Real in neighboring Menlo Park.
  • Trader Joe's is an affordable specialty grocery store providing fresh, packaged, and frozen goods. Nearby locations are in Town & Country (close to downtown Palo Alto), Menlo Park, and the San Antonio Shopping Center.
  • Whole Foods is an organic grocery store located in downtown Palo Alto, featuring fresh produce, breads, and meats.
  • California Avenue Farmer's Market is held on California Avenue year-round on Sundays, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Clubs and organizations

The Stanford Biosciences Student Association (SBSA) is a student-run organization that serves and represents graduate students in biology-related fields in the Schools of Medicine, Humanities and Science, and Engineering.

The mission of the Biomedical Association for the Interest of Minority Students (BioAIMS) is to address the needs and concerns of current minority graduate students in the Biosciences. BioAIMS is committed to promoting a supportive community and to enriching the opportunities available for minority students pursuing an advanced degree in science.

Others include:

Other websites of interest

What if I have a question?

Our faculty and staff are committed to you and your personal and professional development; feel free to approach them. Each Home Program has a Student Services Administrator who will be happy to answer your questions or direct you to the appropriate resource. For academic and science questions, see your first-year advisor. Additionally, you should always feel free to approach any faculty member.

In particular, the Office of Graduate Education is your resource to help you find what you need, assist with a specific problem, or talk in general. For specific concerns, follow these links:

Other resources available to you

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