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Engineer Degree

The Engineer degree is offered under the general regulations of the university as set forth in the Stanford Bulletin. This degree is recommended for students who expect to engage in a professional career in industry.

The program is rigorous and should be undertaken only by students with the ability for independent work. It requires a minimum of two years of full time graduate study, or a minimum of 90 units beyond the BS degree. Students must be admitted to candidacy and must complete a thesis.

Graduate students who lack adequate background in their area of specialization (such as a lack of a prior degree in civil engineering, if required in their program) or who, for whatever reason, are not full-time students should expect to be enrolled for more than two years. Engineer degree candidates should develop individually tailored expected-progress timetables in consultation with their program advisors.

New graduate admission

For graduate students not currently attending Stanford, admission to study for the Engineer degree in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering begins with the Office of Graduate Admissions.

Graduate program authorization

If you are currently pursuing a graduate degree at Stanford, submit an Application for Post-Masters Study [PDF] (available in the Department office). This form is typically filed during your second quarter of graduate study, preferably before January 1, so that your application may be reviewed during the normal admissions cycle. You may apply at a later date if your advisor feels that it is appropriate to do so.

Submit the completed form to the Department Office. Your application form will be forwarded to the appropriate faculty members for evaluation, and you will be notified by mail of their decision. If you are accepted for Engineer degree study, the next step is to submit a Graduate Program Authorization Petition [PDF], requesting a “Change of Primary Graduate Degree Program.” Turn in this document to the Department office, for approval by the department chairperson.

Note: As a student actively seeking a graduate degree at Stanford, it is suggested that you defer any degree conferral until you know whether or not you have been accepted for continued study (i.e., for the Engineer or PhD degree) at Stanford. Not having the new degree program added before your current degree is conferred will inactivate the student status and you must reapply for graduate admission.


The minimum number of units required for the Engineer degree is 90. Students with a master’s degree in Civil Engineering (either from Stanford or an acceptable school elsewhere) can normally satisfy the requirements for an Engineer Degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering by completing a minimum of 45 units of study at Stanford after the master’s degree, subject to the following conditions:

  • The 45 units includes both course work and thesis preparation. The 45 units must include at least 30 units of course work, i.e. excluding independent study and thesis preparation. The 45 units may include up to 15 units of CEE 299, or CEE 300.
  • All units must be in courses at or above the 100 level and at least 50 percent of those must be at the graduate level (numbered 200 or above).
  • Up to six units of Post-MS course work may be taken for student-elected Credit/NC, with advisor’s permission.
  • Your program of study must be approved by your advisor and the department chairperson, on the Application for Candidacy for the Degree of Engineer [PDF].


A minimum of 90 quarter units of full-time graduate study (or equivalent part-time graduate study) is required for the Engineer degree. For most students, the master’s degree supplies 45 of these units.

Academic performance

In order to be recommended for the Engineer degree, you must achieve a Grade Point Average (GPA) of at least 3.0 in the Stanford courses (excluding thesis) listed in the 45 units of Post-MS Study on your Application for Candidacy for Degree of Engineer [PDF].

The GPA is calculated as follows: A=4, B=3, C=2 and D=1; a plus (+) modifier adds 0.3 and a minus (-) modifier subtracts 0.3.

Submission of thesis

The acceptance of the thesis by the department and the university will be the final step. Plan to consult with the graduate degree progress officer in the Registrar’s Office, to review format requirements, prior to submission. Pick up a copy of Directions for Preparing the Engineer Thesis.

  • 12 to 15 units (CEE300) are typically allowed for thesis preparation; these units may be included in the department’s 45 post-MS unit requirement.
  • Your thesis research must be conducted at Stanford and normally should begin during the first quarter of study after the master’s degree.

Submit all copies, ready for binding, to the office of Graduate Degree Progress in the Registrar's Office by the posted deadline.