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Bulletin Archive

This archived information is dated to the 2011-12 academic year only and may no longer be current.

For currently applicable policies and information, see the current Stanford Bulletin.

Undergraduate Programs in the School of Engineering

The principal goals of the undergraduate engineering curriculum are to provide opportunities for intellectual growth in the context of an engineering discipline, for the attainment of professional competence, and for the development of a sense of the social context of technology. The curriculum is flexible, with many decisions on individual courses left to the student and the adviser. For a student with well-defined educational goals, there is often a great deal of latitude.

In addition to the special requirements for engineering majors described below, all undergraduate engineering students are subject to the University general education, writing, and foreign language requirements outlined in the first pages of this bulletin. Depending on the program chosen, students have the equivalent of from one to three quarters of free electives to bring the total number of units to 180.

The School of Engineering's Handbook for Undergraduate Engineering Programs is the definitive reference for all undergraduate engineering programs. It is available online at and provides detailed descriptions of all undergraduate programs in the school, as well as additional information about extracurricular programs and services. Because it is revised in the summer, and updates are made to the web site on a continuing basis, the handbook reflects the most up-to-date information on School of Engineering programs for the academic year.

Accreditation—The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) accredits college engineering programs nationwide using criteria and standards developed and accepted by U.S. engineering communities. At Stanford, the following undergraduate programs are accredited: Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Environmental Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering. In ABET-accredited programs, students must meet specific requirements for engineering science, engineering design, mathematics, and science course work. Students are urged to consult the School of Engineering Handbook for Undergraduate Engineering Programs and their adviser.

Accreditation is important in certain areas of the engineering profession; students wishing more information about accreditation should consult their department office or the office of the Senior Associate Dean for Student Affairs in 135 Huang Engineering Center.

Policy on Satisfactory/No Credit Grading and Minimum Grade Point Average—All courses taken to satisfy major requirements (including the requirements for mathematics, science, engineering fundamentals, Technology in Society, and engineering depth) for all engineering students (including both department and School of Engineering majors) must be taken for a letter grade if the instructor offers that option.

For departmental majors, the minimum combined GPA (grade point average) for all courses taken in fulfillment of the Engineering Fundamentals requirement and the Engineering Depth requirement is 2.0. For School of Engineering majors, the minimum GPA on all engineering courses taken in fulfillment of the major requirements is 2.0.


Any students admitted to the University may declare an engineering major if they elect to do so; no additional courses or examinations are required for admission to the School of Engineering.



Students who plan to enter Stanford as freshmen and intend to major in engineering should take the highest level of mathematics offered in high school. (See the "Mathematics" section of this bulletin for information on advanced placement in mathematics.) High school courses in physics and chemistry are strongly recommended, but not required. Additional elective course work in the humanities and social sciences is also recommended.


Students who do the early part of their college work elsewhere and then transfer to Stanford to complete their engineering programs should follow an engineering or pre-engineering program at the first school, selecting insofar as possible courses applicable to the requirements of the School of Engineering, that is, courses comparable to those described under "Undergraduate Programs." In addition, students should work toward completing the equivalent of Stanford's foreign language requirement and as many of the University's General Education Requirements (GERs) as possible before transferring. Some transfer students may require more than four years (in total) to obtain the B.S. degree. However, Stanford affords great flexibility in planning and scheduling individual programs, which makes it possible for transfer students, who have wide variations in preparation, to plan full programs for each quarter and to progress toward graduation without undue delay.

Transfer credit is given for courses taken elsewhere whenever the courses are equivalent or substantially similar to Stanford courses in scope and rigor. The policy of the School of Engineering is to study each transfer student's preparation and make a reasonable evaluation of the courses taken prior to transfer by means of a petition process. Inquiries may be addressed to the Office of Student Affairs in 135 Huang Engineering Center. For more information, see the transfer credit section of the Handbook for Undergraduate Engineering Programs at


The School of Engineering offers two types of B.S. degrees: Bachelor of Science in Engineering and Bachelor of Science for Individually Designed Majors in Engineering (IDMENs). There are eight Engineering B.S. subplans that have been proposed by cognizant faculty groups and pre-approved by the Undergraduate Council: Aeronautics and Astronautics; Architectural Design; Atmosphere/Energy; Bioengineering; Biomechanical Engineering; Biomedical Computation; Engineering Physics; and Product Design. The B.S. for an Individually Designed Major in Engineering has also been approved by the council.

Curricula for majors offered by the departments of Chemical Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Management Science and Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering have the following components: 36-45 units of mathematics and science (see Basic Requirements 1 and 2 at the end of this section); engineering fundamentals (three course minimum, at least one of which must be unspecified by the department, see Basic Requirement 3); Technology in Society (TIS) (one course minimum, see Basic Requirement 4); engineering depth (courses such that the total number of units for Engineering Fundamentals and Engineering Depth is between 60 and 72). ABET accredited majors must meet a minimum number of Engineering Science and Engineering Design units; (see Basic Requirement 5). Curricular requirements for departmental majors are being revised at the time of publication. Consult the 2011-12 Handbook for Undergraduate Engineering Programs at for the most up-to-date listing of curricular requirements.


A Stanford undergraduate may work simultaneously toward two bachelor's degrees or toward a bachelor's and a master's degree, that is, B.A. and M.S., B.A. and M.A., B.S. and M.S., or B.S. and M.A. The degrees may be granted simultaneously or at the conclusion of different quarters. Five years are usually required for a dual or coterminal program or for a combination of these two multiple degree programs. For further information, inquire with the School of Engineering's student affairs office, 135 Huang Engineering Center, or with department contacts listed in the Handbook for Undergraduate Engineering Programs, available at

Dual B.A. and B.S. Degree Program—To qualify for both degrees, a student must:

  1. complete the stated University and department requirements for each degree
  2. complete 15 full-time quarters, or 3 full-time quarters after completing 180 units
  3. complete a total of 225 units (180 units for the first bachelor's degree plus 45 units for the second bachelor's degree)

Coterminal Bachelor's and Master's Degree Program—A Stanford undergraduate may be admitted to graduate study for the purpose of working simultaneously toward a bachelor's degree and a master's degree, in the same or different disciplines. To qualify for both degrees, a student must:

  1. complete, in addition to the 180 units required for the bachelor's degree, the number of units required by the graduate department for the master's degree which in no event is fewer than the University minimum of 45 units
  2. complete the requirements for the bachelor's degree (department, school, and University) and apply for conferral of the degree at the appropriate time
  3. complete the department and University requirements for the master's degree and apply for conferral of the degree at the appropriate time

A student may complete the bachelor's degree before completing the master's degree, or both degrees may be completed in the same quarter.

Admission to the coterminal program requires admission to graduate status by the pertinent department. Admission criteria vary from department to department.

Procedure for Applying for Admission to Coterminal Degree Programs—A Stanford undergraduate may apply to the pertinent graduate department using the University coterminal application form after completing 120 bachelor's degree units. Application deadlines vary by department, but in all cases the student must apply early enough to allow a departmental decision at least one quarter in advance of the anticipated date of conferral of the bachelor's degree.

Students should refer to the University Registrar's Office or its web site for details about when courses begin to count toward the master's degree requirements and when graduate tuition is assessed; this may affect the decision about when to apply for admission to graduate status.

The University requirements for the coterminal M.A. are described in the "Coterminal Bachelor's and Master's Degrees" section of this bulletin. For University coterminal degree program rules and University application forms, also see

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