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Stanford GSE Coterminal Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree Program


The Coterminal Bachelor's and Master's Degree Program permits Stanford undergraduates to study for a bachelor's and a master's degree simultaneously, in the same or different departments. Each year, a very small number of co-terms are admitted to each program (between zero and four on average). This document describes when and how undergraduate and graduate policies pertain to coterminal students.

What Makes a Successful Coterminal Candidate:

CTE: In general, students admitted to the CTE MA program have had successful teaching experience and are looking to broaden and deepen their understanding of educational issues and challenges. However, we will consider applicants who can demonstrate a strong interest in education either through their informal experience or the classes they have taken plus provide a strong rationale for why they want to obtain an MA rather than a teaching certification. Since applicants are considered for admission by individual faculty members who will serve as advisors, please check with prospective advisors for their specific admissions criteria.

POLS: The Policy, Organization and Leadership (POLS) MA program prepares students to be agents of change across an array of educational settings. In order to maximize a student's POLS experience and his or her contribution to the cohort, we place a premium on leadership and work experience. We therefore accept co-terms on a limited basis. Historically we have admitted between one and two co-terms per year.

ICE/IEPA: The admissions committee pays particular attention to the applicants' statements of purpose; previous professional and, especially in the case of U.S. applicants, intercultural experiences. Because co-term applicants have considerably less work experience than our most competitive applicants, Stanford undergraduates who are serious about the program are able to make up for it by demonstrating their excellence in research. They are encouraged to seek opportunities to advance their skills and interests in research prior to entering the program by conducting an honors thesis, major grant research project, or other research project in the social sciences.

LDT: The LDT admissions committee pays particular attention to the applicants' statements of purpose. Because co-term applicants have considerably less work experience than other applicants, Stanford undergraduates who are serious about the program should highlight attempts to create learning experiences, whether formally or informally. They are encouraged to seek opportunities to advance their understanding of how people learn prior to entering the program by conducting an honors thesis, research project, or design project.

STEP: Stanford undergraduates can apply to the Stanford Teacher Education Program (STEP) in their Junior or Senior year. Coterminal students applying to STEP are encouraged to take EDUC 101 before applying to the program.  Additionally, students interested in STEP Secondary (Single Subject) must demonstrate subject matter competency in their intended teaching area. Transcripts should reflect coursework in the intended teaching subject even if it was not a student’s undergraduate major. For additional information please contact Viviana Alcazar, STEP Admissions Officer, by email at or by phone at 650.723.2110.


Applications for admission to a coterminal program must fulfill the following conditions:

  • Applicants must have earned a minimum of 120 units toward graduation (UTG) as shown on the undergraduate unofficial transcript. This includes allowable Advanced Placement (AP) and transfer credit.
  • Applicants must submit their application and, if admitted, respond to the offer of admission no later than the quarter prior to the expected completion of their undergraduate degree. This is normally the Winter quarter prior to Spring quarter graduation.
  • Applicants must meet the requirements and deadlines established by the department or program to which they are applying.
  • Applicants are only permitted to apply to one coterminal program per term.

To apply for admission to a coterminal master's program, students must submit to the prospective graduate department the following:

  • Coterminal Application - Application is now open! Interested coterm students can contact Susana Carranza, Associate Director of Admissions with any questions regarding the application process.
  • Coterminal Course Transfer Form (note required for STEP applicants)
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Preliminary program proposal (not required for STEP applicants)
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Resume
  • Undergraduate transcripts
  • Transcript summary (required for STEP applications only)
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are not required


The Graduate School of Education considers coterminal applications based on the same criteria as all other applications for admission. The process of selecting candidates for the graduate programs is difficult and painstaking. The Committee members take many factors into consideration when reviewing an application, including compatibility of the candidate's interests and goals with the academic focus and resources of faculty. The committee does not use predetermined weights of importance or cutoff limits for standardized test scores, grade point averages, academic achievement, professional experience, or references. Each year, the number of applicants far exceeds the number of students we can admit; thus many strong candidates cannot be offered admission.

Should admission be offered, the Graduate School of Education will submit the completed and approved application for admission to the Office of the Registrar no later than the quarter prior to the expected completion of the undergraduate degree. This is normally the last day of classes in Winter quarter prior to Spring quarter graduation.

Students may defer admission to the coterminal program to a later quarter as long as they still meet all University and departmental requirements for coterminal admission. This may require postponement of conferral of the undergraduate degree.

Tuition Assessment

Coterminal students are in the undergraduate coterminal student group and assessed the undergraduate tuition rate for 12 quarters. Coterminal students are changed to the graduate coterminal student group in the 13th quarter and are then assessed the regular graduate tuition rate. For more information on tuition assessment, please review section 1.3 of the Graduate Academic Policies and Procedures website (GAP).

Course Enrollment

Once admitted to the coterminal program, students have two active careers in PeopleSoft Student Administration (graduate and undergraduate) under which they may enroll in courses.

Students must use the graduate career to enroll in courses which count toward the master's degree. Students must use the undergraduate career to enroll in courses which count towards the bachelor's degree.

Coterminal students are permitted to count coursework taken in the two quarters immediately prior to their first graduate quarter toward their graduate degree. Students must submit a completed Coterminal Course Transfer form with their application for admission to the coterminal program, indicating which courses must be transferred from the student's undergraduate to graduate career. Once transferred, no further changes are permitted.

No transfer of courses from one career to another is permitted after the student's Coterminal Course Approval form has been processed.

Coterminal students must submit the master's program proposal during the first quarter after admission to the coterminal program.

Residency Requirement

The university minimum requirements for the coterminal bachelor's/master's program are 180 units for the bachelor's degree plus 45 (or higher departmental requirement, as determined by each graduate department) unduplicated units for the master's degree (see GAP 3.2, Residency Requirements for Graduate Students). The requirements for the coterminal program with dual undergraduate degrees are 225 units for the two bachelor's degrees, and 45 units for the master's degree. For the 45-unit university minimum for the master's degree, all courses must be at or above the 100 level and 50 percent must be courses designated primarily for graduate students (typically at least at the 200 level). Department requirements may be higher. Units for a given course may not be counted to meet the requirements of more than one degree, that is, no units may be double-counted. No courses taken more than two quarters prior to admission to the coterminal master's program may be used to meet the 45-unit university minimum requirement for the master's degree.