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Degree of Engineer — Post MS Program

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The engineer degree requires an additional year of study beyond the master’s degree and includes a research thesis. The program is designed for students who want to engage in more specialized study than is afforded by the master's degree alone.

The engineer degree is less frequently pursued; it is generally for current MS or PhD students, with the occasional exception. Admission is based not only on a student's academic record and a potential for research but also on finding a faculty member willing to provide research supervision. Contact the Aero/Astro Student Services Office for more information on the Degree of Engineer.

Course requirements

Students wishing to pursue the engineer’s degree must first fulfill the department’s requirements for the master’s degree or their substantial equivalent. Beyond the master’s degree, a total of 45 units of work is required, including a minimum of 21 units of courses. These 21 units should include at least 6 units of mathematics and approved course work in advanced study in engineering, science, and mathematics (excluding practicing courses in music, art and physical education). These units must be taken for a letter grade, and all non-math courses must be numbered 200 and above. Students may register for up to 24 units of engineer thesis. Units which were applied toward the MS degree cannot be used again.


Students studying towards the engineer degree must submit an application for candidacy no later than the second quarter of engineer’s study, and at least one quarter before graduating. This form indicates the courses and thesis work that the student will be using for the degree. If the research topic cannot be clearly described when this form is filed, the area of research should be described along with a timetable for identifying a thesis topic. Blank forms may be obtained in the Aero/Astro Student Services Office. The application for candidacy should be signed by the student's advisor, and submitted to the Aero/Astro Student Services Office for the candidacy chairman’s signature. Neglecting to file for candidacy can prevent the receipt of the degree. Changes to the program of study can be filed at any time by submitting a revised candidacy form. In order to graduate, all units listed on the current candidacy form must be completed.

Engineer’s thesis

For specific information on the format and deadlines for submission of theses, please check with the Graduate Degree Progress Office. The department recommends that students follow the format defined in the handbook Directions for Preparing Doctoral Dissertations, available in the Graduate Degree Progress Office. Note: the advisor must sign the thesis before the filing deadline, which is generally the last day of classes during the graduation quarter.

Degree completion

Candidates for the engineer degree are required to have a minimum GPA of 3.0 for courses beyond those required for the master's degree. All courses except seminars and those that are mandatory pass/no-credit should be taken for a grade. Students must also meet the university’s quarterly academic requirements for graduate students, as described in the Bulletin and in the Satisfactory Progress section of the Guide to Graduate Studies in Aeronautics and Astronautics.

For midyear degrees, the date of conferral is early the quarter after degree completion. Students who have no outstanding Stanford obligations (financial or academic) may obtain an official “certificate of completion” from the Graduate Degree Progress Office at any time after finishing. Diplomas are printed only once a year, for distribution at Commencement in June.

Once students have begun study for the Engineer Degree, they have five years to complete the program. This time is not extended by leaves of absence.