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The Master of Science (MS) degree program in Aeronautics and Astronautics is intended for students whose ultimate goal is to pursue a professional career in Aeronautics and Astronautics, or a related field. The MS degree is primarily course-based, and provides a broad, advanced curriculum spanning the core areas of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Beginning with the application term 2021-2022, an MS degree will no longer be required to apply to the PhD program in Aeronautics and Astronautics. Students with a Bachelor’s degree who ultimately intend to complete a PhD degree are encouraged to apply directly to the PhD program. Admission to the PhD program is much more competitive than to the MS program, so students interested primarily in a Masters degree should apply to the MS program.

Application Deadlines

We have one MS admission cycle for the full-time MS program. Application deadlines are final. A completed application (including letters of recommendation, transcripts and GRE/TOEFL scores) must be uploaded by the deadline. Applications will NOT be accepted after the deadline. A completed application (including letters of recommendation, transcripts and GRE/TOEFL scores) must be received by the following dates:

Autumn 2021-22: December 1, 2020

Only applicants for the Part-time Master's Degree Program for working professionals (Honors Cooperative Program, or HCP) are considered quarterly, and more information can be found on the Stanford Center for Professional Development network. Prospective HCP students follow the same admissions process and must meet the same admissions requirements as full-time graduate students.

Application Requirements

To be eligible for admission to the MS program, applicants must either:

  •     hold, or expect to hold before enrollment at Stanford, a bachelor’s degree from a U.S. college or university.
  •     Applicants from institutions outside the U.S. must hold the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor’s degree from a college or university of recognized standing. See minimum level of study required of international applicants.

Students who meet the above degree requirement with a strong technical background in engineering, physics, or a comparable science program are welcome to apply; a bachelor's degree in aeronautics and astronautics or mechanical engineering is not strictly required.

All students interested in pursuing an MS degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics should use the Stanford Graduate Admissions Application. Please follow all information and instructions. The fee for online graduate applications is $125. Your application will consist of the following:

Required Application Documents

  •     Online Application
  •     Application Fee
  •     Statement of Purpose
  •     3 Letters of Recommendation
  •     Official GRE Test Scores
  •     Official TOEFL* Scores, if applicable

Statement of purpose

Your statement of purpose should identify personal and professional goals. It should also discuss your development to date and your intentions relative to graduate study and life beyond Stanford. The Aero/Astro Graduate Admissions Committee reads your statement of purpose with interest because, along with the letters of recommendation, it offers insight into who you are as an individual. Your statement of purpose should not exceed two pages in length (single spaced).


Submitting transcripts when you are applying, and after you have been offered admission are two separate steps. When applying: You must upload one scanned version of your official transcript(s) in the online application. Please read the Applying section of this website for important information submitting transcripts. If offered admission: Please see this page for information on submitting final official transcripts.

Letters of recommendation

Three letters of recommendation are required; one letter must come from an academic source, although we prefer at least two. Recommendations must be submitted online. Please see the "Recommendations" section of the online application for information.

GRE Test Scores

GRE general results must be from an examination taken within the last five years. No GRE Subject test is required. Official results must be sent electronically by ETS to Stanford. Our institution code for ETS reporting is 4704. You do not need a department code. For more information on GRE requirements, please see the Required Exams and Frequently Asked Questions sections on the Graduate Admissions website. In order to meet the December 3 deadline, the GRE should be taken no later than October 31.

TOEFL Scores

Adequate command of spoken and written English is required for admission. Applicants whose first language is not English must submit an official test score from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Stanford accepts only ETS (Educational Testing Service) scores. TOEFL results must be from an examination taken within the past 18 months. The Stanford institution code for ETS reporting is 4704. You do not need a department code. For more information on TOEFL requirements, please see the Required Exams and Frequently Asked Questions sections on the Graduate Admissions website.

*Stanford will temporarily accept the TOEFL ITP Plus test with the Vericant interview for applicants from Mainland China who are unable to sit for the TOEFL iBT. This exception is requested only for the 2020-2021 application cycle. Applicants may be asked to re-test at a later time once the Stanford TOEFL iBT becomes available, or applicants may be asked to re-test through the Stanford Language Center. Per current University policy, all international students including those from Mainland China must receive English language clearance from the English for Foreign Students program prior to becoming a teaching assistant.

Exemptions are granted to applicants who have earned (or will earn, before enrolling at Stanford) a U.S. bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree from a college or university accredited by a regional accrediting association in the United States, or the international equivalent degree from a university of recognized standing in a country in which all instruction is provided in English. U.S. citizenship does not automatically exempt an applicant from taking the TOEFL if the applicant’s first language is not English.


Reapplicants must submit new supporting documents and complete the online application as outlined above, in the graduate application checklist. Only prior official test scores can be reactivated.

Application Status

You may view your application status and decision on your application activity page. Log back into your online application, and click on "Review Your Activity". Due to the volume of applications we receive, we are not able to confirm with individual applicants when documents have been received. All applicants should monitor the online checklist to track individual documents. It is the applicant's responsibility to monitor the checklist and ensure that all documents are received by the deadline.

Admission Decisions

Completed applications are reviewed by the faculty Admissions Committee throughout the winter. Letters are sent as decisions are made, beginning in March. The selection of graduate students admitted to the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics is based on an individualized, holistic review of each application, including (but not limited to) the applicant’s academic record, the letters of recommendation, scores on the General GRE (Graduate Record Examination), the statement of purpose, personal qualities and characteristics, and past accomplishments.

MS Funding

MS students do not typically receive financial support from the department, though there may be the possibility to arrange an assistantship. We strongly recommend that you apply for any outside fellowships for which you are eligible, such as the NSF, NASA, and the NDSEG fellowships. Student Loans may also be available. In order to qualify for student loans, you must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Graduate students can learn more about financial programs at: or by calling the Financial Aid office at: (888) FAO-3773.

Knight Hennessy Scholar (KHS) Program

The Knight-Hennessy Scholars program cultivates a diverse, multidisciplinary community of emerging leaders from around the world and guides them to collaborate, innovate, and communicate as they prepare to address the complex challenges facing society. Knight-Hennessy Scholars become part of a supportive family of fellow scholars. Through the King Global Leadership Program, scholars will broaden knowledge, develop skills, and strengthen character; this platform provides a collection of community experiences, workshops, meetings with leaders, domestic and global study trips, and personal development opportunities. Knight-Hennessy Scholars also receive funding for graduate study at Stanford University. Apply at To be considered, you must apply to Knight-Hennessy Scholars by October 14, 2020, 1pm PT, and separately apply to the Aeronautics & Astronautics department by December 1, 2020.

Application questions?


Patrick Ferguson
(650) 723-2757


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