Incoming MS Students

MS Student Orientation Schedule

The Schedule:

Here is a schedule of orientation events sponsored by the Computer Science Department. There are many other campus-wide orientation events that you might like to explore. Please visit the Graduate Student Information Center's website in September for detailed information:

Date Time Venue
September 22, 2022  10:00 am, PST - 2:30 pm, PST  Gates Building, Room B01


9/22/2022 Computer Science Department Orientation Meeting:

Please do not miss this meeting! It is the most important orientation event for all new CS graduate students and will be held from 10:00 am to 2:30pm, PST on Thursday, September 22, 2022.  We will have various members of the department speak about the program requirements, enrollment, advising, computing facilities and much more. This meeting is mandatory for all new Masters students and is recommended for Coterm and Additional Degree students.

MS Contact and Additional Information

The first day of classes is September 26 and we recommend that you arrive one week prior to this date. Consider arriving even earlier if you will be looking for housing. If you are an international student and will be attending the orientation activities at the Bechtel International Center (I-Center), please check the I-Center's website at: in mid-August for detailed information about their orientation.

For Masters program information, contact Meredith Hutchin via e-mail.

Please note that your faculty advisor will not be assigned until orientation.

We look forward to seeing you at our new student orientation this Autumn!!


Courses are offered in a wide range of areas.  The Computer Science Department offers a full program that is covered in detail in the Stanford University Bulletin. Course prerequisites are usually stated quite briefly so please contact the instructor with questions.  If the instructor is unavailable, you can also ask other students who have taken the course or the Course Advisor advisor AT about what to expect. Use your judgment when deciding whether or not you are adequately prepared to take a course. No one will ask you to prove that you have taken the prerequisites.

There are also many courses relevant to computer science taught in other departments (e.g., mathematics, psychology, linguistics, philosophy, statistics, and many School of Engineering departments.)

Stanford is also an excellent place to take classes in the sciences, business, medicine, dance, athletics, art, music and even film.

Foundation Courses

The foundation courses provide coverage of basic fundamental concepts used throughout Computer Science. The foundation courses cover logic, automata and complexity (CS 103), probability theory (CS 109, Stat 116, CME 106, or MS&E 220), algorithmic analysis (CS161), computer organization and systems, (CS107), and principles of computer systems (CS110).

If you were a computer science major as an undergraduate, chances are you’ll be able to waive some or all of the foundation courses.  The specific courses that you can waive will depend on the school at which you took your corresponding course work and whether the contents of the courses match sufficiently. The person who will decide which courses you can waive will be your faculty advisor once you are on campus, generally during your first quarter in the Masters program.


Q: I am a newly matriculated CS Masters student. When can I talk to my advisor?

A: Each MS student admitted to the CS program is given their faculty advisor assignment during orientation. Prior to orientation, please use the CS website as a resource, as well as your student advisors, and direct any additional questions to

Q. What areas of specialization are offered in the Masters program?

A: Artificial Intelligence, Bio-computation, Computer and Network Security, Human-Computer Interaction, Information Management and Analytics, Mobile and Internet Computing, Real World Computing, Software Theory, Systems and Theoretical Computer Science. For details on the requirement of each specialization please visit:

Q: What financial resources are available to Masters Students?

A: The Computer Science MS program is not funded. MS students should not rely on assistantships to pay for tuition. Teaching and research assistantships can only be arranged once you are a registered student, and are negotiated on a quarter-by-quarter basis. The only form of financial aid available is in the form of student loans. In order to qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

Q: Can I teach as a Masters student?

A: If you are interested in teaching, there are opportunities available.  Course assistants grade homework, hold  office hours and lead discussion sections.  Teaching fellows, in contrast, have primary responsibility for teaching a course.  Ph.D. students are required to CA a certain number of courses, so they have priority, but there are many classes, both large and small, which Masters students may apply to CA.  A half-time CA appointment carries an 8-10 unit tuition benefit and provides a monthly stipend. There are also a few quarter-time CAships available which carry a 5-unit tuition benefit and have a correspondingly lower stipend. For application deadlines and more information please email Meredith Hutchin at

Q. Do I need to enroll in my Autumn Quarter courses before Orientation?

A: No, incoming MS students do not have to enroll in Autumn Quarter courses before the Orientation. However, you must be "at student status" by the preliminary study list deadline which is September 20, 2021, 5:00 pm. 

Q: Does the CS department offer a MS/Ph.D. program?

A: No, the MS program and Ph.D. program are two separate programs; the MS does not automatically lead into Ph.D. Applicants wishing to pursue a Ph.D. degree should apply directly to that program. For more information about the MS & Ph.D. programs, see the MS versus PhD section of the graduate admissions web page.

Q: How can I find out more about course requirements for the CS MS degree?

A: See Updated degree requirements for the 2021-22 academic year will be in place by mid August.