Incoming PhD Students

PhD Student Orientation 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 - 5:00 pm, PST  Gates Building, Room B01

9/22/2022 10:00 am, PST - 5:00 pm, PST 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, PST to 5:00 pm, PST on Thursday, September 22, 2022. 

At the PhD information session, the Director of Graduate Studies, IT Manager, Director of Finance and Operations, CS Ph.D. Program Officer will also be on hand to answer questions and distribute information. This meeting leads into a month-long series of specially designed seminars for all new Ph.D. students, which serves as an introduction to the faculty and their respective research areas and groups. This meeting is mandatory for all Ph.D. students including Change of Degree and Additional Degree students.

PhD 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.

If you have additional questions, please feel free to send an email to your student buddy. You may also contact PhD student services at For Ph.D. program information, contact Jayanthi Subramanian via e-mail.

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

PhD Student Buddy

Your student advisor is your student buddy mentioned in your admit letter. This student advisor is in addition to your faculty advisor and will provide you with less formal and more broad-ranging help. We encourage you to get to know your student advisor, as he or she can be of assistance with problems big and small, academic, social and otherwise. Your student advisor can assist you with getting in touch with other students and faculty members, and help you to find out what's going on in the department as a whole. If you  are unsure about who your student buddy is please email

First Year Rotation Program

Research Rotation Program 

First-year Ph.D. students can spend 1 quarter each in 3 groups. They must align with a permanent advisor by the middle of Spring quarter of the first year.

Look over the department website and research group pages to get ideas or information about specific faculty you might be interested in working with for rotations.

You are encouraged to line up your own research rotations. Be sure to contact the faculty directly to confirm their consent.

You need to tell the Graduate Program Office about your autumn quarter rotation by August 15. Information on any rotations that you have lined up must be e-mailed to

Alternatively, you can tell us your preferences for advisors or research areas, and the Graduate Program Office will line up a research rotation for you. (Note that this requires you to be somewhat flexible in the positions that you’ll accept.) Send your e-mail to with your preferences for advisors or research areas by August 15.

An entering Ph.D. student and a faculty member may opt out of the rotation system by mutual consent. In this case, the faculty member must agree to serve as the student's research advisor and notify the Graduate Program Office by e-mailing Fine print: If a student starts as a rotation student, but then does a second quarter in the first year with the same advisor, then the student has ceased to rotate and counts as permanently aligned with the advisor, who fully supports them in the second and further quarters.

Remember that the goal of the rotation program is to find an advisor. You should make sure that, by the end of the year, there’s at least one faculty member who is impressed with you and with whom you’d like to work.

Life in Gates

Your Life Line: 

The staff person that may be able to help you the most during your time at Stanford is your faculty’s administrator.  A listing of faculty administrators can be found on the Gates Internal website at:


Gates Building Access: The building is locked between 7:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. weekdays, all weekend, and on holidays. For after hours access to the building, you will need to use your Stanford ID card on our Lenel system on the exterior doors at the end of the A and B wings or the main doors. If you want to go from the basement to the upper floors of the building after 7:00 p.m., you’ll need to use your Stanford ID to call the elevator. 

Office Assignments: Students will be seated as close as possible to their advisor’s groups, and will move each quarter as they rotate advisors. Preliminary office assignments are listed with the roster. 

Students are responsible for the condition of their office space when they are here AND when they leave.

Stanford has implemented an energy savings program that includes our heat and ventilation system. Office temperatures are controlled during weekday hours (M-F 5am-9pm) to between 68-76 degrees Fahrenheit. After-hours (evenings, weekends, holidays), the Override button will bring the temperature in your office to the 68-76 range for a 3 hour period, but that is the only function for Override. If the temperature in your office is uncomfortable, please send email to and report the exact temperature reading and your room number. A technician from the central facilities team will be called.

Keys: For office keys, they can be picked up in Gates room B18 starting Friday, September 23 from 9:00am – 12:00 noon and 1:00pm - 3:00pm  A photo ID is required as is a $20 deposit that is refunded when you return the key. The key will be programmed to open your office door if you have been assigned an office. As you move to other spaces in the future, our Facilities team can reprogram your same key; you need to bring the key to Room B18 to have it reprogrammed. Requests for reprogramming are made by your professor or his/her faculty administrator and are sent to You need to activate your key in the door once within the first 7 days or your key will lose access to that door.

Conference room reservations:  

You all should have the ability to make reservations yourself in 25Live.  If you discover that you can't, please email and ask them to add you.

PhD students who want to make their own reservations should also email to request access.  The SEQ team have a list of all our PhD students and if they appear on the list, SEQ will add them.

Reservations for Fujitsu (403), 415 and Brown Institute (174) rooms need to be approved by the appropriate gatekeeper. You have to email Jim Shea for 403 and 415 and for 174. Please check availability for these rooms on 25Live before contacting the gatekeepers to make a reservation. For more information please check

Building maintenance issues:  

Any problems with the physical building, send an email to fixit@cs.stanford.eduFixit@cs is monitored Monday - Friday, 8:00 am to 6:00 pm. If there is a problem with building facilities outside of those hours, please phone the Stanford Facilities Hotline, 3-2281; please also send an email to so we can track issues.


Shared kitchens:   There is a pantry on each wing; coffee and tea are provided free to building residents.   DO NOT TAKE FOOD FROM THE REFRIGERATORS THAT DOESN'T BELONG TO YOU. "Free" food will be left on countertops or pantry tables. Wing residents are expected to clean up after themselves in the pantries (coffeemaker, microwave, refrigerator, etc.) These tasks are not part of the janitor's routine work.

Free food:  is announced through an email distribution list: To subscribe, go to and enter your email address. Free food will be left on countertops and table tops. Food that is in the refrigerators is NOT free, don't take it.

Health and Safety: 

We are required by law to provide you with information about health and safety in this building. Please visit and read the instructions thoroughly 

Ergonomics:The Environmental Health and Safety department provides information about office/computer ergonomics at

Thefts: Please report any suspicious people to I realize it's hard to know what suspicious looks like, especially in CS, but if someone makes you uncomfortable then send a note. We'd rather check out a full professor than have a burglar go unnoticed. Do not let people into the building after hours if you don't know them. Please don't prop the external doors open (they have alarms).


Purchases:  Anything purchased with Stanford funds (computers, lab equipment, supplies) belongs to Stanford, it is not yours to keep.

Travel: Students who plan to travel on Stanford business should familiarize themselves with Stanford Travel policies summarized at A more in-depth resource can be found at


  • Any problems with the computing/networking environment, please submit a help request via our webpage at:
  • The Gates-Internal web site has more info about the department, administrative and building matters. (This site is restricted to people with a CS account.)


Q. Can I enroll in Autumn quarter courses before Orientation?

Yes, new CS Ph.D. students will need to pre-enroll in CS300 and in CS499. There are multiple sections of CS499. Be sure to enroll in the section being offered by the faculty member that you will be rotating with in Autumn Quarter. You can enroll on September 1st and must enroll by 5:00 pm on September 26th. You must be enrolled in 8 - 10 units to maintain student status. CS Ph.D. students should enroll in 10 units. You will have the option of adding and dropping classes until Friday, October 14th, at 5:00 pm. Course enrollment and units will be discussed in greater detail at the orientation.

Q: Is there a graduate handbook or something similar with more details about graduate student policy?

Yes, the Graduate Academic Policies and Procedures handbook (the GAP handbook) is a compilation of university policies and other information related to the academic progress of Stanford graduate students -- from their application and admission, to the conferral of degrees and retention of records. The direct link to GAP is

Q: How can I find out more about course requirements for the Ph.D. program?

See the Stanford University bulletin for course requirements or visit

Q: Where can I find information on the CS Ph.D. program requirements?

CS Ph.D. program policy can be found at

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

No, the MS program and Ph.D. program are two separate programs. The MS degree also does not automatically lead into Ph.D. degree. Applicants planning 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 am I assigned an advisor?

Each Ph.D. student spends the first few months becoming better acquainted with the various faculty and their research areas before aligning with a faculty member to pursue their doctoral research.