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The Office of the Vice Provost for Graduate Education (VPGE) works collaboratively to ensure that every graduate student has the best possible education. VPGE’s initiatives and resources enrich students' academic experiences at Stanford, advancing diversity, preparing engaged global citizens and leaders, and positioning Stanford at the forefront of innovation in graduate education.VPGE serves Stanford's doctoral, master’s, and professional degree students from all seven Stanford schools. VPGE plays a leadership role in providing University-wide graduate policy interpretation and implementation, as well as developing initiatives that enhance and complement the offerings of the departments and programs that have primary responsibility for organizing and delivering graduate education.

The VPGE office has five primary areas of program activity: administering University-wide graduate fellowship programs; advancing graduate student diversity, inclusion, equity, and belonging; providing professional development programs and learning opportunities; promoting interdisciplinary and cross-school learning and collaborations; and encouraging academic innovation in graduate programs. The Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Affairs reports to the Provost.

Academic Policies

The Faculty Senate Committee on Graduate Studies (C-GS) formulates university policy governing the substance and process of graduate education, including advising expectations, candidacy requirements, dissertation committees, and joint degree programs. C-GS is also charged to review graduate interdisciplinary programs (IDPs) in order to recommend renewals or discontinuation of the IDPs and to receive proposals for new IDPs, or other new graduate degree programs. Committee members include the Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Affairs or delegated staff (ex officio) and representatives from the faculty at large appointed by the Faculty Senate, administration such as the Office of the University Registrar (ex officio), and graduate students. The Graduate Student Council and the Nominations Committee of the Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU) choose student members.

VPGE recommends, promulgates, and interprets University policies related to graduate education. The Graduate Academic Policies and Procedures (GAP) handbook is the primary source for policies affecting all Stanford graduate students, including policies recommended by C-GS and approved by the Faculty Senate. Several policies referenced frequently include:

General Requirements, Progress and Milestones

Policies related to registration, enrollment, residency, academic milestones and advising; see GAP 3. General Requirements, Progress and Milestones.

Degree-Specific Requirements, Progress and Milestones

Policies specifically related to master's, coterminal, professional, doctoral, and joint degrees including doctoral dissertation policies; see GAP 4. Degree-Specific Requirements, Progress and Milestones.

The ExploreDegrees section of this bulletin outlines University-level policies guiding admissions, financial aid, enrollment, degree progress, and graduation. The graduate programs tabs of each department's section outlines specific department degree requirements. Additional information on professional school programs is available from the Graduate School of Business, the School of Law, and the School of Medicine. 

Changes of Enrollment Status

Policies related to degree or enrollment changes, degree conferral, leaves of absence or discontinuations, exchange programs, and pregnancy, childbirth and adoption; see GAP 5. Changes of Enrollment Status.

Graduate Student Funding

Policies related to graduate student funding including fellowships and research and teaching assistantships; see GAP 7. Graduate Student Funding and Administrative Guide 10.2. Graduate Student Employment on Campus.

Honor Code and Fundamental Standard

Graduate students must also follow the University’s Honor Code and Fundamental Standard, which establish the conditions for academic work and set the standard of conduct for students at Stanford, respectively. The interpretations and applications of the Honor Code, the Student Judicial Charter of 1997, the Student Conduct Penalty Code, statistics, and other documents are available through the Office of Community Standards.

Academic Advising

Effective academic advising is critical to graduate education. At Stanford, all matriculated graduate students are to be advised by a member of the faculty.

The University policies on advising and the conduct of research listed below apply to all faculty and the graduate students they advise. In addition, departments and programs are required to establish specific expectations and requirements for academic advising and should inform graduate students and faculty of these policies. Additional information and resources about advising can be found on the VPGE’s Advising & Mentoring web pages.

  • Policy specifying that all matriculated graduate students must be advised by a faculty member, to be designated within students’ first quarter of enrollment, and that all graduate degree programs must explicitly state their minimum advising expectations, distributed annually to faculty and students; see GAP 3.3. Academic Advising
  • Stanford's policies and practices related to the conduct of research, including obligations to students, staff, and sponsors; see Research Policy Handbook 1. Conduct of Research.
  • Policy articulating that all members of the Stanford community are responsible for sustaining the University’s highest ethical standards and values; see Administrative Guide 1.1.1. University Code of Conduct
  • Elaboration of the GAP Academic Advising policy, including change of adviser procedures; see the "Graduate Advising and Credentials" section of this bulletin.

As of September 2019, every graduate-level, degree-granting department or program at Stanford (other than the professional degree programs of JD, MBA, and MD) must have a designated faculty member who oversees graduate studies, commonly known as “Director of Graduate Studies” (DGS); see GAP 3.4. Faculty Directors of Graduate Studies. DGSs serve as primary liaisons between graduate students, faculty in their programs, the Chair or Director, the School, and the University.

Research Policies

Graduate education and research are interrelated enterprises. Many Stanford graduate students conduct research under the guidance and sponsorship of Stanford faculty members. The Research Policy Handbook (RPH), overseen by the Office of the Vice Provost and Dean of Research, articulates policies governing research. Several policies that are most relevant to graduate education include:

Academic Authorship

Guidelines related to academic authorship, such as the allocation of responsibility and credit for scholarly publications; see Research Policy Handbook memo 1.5, On Academic Authorship.

Intellectual Property

Policies on copyrights and patents resulting from University work. Graduate students and postdoctoral scholars, as well as all faculty, staff, and visitors engaged in research, must sign the Stanford University Patent and Copyright Agreement (SU-18). For complete text of the currently applicable versions of these policies, see Research Policy Handbook chapter 9, Intellectual Property.

Openness in Research

Policy on openness in research, such as the principle of freedom of access by all interested persons to the underlying data, processes, and final results of research. Stanford University does not accept funding for research projects that require secrecy. For complete text of the currently applicable version of this policy, see Research Policy Handbook memo 1.4, Openness in Research.

Relationships between Students and Outside Organizations

Summary of policies on the establishment of relationships between students and outside entities, such as private companies or nonprofit organizations, as part of or outside the student's academic program at Stanford. This covers open versus proprietary nature of the work, ownership of intellectual property, and possible conflicts of commitment and interest. For complete text of the currently applicable versions of these policies, see Research Policy Handbook memo 10.6, Relationships Between Students (Including Postdoctoral Scholars) and Outside Entities.

Research Compliance

Several administrative panels review and approve research projects to safeguard the rights and welfare of all human research subjects, ensure the humane care and use of laboratory animals, and protect the safety of personnel and the general public in the areas of biosafety and radiological safety. For more information, contact the Research Compliance Office.

Research Misconduct

Policy on allegations, investigations, and reporting of research misconduct. Each member of the University community has a responsibility to foster an environment which promotes intellectual honesty and integrity, and which does not tolerate misconduct in any aspect of research or scholarly endeavor. For complete text of the currently applicable version of this policy, see Research Policy Handbook memo 1.7, Research Misconduct: Policy on Allegations, Investigations and Reporting.

Graduate Fellowships

Several University-wide graduate fellowship programs are administered by VPGE.

The Stanford Graduate Fellowship in Science and Engineering (SGF) program awards approximately 100 two- and three-year fellowships providing tuition support and stipend to exceptional incoming and continuing doctoral students in the natural and social sciences, education, engineering, and the basic sciences in the School of Medicine.

The Stanford Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellowship (SIGF) program awards fellowships on a competitive basis to doctoral students engaged in interdisciplinary research that crosses traditional disciplinary boundaries. Doctoral students in the first three years of graduate study are eligible to apply.

The EDGE (Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education) Doctoral Fellowship program supports the recruitment and academic success of outstanding doctoral students who have the potential to enhance the diversity, broadly defined, of their academic disciplines and fields.

The DARE (Diversifying Academia, Recruiting Excellence) Doctoral Fellowship Program awards two-year fellowships to advanced doctoral students who want to investigate and prepare for academic careers and whose presence will help diversify the professoriate.

VPGE also administers several smaller University-wide fellowships for new and continuing doctoral students, either by application or by nomination by faculty or deans.

Graduate Diversity

In its long-range vision, Stanford strives “to ensure that a diversity of cultures, races and ethnicities, genders, political and religious beliefs, physical and learning differences, sexual orientations and identities is thriving on our campus. Such diversity will inspire new angles of inquiry, new modes of analysis, new discoveries and new solutions."

The Presidential IDEAL (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access in a Learning community) Initiative is about the future of Stanford. IDEAL’s objective is to move the institution culturally to the future. The charge of the IDEAL Initiative is to create positive change in these factors in the Stanford campus community. The success of our teaching and research missions depend on doing this well. If we can create positive change in these areas, then we will make Stanford better for everyone.

The VPGE office was founded on a commitment to diversity and inclusion, and it continues its mission now as part of the IDEAL leadership team. VPGE works collaboratively within the University to broaden the participation and promote the academic success of graduate students from a variety of backgrounds, including those underrepresented within research universities. As a result, the Stanford community reaps the educational benefits of diversity, while preparing future generations of leaders for a global society.

Specifically, VPGE works to enhance the diversity (broadly defined) of the graduate student population by supporting a variety of recruitment and retention programs in collaboration with faculty and staff in each of the schools to foster inclusion and belonging within the university community. VPGE funds recruitment activities to expand the pool of qualified applicants.

The EDGE (Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education) Doctoral Fellowship program supports the recruitment and academic success of outstanding doctoral students who have the potential to enhance the diversity, broadly defined, of their academic disciplines and fields.

VPGE also works collaboratively to develop programs that improve retention in graduate school and cultivate interest in academic careers and diversify the pipeline for future faculty.

The DARE (Diversifying Academia, Recruiting Excellence) Doctoral Fellowship Program awards two-year fellowships to advanced doctoral students who want to investigate and prepare for academic careers and whose presence will help diversify the professoriate.

VPGE Programs

Professional Development

Leadership, pedagogy, communication, working in teams, career development, and entrepreneurship are topics of interest to graduate students across the University. VPGE collaborates with many campus partners to raise the visibility and expand the breadth of offerings to support graduate students' professional development and academic success. VPGE developed the interactive Graduate Professional Development Framework to help graduate students navigate graduate school and locate resources and learning opportunities for acquiring the skills and experiences they need to succeed at Stanford and in their future careers. VPGE also provides resources and information to help students prepare for faculty careers and to guide students who are interested in careers in higher education administration pathways.

Interdisciplinary Learning

VPGE fosters interdisciplinary and cross-school learning opportunities and networking for graduate students. The Stanford Graduate Summer Institute (SGSI) offers noncredit interdisciplinary immersive courses exclusively for Stanford graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. VPGE also seeks to facilitate enrollment in courses outside of students' home departments and schools by identifying courses relevant and open to students from diverse disciplines.

Innovation in Graduate Programs

Academic departments and programs are foundational to graduate education at Stanford. VPGE supports faculty- and student-initiated innovations within and across degree-granting programs.

SCORE (Strengthening the Core) Academic Innovation Funds support one-year, faculty-led projects that explore and experiment with new approaches to graduate education, including course redesigns, interdisciplinary research symposia, and mentoring programs.

Student Projects for Intellectual Community Enhancement (SPICE) funds allow graduate students to develop projects and activities that promote intellectual community in their departments and beyond.

The Diversity and Inclusion Innovation Fund (DIF) supports Stanford graduate students and postdoctoral scholars in the development of projects that advance diversity (broadly defined) within those populations at Stanford and in the community beyond campus.


Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Affairs: Stacey F. Bent

Associate Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Affairs: John Boothroyd

Associate Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Director, EDGE Doctoral Fellowship Program: Chris Gonzalez Clarke

Associate Vice Provost for Graduate Education: Helen J. Doyle

Director of Finance, Fellowships, and Operations: Rebecca Jantzen

Assistant Vice Provost and Director, DARE Doctoral Fellowship Program: Anika Green