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Graduate Program

The department offers Master of Science (M.S.), Engineer (Eng.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees in petroleum engineering and Energy Resources Engineering.

Master of Science
A total of 45 units is required for the M.S. program. There is a research and a non-research option. All students supported by the department, and students who plan to do a Ph.D. must complete the research option. Most students complete the M.S. degree in six quarters or fewer.

Doctor of Philosophy
Students without an M.S. (or equivalent) are required to complete an M.S. at Stanford before entering the Ph.D. program. The degree requires 90 units of course work and research beyond a master's degree and usually takes three to four years. The Ph.D. is awarded primarily on the basis of completion of significant, original research.

The University’s basic requirements for M.S., Engineer, and Ph.D. degrees are discussed in the "Graduate Degrees" section of the Stanford Bulletin.

The following are minimum requirements for an Energy Resources Engineering student to remain in good academic standing regarding course work:

  1. No more than one incomplete grade at any time
  2. A cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0
  3. A grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.7 each quarter.
  4. A minimum of 15 units completed within each two quarter period (excluding Summer Quarter).

Unless otherwise stated by the instructor, incomplete grades in courses within the department are changed to ‘NP’ (not passed) at the end of the quarter after the one in which the course was given. This one-quarter limit is a different constraint from the maximum one-year limit allowed by the University.

Academic performance is reviewed each quarter by a faculty committee. At the beginning of the next quarter, any student not in good academic standing receives a letter from the committee or department chair stating criteria that must be met for the student to return to good academic standing. If the situation is not corrected by the end of the quarter, possible consequences include termination of financial support, termination of departmental privileges, and termination from the University.

Students funded by research grants or fellowships from the department are expected to spend at least half of their time (a minimum of 20 hours per week) on research. Continued funding is contingent upon satisfactory research effort and progress as determined by the student’s adviser. After Autumn Quarter of the first year, students receive a letter from the department chair concerning their research performance. If problems are identified and they persist through the second quarter, a warning letter is sent. Problems persisting into a third quarter may lead to loss of departmental support including tuition and stipend. Similar procedures are applied in subsequent years.

A balanced M.S. degree program including engineering course work and research requires a minimum of one full-tuition academic year (45 units) beyond the baccalaureate to meet the University residence requirements. Most full-time students spend at least one additional summer to complete the research requirement. An alternative M.S. degree program based only on course work is available, also requiring at least one full tuition academic year (45 units) to meet University residence requirements.

M.S. students who anticipate continuing in the Ph.D. program should follow the research option. M.S. students receiving financial aid normally require two academic years to complete the degree. Such students must take the research option and are limited to an 8-10 unit course load per quarter.

The degree of Engineer requires a comprehensive full-tuition, two-year program (90 units) of graduate study. This degree permits more extensive course work than the M.S. degree, with an emphasis on professional practice. All Engineer degree students receiving financial aid are limited to an 8-10 unit course load per quarter and need at least ten quarters of work to complete the degree.

The Ph.D. degree is awarded primarily on the basis of completion of significant, original research. Extensive course work and a minimum of 90 units of graduate work beyond the M.S. degree are required. Ph.D. students receiving financial assistance are limited to 8-10 units per quarter and often require more than three years to complete the Ph.D.