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Coterminal Masters Program

Students visit a wind farm on a class field trip

The Stanford coterminal degree plan enables an undergraduate to embark on an integrated program of study leading to the master's degree before requirements for the bachelor's degree have been completed. Undergraduates majoring in Earth Systems, or a related field, may apply to work simultaneously toward their Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree in Earth Systems. The M.S. degree in Earth Systems allows an increased specialization through additional course work that may include nine units of thesis research. Integration of Earth Systems concepts is furthered by participation in EARTHSYS 290 Master's Seminar or another approved course. Undergraduates accepted to the coterminal M.S. program are required to take EARTHSYS 290.

How to Apply (the application package is also available in the Earth Systems office, Y2E2, 131):

1.  Complete the Stanford coterminal application. The application can be found here:
Earth Systems Coterm Application
2.  Include a 1-2 page statement of purpose.
3.  Include a resume.
4.  Include a current unofficial undergraduate Stanford transcript.
5.  Secure two letters of recommendation, one of which must be from your Master’s Advisor (Earth Systems Committee of the Whole Member or other approved advisor). The letters can be emailed to; hand-delivered to Y2E2, Rm. 127; or mailed.
6.  In collaboration with your Master’s Advisor, develop a list of courses in which you intend to enroll to fulfill degree requirements. A “preliminary program proposal form” is included and found at application link above.
7.  Meet with Julie Kennedy, Katie Phillips, or Kevin Arrigo with your application package prior to the final meeting with your Master’s Advisor.
8.  Arrange a follow-up meeting with your faculty Master's Advisor to incorporate suggested changes and obtain a final signature on the curriculum proposal.
9.  Obtain final approval from Julie Kennedy, Katie Phillips, or Kevin Arrigo, including approval signature on proposed coursework form.
10.  Deliver the final application package (including application checklist) to Kristin Tewksbury in Earth Systems, Y2E2, Room 127.  

Please note: Students who accept an offer of admission and are matriculated into the program are assessed a $125 coterm application fee. Coterminal applications are due February 18, 2014.  The 2013-14 Coterm information presentation is available for viewing.

Students applying to the coterminal program must: 1) have completed a minimum of 120 units toward graduation with a minimum 3.4 Stanford GPA, and 2) submit their application no later than the quarter prior to the expected completion of the Bachelor’s degree. The student has the option of receiving the B.S. degree upon completion of that degree’s requirements, or of receiving two degrees concurrently at the end of the Master’s program.

This specific requirement must be fulfilled to receive a M.S. degree: A minimum of 45 units of graduate level course work and/or research credit (upon approval). At least 34 units of the student’s course work must be at the 200-level or above. All remaining coursework must be at the 100-level or above. A minimum overall GPA of 3.4 must be maintained.

Prior to formal application, the student must devise a program of study that shows a level of specialization appropriate to the Master’s level, as determined in consultation with and approval by the advisor and Julie Kennedy, Katie Phillips, or Kevin Arrigo. Students applying from an undergraduate major other than Earth Systems should meet with Julie Kennedy or Kevin Arrigo for clarification.

With the Advisor’s approval, nine of the required 45 units may be in the form of directed research. This research may culminate in a Master’s thesis; however, a thesis is not required for the degree. Please visit Explore Degrees for complete Earth Systems coterm requirements: