Stanford Cs Master’S Acceptance Rate: How Selective Is Admission?

With Stanford’s prestige and Silicon Valley connections, it’s no surprise their computer science master’s program is highly competitive. But exactly how low is the acceptance rate, and what helps applicants stand out? This guide breaks down everything you need to know.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Stanford’s CS master’s acceptance rate is under 10%. To get in, you’ll need a strong undergrad record, high GRE scores, research experience, and excellent recommendations.

We’ll explore Stanford’s historical CS master’s acceptance rates, qualifications of admitted students, and expert tips to strengthen your application. With these insights, you’ll understand your chances and how to maximize them when applying to this top-tier program.

Stanford CS Master’s Acceptance Rates

Overall graduate admission rate vs. CS

Stanford University is renowned for its highly selective admission process, and the acceptance rate for its Computer Science (CS) Master’s program is no exception. While the overall graduate admission rate at Stanford is around 4-5%, the acceptance rate for the CS Master’s program is significantly lower.

The CS Master’s program at Stanford attracts a large number of highly qualified applicants from around the world, making the admission process highly competitive.

How competitive admission is

The admission process for the Stanford CS Master’s program is highly competitive. The program seeks to admit students who have a strong background in computer science and have demonstrated exceptional academic and research potential.

Applicants are expected to have a solid foundation in computer science concepts, programming languages, and algorithms. Additionally, they are evaluated based on their research experience, letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, and standardized test scores such as the GRE.

Stanford’s CS Master’s program also considers diversity in its admission process, aiming to create a diverse cohort of students from various backgrounds and experiences. This adds another layer of competition, as the program seeks to admit individuals with unique perspectives and contributions to the field of computer science.

Changes in acceptance rate over time

The acceptance rate for the Stanford CS Master’s program has fluctuated over the years. While it is challenging to pinpoint exact acceptance rates for specific years, there has been a general trend of decreasing acceptance rates in recent times.

This can be attributed to the increasing popularity and reputation of the program, leading to a larger pool of qualified applicants.

It is important to note that acceptance rates can vary from year to year based on various factors, including the number of applicants, the quality of the applicant pool, and the availability of resources and faculty for the program.

Therefore, it is advisable for prospective applicants to stay updated with the latest information and requirements provided by the Stanford CS Master’s program.

For more information about the Stanford CS Master’s program and its admission process, you can visit the Stanford Computer Science Department website.

Application Requirements and Profile of Admitted Students

Academic qualifications and test scores

Stanford University’s Computer Science Master’s program is highly competitive, attracting top-tier students from around the world. To be considered for admission, applicants must have a strong academic background and exceptional test scores.

For academic qualifications, Stanford looks for candidates who have completed a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field. A solid foundation in mathematics and programming is essential. Excellent grades in relevant coursework are also highly valued.

When it comes to test scores, the program typically requires applicants to submit their GRE (Graduate Record Examination) scores. While there is no official cutoff, competitive applicants often have scores in the 90th percentile or higher.

It’s important to note that meeting these requirements does not guarantee admission, as Stanford takes a holistic approach to evaluating applicants.

Research and industry experience

In addition to academic qualifications, Stanford values research and industry experience in their applicants. This can be demonstrated through participation in research projects, internships, or relevant work experience.

Research experience provides candidates with an opportunity to showcase their ability to contribute to the field of computer science through innovative and impactful projects. Industry experience, on the other hand, gives applicants real-world exposure and a practical understanding of how computer science concepts are applied in professional settings.

Highlighting research and industry experience in the application, through personal statements or recommendation letters, can greatly enhance an applicant’s chances of being admitted to the program.

Letters of recommendation

Stanford requires applicants to submit letters of recommendation as part of the application process. These letters provide insight into an applicant’s character, abilities, and potential for success in the program.

It is highly recommended that applicants choose recommenders who can speak to their academic abilities, research or industry experience, and personal qualities. Professors, research advisors, or supervisors who have worked closely with the applicant are often the best choices for recommenders.

Strong letters of recommendation can give the admissions committee valuable perspective on an applicant’s potential and can greatly influence the final admission decision.

How to Strengthen Your Application

Getting accepted into the Stanford CS Master’s program is highly competitive, but there are several steps you can take to strengthen your application and increase your chances of admission. Here are a few key strategies to consider:

1. Get strong letters of recommendation

Letters of recommendation play a crucial role in the admissions process, as they provide insights into your academic abilities, work ethic, and personal qualities. It’s important to choose recommenders who can speak to your strengths and potential as a CS student.

Consider reaching out to professors, employers, or mentors who know you well and can provide a detailed and enthusiastic endorsement of your abilities.

2. Highlight relevant experience

One way to stand out in a competitive applicant pool is to showcase your relevant experience in the field of computer science. This can include internships, research projects, coding competitions, or any other hands-on experience that demonstrates your passion and commitment to the field.

Be sure to emphasize the skills and knowledge you gained from these experiences and how they have prepared you for the rigors of a CS Master’s program.

3. Craft a compelling statement of purpose

Your statement of purpose is an opportunity to articulate your goals, motivations, and aspirations in pursuing a CS Master’s degree at Stanford. Take the time to carefully craft a well-written and thoughtful essay that showcases your passion for the field and your unique perspective.

Be sure to highlight any specific research interests, projects, or collaborations you hope to pursue during your time at Stanford.

By following these strategies, you can strengthen your application and increase your chances of being accepted into the Stanford CS Master’s program. Remember to also meet all the application requirements, such as submitting a strong academic transcript, standardized test scores, and any additional materials requested by the admissions committee.

Good luck!

Other Top CS Master’s Programs to Consider


When it comes to top CS master’s programs, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a name that cannot be ignored. With its renowned faculty and cutting-edge research facilities, MIT offers an exceptional learning experience for students pursuing their master’s in computer science.

According to MIT’s official website, the acceptance rate for their CS master’s program is highly competitive, with only a small percentage of applicants being admitted each year. This underscores the program’s selectivity and the high standards they uphold.

Studying at MIT not only gives students access to world-class resources and state-of-the-art labs, but also provides them with a strong network of alumni who have made significant contributions to the field of computer science.

Carnegie Mellon

Another top contender in the CS master’s program arena is Carnegie Mellon University. Known for its strong focus on computer science and engineering, Carnegie Mellon offers a rigorous curriculum and opportunities for cutting-edge research.

According to the Carnegie Mellon University website, their CS master’s program is highly competitive, with a low acceptance rate. This reflects the program’s commitment to selecting the most talented and dedicated students.

Carnegie Mellon’s CS master’s program is highly regarded in the industry, with many graduates going on to work for leading technology companies or pursuing further research at prestigious institutions.

The program’s emphasis on practical skills and real-world applications sets it apart from other programs.

UC Berkeley

University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) is another top choice for students interested in pursuing a CS master’s degree. With its location in the heart of the Silicon Valley and close ties to the tech industry, UC Berkeley offers unique opportunities for students to connect with industry professionals and gain hands-on experience.

According to the UC Berkeley website, their CS master’s program is highly competitive, attracting applicants from around the world. The program’s selectivity is a testament to the quality of education and research opportunities it provides.

UC Berkeley’s CS master’s program is known for its interdisciplinary approach, allowing students to explore various areas of computer science and collaborate with experts in different fields. This interdisciplinary focus prepares students for the diverse challenges they may encounter in their careers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is work experience required?

Work experience is not explicitly required for admission to the Stanford CS Master’s program. However, having relevant work experience can strengthen your application and showcase your practical skills and knowledge in the field.

It can also demonstrate your ability to apply theoretical concepts in real-world scenarios. Admissions committees often value a diverse range of experiences, including internships, research projects, or industry work.

While work experience is not a strict requirement, it can certainly enhance your chances of acceptance.

Does Stanford offer CS master’s scholarships?

Yes, Stanford University offers a variety of scholarships and financial aid options for students pursuing their CS Master’s degree. These scholarships can help offset the cost of tuition and living expenses, making the program more accessible to qualified candidates.

It’s important to note that scholarships at Stanford are highly competitive and are awarded based on merit, academic achievements, and financial need. To explore the available scholarships and application requirements, it is recommended to visit the official Stanford University website here.

Can I get in with a lower GRE score?

The GRE (Graduate Record Examination) score is one of the factors considered in the admission process for the Stanford CS Master’s program. While it is important to aim for a competitive score, the admissions committee takes a holistic approach when reviewing applications.

They consider various aspects, including academic achievements, letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, and work experience. Your GRE score is just one piece of the puzzle. If you have a lower GRE score, it doesn’t automatically disqualify you from admission.

It is crucial to showcase your strengths in other areas of your application, such as your academic performance or research experience, to compensate for a lower GRE score.


Gaining admission to Stanford’s elite computer science master’s program is highly competitive, with an acceptance rate under 10% in recent years. Applicants need top grades, test scores, experience, and recommendations to stand out.

While challenging, with a focused application highlighting your skills and passion for CS, you can land a spot at this top-tier institution at the heart of Silicon Valley innovation.

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