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This archived information is dated to the 2009-10 academic year only and may no longer be current.

For currently applicable policies and information, see the current Stanford Bulletin.

Coterminal B.S. and M.S. Degrees in Earth Systems

The Stanford coterminal degree 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 with a minimum 3.4 Stanford GPA may apply to work simultaneously toward B.S. and M.S. degrees. The M.S. degree in Earth Systems provides the student with enhanced tools to evaluate the primary literature of the discipline most closely associated with the student's track and allows an increased specialization through additional course work that may include 9 units of thesis research. Integration of earth systems concepts is furthered by participation in the Master's Seminar.

To apply, complete and return to the Earth Systems office an application that includes: a statement of purpose and a resume; a Stanford transcript; two letters of recommendation, one of which must be from the master's adviser; and a list of courses that fulfill degree requirements signed by the Associate Director, Academics, and the master's adviser. Applications must be submitted by the quarter preceding the anticipated quarter of graduation. A $50 application fee is assessed by the Registrar's Office for coterminal applications. Students may either (1) complete 180 units required for the B.S. degree and then complete the three quarters required for the M.S. degree, or (2) complete a total of 15 quarters during which the requirements of the degrees are fulfilled concurrently. The student has the option of receiving the B.S. degree after completing that degree's requirements or receiving two degrees concurrently at the end of the master's program.

These requirements must be fulfilled to receive an M.S. degree:

  1. All requirements for the B.S. degree.
  2. Further course work (and/or thesis research), all of which should be at the 100-level or above, including 22 units at the 200-level or above, leading to further focus within the student's track.
  3. Participation in the Master's Seminar.

The program consists of a minimum of 45 units of course work and/or thesis research, at least 22 of which must be at the 200-level or above.

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 the adviser. The program should demonstrate further specialization and focus within the student's undergraduate track. Students applying from an undergraduate major other than Earth Systems or students applying for a coterminal M.S. in Environmental Earth System Science should meet with Julie Kennedy or Deana Fabbro-Johnston for clarification.

With the adviser's approval, 9 units may be in the form of research. This may culminate in the preparation of a master's thesis; however, a thesis is not required for the degree. Master's students must take part in the Autumn Quarter Master's Seminar, EARTHSYS 290, and have additional responsibilities appropriate to the master's level (thesis presentation, modeling problems, and so on).

A more detailed description of the coterminal master's degree program may be obtained from the program office. For University coterminal degree program rules and University application forms, see

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