Student Visiting Researcher

In limited instances, it is to the benefit of Stanford faculty to permit persons who have not yet obtained a Ph.D. (or its foreign equivalent) to engage in research on the Stanford campus using Stanford research facilities. Such instances might include students at other universities who are engaged in graduate-level research in a field of interest to the faculty member, a person doing a laboratory rotation as part of a larger research study or grant, or employees of companies who are conducting research which requires specialized equipment available only at Stanford. Invitations can be extended for up to four quarters. Visiting researchers must have a psychology faculty member to serve as their sponsor. Please make sure to inform Student Services if you know a Visiting Researcher is going to be coming to Stanford at least three months in advance. See also the Procedures for Registering Visiting Researchers,


The Office of the University Registrar reviews the visiting researcher application materials and determines eligibility and then either approves or denies the invitation. If it approves the application, the Registrar's Office establishes a student identification number which will be emailed to the visiting researcher's department, and "term activates" the researcher for the appropriate quarters.


The Psychology Student Services Office is the liaison between the visiting researcher applicant and the Office of the University Registrar. As such, it is the SSO's responsibility to gather the necessary materials for submission and review. Any questions the applicant may have should be researched by the SSO and/or the faculty administrator, and communicated to the applicant. Once the visiting researcher is approved and arrives on campus, it is the department's responsibility as the host to assist with any ID card complications, housing issues, etc. If the visiting researcher's costs, including tuition, health insurance, and/or stipend, are to be covered with University funds, be certain that they are allowable charges.


Faculty who invite international students as visiting researchers should consult the J visa page of the Bechtel International Center for information concerning any required visa. This page also has a link to the Funding Attestation form. Once the Registrar's Office has approved the visiting researcher and an identification number has been assigned, the faculty administrator should proceed to the SEVIS Visa Certificate Request Application Form.


The Office of the Registrar activates and then discontinues a visiting researcher based on the dates stated in the invitation letter. Visiting researchers are required to pay a Permit for Services Only tuition rate, which in 2010-2011 is $3,900/quarter. The PSO tuition rate cannot be pro-rated, so the student will be charged for the full quarter in which he or she is activated. Visiting researchers will also be charged for student health insurance ($1,024/quarter in 2010-2011) and Vaden Service Fees ($167/quarter) unless they document that they have comparable coverage with another carrier.


Visiting researchers are entitled to receive a student photo identification card, which permits use of the University Library at the same level as other non-matriculated students, use of recreational facilities, and use of Vaden Student Health services. Visiting Researchers are eligible for an email account at no charge; they are also eligible to open full-service computer accounts, at cost. These services are only available during the quarters when the PSO tuition has been paid. The Department cannot guarantee office space for Visiting Researchers.


Visiting researchers maintain a non-matriculated student status which means they cannot register for courses. While visiting researchers cannot register for Stanford courses for academic credit, but they are welcome to attend Department seminars. Students interested in attending Stanford courses for academic credit must apply through the Registrar's office for non-matriculated student status, which necessitates a separate application, associated fees (full graduate student tuition), and deadlines.


Graduate student housing is available for visiting researchers only after all matriculated Stanford students have obtained housing. Given that student housing is extremely limited, for planning purposes, it is best to assume that student housing will not be available. Visiting researchers are able to view the University Housing Office's on-line listings once their names and e-mail addresses are forwarded to the University Housing Office personnel.


Guidelines and instructions for obtaining visiting researcher status are outlined below.

If the applicant is a matriculated graduate student elsewhere, please provide the following:

  1. A completed Bio-Demographic form (pdf).

  2. A letter of invitation, which should include the following:

  • a. exact dates of start and finish (the Registrar's Office MUST be notified if the dates of attendance change);

  • b. the tuition fees per quarter, as well as the cost of health insurance & Vaden service fees, and;

  • c. signatures of BOTH sponsoring faculty member and department chair.

Remember that tuition is not pro-rated. Visiting researchers are charged tuition for the quarters they are in residence. If the end date is one day in a subsequent quarter, the entire tuition is charged. Refer to the Academic Calendar when determining dates.