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Incoming CS MS Students

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This will provide a schedule of orientation events sponsored by the Computer Science Department. There are other campus-wide orientation events that students are welcome to explore. Visit the Graduate Life Office website for detailed information.

MS Student Orientation Schedule

  • Date: Thursday, September 21, 2023 
  • Time: 10:00am (PST) - 3:00pm (PST) 
  • Location: Gates Building, Room B01
  • Do not miss this meeting! It is the most important orientation event for all new CS graduate students and will be held from 10:00 am to 2:30pm (PST) on Thursday, September 21, 2023. There will be various Department members speaking on program requirements, enrollment, advising, computing facilities details and much more. 
    • IMPORTANT NOTE: This meeting is mandatory for all new Master's students and is recommended for Coterm and additional degree students.

MS Additional Information

  • The first day of classes is September 26th and we recommend that you arrive one week prior to this date. If you will be looking for housing, consider arriving even earlier that one week prior to the first day of classes. 
  • If you are an international student and will be attending the orientation activities at the Bechtel International Center (I-Center), please check the I-Center's website (in mid-August) for detailed orientation information. 
  • Important Note: Your faculty advisor will not be assigned until orientation. 
  • Contact Meredith Hutchin ( for inquiries regarding the Master's program.


  • The Computer Science Department offers a full program that is covered in the Stanford University Bulletin. Course prerequisites are brief in description, contact the instructor with questions. If the instructor is unavailable, ask other students who have taken the course or the Course Advisor ( about course expectations. 
  • Use your judgment when deciding whether or not you are adequately prepared to take a course, as you are not asked to prove that you have completed the prerequisites. There are many courses relevant to Computer Science taught in other Departments (e.g., Mathematics, Psychology, Linguistics, Philosophy, Statistics, and many SoE Departments) that you are welcome to explore.

Foundation Courses

  • The Foundation courses provide basic fundamental concept coverage used throughout Computer Science. These courses cover Logic, Automata, and Complexity (CS 103), Probability Theory (CS 109, Stat 116, CME 106, or MS&E 220), Algorithmic Analysis (CS161), Computer Organization and Systems, (CS107), and Principles of Computer Systems (CS110).
  • If you were a Computer Science major as an undergraduate, chances are you’ll be able to waive some or all of the Foundation courses.
    • The specific courses that you can waive will depend on the school at which you took your corresponding course work and whether the contents of the courses match sufficiently.
    • Your faculty advisor will decide which courses you can waive once you are on campus, generally during your first quarter in the Master's program.