How to Apply
Application is now closed for Fall 2022 entry
Virtual Info Session 2021

Design Impact Virtual Info Session 2021 was held on Friday, October 29th, 2021 from 9:30 to 11am (Pacific Standard Time).
Please view the full recording here.

Complete Online Application

The following materials are required for application and cannot be waived. For other general information about applying visit the Graduate Admissions website. The application uses an online form, which you can access HERE. Begin the online application by selecting that you are applying to Engineering Masters beginning the Autumn 2022-2023 term, then select under Departmental Specialization: Design Impact.

The application deadline for the Fall 2022 enrollment was Wednesday, December 1, 2021. Please revisit our website in Summer 2022 for the application deadline for the Fall 2023 enrollment.

Please note that a completed application, including official TOEFL scores (if applicable), unofficial transcripts, and all letters of recommendation, must be received by the application deadline.

Statement of Purpose

There are many great graduate design programs in the US and in the world, each has its own special focus.  For your statement of purpose please write an essay of no more than 1200 words in response to this prompt: As Steve Jobs said, we are here to "make a little dent in the universe”. How do you hope to make that dent, and the world a better place? What do you expect to learn in this program that will make this possible? Please don’t repeat information we already have from your transcript and resume.  We are more interested in learning about your goals as a designer and why you think that Stanford’s program is your best fit.  Make this a forward-looking essay addressing your plans for Stanford and beyond.

For applicants who have been out of school for some time, please include at least one letter from a source in academia who can speak to your performance as a student.

You are required to upload unofficial copies of your transcripts or e-transcripts onto the online application for all institutions you have attended for at least a year as a full-time student. Please DO NOT send your official transcripts unless we contact you to do so. 

We will fully consider for admission any student that applies with an undergraduate engineering degree and/or BS degree. The program no longer accepts students with a background in Art. We do not have the resources necessary to respond to inquiries that ask if a particular degree is equivalent to a B.S. or other undergraduate engineering degree. To answer this question yourself, please consult with the institution that granted the degree and attach official documentation from the institution supporting that your degree is a B. S. equivalent under the Supplemental Materials section of your online application.

GRE scores are not required for Design Impact applicants for the upcoming Grad Admissions cycle (students entering Fall of 2022).

If your first language is not English, you are required to take the TOEFL.
IMPORTANT: Please make sure that your TOEFL scores are received by Stanford Grad Admissions by December 2021.

Your Application Website

In the Supplemental Information section of the application, enter your application web address (URL) of your “application website” (ie. http://…) in the box provided. This is a single weblink that we can access.  If this is a password protected site, you may then enter your website password in the second box below the URL entry box. There are no specific guidelines on the kind of website you submit or how many projects should be part of this website. Think of the website as your vehicle to demonstrate who you are and how you think. Your website is our only window into your creativity. It also shows us what kinds of design problems are important to you, so make it personal.
Given this, each website is expected to be diverse and unique. However, please do not provide too large a body of work with repetitive examples of the same media, process, or end product. We are looking for breadth as well as depth. Designers often work on teams so we want you to be specific about your role on the project. We will judge the quality of your work more by your editing and selection and not by its volume.

Your website should be about your design thinking and the types of design and subjects that interest you. It should clearly demonstrate the specific “toolkit” that you are bringing to the program. It should express your thinking on the subjects that you deem important. It should demonstrate your ability to visualize things. It should show us how you develop new and innovative solutions. These solutions can be in almost any area, but we are particularly interested in new products, services, environments, information, and smart/interactive products and spaces. It should document some user research as well as include photos of some 2D and 3D work.

A case study is a great thing to include on your website. Case studies are an effective way to explain your creative process and can include all the “messy prototypes” and “important failures.” They are also one good way to show us non-design projects and entrepreneurial endeavors that emphasize your leadership skills and your strategic thinking. Case studies should be brief and visually interesting. It is typically a one- or two-page description of a project, including some description of the original problem and lots of visual information about the process that resolves it. We are not looking for a lot of writing. As designers, we prefer case studies that are more like narratives or storyboards, not like research papers.

Questions about submitting the application materials should be directed to Before submitting a question, please read our FAQ.

Deadline was December 1, 2021 for applications to the Fall 2022 enrollment.

Applicants to the Knight-Hennessy Scholarship

The Knight-Hennessy Scholars program cultivates a diverse, multidisciplinary community of emerging leaders from around the world and guides them to collaborate, innovate, and communicate as they prepare to address the complex challenges facing society. Knight-Hennessy Scholars become part of a supportive family of fellow scholars. Through the King Global Leadership Program, scholars will broaden knowledge, develop skills, and strengthen character; this platform provides a collection of community experiences, workshops, meetings with leaders, domestic and global study trips, and personal development opportunities. Knight-Hennessy Scholars also receive funding for graduate study at Stanford University. Apply here. The KHS application deadline is October 06, 2021 at 1:00 pm Pacific Time.

Applicants to the Fall 2022 enrollment will be notified via e-mail regarding their application status by early April 2022.

A large number of applications are processed each year. Please do not contact our department staff or faculty members regarding the status of your application.
Cost of Attendance
Design Impact falls under the Graduate Engineering, 8, 9, 10 unit rate on the Stanford University tuition page. Our two-year program takes six quarters to complete, three quarters in the 1st Year and three quarters in the 2nd Year. The program is not in session over the summer. Reference here for an estimated expense budget for Stanford graduate students.

Design Impact students are offered Course Assistantships upon acceptance to offset the cost of attendance. Offers do vary each year.