Stanford University is one of the best academic institutions in the world, with a long history of academic excellence. According to the most recent QS World University rankings, it is currently ranked fifth globally.

Located in the San Fransisco Bay Area in the United States, Stanford welcomes international students from over 72 countries and offers a wealth of academic opportunities in different disciplines. Students have a wide variety of options from more than 500 undergraduate and graduate programs offered through its seven academic schools: School of Engineering, School of Humanities and Sciences, School of Business, School of Medicine, School of Education, School of Law, and the School of Sustainability.

If you are an international student looking to study at Stanford, it can take time to select the best program. But don’t worry, though. In this article, you will find an overview of the best programs at Stanford University for international students.

Recommended Study Programs at Stanford University

1. Computer Science

  • Study Program
  • Degree/s Offered: Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Ph.D.

Stanford’s computer science program is one of the best programs in the School of Engineering for international students looking to gain knowledge and experience in the science of computing. Students can pursue this program as either a Bachelor of Science degree, a minor, or a coterm, allowing them to pursue a Master’s or Ph.D. in Computer Science.

Graduates can pursue specialized careers in computer engineering, artificial intelligence, software design, and robotics, among many others. To succeed in these fields, one can supplement their degree with online courses from the School of Engineering, such as computer systems architecture, technology, and the engineering management graduate program.

Knowledge of computing is becoming an integral part of modern society, with rising demand for people trained in computer science and other fields. For example, a combination of computer science and an MBA is highly lucrative for managers of high-tech firms.

2. Economics

  • Study Program
  • Degree/s Offered: Bachelor’s, Master’s, Ph.D.

The economics program is part of the School of Humanities and Sciences, offering international students a chance to think creatively, explore economic problems and policy issues of modern society, and apply different theoretical perspectives to address them.

The degrees offered for this program include:

  • A Bachelor of Arts major
  • A minor program alongside a major degree
  • A Ph.D. in Economics

Please note that Stanford’s Master’s in Economics program is not available on its own. Only students pursuing a Ph.D. in Economics or another field at Stanford University are eligible to pursue a master’s degree as an additional degree.

It is a great major for international students planning to pursue a career in managerial and administrative positions in public or private enterprises. It is also a good foundation for those planning to pursue graduate degrees in economics, truly making it one of the most favored programs the university offers.

One could become a financial consultant, business manager, economist, management consultant, or policy analyst, among many other roles. Knowledge gained from this program can be applied in different scenarios, such as understanding what constitutes unfair selling practices in international markets or the wage difference between men and women in the same occupation.

3. Biology

  • Study Program
  • Degree/s Offered: Bachelor’s, Master’s, Ph.D.

The Biology major is another great program at Stanford University for international students interested in understanding human beings from a biological and behavioral perspective.

The program is part of the School of Humanities and Sciences and offers an undergraduate major and minor, a coterminal master’s program, and a Ph.D. program. It also prepares learners to pursue advanced training in professional or postdoctoral programs.

Understanding human needs from different perspectives can prepare learners for careers in health care, research, government, pharmaceuticals, and nonprofit organizations, among many others.

4. Political Science

  • Study Program
  • Degree/s Offered: Bachelor’s, Master’s, Ph.D.

The Political Science major is an excellent program at Stanford University for international students looking to explore not just the American political system but also other global political systems concerning international conflicts, diversity, and social movements.

The program offers a Bachelor of Arts major or a minor degree with study programs such as elections, justice and law, international relations, and representation, a Master of Arts degree, and a Ph.D. program. However, while Stanford does offer a master’s degree, it’s not available for external applicants but rather only for students with a Ph.D. from another Stanford department or an advanced degree from one of the university’s professional schools, such as the Law School, the Medical School, or the School of Business.

Graduates from this program gain a foundation to pursue careers in law, international affairs, government, and political offices, among many others.

5. Management Science and Engineering

  • Study Program
  • Degree/s Offered: Bachelor’s, Master’s, Ph.D.

International students ready to pursue this major should look forward to learning the fundamentals of engineering systems analysis, which will help them plan, design, and implement complex economic and technical management systems.

The program can be undertaken either as a Bachelor of Science, a minor, or a coterm, where they can pursue a Master of Science in Management Science and Engineering and a Ph.D. degree. Students engage in various courses like accounting, economics, computer science, organizational theory, and statistics. This combination gives them a broader perspective on managerial decision-making in public or private entities.

Graduates from this field can expect to pursue careers in management consulting, investment banking, operations research, or facilities and process management.

FAQs: Studying at Stanford University

What is Stanford University’s Most Popular Program for International Students?

Stanford University’s most popular program is its Master’s in Business Administration. Because of its high ranking and excellent reputation, it is the most sought-after degree program by international students. According to Stanford, more than a third of its MBA students come from countries other than the United States.

Offered under the Stanford Graduate School of Business, it is a two-year program known for its specialization in entrepreneurship, global management, and public management. It aims to nurture innovative, insightful, and ethical leaders ready to change the world. The beauty of this program is that it is open to candidates with no business background and limited work experience.

It is a very competitive program and one of the most selective in the world, but it is gratifying to those who manage to enroll. Statistics show that 20% of Forbes 30 under 30 have a Stanford MBA, and 91% of graduates receive a job offer three months post-graduation.


As one of the most prestigious universities in the world, Stanford University offers a wealth of academic opportunities for international students through its different programs and courses. From business and engineering to humanities and social sciences, there’s a wide selection of degree programs at Stanford University for international students.


We hope you like our article about the Best Programs to Study at Stanford University! To learn more about which universities  offers financial aid and available programs to international students in the United States, you can visit our USA Scholarships Page and Open Courses in the USA!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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