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Frequently Asked Questions for the Predoctoral Research Fellows Program

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Q: When is the application deadline?

A: The deadline is Sunday, January 7, 2024.

Q: When will the application be available?

A: The application will be available on this website no later than November 11, 2023.

Q: Is there an application fee?

A: No, there is no application fee to apply to the predoctoral program.

Letters of Recommendation

Q: When is the deadline for letters of recommendation to be submitted?

A: The deadline for letters of recommendation is Monday, January 19, 2024 for applications to receive full consideration.

Selection Process and Timeline

Q: What are the next steps in the application process after the application is submitted?

A: The King Center will contact shortlisted candidates by March 1 for a phone/video interview and to complete a short data manipulation and analysis exercise using Stata, R, or another programming language. 

Q: When will decisions be announced?

A: The King Center will communicate all admissions decisions in the later half of March 2024.

Application Materials

Q: Do the transcripts I submit need to be official?

A:  You may submit unofficial transcripts at the time of application, but final official transcripts may be requested upon acceptance into the predoc program.

Q: Are GREs required?

A: No, GREs are not required but please include them in your application if you have them.


Q: Do I need a specific major to apply?

A: Students from all disciplines are welcome to apply if the type of work will provide useful preparation in applying to PhD programs in their chosen field. 

Q: Are students with a master’s degree eligible to apply?

A: Yes, students with master’s degrees are eligible to apply.

Q: Are students who are already enrolled in a PhD program or who already have a doctoral degree eligible to apply?

A: This program is intended for those who have not yet started a doctoral degree.

Prior Experience

Q: If I have no experience in research, can I apply?

A: Yes, you may apply with no formal research experience but you need to address in your application how your skills and background will help you succeed in research.

Q: If I have no experience with coding or data analysis, can I apply?

A: We expect predocs to have some experience with data manipulation and analysis. Predocs will be expected to rapidly learn specific programs such as Stata or R in order to assist on faculty research projects. Several short courses on data analysis will be available to predocs during the first months of the program. 

International Degrees

Q: Is my international degree acceptable for admission to the program?

A: Stanford’s assessment of a foreign degree is based on the characteristics of a national educational system, the type of institution attended, and the level of studies completed. These Stanford University guidelines indicate the minimum level of study required of applicants from recognized academic institutions outside the United States. Please note that the King Center is not authorized to make exceptions to Stanford University guidelines regarding the minimum level of study and international academic credentials required for graduate student admissions.

Q: My undergraduate degree is not from the United States and is in a language other than English. Can I submit my transcript in the original language or must it be translated into English?

A: For the initial application, you may submit transcripts in the original language. In order to be admitted to the program, at a later stage in the application process if your institution does not issue records in English, original-language records must be submitted with official English translations. All translations must be literal and complete versions of the original records. All supporting material must be in English.

The university reserves the right to require additional academic documents. If we are unable to verify the nature or authenticity of your academic documents, you may be asked to obtain an evaluation from a foreign credential evaluation service. Please see these Stanford University guidelines for more information. 

Language Requirement

Q: Is there a language requirement for participation in the program? 

A. Adequate command of spoken and written English is required. International students enrolled at Stanford must be able to read English with ease, understand rapid idiomatic English as used in lectures and group discussions, and express thoughts quickly and clearly in spoken and written English.

All predocs whose first language is not English will be required to submit scores from a valid TOEFL exam unless they have earned a bachelor’s or master’s degree from an accredited college or university in which English was the only language of instruction. You are not required to submit TOEFL scores with the initial application, but you must submit your TOEFL scores at a later stage in the application process in order to be admitted to the program. 

Some faculty research projects may require proficiency in additional languages.

Q: Can the application be written in a language other than English?

A: No. The application must be completed in English.

Research Assistance

Q: What research projects will I work on?

A: Predocs will be assigned to work on projects on the King Center’s nine thematic areas, including the King Center’s initiatives

Predoc opportunities will change each year and will be listed on the application and website. Each opportunity listed will include a short blurb about the project and faculty mentors. Each opportunity may also indicate specific skills, like languages, that would be desirable for predocs to have for that opportunity.

Q: What type of work will I do?

A: The research assistance varies by faculty mentor, but tends to focus on data collection (fieldwork or at times archival work), data cleaning and analysis, as well as literature reviews and report writing.


Q: Can predocs take classes at Stanford?

A: Predocs are eligible to take one class per quarter in autumn, winter, and spring quarters. Classes taken for credit will be noted on the predoc’s official Stanford University transcript. 

Stipend and Benefits

Q: What is the stipend and funding package?

A: King Center predocs receive a financial fellowship that includes a living stipend, tuition, and health insurance. The benefits include:

  • Living Stipend: We give you a stipend distributed monthly to support you financially during the program ($58,375 annually in 2023-24).
  • Tuition: You will have the option to take up to one class (and no more than 6 units) per quarter in autumn, winter, and spring quarters in consultation with your faculty mentor, and we will cover the tuition of each class you elect to take.
  • Health Insurance/Health Services: You will be eligible for health insurance benefits through the university, and we will cover your campus health service fee for access to services provided at Vaden Health Center 
  • Transportation to Stanford: One-way transportation to Stanford to begin the program (up to $1,500 depending on location).

Q: Are there other predoc benefits?

  • Dedicated Workspace: We will provide you with a workspace co-located with other King Center predocs. 
  • University Benefits: King Center predocs have access to a wide array of facilities and resources at Stanford, including access to recreation centers, libraries, and student services.
  • Program Support: We are here to support you throughout the duration of the program, answering programmatic questions and providing additional resources to support your success in the program. Additionally, predocs will be part of a larger community of other predocs across campus.


Q: Does the King Center sponsor visas?

A: Yes. Predocs are admitted to Stanford as non-matriculated graduate students, and the university supports predocs in obtaining J-1 Exchange Visitor visas. 

Q: Can I use my optional practical training (OPT) for this program if I will obtain a degree from a US institution?

A: Yes, students eligible for OPT are encouraged to use it for this program.

After the Predoc Program

Q: Do I get a degree, diploma or certificate after completing the program?

A: No. Predocs are non-matriculated graduate students for the duration of the program and do not receive a degree, diploma or certificate.

Q: Does completing the King Center predoc program guarantee admission to a Stanford PhD program?

A: No. Predocs may apply to graduate programs at any institution. The King Center predoc program is not connected to graduate admissions at Stanford or any other institutions.

Non-discrimination Policy

Q: Does the King Center predoc program have a non-discrimination policy?

A: Yes. The program follows Stanford’s Non-Discrimination Policy: Stanford University admits qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, and gender identity to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the University. Consistent with its obligations under the law, Stanford prohibits unlawful discrimination on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law in the administration of the University's programs and activities; Stanford also prohibits unlawful harassment including sexual harassment and sexual violence.

Last updated: August 21, 2023