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Stanford University

450 Jane Stanford Way, Stanford, CA 94305, USA

Stanford University award
Stanford University award
US ranking
position: 2
Tuition & fees per year: $58,578
Acceptance rate: 4.00%
Median alumni salary: $77,677
Avg. SAT and ACT: 1520 SAT, 35 ACT
Entrance difficulty: Very hard

What is the history of Stanford University?

Stanford University was established in 1885 by Leland and Jane Stanford, who were grieving the loss of their only child, Leland Stanford Jr., to typhoid fever. The university was founded with a $5 million endowment, a substantial amount for the time. The Stanfords envisioned a nonsectarian, co-educational institution that was affordable and aimed to produce cultured and useful graduates. They wanted to teach both traditional liberal arts and the emerging fields of technology and engineering.

The university officially opened its doors on October 1, 1891, welcoming 555 students. From the beginning, Stanford University was coeducational, although the number of women students was capped at 500 between 1899 and 1933. The campus is primarily located on Stanford’s former Palo Alto farm, with buildings designed by architect Charles Allerton Coolidge and landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. The architecture is reminiscent of old California mission style, featuring soft buff sandstone, wide colonnades, open arches, and red-tiled roofs.

Stanford University faced financial difficulties following the death of Leland Stanford in 1893 and after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake caused significant damage to the campus. However, the university was able to rebuild each time. Post World War II, Stanford's provost, Frederick Terman, encouraged faculty and graduates to foster local industry, leading to the birth of Silicon Valley.

In the 1960s, Stanford University transformed from a regional university to one of the most prestigious in the United States, largely due to its defense contracts. However, the university's reputation suffered in subsequent decades due to controversies such as the criticized Stanford prison experiment in 1971 and the misuse of government funds in 1981, which led to a significant cut in research funding and the resignation of Stanford President Donald Kennedy in 1992.

Despite these challenges, Stanford University has consistently promoted equity and access to education. In 2022, it opened the Doerr School of Sustainability and launched a dual-enrollment computer science program for high school students. The university also maintains the Stanford University Archives to document its history and the Stanford Historical Society to support the study and preservation of its history.

Stanford University also has a strong tradition in athletics, boasting 900 current student-athletes and a history of 128 national titles. It has won 22 consecutive Learfield Sports Directors’ Cups, an award given to the top intercollegiate athletics program in the nation.

What are the faculties and departments at Stanford University?

Stanford University, a prestigious institution, houses seven distinct schools within its single, contiguous campus. The School of Humanities and Sciences, the largest among them, is responsible for granting 75 percent of undergraduate degrees and nearly 40 percent of doctorates. This school is the heart of Stanford University's education, offering a broad spectrum of departments. These include, but are not limited to, Anthropology, Art & Art History, Biology, Chemistry, Classics, Communication, Comparative Literature, Computer Science, Economics, English, French and Italian, Genetics, German Studies, History, Iberian & Latin American Cultures, Linguistics, Mathematics, Music, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, Religious Studies, Sociology, and Theater and Performance Studies.

The School of Engineering at Stanford University has been a pioneer in innovation for nearly a century. It has played a significant role in developing key technologies that have revolutionized various sectors such as information technology, communications, medicine, energy, and business. The school encompasses several departments, including Aeronautics and Astronautics, Bioengineering, Chemical Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Management Science and Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering.

Stanford University's Graduate School of Business is committed to nurturing the future generation of ethical global leaders. It offers a rigorous management education that is designed to transform lives, organizations, and the world. The Graduate School of Education, another prominent school at Stanford University, is renowned for its cross-disciplinary inquiries that shape educational practices and the professions that serve the education enterprise.

The School of Law at Stanford University offers a blend of classic and innovative education, advanced resources, and a close-knit scholarly community. This combination creates an ideal environment for mastering the law. Lastly, the School of Medicine at Stanford University fosters intellectual diversity among students.

What is the location of Stanford University?

Stanford University is nestled in the heart of Northern California's Silicon Valley, a region renowned for its technological innovation. The university's address is 450 Jane Stanford Way, Stanford, a city that lies 35 miles south of San Francisco and 20 miles north of San Jose. This strategic location places the university within easy reach of both the bustling city life and the tranquility of nature.

The campus itself is expansive, spanning over 8,180 acres and falling under the jurisdiction of several governmental bodies, including unincorporated Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, Palo Alto, Woodside, Menlo Park, Portola Valley, and Los Altos Hills.

What is the mission and vision of Stanford University?

Stanford University's mission and vision are deeply rooted in providing an unparalleled experience in learning, research, and healthcare, while simultaneously promoting a diverse and inclusive environment. The university's goal is to attract and nurture top-tier IT talent by offering an exceptional work environment that values diversity in terms of background, thought, and experience.

Stanford University is dedicated to generating and effectively disseminating fundamental knowledge about Earth, its resources, and the processes by which it changes. The university's educational approach is designed to train students and future leaders, while also educating the wider public in Earth and environmental sciences. Stanford University's approach to education is not just theoretical but also practical, as it integrates, synthesizes, and applies scientific and engineering knowledge to societal problems. These include sustainable use of energy, food, and water, identifying and mitigating risks posed by natural hazards, and understanding the impact of human activities on climate systems and the environment.

In addition to its academic pursuits, Stanford University is also committed to addressing racial justice within its community and creating a more equitable environment. The university is taking on a greater responsibility for the societal and ethical impact of its research and education. This is achieved by incorporating ethics into the curriculum for all first-year students and through coursework that highlights the societal implications of technology. Stanford University is creating new opportunities for faculty to question not only the feasibility of their ideas but also their ethical implications. This approach makes ethics an integral part of innovation, ensuring that human wellbeing is at the heart of technical and social advances.

Stanford University places a high value on excellence in science, the discovery of new knowledge, and the dissemination of knowledge through teaching and outreach.

What is the accreditation of Stanford University?

Stanford University holds accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). This accreditation is not a mandatory requirement in the United States, as the government does not directly regulate higher education. Instead, the process is voluntary and involves non-governmental, institutional accrediting agencies such as WSCUC. These agencies conduct comprehensive reviews of universities and colleges, assessing various aspects of educational quality and effectiveness.

Accreditation is a significant factor for prospective students as it determines eligibility for federal financial aid and other federal programs. Therefore, the accreditation status of Stanford University can directly impact the financial support options available to its students.

Currently, Stanford University is in the process of institutional re-accreditation by WSCUC. The university is participating in the Thematic Pathway for Reaffirmation (TPR), a novel process that allows educational institutions to concentrate on specific areas for investigation. This re-accreditation process is an ongoing commitment to maintaining and enhancing the quality of education provided by Stanford University.

Stanford University Rankings

See where this school lands in our other Rankings to get a bigger picture of the institution's offerings.

36 Best Value Colleges in California in 2023-2024

52 Most Affordable Colleges in 2023-2024

86 Best Value Colleges in the West in 2023-2024 US

437 Best Value Colleges in 2023-2024


Stanford University Profile - Basic Information

Name of the institution

Stanford University

Level of institution

Four or more years

Granulation by control over the institution (public/private)


School type


Setting type

Suburb: Large

Calendar system


Foundation year


Institution size category

10,000 - 19,999

Main student body


Institutional Category

Degree - granting, primarily baccalaureate or above

Stanford University Programs and Degrees

iconMaster's degree
iconBachelor's degree
iconPost-master's certificate
iconDoctor's degree - research/scholarship
iconDoctor's degree - professional practice
iconOther degree
iconCertificate of at least 2 years, but less than 4 years
iconAssociate's degree
iconCertificate of less than 1 year
iconPostbaccalaureate certificate
iconCertificate of at least 1 year, but less than 2 years
iconDoctor's degree - other

Alumni Salary for Stanford University Degrees


Avg. salary

Area, Ethnic, Cultural, Gender, and Group Studies


Biological and Biomedical Sciences


Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services




Engineering/Engineering-related Technologies/Technicians


English Language and Literature/Letters


Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies




Social Sciences