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Our eligibility requirements help you determine if you may apply to be a Knight-Hennessy Scholar.

The Knight-Hennessy Scholars program is a multidisciplinary and multicultural community. There are no restrictions based on age, college or university, field of study, or career aspiration. We encourage citizens and residents of all countries to apply.  We do not require applicants to seek endorsements from colleges, universities, or other institutions.

There are two baseline eligibility requirements

  1. First, in addition to applying to Knight-Hennessy Scholars, you must apply to, be accepted by, and enroll in a full-time Stanford graduate degree program. Each incoming Knight-Hennessy Scholar must be a newly enrolling student in a Stanford graduate program including, but not limited to, DMA, JD, MA, MBA, MD, MFA, MPP, MS, or PhD programs. There are no quotas by discipline or program. Note that we will give priority consideration to those who will spend at least two years studying at Stanford. 
  2. Second, you must have earned, in January 2016 or later, a U.S. bachelor’s degree or its equivalent from a college or university of recognized standing.
To apply to join the cohort in: You must have earned your first bachelor's degree by:
2023 January 2016 or later
2024 January 2017 or later

For U.S. military (active or veteran) applicants, we extend the eligibility window by two years in acknowledgement of longer service commitments; you must have earned your degree in January 2014 or later to enroll in 2023. Current college students are eligible if you will earn your first degree by September 2023.  Within the eligibility window, we do not give preference based on recency of the degree.

Please note that a small number of Stanford graduate degree programs are not eligible for Knight-Hennessy Scholars.  Please see the Applying to Stanford Graduate Program page for examples.

If you are unsure about your eligibility, please use the questions below to determine your eligibility for the 2023 cohort.

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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q: What if I graduated from an institution outside the U.S.?  What are the eligibility requirements for me?

A: To be eligible for graduate study at Stanford University, you must meet the requirements of the graduate program(s) that you wish to pursue and hold the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor's degree from a college or university of recognized standing. See Stanford's guidelines for minimum level of study for international applicants. (The Office of Graduate Admissions, not the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program, sets these policies.)

Q: If I graduated in 2015 or before, may I still become a Knight-Hennessy Scholar?

A: If you graduated with your first/bachelor's degree more than six years before applying (in 2015 or earlier, for the autumn 2023 intake), then you are not eligible for consideration as a Knight-Hennessy Scholar. This applies even if you have earned an additional degree in 2016 or later. You may still apply to the Stanford graduate program of your choice, and there are many other options for funding your graduate education at Stanford.

Q: I am an undocumented student. Am I eligible to apply?

A: Undocumented students are eligible to apply for the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program, but must meet eligibility for the graduate program, including any work requirements. For more information, please visit

Q: I have a graduate degree already. Am I eligible? 

A: If you have earned a graduate degree, you remain eligible to enroll as a Knight-Hennessy Scholar in 2023 as long as you earned your first/bachelor's degree in 2016 or later.

Q: I am an enrolled Stanford graduate student. May I apply for the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program?

A: If you enrolled in a graduate degree program at Stanford in 2022 or earlier, you are ineligible for consideration as a Knight-Hennessy Scholar for your current degree program.

Q: I am a Stanford graduate student applying to a different program at the university. Am I eligible to apply this year?

A: You are welcome to apply to the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program if you defer enrollment to 2023, or if you apply for a new graduate degree program at Stanford that starts in 2023.

Q: May I defer my Knight-Hennessy Scholars offer?

A: No. Deferral of enrollment to a graduate program is the purview of that department. Most Stanford programs do not offer deferrals though some - such as the professional schools of business, law, and medicine - allow deferrals. Regardless of the graduate program's policy, the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program does not defer scholar offers. If you are selected as a Knight-Hennessy Scholar and are unable to enroll, you must reapply for admission for the year you intend to enroll. We consider exceptions to this policy only under exceptionally rare and unforeseen circumstances that are beyond your control (e.g., delayed separation from the military, health issues).

Q: I was accepted this year to Stanford but want to defer my enrollment in the Stanford graduate program until next year. May I apply to Knight-Hennessy Scholars for the following year?

A: If you defer enrollment to a Stanford graduate program, you may apply to start as a Knight-Hennessy Scholar for the year that you enroll in that graduate program. For example, if you have been admitted to the Stanford MBA Program and deferred enrollment to September 2025, then you may apply to the Knight-Hennessy Scholars program in 2024 to enroll as a Scholar in 2025 — thus aligning your initial enrollment in the MBA Program and as a Knight-Hennessy Scholar. If you have already received admission to one of Stanford's graduate programs and are deferred enrollment to 2023 or later, you may apply to be a Knight-Hennessy Scholar. Plan to apply for the year that you would enroll in your graduate program.

Last updated April 26, 2022

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