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Graduate Student Life

The Department of Economics brings together a unique, diverse mix of people and resources to empower students in crafting their graduate experiences.

The feel of a typical week as a graduate student depends on the student’s stage in the program. At first, students dive into coursework, working together on problem sets and learning from one another. As students progress, they shift their time towards their own research. At that point, seminars and workshops become the backbone of the schedule. In seminars, students interact with and learn from invited speakers. Workshops provide an opportunity for students to present their works in progress to faculty and to one another. All the while, collaboration is encouraged, and students often co-author with both faculty and one another.

The Department schedules several events each year to promote esprit de corps. Most popular is the annual skit party, which features faculty and student skits. In November, the economics departments of Stanford and UC Berkeley compete against each other in soccer and football at the Little Big Game. Numerous less formal TGIFs and gatherings take place throughout the year.  

Economics Graduate Student Association (EGSA) Events

The Economics Graduate Student Association (EGSA) sponsors additional social activities, as well as informal talks. There is an active, but informal, intramural sports program. Student-faculty communication is also encouraged through TGIFs, semiannual meetings, lunches with first-year faculty advisors, and reading groups.

Student & Faculty Relationships

Professional collaboration between students and faculty is also extensive. It is quite common for advanced graduate students to coauthor research papers with faculty members. Students and faculty participate in and present research at the same weekly workshops and seminars. A number of students participate in academic conferences (e.g., Econometric Society meetings, NBER program meetings, etc.) with the support and cooperation of the faculty.


Stanford makes every effort to provide housing for all first-year graduate students. Graduate students are often housed in apartments, either in Escondido Village or Rains, two large housing complexes on campus. Additional housing is found in the surrounding community.

Living in Northern California

Of course, student life extends beyond the walls of the department, and graduate students find time to enjoy the many advantages of life in Northern California. On campus, students come together for happy hours, sports, concerts, cultural events, trivia nights and a wide variety of other activities. Off campus, San Francisco, the Pacific Ocean, and numerous natural preserves are a short drive away. When students are taking a break from the curriculum, whether exploring Bay Area neighborhoods or skiing in Tahoe, they can find plenty of opportunities to explore their passions and discover new ones.  

On campus

Stanford schedules an extensive array of non-academic as well as academic events. Cultural programming includes music, dance, theater, and films. Several of Stanford's athletic teams, both men's and women's, are nationally ranked. There are active religious organizations of many denominations on campus. Stanford's Bechtel International Center maintains a very active program of services and events for foreign students and their families.

In addition, the immediately adjacent city of Palo Alto has numerous:

  • movie theaters

  • bookstores

  • small theater groups

  • restaurants,

  • coffee houses