Stanford University


  • What is the Distinguished Careers Institute (DCI)?

    The Stanford Distinguished Careers Institute (the DCI) will offer highly accomplished individuals from all walks of life the opportunity to come to Stanford for a yearlong residential program of personal renewal and societal engagement. The program will seek participants who are ready and eager to pause, think, explore, develop and prepare for their futures as citizens of their local, national, and global communities.
  • What are the components of the DCI program?

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    The DCI will be anchored in the Stanford Center on Longevity and will embrace the incredible strengths and opportunities of the entire university. The components of the program include:

    Weekly Discussion Seminars
    The DCI’s Weekly Discussion Seminars include Faculty-Fellow Dialogues, an informal lunch series bringing the Fellows and partners together with leading Stanford faculty to promote dialogue and discussion around a broad range of topics drawn from the rich and diversified offerings of Stanford University. The other seminar program is Focus on Transformation, an early evening reception series that brings Fellows and partners together to share lessons learned from their life journeys, to deepen knowledge about transforming lives through the lens of different diverse disciplines and to share lessons learned by Fellows during their participation in the Institute.

    Think Tanks
    Signature think tanks provide opportunities for deeper dives into key social and intellectual issues of our time. Occurring over one or two days, they have innovative and interactive formats and seek to engage Fellows and partners as active contributors.

    Scholarly Pathways
    Each Fellow undertakes a scholarly pathway in one of the broad interdisciplinary areas listed below. The pathway includes course materials, research and experiential learning and opportunities to engage Stanford students through intergenerational opportunities.

    • Arts and the Humanities
    • Business, Leadership and Entrepreneurship
    • Education, Teaching and Learning – from the classroom to the design lab and boardroom
    • Energy and the Environment
    • Engineering Sciences and Design
    • Health and Healthcare – Innovation and Discovery, Policy, Healthcare Delivery, Clinical Practice (including Global Health • Initiatives), Bioethics
    • Independent Study
    • International Studies and Programs
    • Social Sciences, Policy and Public Service

    Intergenerational Learning and Social Networking
    The program fosters occasions for Fellows to interact with undergraduate and graduate students in research, academic and service projects of shared and mutual interest. Intergenerational learning, in which both students and Fellows act as teachers and learners, is a valued feature of the DCI. In addition, Fellows form new networks that can last for lifetime.

    The program gathers data that can refine the program as well as delineate life-career transitions, including how they are managed in the current workplace environment. In addition, Fellows are offered the opportunity to participate in a longitudinal study designed to evaluate the impact of the DCI on their continuing life journey by assessing various biological, physical, cognitive and social concomitants of life transitions.

    Faculty Mentors
    All Fellows have faculty mentors who provide guidance as needed over the course of the year in all aspects of their program including choice of courses to audit, choice of scholarly pathway to pursue, introductions to faculty and programs, and planning for the next phase of their lives.

    Life Journey and Transition Counseling

    Fellows have the opportunity to work with faculty and other professionals as they reflect on their lives and chart their future course. They also have access to search firms in making the transition to their new endeavors beyond their DCI year.

    Physical and Cognitive Health
    If desired, Fellows may have a comprehensive health assessment and an individualized program designed to promote physical and cognitive well-being, including health maintenance, exercise and nutrition.

    University Courses
    (via auditing) 
DCI Fellows have the opportunity to audit courses throughout the university with instructor’s permission and in line with University policy.

  • When does the program begin?

    The inaugural program will begin on January 5, 2015 and run through the end of the calendar year.
  • What is the DCI program calendar?

    Stanford University is on the quarter system. DCI Fellows arrive in January, the beginning of the winter quarter. The program is full time during the winter and spring quarters and is less scheduled over the summer quarter. It resumes at a full time level for the autumn quarter and concludes in December. For the 2015 program the dates are:

    • Winter Quarter: January 5-March 20
    • Spring Quarter: March 30-June 10
    • Summer Quarter: June 22-August 15
    • Fall Quarter: September 21-December 11

  • What would be a typical schedule for a Fellow?

    Each Fellow’s schedule includes a weekly lunchtime seminar and a weekly late afternoon seminar with all members of the Fellows group and faculty from across the University. In addition, each Fellow audits one or two courses that meet at various times during the week and is engaged in other academic activities that involve time commitments on a regular basis. There are monthly evening events with speakers from Stanford and Silicon Valley and quarterly 1-2 day think tanks. Beyond these structured activities Fellows may wish to take advantage of the many opportunities at Stanford for such activities as lectures, concerts, and sports events.
  • What are the expectations for residency at Stanford?

    Since the DCI program is full time for the winter, spring and autumn quarters, Fellows benefit the most from their participation if they are able to be on campus most days of the week during these quarters. Residency during the summer quarter is optional and depends on whether the Fellows participate in specifically designated summer programs. The seminar programs and think tanks are not held over the summer.
  • Is there office space for Fellows on campus?

    Yes, the DCI has shared office space in the heart of campus where Fellows can work and connect with one another.
  • What about housing for Fellows?

    The Stanford Housing Office provides information about resources that Fellows can use in securing housing in the local area. Fellows are responsible for finding their own housing.
  • What is the cost of the program?

    The fee to attend the DCI for the 2015 program is $60,000.
  • Is there any financial aid available for the program?

    There is currently no financial aid available for DCI Fellows. We are actively seeking philanthropic and other outside support so that we can offer financial aid and hope to secure funds for this purpose.
  • Can my spouse or life partner participate in the DCI?

    Yes, the DCI welcomes the participation of spouses or life partners. For those who wish to be actively engaged in the program there is an additional fee of $25,000.
  • What do I get at the end of the program?

    Fellows receive a Certificate of Completion from Stanford University at the conclusion of the program.
  • What are the criteria to be a DCI Fellow?

    Fellows receive a Certificate of Completion from Stanford University at the conclusion of the program.

    We seek exceptional individuals who:

    • Have built a career of major accomplishments (20-30 years) and who now seek to deepen their knowledge and/or embrace new fields
    • Wish to undergo a personal transformation and have a significant impact on others by making an enduring difference in their communities and beyond.
    • Are eager to actively participate in and contribute to the unique learning environment of Stanford University

    Fellows will be selected based on how their participation in the program will shape their future life journeys. A record of successful collaborative efforts will be considered along with the knowledge, skills, and accomplishments of applicants. Consideration will also be given to what future Fellows will contribute to the program and the broader global community.

  • How do I apply?

    The application form is online at
  • What is the application deadline? When will the fellows be selected and notified?

    Submissions will be accepted through August 1, 2014. DCI faculty will review all submissions, and finalists will be interviewed in person or by telephone. Successful applicants will be notified no later than September 1, 2014.