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What is the Distinguished Careers Institute (DCI)?

The Stanford Distinguished Careers Institute (DCI) seeks to improve the life journey of accomplished individuals in midlife by helping them renew their purpose, build a new community and recalibrate wellness ­– physically, emotionally and spiritually. DCI also seeks to foster intergenerational engagement in an academic setting to help create a new paradigm for the university of the future.

What’s it like to be a DCI Fellow?

DCI: A Short Film About the Program and the Experience

Can my spouse or life partner participate in the DCI?

Yes, the DCI welcomes the participation of spouses or life partners based on a review of their application. For those who are selected as DCI Partners, they can participate in all programs with the same privileges as a DCI Fellow.  There is an additional fee to be a DCI Partner.

What are the components of the DCI program?

Weekly Discussion Seminars

The DCI’s weekly discussion seminars include Faculty-Fellow Dialogues, an informal lunch series bringing the DCI 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 the Transformation Series, an early evening reception program that brings Fellows and Partners together to share reflections on events that transformed their lives and allow fellows to know each other more deeply and intimately and thus help foster a vibrant DCI community.


DCI convenes leading Stanford faculty and thought leaders to address aspects of key social and intellectual issues of our time through multiple lenses at quarterly colloquia. DCI Fellows and Partners are active contributors during these full day sessions.  Topics are far ranging across major societal issues and challenges.

Purpose Pathways

Fellows and Partners undertakes a purpose pathway in one of the broad interdisciplinary areas listed below.

  • 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 Engagement

The program fosters numerous opportunities for Fellows and Partners 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.


DCI conducts longitudinal studies designed to evaluate both the impact of the DCI on their continuing life journey and the impact of DCI on the University.


All Fellows and Partners have advisors who provide guidance as needed over the course of the year in all aspects of their program, including introductions to faculty and programs, and planning for the next phase of their lives.

Life Transformation Reflections

Fellows and Partners have an opportunity to develop and share personal transformative life experiences with their cohort.

Health and Wellness

DCI Fellows and Partners will work with the DCI Wellness Educator in both individual and group sessions to promote their health and well-being.

University Courses

DCI Fellows and Partners are enrolled as non-matriculating graduate students have the opportunity to participate in courses throughout the university with instructor’s permission and in line with University policy.

When does the program begin?

The Classes of 2020 and 2021 will begin in September 2021 and run through August 2022.

What is the DCI program calendar?

The DCI is a 12-month on-campus program which follows the Stanford academic calendar.

What would be a typical schedule for a Fellow?

The DCI schedule includes a weekly lunchtime seminar and a weekly late afternoon seminar involving all members of the DCI cohort and faculty from across the University. In addition, each fellow participates in University courses that require varying amounts of work to be done outside the classroom. The DCI program includes periodic evening events with Stanford speakers and quarterly full-day colloquia. Beyond these structured activities, fellows and partners may wish to take advantage of the many opportunities provided through dciX, and Stanford lectures, concerts, and sports events. In addition, fellows and partners host many social events outside of the program and also take advantage of the vast array of intellectual, artistic and athletic events at Stanford.

What are the expectations for residency at Stanford?

Fellows and Partners benefit the most from their participation if they are on campus most days of the week. During fall, winter and spring quarters DCI has full-time programming. During the summer quarter, DCI provides two transformation sessions and a community event early in the quarter. DCI participants can choose the level of engagement that works for them during the summer quarter.

Is there office space for Fellows on campus?

Yes, the DCI has a community space in the heart of campus where fellows and partners can work, relax and connect with one another.

What accommodations are available for individuals with disabilities?

The Diversity & Access Office assists the Stanford Distinguished Careers Institute (DCI) with ensuring that its programs and services are accessible to individuals with disabilities. If you need a disability-related accommodation or have questions about accessing a classroom, please contact 650-725-0326 (voice), 650-723-1216 (TTY), or email:

Please note: the Diversity and Access Office does NOT provide transportation to classes.

Campus Accessibility Maps
The Campus Access Guide is an online system of maps detailing wheelchair accessibility and other disability access information for campus venues. This project is ongoing and updates continue to occur. If any building is not listed, please contact the Diversity & Access Office for additional information.

Disability Parking
Disability parking spaces, marked in blue, are located throughout the campus. These spaces are reserved for vehicles displaying state-issued (any state) disability placards or license plates; all others will be cited.

Vehicles with disability placards or plates may also park in any other marked spaces on campus, including permit and metered spaces.

Please Note: The closest disabled parking to the Main Quad is located at the Oval. From the Oval, use the ramped path to the right of the steps to reach the arcade level.

DisGo, a complimentary golf cart shuttle service, is available to members of the Stanford community who have a disability or medical condition that make it difficult to navigate the campus. Please note that there are some limitations to the services and advanced reservation is required.

Accessible Entrances
If the main entrance to a building is not step-free, directional signage will indicate the route to the nearest accessible entrance.

Sign Language Interpreting Services & Assistive Listening Devices
Assistive listening devices, sign language and oral interpreting services for the deaf and the hearing impaired are available upon request. Please contact the Diversity & Access Office to request interpreters or assistive listening devices.

Large Print or Braille Material
Printed materials for Stanford DCI courses can be made available upon request by contacting the Diversity & Access Office.

For more information about academic-related accommodations for Stanford Distinguished Careers Institute and campus accessibility, please contact the Diversity & Access Office:

Diversity & Access Office
Stanford University
Mariposa House
585 Capistrano Way,
Stanford, CA 94305-8230
Voice: (650) 725-0326
Fax: (650) 723-1791

What about housing for Fellows?

Fellows and partners are responsible for finding their own housing. The DCI office provides information and resources to assist fellows and partners in securing housing in the local area.

The DCI Fellow experienced is enhanced significantly by living close to the campus as spontaneous opportunities arise often and the opportunity engage in them with your cohort is beneficial to the growth of your community.

Is there any financial aid available for the program?

A select number of applicants whose careers have been in the public sector, including the military, public education, the arts, or related fields, may be eligible for a reduced fee.

What do I get at the end of the program?

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

What are the criteria to be a DCI Fellow?

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; and
  • are eager to actively participate in and contribute to the unique learning environment of Stanford University.

Fellows will be selected based the impact 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?

Applications for the DCI Class of 2021 will be accepted September 1 through December 1, 2021. Details, including the application form, are located on the “Becoming a Fellow” page of our website.

When is the application deadline?

The application period for the DCI Class of 2021 is now closed. The application period for the DCI Class of 2022 will open in September 2021.