Chu was a professor of physics and applied physics before his appointment to the Cabinet position in 2008.
He will hold a joint appointment in Stanford's departments of physics and molecular and cellular physiology, the school newspaper The Stanford Daily reported Friday, noting the date of his departure from Washington is dependent on the process of nominating his successor.
Chu said he considered his return to Stanford an appropriate move for someone who regarded his time in government service as a break from academia.
"The highest point in my career what when I became a professor in a greet institution," he said, adding he was eager to return to "the marriage of physics, biology and biomedicine. That is a very exciting frontier."
He cited his time as Secretary of Energy as invaluable in broadening his approach to scientific issues and providing perspective on academia's role in driving progress.
"You get a much more complete view of issues that go much deeper. You see a lot of the things that it takes to go from discovery to invention to ... getting it out into the marketplace," he said of his time as Energy Secretary.