A detailed study of the phenomena of high field stress‐induced leakage current in thin oxide (5.0–8.0 nm) metal‐oxide‐semiconductor capacitors has been undertaken. The dependence of the stress leakage on the stressing electric field and the oxide thickness were obtained. The results show that the stressing voltage, rather than the electric field, is the dominant factor for determining stress‐induced leakage. Furthermore, a threshold exists for the stressing voltage, below which no stress‐induced leakage occurs. Since the voltage is directly related to the electron energy, these findings are consistent with a model where electrons of energy above a threshold are required to produce the observed stress leakage.