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Coterminal Master’s Degree: Enrollment & Degree Progress

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Starting with the first graduate quarter, students have an active graduate career and an active undergraduate career. Students are responsible for enrolling in courses each quarter, and assigning them to the appropriate career. Courses assigned to the graduate career count towards the master’s degree and courses assigned to the undergraduate career count towards the bachelor’s degree. Students in the undergraduate coterm tuition group may not enroll in more than a total of 20 units for the quarter across both careers. Students in the graduate coterm tuition group may not enroll in more than a total of 24 units for the quarter across both careers. Students appointed to a 20-hour (50%) teaching and/or research assistantship may not enroll in more than 10 units.

Academic Progress

Prior to the conferral of the undergraduate degree(s), a coterm student’s academic progress is monitored by the coordinator of coterminal advising in Academic Advising (a unit of the office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education) in conjunction with the student’s advisers and the graduate program. After conferral of the undergraduate degree(s), the student’s degree progress is monitored by the graduate adviser and graduate program.

All courses taken during a quarter, whether enrolled in the undergraduate or graduate career, are used to assess whether minimum academic progress standards, including number of units enrolled and number of units earned, have been met. Students in the undergraduate coterm tuition group are evaluated according to the undergraduate degree progress standards. These standards are described in the "Academic Progress" section of this bulletin. Students in the graduate coterm tuition group are evaluated according to the graduate degree progress standards. These standards are described in the "Minimum Progress Requirements for Graduate Students" section of this bulletin.

Student are expected to maintain an undergraduate grade point average (GPA) which meets the University’s undergraduate standards, and a graduate GPA which meets University and program requirements for graduate progress. Courses which have been transferred from the undergraduate to the graduate career are calculated as part of the graduate GPA, and vice versa.

Coterm Course Transfer

After accepting admission to a master’s degree program, coterm students may request transfer of Stanford courses from the undergraduate to the graduate career to satisfy requirements for the master’s degree and/or from the graduate career to the undergraduate career to satisfy requirements for the bachelor's degree(s). Transfer of courses between the undergraduate and graduate careers requires review and approval by both the undergraduate and graduate departments. 

Unless a master’s degree program specifies otherwise in this bulletin, courses taken three quarters prior to the first graduate quarter, or later, are eligible for consideration for transfer to the graduate career. Summer Quarter, Flex Quarter, and quarters spent on approved full term leave of absence are not included in the quarter-back count. Although Summer Quarter and Flex Terms are not used to determine how far back a student may transfer courses, units earned in these quarters may be transferred.

In exceptional circumstances, a student may petition the exceptions committee of the Committee on Graduate Studies to transfer courses taken more than three quarters back. No courses taken prior to the first quarter of the sophomore year may be used to meet master’s degree requirements.Individual programs have the discretion to set their own policy regarding course transfer for their coterm master’s students, provided that no student counts a course taken earlier than the first quarter of sophomore year. The program’s policy is stated in the relevant department or program section of this bulletin. Students should visit the Coterm Course Transfer web page on the Registrar's Office website for information about how to request course transfers.

All course transfer requests must be submitted via eForms portal no later than the Late Application to Graduate deadline of the intended bachelor’s degree conferral quarter. Course transfers between careers are not possible after the bachelor’s degree has been conferred. Undergraduate credit from transfer courses or tests may not be transferred to the graduate career.

Advising, Program Proposal, and Time Limit

In the first graduate quarter, a coterm student must be assigned an adviser in the master's program for assistance in planning a program of study to meet the requirements for the master's degree. The plan is outlined on the Program Proposal for a Master's Degree, which is approved by the master's program by the end of the first graduate quarter. The preliminary program proposal from the coterm application may inform the Program Proposal, but does not satisfy this master’s degree requirement. The course of study for each student’s master’s degree should be outlined on the student’s Program Proposal form. The decision as to which courses a program approves in the student’s master’s program proposal, including changes from the typical curriculum, is within the purview of the department or program. The conversation between the student and the student’s graduate adviser is important in this regard.

The master’s program proposal must meet University minimum requirements for the master’s degree, including at least 45 units taken at Stanford, all courses at 100-level or above, 50% of units designated primarily for graduate students (typically 200-level or above). All courses must be in the graduate career.

All requirements for a master’s degree must be completed within three years after the first graduate quarter. An extension requires review of academic performance by the department or program, and is within the discretion of the program. See policies in the "Master’s Degrees" section of this bulletin.

Degree Conferral

Students must apply for conferral of each degree separately by filing an Application to Graduate in Axess by the deadline for the expected graduation term(s). The deadlines are available in the Academic Calendar. The master's degree must be conferred simultaneously with, or after, the bachelor's degree. Coterm students may not confer the master's degree prior to the conferral of the undergraduate degree. Coterm students should refer to the Coterm Student Graduation Checklist web page on the Registrar's Office website for important information about items needed for degree conferral.