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Registration and Study Lists

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The preliminary study list deadline is the first day of classes of each quarter during the academic year. As early as possible, but no later than this deadline, students (including those with TGR status) must submit to the Office of the University Registrar via Axess, a study list to enroll officially in classes for the quarter. Students are expected to be enrolled "at status" by the preliminary study list deadline; meaning that students must be enrolled in sufficient units to meet requirements for their status, whether full-time, or on approved special registration status. Students who enroll in more units than their anticipated tuition charge covers will be charged the additional tuition. They may not enroll in courses for zero units unless those courses, like TGR, are defined as zero-unit courses. Zero-unit courses, excluding TGR courses, require concurrent enrollment with unit-bearing courses in all quarters. Undergraduates are subject to academic load limits described in the Amount of Work section below. Students will be charged a $200 late study list fee for submitting their study lists after the quarterly deadline.

The University reserves the right to withhold registration from, and to cancel the advance registration or registration of, any student having unmet obligations to the University.

Study List Changes

Students may add courses or units to their study lists through the end of the third week of classes. (Individual faculty may choose to close their classes to new enrollments at an earlier date.) Courses or units may be added only if the revised program remains within the normal load limits.

Courses or units may be dropped by students through the end of the third week of classes, without any record of the course remaining on the student's transcript. No drops are permitted after this point. The Final Study List deadline is the last day for tuition reassessment for dropped courses or units.

A student may withdraw from a course after the final study list deadline through the end of the eighth week of each quarter. In this case, a grade notation of 'W' (withdraw) is automatically recorded on the student's transcript for that course. There are no tuition reassessments for withdrawing from individual courses. Students who do not officially withdraw from a class by the end of the eighth week are assigned the appropriate grade or notation by the instructor to reflect the work completed.

Through the end of the eighth week of classes, students may choose the grading option of their choice in courses where an option is offered.

If the instructor allows a student to take an 'I' (incomplete) in the course, the student must make the appropriate arrangements for that with the instructor by the last day of classes.

The deadlines described above follow the same pattern each quarter but, due to the varying lengths of Stanford's quarters, they may not always fall in exactly the week specified. Students should consult the university's academic calendar for the deadline dates each term. Other deadlines may apply in Law, Graduate School of Business, Medicine, and Summer Session.

Repeated Courses

Students may not enroll in courses for credit for which they received either Advanced Placement (AP) or transfer credit. If students enroll in courses at Stanford for which they received equivalent AP unit credit, the duplicating AP unit credit will be removed.

Some Stanford courses may be repeated for credit; they are specially noted in this bulletin. Most courses may not be repeated for credit. Under the general University grading system, when a course which may not be repeated for credit is retaken by a student, the following special rules apply:

  1. A student may retake any course on his or her transcript, regardless of grade earned, and have the original grade, for completed courses only, replaced by the notation 'RP' (repeated course). When retaking a course, the student must enroll in it for the same number of units originally taken. When the grade for the second enrollment in the course has been reported, the units and grade points for the second course count in the cumulative grade point average in place of the grade and units for the first enrollment in the course. Because the notation 'RP' can only replace grades for completed courses, the notation 'W' cannot be replaced by the notation 'RP' in any case.
  2. A student may not retake the same course for a third time unless he or she received a 'NC' (no credit) or 'NP' (not passed) when it was taken and completed the second time. Undergraduate students must submit a request for approval to take the course for a third time with the office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, via the office of Academic Advising, Sweet Hall. When a student completes a course for the third time, grades and units for both the second and third completions count in the cumulative grade point average. The notation 'W' is not counted toward the three-retake maximum.

Amount of Work

The usual amount of work for undergraduate students is 15 units per quarter; 180 units (225 for dual degree students) are required for graduation. Registration for fewer than 12 units is rarely permitted and may cause the undergraduate to be ineligible for certification as a full-time student. The maximum is 20 units (21 if the registration includes a 1-unit activity course). Requests for exception to the maximum may be considered for compelling reasons, the approval of which may include conditions or restrictions. A past superior academic performance is not considered to be sufficient justification for exceeding the maximum. Requests for registration of fewer than 12 or more than 20 units must be submitted to the office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, via the office of Academic Advising, Sweet Hall, first floor. For additional information regarding satisfactory academic progress, refer to the Academic Progress policy section.

Matriculated graduate students are expected to enroll for at least eight units during the academic year; schools and departments may set a higher minimum. Petitions for programs of fewer than 8 must be signed by the student's department and submitted for consideration to the Office of the University Registrar. Graduate students are normally expected to enroll in no more than 24 units; registration for more than 24 units must be approved by the department. Under certain circumstances, graduate students may register on a part-time basis. See the Tuition, Fees, and Housing policy section.

Enrollment for coterminal students is determined by their tuition group. See the Coterminal Master’s Degree: Tuition policy page.

Undergraduates and graduate students with disabilities who may seek a reduced course load should contact the Office of Accessible Education.

Unit of Credit

Guidance for faculty and instructors on how to comply with this policy is available on the Registrar's website.

Every unit for which credit is given is understood to represent approximately three hours of actual work per week for the average student. Thus, in lecture or discussion work, for 1 unit of credit, one hour per week may be allotted to the lecture or discussion and two hours for preparation or subsequent reading and study. Where the time is wholly occupied with studio, field, or laboratory work, or in the classroom work of conversation classes, three full hours per week through one quarter are expected of the student for each unit of credit; but, where such work is supplemented by systematic outside reading or experiment under the direction of the instructor, a reduction may be made in the actual studio, field, laboratory, or classroom time as seems just to the department.

Religious Holidays

Students planning not to attend class or take an exam because of a religious observance are expected to convey this information to instructors in advance. The Office for Religious Life makes available to faculty, staff, and students a list of significant religious observances at the beginning of each academic year. For further information, contact the Deans for Religious Life at (650) 723-1762 or see the Religious Life website.