Graduate Education Grades & Policies

*The information below applies to Stanford's non-degree program administered through the Stanford Center for Professional Development.



Minimum unit requirement

You must register for a minimum of 3 units per academic quarter. Stanford Center for Professional Development charges for a minimum of three units per quarterly enrollment. You may take a maximum of three courses per quarter.

Please note: first-time graduate students taking a Computer Science course are only permitted to take one class.

A minimum of 3 units is required per quarter to remain an active student. You do not need to enroll in courses every quarter, but student status will be inactive during the time you are not enrolled.

Approval to Enroll in Courses

Departments review applications on a course-by-course, quarter-by-quarter basis. Approval to enroll in a course is at the sole discretion of the departments.

Once you have begun taking courses, you must earn at least a B or better in each course to continue taking courses. If you do not earn a B in a class, you can petition to retake the course for a better grade or petition to continue taking courses. Approval to retake a course or continue taking courses is also at the sole discretion of the departments.

Some departments have specific minimum grade requirements for subsequent course approval:

  • Computer Science requires students to have a final course grade of a B or better to be approved to continue. If you receive lower than a B, you will need to petition the department to continue. If you receive a second grade lower than a B, you will be required to retake one or more of your previous courses and receive a higher grade in order to be considered for future coursework.
  • Electrical Engineering requires students to earn at least a B or better in EE courses and maintain a GPA of 3.0 in all courses taken as a non-degree student. If you earn a grade lower than a B in an EE course or your GPA is below 3.0, you must petition the department to be considered for any future coursework in EE.

Variable Units

Certain courses offer a variable number of units for credit.

The Computer Science and Mechanical Engineering Departments require that you take their courses for the maximum number of units offered. For instance, if a CS course offers a range of 3 to 4 units, you are required to enroll for 4 units.

For non-CS or ME courses with variable units, you have the option to select the number of units when you enroll. Courses taken for a higher number of units may require additional work, such as a project, paper, or laboratory component.

If you wish to change the number of units you’ll receive, please submit a written request to prior to the quarterly financial drop deadline.


All graduate students are automatically enrolled in courses for a letter grade. To have a course contribute to a graduate certificate, you must receive a letter grade that meets the certificate requirements.

Individual courses for credit taken independently of a graduate certificate program can be taken at a pass/fail credit/no credit basis. If you wish to change your grading basis to Pass/Fail or Credit/No Credit for a course that allows this option, send an email to by the grading basis deadline.

How to request a Stanford transcript

You may request a transcript through the Registrar’s office.


You are responsible for meeting all academic and university deadlines. 

You can view the university-wide Academic Calendar, which includes some deadlines that are not applicable to SCPD students, such as the term withdrawal deadline and per diem tuition refund deadline.

You should identify important relevant deadlines for each quarter in which you are enrolled:

NDO Students Important Dates and Deadlines:

  1. Financial Drop Deadline
  2. Exam Monitor Deadline
  3. Grading Basis Deadline
  4. Withdrawal Deadline
  5. Incomplete Deadline

Changes to Your Course Schedule

You should check your course’s schedule on the official course website and your mystanfordconnection account before classes start. Course schedules may change at any time at the discretion of the course teaching team. We reserve the right to cancel a course; if that occurs we will suggest alternative courses or provide a full tuition refund.

Changing Courses

In order to transfer to a different course, submit a written request to  You may only transfer courses up to the first week of instruction. If you request to transfer courses after the first week of instruction, approval of the course transfer is at the discretion of the academic department.

Dropping a Course

To drop a course, you can either request a drop through your mystanfordconnection account, or email a drop request to by 5p.m. PST (PDT) of the financial drop deadline. Courses will be removed from your transcript and a refund issued, minus the charge of $100 per dropped course and any assessed non-refundable fees.

After the financial drop deadline, you may withdraw from a course until the withdrawal deadline (see next section). Please be sure that you are familiar with the financial drop deadline and other academic deadlines.

Withdrawing from Courses

Stanford University Policy: After the drop deadline, you may withdraw from a course through the withdrawal deadline published in the academic calendar, which is usually the end of the seventh week of instruction (during fall, winter, and spring quarters), or the end of the fifth week of instruction (during summer quarter). To withdraw from a course, you must submit an email request to prior to the university withdrawal deadline. For further information you should refer to the Office of the Registrar's policy on course withdrawal.

Please note: Withdrawn courses are not eligible for any refund and a ‘W’ will appear on your official Stanford transcript.

Incomplete Course Policy

Stanford University Policy:

An incomplete grade ‘I’ is restricted to cases in which the student has satisfactorily completed a substantial part of the course work. No credit will be given until the course is completed and a passing grade received. When a final grade is received, any reference to the initial incomplete grade ‘I’ is removed. The decision to award an incomplete is at the sole discretion of the teaching team.

Stanford Center for Professional Development Request for Incomplete Policy:

  • To request an incomplete, contact your course teaching team in writing. The approval of an incomplete request is entirely at the discretion of the course teaching team and is solely based on the amount of work completed to date. An incomplete grade is not an opportunity to restart the course to earn a better grade. If your request for an incomplete is approved, you must notify via email at
  • You will have up to one academic year to return and complete your course. Notify SCPD of your readiness to resume the course and contact the teaching team to establish a learning plan for successfully completing the course. It will not be necessary for you to re-enroll in the course; you will be granted viewing access to the course via Canvas by the course teaching team during the next quarter you choose to complete the course.
  • Under no circumstances should you enroll again in the same course through the Stanford Online website.
  • You will not need to pay tuition or fees again to resume the course.

We recommend that you keep all incomplete grade approval correspondence from the course teaching team.

  • Upon resuming your incomplete course, you will no longer be allowed to withdraw from the course and you must receive an adequate letter grade to receive credit.
  • For further information please read the Registrar's policy on incomplete, changed and repeat grades.

Repeated Courses

Most graduate courses may not be repeated for credit. The few graduate courses that may be repeated for credit will be noted in the Stanford Bulletin. Under the general University grading system, when a course which may not be repeated for credit is retaken, the following special rules apply:

  1. You may retake any course on your 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, you 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 event.
  2. As with all requests to enroll in a course, permission to retake a course depends on department approval. Permission to retake a course for a third time requires additional approvals and may not be granted. Please reach out to for details. You may not retake the same course for a third time unless you received a 'NC' (no credit) or 'NP' (not passed) when it was originally taken and completed the second time. 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.

Tuition Refund Policy

The Stanford Center for Professional Development will provide a refund minus a $100 fee for every course dropped before the financial drop deadline.

Requests for refund of tuition and fees made after the financial drop deadline will not be approved, except under the following circumstances:

Medical emergency (prolonged hospitalization or major medical condition of student). Official signed documentation from a physician is required which states date originally seen, diagnosis, and prognosis and notes a specific inability to continue with a course or courses.

Death of a close family member. Close family is limited to spouse, domestic partner, children, parents and parents-in-law, parent surrogate, brothers and sisters, grandparents and grandchildren. Official documentation will be required (Death Certificate).

A call to active military duty (in the event of a national emergency such as in a time of war). Written documentation will be required.

Tuition will not be refunded after the financial drop deadline for other reasons, such as business travel, family emergency travel (other than #2 above), minor illness, injury, or workload increase.

If a refund is due and the original payment was by credit card, that same credit card account will be credited within 5 business days. If you made payment via wire transfer, a check will be issued as a refund within 10 business days of the wire transfer clearing. If the payment was made by company check, the company will be granted a refund by check.

Conduct and Honor Code

Conduct at Stanford is governed by several sets of policies.

The Fundamental Standard articulates the standard of conduct expected of all Stanford students, including those in the non-degree option (NDO) program. It states, Students at Stanford are expected to show both within and without the University such respect for order, morality, personal honor and the rights of others as is demanded of good citizens. Failure to do this will be sufficient cause for removal from the University. Read the Fundamental Standard.

The Honor Code is the university's statement on academic integrity. It articulates university expectations of students and faculty in establishing and maintaining the highest standards in academic work. Read the Honor Code.

The Community Standards Review Process is the set of policies and processes used to adjudicate concerns or allegations of NDO student misconduct, including violations of the Fundamental Standard or Honor Code. Read the Community Standards Review Process.


Updating Personal Information

You must note any updates to your personal information in the profile of your mystanfordconnection account as well as in the Axess system. If you change your legal name, you are required to submit official documentation for the change by emailing us at

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