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Requests for Exceptions to Academic Policy

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In special circumstances, a student may submit a request for exception to university policy. Requests may relate to Academic Progress decisions, or to general academic policies or their deadlines. Students must present compelling, exceptional, and (sometimes) documented circumstances in making their request.

University policy and deadlines are established by the Faculty Senate to protect the integrity of the academic experience. Decisions about requests will be evaluated according to the standards and principles of university policies along with considerations of fairness and equity for all students. Requests will only be granted upon a demonstration of good cause. For official wording of Stanford's academic policies, refer to Stanford Bulletin: Academic Policies and Statements.

Process

  1. Inform yourself thoroughly by reading the academic policy in the Bulletin and the actual request form.
  2. Meet with an Academic Advisor to discuss your situation. This may be your assigned Undergraduate Advising Director (UAD) in your neighborhood, your UAD for Student-Athletes, or another UAD from the Sweet Hall office. If applicable, you will be asked to proceed with submitting a request.
  3. Write a personal statement describing the exceptional circumstances that you are facing. Your explanation should be clear, factual and answer the writing prompt on the form.
  4. Depending on the request, additional documentation and/or written support from an instructor, advisor, or other university official may be beneficial or required. Compile documentation to submit with your request.
  5. Submit your request, paying attention to deadlines. Submission offices are indicated in the list below. Any request received after its deadline may not be considered.
  6. If your request is not approved, we urge you to speak with an Academic Advisor to discuss plans for moving forward. Note that Undergraduate Advising Directors cannot reverse decisions, but they can help you address the consequences.

Requests and Forms Administered by the Office of Academic Advising*

*NOTE: You must be logged in using your Stanford SUnet/email address to download these forms.

Enroll in more than 20 academic units

For Undergraduates:

  • Required form: Request for Exception to Exceed Maximum Units eForm (for Spring Quarter 2021-22, the form will be available as of Monday, March 28, 2022)
  • Submit the required form with personal statement and any relevant supporting documentation via eForms by the Final Study List deadline.
  • Connect with an Academic Advisor to review your request.
  • Must be registered for all other desired courses within 20 unit limit at time of submission.
  • If request is approved, you will be notified via email.  Please take any requested additional steps in a timely manner.

For Coterm students:

  • Required form: Request for Exception to Exceed Maximum Units (Coterm) [Fillable PDF)
  • If you are in the undergraduate billing group and wish to take more than 20 units, you will need to submit a request for exception to exceed 20 units, even if Axess allows the enrollment without permission.
  • Connect with an Academic Advisor to submit the required form, personal statement, and any relevant supporting documentation by the Final Study List deadline. 
  • Must be registered for all other desired courses within 20 unit limit at time of submission. 
  • If request is approved, you will be notified via email.  Please take any requested additional steps in a timely manner.

Repeat a course a second time

Submit a study list after the published deadline

Add a course after the published deadline

Change number of units in a variable unit course (e.g. 3-5 units) after the published deadline

Withdraw from a course after the published deadline

Enroll in a minimum of 8 units (if registered with the Office of Accessible Education) – Reduced Course Load

  • Register with OAE to determine eligibility
  • Once registered, login to OAE | CONNECT and click on the “Academic Request Forms” gear to access and submit the Request for Reduced Course Load.
  • International students must also meet with an International Student Advisor
  • Contact an Academic Advisor
  • Submit request before course withdrawal deadline of current quarter
  • Notes: MUST be enrolled with the Office of Accessible Education (OAE) and retroactive requests will not be considered.

Return from an un-submitted or expired Leave of Absence (also known as “Discontinued Status”)

Return from a completed Academic Suspension

Reconsideration of Academic Suspension

  • Required Form: Request Reconsideration of an Academic Suspension [PDF Fillable]
  • Contact an Academic Advisor or the Student Services Officer listed in the Academic Standing letter.
  • Submit the required form, personal statement, and any relevant supporting documentation to your Academic Advisor by date indicated in the Suspension letter.
  • Requests after the deadline will not be considered.

Forms Administered by the Registrar’s Office

Request a Leave of Absence (LOA)

  • Fill out the required eForm on Axess  
    • To find the eForm, log in to Axess, click on the Student tab, and choose “Student eForms” from the Quick Links menu. Click on “Available Forms” and search for "Leave of Absence for Undergraduates."
  • Contact an Academic Advisor to discuss your situation and get their endorsement on your eForm
  • Contact the Residence Dean for your residence or for off-campus to get their endorsement on your eForm
  • Deadlines and more information: see Leave of Absence

Extend an LOA

  • Fill out the required eForm on Axess  
    • To find the eForm, log in to Axess, click on the Student tab, and choose “Student eForms” from the Quick Links menu. Click on “Available Forms” and search for "Leave of Absence for Undergraduates."
  • Contact an Academic Advisor to discuss your situation and get their endorsement on your eForm
  • Contact the Residence Dean for your residence or for off-campus to get their endorsement on your eForm
  • Must submit eForm before current leave period ends
  • More information: see Leave of Absence

Request an LOA after being discontinued

  • You may only use this eForm if you were discontinued this quarter due to nonenrollment or an expired LOA.  Students who were discontinued in a previous quarter must instead submit a Request to Return and Register (see "Return from an un-submitted or expired Leave of Absence" category above).
  • If eligible, fill out the required eForm on Axess.  
    • To find the eForm, visit https://eforms.stanford.edu. Click on “Browse Available Forms” and search for "Leave of Absence for Discontinued Students."
  • Contact an Academic Advisor to discuss your situation and get their endorsement on your eForm
  • Contact your Residence Dean to get their endorsement on your eForm
  • Deadline: Last day of class for the effective quarter (either the return quarter originally indicated on your LOA form, or your first quarter of nonenrollment if you did not file an LOA).
  • More information: see Leave of Absence for Discontinued Students

Request an early return from an active LOA

  • Fill out the required eForm on Axess
    • To find the eForm, log in to Axess, click on the Student tab, and choose “Student eForms” from the Quick Links menu. Click on “Available Forms” and search for the "Early Return from Leave of Absence" eForm. 
  • Contact an Academic Advisor to discuss your situation and get their endorsement on your eForm
  • More information: see Early Return from Leave of Absence

Additional Registrar Forms

This is not an exhaustive list. Some of the more common additional undergraduate forms administered by the Registrar include:

  • 13th Quarter Petition
  • Application to Graduate
  • Coterm Application
  • Last Units Out of Residence

For a full list of forms, please visit the Registrar’s Office Student Forms page.

See Also