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 Morning smoke from California forest fires over the Main Quad. Credit: Andrew Brodhead

Advising Student Handbook

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The Advising Student Handbook considers some of the most common academic advising issues that Stanford undergraduate students face. Whether you're deciding on a major, trying to get started in research, or struggling and looking for help, these pages offer a place to start and pathways to explore.

Ready to discuss in more depth? It's time to make an appointment with an Academic Advisor!

Academic Progress and Policy

Can I get credit for AP, IB, or Transfer Courses?

Does Stanford have an attendance policy?

What are my minimum academic progress requirements?

What are my graduation requirements and how do I check them?

What are the Ways of Thinking / Ways of Doing requirements?

What happens if I don't meet my minimum requirements?

What is the Honor Code?


Course Planning: Basic Tips

Do I need a 4-year plan before I arrive?

Do I need to take a placement test?

How do I find out when my finals are?

How do I research a course?

How do I start to build a schedule?

How many classes should I take?

Should I "shop" more classes than I expect to enroll in?

What academic deadlines should I be aware of?

What is a syllabus and how do I read one?

What is a typical quarter like?

What is a unit?

Why should I take classes outside of my expected major?


Course Planning: Expert Mode

Asking for an Incomplete

Can I take more than 20 units in a quarter?

Can I take this course for Credit/No Credit?

Repeating a course

Should I withdraw from this course?

Taking courses at the Business School, Law School, Med School, and

Understanding the course catalog

What does it mean when a course has variable units? (3-5, etc)

What is a directed reading and how do I arrange one?

What should I do if I am experiencing a conflict with one of my courses or instructors?

Why should I fill out my course evaluations?


Enrollment and Using Axess

Can I change my COLLEGE or PWR course?

Can I stay on campus even if I’m not enrolled in classes?

Help, I have an enrollment hold!

How do I find my transcript?

How do I enroll in a course?

How do I use Axess?

Why can't I enroll in this course?


About Introsems

How do I write an IntroSem statement of interest?

I didn't get into the Introsem I wanted! Now what?

Why should I take an IntroSem?


Getting Started in...

The Arts

Earth Sciences



Interdisciplinary Fields

Natural Sciences

Social Sciences


Majors, Minors, Honors, and More

Declaring Your Major

Double Majors, Secondary Majors, and Dual Degrees

Exploring Potential Majors

Minors and More

Planning for an Honors Program

Senior Capstones, Honors, and Synthesis Projects

Working with a Faculty Honors Advisor


Making Connections

Asking for letters of recommendation

Building your academic network

Connecting with faculty

Go see a peer advisor

How to email faculty

What's an academic coach?

What's a Student Services Officer (SSO)?

What's an Undergraduate Advising Director and why should I meet with one?

Why should I get to know a faculty member?


Doing Research

Department summer research programs

For sophomores only: The Chappell-Lougee Scholarship

How do I get started in research?

How do I pursue my own independent project?


Further Resources for Specific Student Populations

Information for international undergraduate students

Resources for first-gen/low-income (FLI) students

Resources for student-athletes at the AARC


Wellness, Resilience, and Academic Success

Free tutoring and help for Stanford courses

Help, I failed a midterm!

Help with procrastination, test anxiety and study skills challenges

How do I maximize my chances for success?

Making time for wellness


Time Away from Stanford

Making time for study abroad

Returning after a Leave of Absence

Returning from an academic suspension

Studying abroad in the summer

Taking a Leave of Absence

Use summer to meet your goals


Coterms, Professional Schools, and Ph.D. Programs

Information for current and prospective coterm students

Planning for advanced degrees in Education

Planning for Business School

Planning for Law School

Planning for Medical School

Planning for Ph.D. programs