What Happens If I Don't Meet My Minimum Requirements?
The path to graduation isn't always smooth and predictable. If you find yourself placed on an academic progress status, your Academic Advisors are here to answer your questions, to help you think through your situation, and to support you in your journey to academic success.
If you don't meet your minimum academic progress requirements, you may be placed on an academic progress status such as academic notice, academic probation, or academic suspension. This process is meant to help you identify where and why you may be experiencing difficulties, and determine how best to address them. Your academic progress status will not appear on your official transcript. And if you meet certain conditions, your status will end and you will return to good academic standing.
For official information on academic progress you may consult the Stanford Bulletin pages linked below. As advisors, we understand that being placed on a status can be stressful and confusing. On this page we have gathered some of the most common questions that students have about their undergraduate academic progress status. We hope this will help you better understand your situation, what your status means and doesn't mean, and what next steps you should take.
Please note that the conditions listed below may be impacted by accommodations from the Office of Accessible Education (for example, a Reduced Course Load). See your Academic Advisor if you have questions about your particular situation.
This page focuses on undergraduate academic progress requirements. Keep in mind that coterminal students have a different set of academic progress requirements, and that this can vary depending on your tuition group.
Frequently Asked Questions
I have been placed on academic notice / academic probation / academic suspension. What does this mean?
At Stanford, all undergraduate students are expected to meet certain minimum academic progress requirements to remain in good academic standing. They must:
- Maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better
- Earn at least 9 units each quarter
- Earn a total of at least 36 units over the most recent three quarters
If you do not meet these minimum requirements, you may be placed on an academic progress status: this may be academic notice, academic probation, or academic suspension depending on your circumstances. (Each of these statuses is explained in greater detail below.) We understand that this may happen for a number of reasons, including health or medical circumstances, adjusting to a new environment and a new level of academic rigor, or navigating difficult personal or familial issues.
Students who receive an academic progress status will have an enrollment hold placed on their account. To remove the hold, you will be required to meet with an Academic Advisor (normally your UAD or UAD for Student-Athletes) to discuss your academic plans, the challenges you have faced, and the changes you may want to make to ensure your future academic success. If you can meet the conditions for satisfactory academic progress, your status will end and you will return to good academic standing.
Will my academic progress status be recorded on my official transcript?
No. If you are placed on academic notice, academic probation, or academic suspension, this status will not appear on your official transcript. If you are suspended, your transcript will show a gap in enrollment terms, just as it would for a student on a voluntary leave of absence. There will be no indication of the reason for the gap in enrollment.
What is academic notice?
The first time that an undergraduate student does not meet minimum academic progress requirements, they may be placed on academic notice. Academic notice is a warning status meant to signal potential problems early on, in the hope that the student will take steps to address the causes of their difficulties. It also gives us the opportunity to meet with you, discuss your situation, and connect you with the resources that might help you achieve academic success. Other than an enrollment hold (which can be lifted after the student meets with an Academic Advisor), a student on academic probation normally retains all the privileges of a Stanford student in good academic standing.
If you are placed on academic notice, you must fulfill certain conditions during your next quarter of enrollment in order to return to good academic standing. To be removed from academic notice, you must:
- Earn a minimum of 12 units of new course work for one quarter (your next quarter of enrollment)
- Earn a term GPA of 2.0 or better for one quarter
- Maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better for one quarter
If you meet these conditions, you will return to good academic standing. If you do not meet these conditions, you may be placed on academic probation or, in certain cases, placed directly on academic suspension. For the university’s official definition of academic notice, please consult the Stanford Bulletin: Undergraduate Academic Progress.
What is academic probation?
If a student on academic notice does not meet their minimum conditions, they may be placed on academic probation. In some cases, a student may be moved from good academic standing directly to academic probation if they have received an academic notice status in the past.
Academic probation represents a second, more urgent academic warning status that the student must consider seriously. In addition to the enrollment hold (which can be lifted after the student meets with an Academic Advisor), a student on academic probation may lose eligibility for certain Stanford programs or fellowships (for example, BOSP study abroad programs).
If you are placed on academic probation, you must fulfill certain conditions during your next two quarters of enrollment in order to return to good academic standing. To be removed from academic notice, you must:
- Earn a minimum of 12 units of new course work for two quarters (your next two quarters of enrollment)
- Earn a term GPA of 2.0 or better for two quarters
- Maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better for two quarters
If you meet these conditions, you will return to good academic standing. If you do not meet these conditions, you may be placed on academic suspension. For the university’s official definition of academic probation, please consult the Stanford Bulletin: Undergraduate Academic Progress.
What is academic suspension?
A student who does not meet their minimum conditions while on either an academic notice or academic probation status may be placed on academic suspension. In some cases, a student may be moved from good academic standing directly to academic suspension if they have received an academic notice status in the past.
An academic suspension is a mandatory leave of absence from the university. This is intended to allow the student the opportunity to reflect on their situation and form a new and viable approach to the challenges they have faced. Typically, the suspension period is one year. In certain cases, the suspension period may be three years.
A student facing academic difficulties for the very first time will never be placed directly on suspension. Rather, students placed on academic suspension have always received at least one prior academic progress status in the past. For the university’s official definition of academic suspension, please consult the Stanford Bulletin: Undergraduate Academic Progress.
If I am suspended, will I be allowed to return to Stanford? Will I need to reapply to the University?
Suspension is not the end of your Stanford career! At the end of your suspension period, you will participate in a special return process called the Request to Return and Register in Undergraduate Study. This is not a readmission process, and you do not have to apply for admission to the university all over again. Rather, the Request to Return and Register is meant to encourage you to reflect on your experiences and determine what changes you may have to make in order to thrive in your academics and your personal life upon your return.
In general, the Request to Return and Register requires meeting with an Academic Advisor, writing a personal statement about your plan to return and strategies for success, and contacting any relevant partner offices (for example, Student Financial Services) to clear any obligations or financial holds. The Request to Return and Register should be started early, at least 8 weeks in advance of your desired return quarter (and preferably even sooner if you need to apply for housing and financial aid).
Will the units I earned prior to suspension carry over once I return?
Yes. All units you earned prior to your academic suspension will remain on your record and will count towards your graduation requirements. You may also apply for transfer credit for coursework done elsewhere during your time away from Stanford.
If I've been placed on academic notice, academic probation, or academic suspension, what resources do I have?
After you are placed on an academic progress status, you will meet with your Academic Advisor (normally your UAD or UAD for Student-Athletes) to discuss your academic plans. We encourage you to check in with your advisor several times throughout each subsequent quarter to help you stay on track.
For help with specific academic subjects and study skills, you can explore the tutoring resources offered by the Center for Teaching and Learning, and the writing and speaking support offered by the Hume Center. You might also take advantage of Academic Skills Coaching. The Center for Teaching and Learning can also help students tailor their learning strategies, find a learning partner, work with other students, and understand their learning profiles.
Last but not least, to maintain your health and wellness you may want to check in with the Vaden Health Center, Counseling and Psychological Services, and if relevant, consider registering with the Office of Accessible Education.
What are my next steps?
The first thing to do after you learn that you have been placed on an academic progress status is to schedule a meeting with your Academic Advisor. This meeting is meant to help you think about the factors that led to your situation, what you might learn from this experience, and how best to achieve your goals in the future. In advance of the meeting, you may want to ask yourself some important reflection questions:
- How would you describe your experience last quarter?
- In terms of your academics, what do you think is working, and what isn't working?
- Are there any changes you want to make to your academic plans?
- Are there outside circumstances that make it hard for you to be the kind of student you want to be right now?
- Are there support resources you could be using that you haven't yet tried?
Keep in mind that sometimes the best way forward may call for a significant shift of academic plans: for example, switching to a new major, attempting a lighter course load, or taking a temporary leave of absence. Your Academic Advisor can help you think through all these options, and is available to support you both during your time of academic difficulty and beyond.