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

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You must complete your General Education Requirements (GERs), your major requirements, and earn a minimum of 180 units before you can graduate.

Be sure to consult the Stanford Bulletin links below for official information on your undergraduate degree requirements.  On this page, your Academic Advisors review what these requirements are and how to check your progress.

*If you are a returning student who matriculated prior to 2012, please read the relevant archived Stanford Bulletin from the year you began studying at Stanford to learn more about your graduation requirements.

Basic Degree Requirements

For students entering as first-years, the basic graduation requirements are as follows:

  • Earn at least 180 units (no more than 45 of these may be AP or transfer units)
  • Satisfy the requirements for a major
  • Satisfy your General Education Requirements (GERs)
    • A first-year Foreign Language course sequence (or equivalent proficiency)
    • Three Writing Courses (PWR 1, PWR 2, and a Writing in the Major Course)
    • One Civic, Liberal, and Global Education (COLLEGE) course
    • Ways of Thinking/Ways of Doing Requirements (11 courses in 8 categories)

No more than 8 activity units may count toward the 180 units needed for graduation, and only 36 units of CR or S grades (including the 8 activity units) can count.*

* Note that for the past Academic Year 2020-21, any courses taken for a CR or S grade did not count towards the 36 unit limit.

Degree Requirements for Transfer Students

For transfer students, the basic graduation requirements are as follows:

  • Earn at least 180 units (no more than 90 of these may be AP or transfer units)
  • Satisfy the requirements for a major
  • Satisfy your General Education Requirements (GERs)
    • A first-year Foreign Language course sequence (or equivalent proficiency)
    • Three Writing Courses (PWR 1 or equivalent from your prior institution, PWR 2, and a Writing in the Major Course)
    • Ways of Thinking/Ways of Doing Requirements. For transfer students, the Ways requirement is proportional based on the number of units transferred in. This is noted on the Preliminary Evaluation of Transfer Credit.

For transfer students, no more than 8 activity units may count toward the 180 units needed for graduation, and only 27 units of CR or S grades (including the 8 activity units) can count.*

* Note that for the past Academic Year 2020-21, any courses taken for a CR or S grade did not count towards the 27 unit limit for transfer students.

General Education Requirements (GERs)

For more details on the General Education Requirements mentioned above, you may explore the following pages:

Your Academic Advisors have also written up a helpful guide to choosing courses to fulfill your GERs.

What about DB and EC requirements?

Returning students who originally matriculated prior to 2012 are subject to a different set of General Education Requirements, including the Disciplinary Breath (DB) requirement and the Education for Citizenship (EC) requirement.  If you fall into this category, you may find information on these older requirements by consulting the relevant archived Stanford Bulletin from the year you began study at Stanford.  For all other Stanford students, these represent a now-outdated set of requirements that do not apply to you.

Check Your Degree Progress on Axess

Note: To check your major requirements, you should always consult with your major department.  Individual major requirements do not appear on Axess.  Rather, your department keeps all records of your progress in the major and has the official last word on whether you've completed your major requirements.  So make sure you've cleared everything with them!

Checking Units On Your Transcript

To see how many units you've earned, view your unofficial transcript on Axess.  Visit your Student tab, and under the "Academics" section, open the "other academic" dropdown menu.  Select "View Unofficial Transcript."  

At the end of your transcript, you will see a category called Units Completed Towards Undergraduate Degree.  This is the total number of units you've earned that count towards graduation.  This number includes both Stanford Total Undergraduate Units (also listed at the end of your transcript) as well as any AP or Transfer units you may have earned.  

Note that your transcript will also show you the maximum number of Activity Units and Satisfactory/Credit (S and CR) units that are allowed to count towards graduation, as well as how many of these units you have earned.

Checking GERs on Your Degree Progress Report

To view the General Education Requirements you have completed (THINK, Ways, PWR, Language), check your Degree Progress Report on Axess.  Visit your Student tab, and under the "Academics" section, open the "other academic" dropdown menu.  Select “View Degree Progress.”

The Degree Progress Report on Axess has five sections:

Think Matters

This section shows whether your Thinking Matters requirement is fulfilled, and which course was used to fulfill it.

Ways of Thinking/Ways of Doing

This section shows which Ways requirements you have fulfilled, and which courses were used to fulfill them. As you take Ways-certified classes, they are automatically allocated under unfulfilled Ways requirements in the Degree Progress Report. Keep in mind that while some courses are certified for multiple Ways, they can only be used to fulfill one Ways requirement. For example, a course that is certified for both Way-FR and Way-AQR can only be used for one or the other, not both. You may have taken more courses than you needed in a particular Way, or you may have taken courses that were certified for more than one Way. These are listed later on under the "Summary of Ways Eligible Courses" section.

The way your courses are allocated under the Ways requirements isn't always optimized. It may be that if you reallocate a course from one Way to a different Way, you will be able to complete more of your university requirements. You can read about reallocating your Ways classes here.

UG Writing Requirement

This section shows whether your PWR 1 and PWR 2 writing requirements are fulfilled, and which courses were used to fulfill them.

UG Language Requirement

This section shows whether your foreign language requirement is fulfilled, and which course or alternate method was used to fulfill it.

Summary of Ways Eligible Courses

This section shows all the courses you have taken that could have fulfilled Ways requirements. For example, you might see both CS 106A and CS 107 under the "Formal Reasoning" category here, even though you only needed one of them to complete Way-FR. While the other categories in the Degree Progress Report show up as collapsed once they are fulfilled, the Summary of Ways Eligible Courses always shows up as a giant uncollapsed list.

Note that the "Summary of Ways Eligible Courses" section will always display "Courses: 11 required, 0 taken, 11 needed." This is an artifact of the system and can be safely disregarded if you verify that your Ways are fulfilled under the preceding "Ways of Thinking/Ways of Doing" section.

Got Questions?

Your Academic Advisor would be happy to meet with you to discuss your progress on your graduation requirements.

You should reach out to your department’s Student Services Officer to inquire about your progress through the major.

See Also

Return to the Advising Student Handbook