Advising Student Handbook

Flowers in Stanford's main quad

A Guide to Your Stanford Journey

The Advising Student Handbook considers some of the most common academic advising issues that Stanford 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

What are my minimum academic progress requirements?

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

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

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

What is the Honor Code?

Requesting AP, IB, and transfer credit

Course Planning: Basic Tips

What is a unit?

What is a typical quarter like?

How do I research a course?

How many classes should I take?

How do I start to build a schedule?

What is a syllabus and how do I read one?

Do I need to take a placement test?

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

Why should I take classes outside of my expected major?

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

What academic deadlines should I be aware of?

How do I find out when my finals are?

Course Planning: Expert Mode

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?

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

Can I Take More Than 20 Units in a Quarter?

Should I withdraw from this course?

Asking for an Incomplete

Repeating a course

Why should I fill out my course evaluations?

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

Enrollment and Using Axess

How do I use Axess?

How do I enroll in a course?

Why can't I enroll in this course?

How do I find my transcript?

Can I change my THINK or PWR course?

Can I take more than one THINK course?

About Introsems

Why should I take an IntroSem?

How do I write an IntroSem statement of interest?

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

Getting Started in...

The Arts

Earth Sciences



Natural Sciences

Social Sciences

Interdisciplinary Fields

Majors, Minors, Honors, and More

Exploring Potential Majors

How to Declare a Major

Minors and More

Senior Capstones, Honors, and Synthesis Projects

Making Connections

Why should I get to know a faculty member?

Connecting with faculty

How to email a professor

Asking for letters of recommendation

Go see a peer advisor

What's a Student Services Officer (SSO)?

Why should I meet with an Academic Advisor?

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

What's an academic coach?

Building an academic network

Doing Research

How do I get started in research?

How do I pursue my own independent project?

For sophomores only: The Chappell-Lougee Scholarship

Department Summer Research Programs

Further Resources for FLI Students, International Students, and Student-Athletes

Resources for FLI students

Information for international undergraduate students

Resources for student-athletes at the AARC

Wellness, Resilience, and Academic Success

Making time for wellness

Free tutoring and help for Stanford courses

Help with procrastination, test anxiety and study skills challenges

Help, I failed a midterm!

How do I maximize my chances for success?

Time Away From Stanford

Taking a Leave of Absence

Returning after a Leave of Absence

Returning from an academic suspension

Making time for study abroad

Studying abroad in the summer

Use summer to meet your goals

Undergrad Enrollment Options for 2020-21

Coterms, Professional Schools, and Ph.D. Programs

Is a coterm program right for you?

Information for current and prospective coterm students

Planning for Medical School

Planning for Law School

Planning for Business School

Planning for a career in education

Planning for Ph.D. programs