Coterm FAQs

Coterm Enrollment FAQS

Q: Do I need to enroll in courses on both transcripts/careers?

A: No. You have the flexibility to enroll in courses that may apply to your undergraduate career and/or courses that may apply to your graduate career within the same quarter.

For each quarter you have both careers open prior to undergraduate degree conferral, you may enroll on either or both careers based on your needs. There is no university policy requiring coterms to enroll in units applicable to the graduate career (or the undergraduate career) while both careers are open.

Q: How many units do I need to take for academic progress?

A: This depends on your student tuition group. If you are in the undergraduate tuition group, as are many newly matriculated coterms, you will still have to enroll in at least 12 units on either or across both transcripts. If you are in the graduate tuition group, you may enroll in 8-10 units or 11 or more.

You move to the graduate tuition group automatically ONLY if your UG degree is conferred or once you reach the 13th quarter. The registrar’s office outlines all ways students move tuition groups and has helpful details about how quarters are counted for tuition assessment and how to determine your tuition group.

Q: Axess let me enroll in more than 20 units now that I am a coterm. Do I still need to submit a request for an exception to exceed maximum units?

A: Although we can, and do, view how many total units coterms are enrolled in across both careers, when it comes to enrollment, Axess will allow the maximum number of units set for each career, which means coterms can enroll themselves in more than 20 units if using both careers.  

Any students in the undergraduate tuition group must submit a request for an exception to exceed maximum units even if Axess allows enrollment in over 20 units.

If students in the UG tuition group exceed units and do not petition, an enrollment hold is placed on the record. Students in the graduate tuition group do not need to petition (up to 24 units), though they will have to pay extra per unit for any units beyond 18. 

Coterm Application Process FAQS

Q: Do I need the GRE and/or prerequisites?

A: You should refer to the website for the specific program, bulletin, and/or Student Services Officer, Program Manager, or the program’s Admissions staff.

Q: Do all my recommendations need to be from faculty?

A: It is generally preferred that recs be from faculty that have taught you in a class, particularly if you are only submitting two, though it is not always essential. Each program’s website will have specifics about acceptable recommendations.

Q: Questions about the likelihood of acceptance. (e.g. What is the acceptance rate?)

A: It is better to focus on the characteristics of a successful applicant in that specific program. Some program have general minimum GRE and GPA preferences, while others do not.

Q: What types of opportunities will this degree help me secure? How does this degree help me in the job market?

A: This is an important question that requires multiple conversations and resources. It is important to understand the job market for certain fields in general. Career minded resources like BEAM and Computer Forum can help you understand the best tools to find this type of information and often make employment connections. You should also speak with faculty in the potential graduate program, people in positions similar to those you find compelling (informational interviews), and consider coursework and programming opportunities that assist with career and personal value exploration. (See below for more resources.)

Q: What are other students in this degree program doing after graduation?

A: The availability of this information depends on a program’s connections with alumni and how they view their role in preparing students for life after graduation. Many programs are able to connect students with alumni and other students about to graduate who may have helpful information. You should check out the alumni database.

Q: Are there any timing considerations for when I should apply?

A: You should be aware that if you plan to move units from one career/transcript to the other, that you are only eligible to do so within a specific time frame designated by your department. This is called the quarters back rule. The registrar’s page on coterm course transfer is the best resource for details regarding how many quarters back you can go before matriculation to bring units from your undergraduate degree into your graduate degree.

Q: Is applying to a coterm allowed while I am on a leave of absence?

A: In general, yes, though many departments do not allow it. You should make sure to consult the academic program before applying.

Coterm Tuition Group, Billing, and Financial Aid FAQs

Q: How/When do I change tuition groups? How can I check my current billing group?


Q: What will I be charged once I change tuition groups?


Q: Can I keep my UG Financial Aid and have an Assistantship?

A: Yes, but you need to talk to Financial Aid because your UG aid will be adjusted/decreased.

Q: Can I apply for 13th quarter aid?

A: Coterm applications for undergraduate aid for the 13th quarter are generally not approved. You should speak to financial aid about the ramifications of matriculating into a coterm if you need 13th quarter aid for undergraduate purposes.

Coterm Flex Quarter and Tuition Group FAQs

November 2020

Q: Are coterms eligible for flex quarter?

A: As flex term is an undergraduate option, coterms are eligible for flex quarter while they are in the undergraduate tuition group. Note, there has been some confusion about when coterms move to the graduate tuition group. See question #2.

Q: I am a coterm senior and am still planning my academic year. Which quarters can I choose for the flex term option? Can I flex over the summer?

A: Your eligibility for a flex quarter as a coterm always depends on when you will move tuition groups.

If spring is your 12th quarter, then you would move to the graduate tuition group for summer. This would mean that you would no longer be eligible for a flex quarter. Please review the ways coterms move tuition groups and how quarters are counted.

There are three ways coterminal student move to the graduate tuition group.

Conferral of the undergraduate degree

  1. Upon request. See the link above for requirements to request to move from UG to GR tuition group.
  2. Once you complete 12 undergraduate quarters (or 15 undergraduate quarters for dual degree student completing both bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees). See the link above for details on how quarters are counted, particularly if you have 15 or more units of transfer credit.

Thus, once you complete 12 quarters (15 for dual degree undergrads), you will move to the graduate tuition group, even if your undergraduate degree has not been conferred.

Q: Will flex quarter count in my number of undergraduate tuition group quarters?

A: Currently there is no official policy. The proposed policy is that it will not count towards your number of quarters in the undergraduate tuition group.

Q: Can I add units to my graduate career while on a flex term?

A: No, flex term is an undergraduate option, so the units must be on the undergraduate career. Coterms may transfer them to the graduate career via the coterminal course transfer option so long as the graduate program approves and the flex quarter falls within the quarters back timeline. The policy about how flex quarter factors into the quarters back rule for programs with 2 or 3 quarters back rule is under review. It has been proposed that flex quarter be included as an extra quarter if it falls between the last 2 or 3 full quarters of enrollment. For more information about coterminal course transfers see:

Coterm Exceptions FAQS

Q: How do I request an exception to academic policy, such as a late change in enrollment, or late change of grading basis?

A: If the course is on the UG transcript, then students should submit a request for exception form to the Office of Academic Advising: 

If the course is on the graduate transcript, it is not possible to request a late change of grading basis. All other requests are made via the Student Services Center.

Petition to Change Course Enrollment (GR)

Request to Withdraw After the Deadline (GR)

If the request involved two linked requests for exceptions where a course in question one is on the GR transcript and another is on the UG transcript, work with a coterm advisor in Academic Advising. These will be reviewed together by an ad hoc committee.

Q: Do I still need to submit a request for exception to exceed units if Axess let me enroll in more than 20?

A: If you are in UG billing group, then you need to submit a request for exception to exceed max units, or you will have a hold placed on your record.

Coterm Assistantships FAQS

Q: Can I have an Assistantship and take more than 10 units?

A: Yes, but only if you have a 40% assistantship or less. If you have a 50% assistantship (20 hours a week) or have reached the same percentage when adding multiple assistantships together, you must limit yourself to 10 units per quarter. See:

Q: Does my coterm program offer assistantships, what kind/percentage, and how do I apply?

A: You should reach out to the student services officer/manager or program manager for clarification.

Housing FAQS

Q: Can I graduate early/before the 12th quarter and live on campus?

A: Yes, if there is availability, and you will need to fill out a formal request. Availability is lowest in autumn and highest in spring during the regular academic year.

Most coterms do not choose to graduate early because they do not want to make the request and/or lose priority status early. That said, if you have a reason to graduate early, then losing priority status does not necessarily mean you will have to leave campus or move before the end of the academic year. Make sure you speak to housing and understand that the outcome can depend on when you are asking.

Q: Can I live on campus after my guaranteed UG housing status ends (usually at the end of the 4th year/12th quarter)?

A: Coterms are eligible to live on campus as “returning” graduate students. Since there is no guarantee, you should apply early for the best chance to secure a spot in graduate housing. If you apply after the draw you will go to the end of the waiting list.  

Q: If I leave my UG degree open beyond the 12th quarter, can I maintain my guaranteed housing?

A: Not if you have exceeded your guaranteed housing period.

Q: If I am not graduating after 4 years of housing and need to be on campus over the summer, where should I apply to live?

A: Remember the academic year is September-September. If you just completed your 12th non-summer quarter, then you would apply for undergraduate housing for the subsequent summer and graduate housing for the following autumn (if applicable).

Leave of Absence FAQs

Q: Am I allowed to take leave?

A: UG students are allowed 2 years of leave. Coterms do not have any additional leave, but may still use any remaining UG leave if the coterm program allows leave.

Leave policy varies by program. You may only request one year at a time, but may renew after a year if you have not maxed out their time. Smaller program often cannot accommodate leave. 

Q: Can I matriculate while on leave?

A: In general, yes, though many departments do not allow it. Sometimes this means you should defer matriculation IF the program is flexible about when students matriculate. Sometimes this means you have to reapply. Remember, you must matriculate and have an overlap quarter before UG degree conferral.  

Graduation FAQs

Q: Do I have to apply to graduate when I have completed all of my undergraduate requirements?

A: No, once you have completed your undergraduate requirements, you can apply for undergraduate degree conferral at any point before or when you apply for graduate degree conferral. Housing implication: If you finish your undergraduate requirements before your undergraduate priority housing is up, then you may wish to delay applying for undergraduate graduation so as not to disrupt your status. See additional questions below.

Q: If I apply for undergraduate graduation early, will it mess up my housing?

A: Maybe. You will want to talk to housing to see if there is availability. You will need to fill out some paperwork in order to remain in your undergraduate housing. See Housing FAQs above.

Q: If I delay undergraduate graduation, will I be able to stay in undergraduate housing and/or extend my financial aid?

A: Housing for the following autumn would be graduate housing even if you have not applied for undergraduate graduation. If you need another quarter for undergraduate courses only, then you may qualify for 13th quarter aid, but you must speak to the financial aid office before applying or you will be automatically denied based on your coterm status.

Q: Can I delay applying to graduate just in case I want to transfer units between my undergraduate and graduate careers?

A: Yes, you have the option to keep your undergraduate career open, but there are additional factors that may be relevant, depending on your plans.

General considerations and questions when considering the timing of undergraduate degree conferral:

  • Do you need your undergraduate degree for the purposes of job opportunities? Fellowships?
  • Will you be taking a leave of absence? Could a leave impact your plans to return to Stanford?
  • All Stanford students need an active registration status to apply to graduate.
  • Students that wish to graduate when they do not have an active enrollment may apply for “grad quarter”. NOTE: Coterms with an active undergraduate program qualify for this option ONLY if they are conferring BOTH degrees.

If you feel uncertain about your plans and/or are going to take a leave of absence, you may want to have your undergraduate degree conferred while you have an active enrollment status.

  • You have 3 years from the matriculation quarter to complete the graduate degree, with some flexibility depending on your department’s policies.
  • Study abroad programs may require undergraduate status.
  • You may not transfer units after degree conferral
  • If you are an athlete, check with the AARC advisors about whether degree conferral affects eligibility.
  • If you are an international student, check on the visa and/or OPT implications with Bechtel
  • Are you considering any of the limited part-time graduate student options?
    • Coterms with open undergraduate degrees are NOT allowed to apply for graduate special tuition statuses.  In other words, there may be special tuition opportunities in a final quarter for students with conferred undergraduate degrees.
    • Any students planning to apply to the part-time graduate student option through the SCPD honors cooperative program must have the undergraduate degree awarded before they can begin in addition to the other admission requirements of that program.