Course Load and Registration

The following information is intended to offer clarification of certain university academic policies related to course load and registration.

For official wording of Stanford’s academic policies, refer to Stanford Bulletin: Academic Policies and Statements.

Standard Course Load and Units for Graduation

  • The standard amount of work for undergraduates is 15 units in a quarter, although students can register for as few as 12 units of credit.
  • The maximum allowable work load per quarter is 20 units (21 if the program includes a one-unit activity course).

Stanford Bulletin: Academic Policies and Statements - Amount of Work

Units for Graduation

  • Undergraduates normally are expected to plan their academic programs so that they can complete 180 units in four years (12 quarters).
  • This includes the General Education requirements (including Thinking Matters, Ways of Thinking/Ways of Doing, Writing and Rhetoic, and Language), the requirements for a major, and electives.
  • Standard academic progress averages 45 units per academic year, resulting in 180 units,  and a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0.

Stanford Bulletin: Undergraduate Degress and Programs

Activity Courses Units

The university limits the number of activity units that may be applied to the undergraduate degree. This includes student-initiated courses. Check the Stanford Bulletin for the maximum allowable units.

AP/IB Credit

Students wishing to apply their AP or IB credit toward their Stanford degree should evaluate their college plans before transferring all their credit. Keep in mind that students can transfer a maximum of 45 units. Students who anticipate taking classes during the summer at another university that might apply to their major may wish to wait to transfer their AP / IB credit. This insures that they do not reach their 45 unit maximum too early in their Stanford career. Students with AP / IB credit should consult with a UAR Advisor before beginning the transfer process.

Stanford Bulletin: Advanced Placement

Office of the University Registrar: Advanced Placement

Transfer Credit

Students can transfer up to 45 units of credit from another institution toward their Stanford degree with approval. This applies to both transfer students and students seeking pre-approval for courses they anticipate taking during summer or a leave of absence.

Students who plan to participate in a non-Stanford overseas program should speak to the transfer credit officer in the Bing Overseas Studies Program (BOSP) before they leave for their overseas program. It is important to clarify what materials to collect while abroad (syllabi, documents with signatures, etc.) so the credit transfer can be expedited when upon return.

Undergraduates who want to apply credit from courses taken at another university toward their Stanford degree should review the policies for doing so:

Stanford Bulletin: Undergraduate Transfer work