Am I limited to the courses listed on the Stanford Summer Session website?

  • Matriculated Stanford students are eligible to select from a more comprehensive list of courses found within Axess.
  • Visiting students are required to choose from the courses listed on the Summer Session website. Students have access to more than 170 courses offered by 30 departments.

Is there a set schedule for Summer Session students?

No. Students build their own schedules from more than 170 courses offered by 30 departments.

Do courses fill? How do I know if a course is full?

Because there are so many courses to choose from during Summer Quarter, most courses do not fill, and many do not have enrollment caps at all. That being said, some courses with limited capacity do reach their maximum enrollment and will not allow additional enrollment. Students are encouraged to complete the entire application and acceptance process early in the application cycle so they can register for courses on the first day of enrollment: April 9, 2017.

Students have the ability to check the enrollment status of a course in Axess once they have a Stanford ID number and SUNet ID.

How do I know if a course is undergraduate or graduate level?

Stanford does not have a standard course catalog numbering system. In general, courses numbered from 1 through 99 are primarily for first- and second-year undergraduates; courses numbered from 100 through 199 are for third- and fourth-year undergraduates; and those from 200 through 699 are for graduate students. Some departments, however, offer courses numbered from 200 to 299 for juniors and seniors. No graduate course is numbered below 200, and all courses above 300 are for graduate students. Students should pay more attention to the prerequisite(s) listed for determining appropriate courses. Any enrollment restrictions will be noted within the course description.

Are there graduate-level courses available during the Summer Quarter?

Most courses offered are undergraduate courses, although a handful of graduate-level courses are available as well. If a course is only for graduate students, it will be listed within the “Notes” section on the Courses page.

Who teaches Summer Session courses?

Courses offered during Stanford’s Summer Quarter are taught by Stanford faculty, visiting lecturers, and Stanford graduate students. All courses are high quality and offered for Stanford academic credit.

Can I audit a class during Summer Quarter?

Stanford does not offer courses for audit during the Summer Quarter.

Are there any sessions for visiting students during Autumn, Winter, or Spring quarters?

No, visiting students are only permitted to attend Stanford University courses during Summer Quarter.

Stanford Continuing Studies and Center for Professional Development offer courses year-round to non-matriculated students.

How do I get a course syllabus?

The courses listed within the Summer Session website provide a link to the current or previous summer’s syllabi. Please note that a current syllabus may not be available until the Summer Quarter begins. Many course syllabi can also be found at In some cases, the department offering a course will have syllabi available on their website.

How much time should I expect to spend in a class, including homework?

Work load depends on the number of units taken. At Stanford, for a lecture course, one unit of credit is understood to represent approximately three hours of work per week for the average student. However, the Summer Quarter is taught over an eight-week quarter instead of the normal 10-week quarter. Meeting times and work requirements will be adjusted slightly to accommodate this shorter instructional period.

For example, during the 10-week Autumn Quarter, 8 course units represents an approximately 24-hour workload per week. Those same 8 units, in the eight-week Summer Quarter, would be a 30-hour weekly workload.

For a full description of Stanford units, please refer to the Office of the University Registrar website.

How do “quarter units” equate to “semester credits”?

Stanford University runs on the quarter system. To convert quarter units to semester credit, multiply the quarter units by 2/3. For example, three quarter units are equal to two semester credits.
 Students who attend semester-based schools should keep this in mind when choosing courses and/or unit count. We highly recommend that you speak with your home university’s advisors in advance if you plan to transfer Stanford units to a semester institution.

When a course is offered for a range of units, what does this mean?

Courses list a range of units for a variety of reasons. Typically, the lower number of units is for Stanford graduate students who have enrollment caps. In this situation, visiting students must take the course for the highest unit count listed. However, in some cases all students are allowed to choose how many units they will earn for a course, and the course workload will vary depending on the number of units chosen. Keep in mind that students who intend to transfer units to their home college or university may want to select the highest unit count. Variable-unit courses will have more information about the unit options within the “Notes” section on the Courses page.

How many units do I need to take to be considered a full-time student?

For certification purposes (such as deferment of most educational loans), undergraduates must be registered for at least 12 units to be considered full-time. Graduate students must be registered for at least 8 units to be considered full-time.

Full-time status is different from the 8 unit minimum for international students on a Stanford sponsored I-20. A visiting international undergraduate on a Stanford I-20 would take 8 course units to maintain a student visa and 12 units if they wanted full-time status.

How do I know if my units will transfer?

You should check with your home college or university in advance to confirm that it will accept units from the coursework you plan to take at Stanford. Many universities require an official transcript, and possibly a course syllabus and completed class work in order to transfer units. Stanford University will provide an official transcript detailing the courses a student completed and the grades and academic credit they received.

What kind of academic support is available during the Summer Quarter?

The Summer Academic Resource Center (SARC) is comprised of two main programs: the Summer Tutor Program and Academic Advising. The Summer Tutor Program (STP) provides tutoring at no extra charge for several of our core courses. Academic advisors are also available during the Summer Quarter for all registered students. Advisors can assist with course selection and changes, grading options, as well as academic petitions, and are available for drop-in visits or by appointment. Schedules, office location, and contact information will be distributed to all confirmed students at the start of the Summer Quarter, or can be found on the SARC website.

How do I view my grades and order copies of my official transcript?

Stanford does not automatically send grades or transcripts to students at the end of the quarter.

Grades can be viewed by logging in to Axess and selecting the “Student” tab. Under the “Academics” header, click on “View Course History” which will display your schedule, including the grade received for each course.

Transcripts are free of charge and can be ordered as soon as grades have been posted by following the instructions listed at the Office of the University Registrar website. Visiting students have the ability to log in to Axess and order official transcripts for up to 5 years.

If you can no longer log into Axess, you can fill out the Transcript Request Form and submit it to the Student Services Center for processing.

How do I earn an Intensive Certificate of Completion?

Students must be enrolled in a specific course of study, detailed on the Intensive Studies page, and successfully complete all requirements as described in order to qualify for a Certificate of Completion. Summer Session students interested in an Intensive can enroll in designated courses in Axess beginning April 9, 2017. Students are encouraged to register for Intensive courses quickly as some may fill.

The Summer Session Office will mail Certificates in October to students who have successfully completed the requirements for an Intensive Studies Certificate of Completion.

Courses must be taken in a single quarter. Courses taken over multiple summers will not qualify toward the Certificate of Completion.