Find the answers to frequently asked questions in the following categories:

How is Summer Session responding to COVID-19 (coronavirus)?

The University has announced that Summer Session 2020 will be online-only as it is not feasible to proceed with on-campus residential programs this summer. For more details on this decision, please see Stanford University Provost Persis Drell’s April 2 update. Please find more information on this summer's program here.

About Summer Session

I see a lot of Stanford summer program options. What makes Summer Session different?

Summer Session is Stanford University's fourth academic quarter. It is the only quarter where visiting undergraduate and graduate students are able to apply to take Stanford courses alongside Stanford students and other visiting students from around the world. All Summer Session courses carry Stanford University academic credit and visiting students earn an official Stanford transcript.

High School and gap year students (ages 16-19), undergraduate (age 18+), and graduate students (age 18+) are welcome to apply for Summer Session. These students are also considered visiting undergraduate or graduate students over the summer, take courses for Stanford academic credit, and earn an official Stanford transcript.

Students too young to participate in the program are welcome to visit the Stanford Pre-Collegiate Studies, Office of Science Outreach, or Summer Youth Camps websites to learn more about the other options available on Stanford campus for bright, young students.

Does attending Stanford Summer Session improve my chances of being accepted at Stanford University as a matriculated undergraduate, transfer, or graduate student?

Stanford does not have a preference for students who attend Stanford-specific summer programs, including Summer Session.

Overall, it is encouraged that you pursue any summer activity, class, or program, or work you are interested in. The fact that you are participating in a given program, activity, or work is not in and of itself the value-add to your application. What is important to Stanford—and, for that matter, many other colleges and universities--is how you learn, grow, and contribute because of these experiences.

I am an incoming Stanford student. Can I start my studies early by attending courses with Summer Session?

A student who will be entering the University in the Autumn Quarter as a new full-time Stanford first-year or transfer student cannot enroll in Summer Quarter courses. Incoming graduate students should contact their department directly.

I am a Stanford matriculated student. Do I need to apply for Summer Session?

Stanford matriculated students, who have completed at least one term with the University, do not need to submit an application to take courses during Summer Session. Simply enroll for courses on Axess when the system opens on April 12, 2020.

What are the program dates for 2020?

Saturday, June 20 – Sunday, August 16, 2020.


Can I apply for one specific course?

No. When you apply to the Summer Session, you apply to be a visiting Stanford student. Visiting students are able to enroll in any course for which they meet the requirements. Enrollment in courses is first come, first served and our office cannot guarantee enrollment in any one specific course as some courses do fill. We recommend students develop an interest in a wide range of courses. All Summer Session students, visiting and matriculated, register for courses in Axess beginning April 12, 2020.

Will the courses I take through Summer Session transfer?

We strongly recommend that you check with an academic advisor at your home college or university in advance to confirm how Stanford University academic credits would apply towards your current degree plan. Please keep in mind that Stanford is on the quarter system while most institutions are on semesters and this may affect how units transfer.

In order to transfer course credits, many universities will require an official Stanford transcript. A course syllabus and completed course work may also be required. Stanford University will provide an official transcript detailing the courses a student completed and the grades and academic credit they received. Whether or not the courses are accepted is ultimately up to the institution in which the student is trying to apply them. 

Any student who is planning to transfer courses back to their home institution should select a grading option of letter grade when enrolling in courses.

How and when do I enroll in courses?

Students who have been given a Stanford ID number can enroll in courses starting April 12, 2020 through the Stanford Axess portal. Please see the How to Enroll in Classes website for instructions.

Which grading option do I choose?

Academic courses taught during the Summer Quarter are typically offered for a Letter Grade or for an elected Credit/No Credit grading option. Non-academic courses are offered on a Satisfactory/No Credit basis. All courses offered as part of Summer Session carry academic credit, regardless of how they are graded; no courses are available for audit. For more information about grading options, see the University’s official Definition of Grades website.

Letter Grade means you will receive an A, B, C, D, or NP grade assignment. Only Letter Grade courses will contribute to your Stanford GPA. Students who are planning to transfer Stanford credits to another institution or who are completing an Intensive Studies should take their courses for a Letter Grade.

Credit/No Credit means you will receive a CR or NC grade assignment. Credit/No Credit is equivalent to a pass/fail grading option with CR indicating satisfactory performance and NC indicating unsatisfactory. Students who enroll in a course for Credit/No Credit will not receive a letter grade on their transcript.
When enrolling in a specific course, a student has the ability to select their preferred grading scale from the options provided within Axess. Students can change their grading option up until the Change of Grading Basis deadline of July 31, 2020 at 5 p.m. Pacific Time. Once the Change of Grading Basis deadline has passed you cannot change your grading option. Please see Office of the Registrar’s website for instructions on How to Change Grading Basis

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. Stanford does not have a standard course catalog numbering system. However, as a general rule, courses numbered 1 through 199 are undergraduate level and courses 200 and above are graduate level. If a course is only for graduate students, it will be listed within the “Notes” section on the Courses page.

I am a High School student. Which courses can I take?

High School students will have the opportunity to choose from up to 145 courses between 30 different departments. You will be able to filter appropriate courses for High School within the Courses page. This section will also include information regarding possible prerequisites. Confirmed High School students will have access to pre-summer advisors to discuss course options when course registration opens in April.

How do I order textbooks?

Textbooks are available in person or online at the Stanford Bookstore, generally around two weeks prior to the start of the quarter. If desired, students may pre-order textbooks and have them ready for pick-up at the start of the quarter. Student who present their Stanford ID Card at the Stanford Bookstore will generally qualify them for a discount on textbooks.


What is the Summer Session admission criteria? Does Summer Session require a minimum GPA?

Our admission decisions are based entirely on each applicant’s individual application and whether the student demonstrates a history of academic success. Application submissions are reviewed holistically, taking every section of the application into consideration. Performing well in one particular area, such as GPA, does not guarantee admission into Summer Session. We recommend reviewing the Application Guide for information on all the sections that are considered in the application.

What is the deadline to apply?

The Summer Session application has an early decision deadline, and after that, admission decisions are released on a rolling basis. Please refer to the Dates and Deadlines section of our website for more information.

Can I apply for financial aid?

Visiting domestic students (U.S. citizens and permanent residents), including undergraduate, graduate, and high school students, can apply for a tuition grant as a part of the application. There are a limited number of grants that will be distributed and grants are not guaranteed. These awards are distributed based on financial need. 

At this time, there is no financial assistance available for visiting international students.
For Stanford matriculated students, need-based Stanford scholarship funds for summer are available only to those students who have missed a standard quarter of the same academic year, or those who will graduate at the end of summer. Stanford matriculated students should visit the Stanford University Financial Aid website for more information.

Are students required to be vaccinated?

Upon being confirmed into the program, students will be required to upload their immunization records to the Vaden Health Center. For information on required vaccinations, please refer to the Vaden Health Center website. 

Am I required to submit official transcripts?

Transcripts must show your full name and the name of your school. They must also include your most recently completed semester grades. While transcripts do not need to be official, they must be in English. Students may provide a translation in addition to a copy of the original transcript. An explanation of your school's grading scale must also be included.

International Requirements

Do I need to submit an English Proficiency Exam?

Stanford Summer Session requires proof of English proficiency as a part of the application. All visiting students who have completed at least one year at an institution where English is the primary language of instruction are not required to upload a digital version (PDF or JPEG) of their TOEFL, IELTS, or Cambridge Exam score. Please see the International Requirements section of our website for minimum score requirements.

Do I need a visa to participate in Summer Session?

All international students that do not have a study-eligible visa, are required to obtain a F-1 student visa in order to enroll at Stanford for the Summer Quarter. Students are able to indicate whether or not they require a visa during the application process. Please see the International Requirements section of our website for details on how to obtain your F-1 visa are available under Visa Requirements.


What is a SUNet and how do I create one?

A Stanford University Network Identifier (SUNet ID) provides access to the Stanford University Network (SUNet) and its electronic services, such as Axess, Stanford’s online enrollment interface, as well as a Stanford email account, web services, and more.

You can only create a SUNet ID after you have received your Stanford ID number from the Summer Session office. Your Stanford ID number will be sent via email. Once you received your ID number, go to the SUNet ID webpage and click on the icon next to the header “Create a new SUNet ID.” Then click the button “I am faculty, staff, or student.” Once your SUNet is selected, it cannot be changed. The SUNet ID is also part of your Stanford email address and web home page (for example, the SUNet ID “jdoe” would become the email address, jdoe@stanford.edu). Access to online University services, including Axess, will be available 24 hours after the creation of the SUNet ID.

The Summer Session Office is unable to troubleshoot issues relating to your SUNet ID. If you experience issues with your SUNet you will need to submit a ServiceNow ticket.

What is Axess and how do I use it?

Axess is a web-based system that students use to view and update information in their electronic student records. Using Axess, students can view Explore Courses, check financial records, enroll in courses, update their addresses, review their grades, modify enrollment, request transcripts, and more. The Stanford Registrar maintains an Axess for Students website that provides an excellent overview on how to use Axess. To obtain login privileges within Axess, a student will first need to receive their Stanford ID number from the Summer Session Office and create a SUNet ID and password. You may need to wait up to 24 hours before the “Student” tab appears in the Axess portal.

The Summer Session Office is unable to troubleshoot issues relating to Axess. If you experience issues with Axess you will need to submit a ServiceNow ticket.

How do I submit my photo for my Stanford Student ID card?

The ID Card serves as an identification card and an electronic key enabling students to use services and to enter and exit facilities. Without this card, students cannot enter libraries, athletic facilities, or obtain a parking permit or a discount at the bookstore. 24 hours after setting up a SUNet ID and password, log in to the Stanford ID Card Photo Submission website to upload a photo. Be sure to read the instructions provided at this webpage for full instructions on how to upload your photo. Only specific browsers (identified on the webpage) will work within this interface.

The Summer Session Office is unable to troubleshoot this issue. If you experience issues while trying to submit your photo you will need to submit a ServiceNow ticket.

What is two-step authentication for Axess?

Two-step authentication is a security feature used to verify your identity and protect your student account. There are many authentication options. Think carefully when setting up your authentication device; it must be a device that you have access to from the time you create your SUNet ID until the end of the summer quarter. If you cannot access your authentication device you may have issues enrolling in courses, accessing your University bill, and applying for housing.

University IT recommends anyone who travels internationally to set their two-step authentication method to Duo Mobile Passcode.

To manage your two-step authentication devices, log in to Stanford University Accounts, click “Manage” and then the “Two-Step Auth” tab. From there, you can add and remove devices as well as change your two-step preferences. If you have lost or no longer have access to your two-step device and you have your Stanford ID card you can generate a one-time passcode.

The Summer Session Office is unable to troubleshoot issues relating to the two-step authentication process. If you have received your Stanford ID and experiencing issues with accessing Axess, you will need to submit a ServiceNow ticket.

Student Life

I am confirmed as a residential student. How do I complete the housing contract?  

Students apply for housing online via Axess after they have been issued a Stanford ID number. The housing application opens in early April. Confirmed students will be supplied with housing application instructions within the Admitted Students website.

What are the closest airport options to Stanford campus?

San Francisco and San Jose International Airports provide the most convenient service to the Stanford campus. San Francisco International Airport (SFO) is approximately 30 to 40 minutes north by car; Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC) is approximately 30 minutes south. Students should check flights into both airports to find the best times and prices.

The Summer Session office is not able to shuttle students to or from campus. Please visit the Stanford Parking & Transportation website as it outlines public transportation options that serve the Bay Area and the Transportation to Airport page provides travel options from all local airports.

What should I pack?

Confirmed Summer Session students can review a suggested packing list on the Admitted Students website.

Are there social activities planned during Summer Session?  

Yes! Weekends and evenings are packed with speaker series, local area excursions, intramural sports, and informal discussions with Stanford faculty. More information is available on the Campus Life page and the calendar.

Tuition & Fees

What is the cost of the program?

The University bill is comprised largely of tuition costs, housing, insurance, meal-plans, and other additional fees. Tuition varies depending on the number of units you enroll in and your student status (undergraduate or graduate). Costs will increase based on enrollment options the student chooses, including living on campus or signing up for Stanford health insurance. Please use our Tuition and Fees Calculator to get an estimate of your costs for attending Stanford Summer Session. Keep in mind that the cost listed based on the questions you answer are an estimate and are subject to change.

Please note that international students requiring a Stanford sponsored I-20 have a minimum unit requirement that affects the overall cost of the program. For more details, see the International Requirements page.

I received a tuition grant from the Summer Session office. When will I receive the funds?

The award amount will be reflected in the student's University bill. The award that you received will be deducted from the overall total of the tuition bill and will appear in a section titled “Anticipated Aid”.

What is the tuition refund policy?

Enrollment changes that are made by the Final Study List deadline of July 6, 2020, at 5 p.m. Pacific Time, will have corresponding tuition adjustments. Students can drop one or more, but not all courses, in Axess, prior to the Final Study List deadline and receive a full tuition refund and no record of the course on their transcript. Students will not be refunded tuition for individual courses from which they withdraw after the Final Study List deadline.

Dropping individual courses or adjusting units prior to the Final Study List deadline is different than withdrawing from the Summer Session program. For more information, see "How do I withdraw from the program if my plans change?"

How do I withdraw from the program if my plans change?

Students who have been issued a Stanford ID number need to submit an Annulment of Summer Registration Form to the email address indicated at the top of this form if they find they can no longer attend the program. International students who have been issued a Stanford-sponsored I-20 must also return their I-20 to the Summer Session Office immediately.

If a student submits an Annulment form on or before the first day of classes on Monday, June 22, 2020, all University tuition charges and applicable Stanford health insurance fees will be removed. However, students who have signed a Residence Agreement with Stanford Housing will still have housing-related cancellation fees, which are defined within the housing application and Residence Agreement. The submission of an Annulment of Summer Registration Form does not cancel a housing and meal plan assignment.

If a student submits an Annulment form after Monday, June 22, 2020, additional non-refundable fees can be charged to their account. An Annulment Form is required from all confirmed students who will no longer be attending the Summer Quarter. Students will not be automatically canceled based upon non-arrival. Any student who was issued a Stanford ID number and fails to submit an Annulment Form will face a non-refundable University bill regardless of whether or not they attended classes.

Can I set up my account so that my parent or a sponsor can make payments?

We understand that a parent, guardian, or third-party benefactor may make the actual payments on the account. In this case, students are able to grant access to their online bills by specifying individuals (“Authorized Payers”) who will handle financial matters on their behalf. Detailed instructions are available on the Student Financial Services website. Students should set up any authorized payers well in advance of their arrival on campus.

Each authorized payer will receive confirmation via email once the student has completed this process, and will be notified when a new bill is posted. Please note that notification of the online bill will always be directed to the student.

Who do I contact if I have questions about my bill?

Your Stanford University bill is issued by the University, not the Summer Session office. For any questions regarding your bill, please contact Student Financial Services at the Student Services Center.

Stanford Student Services Center
459 Lagunita Dr., Ste 7
Tresidder Memorial Union
2nd Floor Stanford, CA 94305
Phone: 650.723.7772

You can also submit questions online via ServiceNow ticket

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