Non-Degree Option Program Handbook

This handbook is intended to support you as an entering and continuing SCPD student. It is a reference guide to requirements, programs, policies, and procedures of SCPD. It does not constitute a complete or definitive statement of the policies of Stanford University. 

We hope you find this to be a useful resource as you progress through your education. We wish you much success!



If you have specific questions about the admissions process, contact

How to Apply and Enroll for New Students

In order to enroll in your first graduate course for credit, whether individually or as part of a certificate program, you must complete an online application, enroll in and pay for a course, and receive department approval. Enrollments are approved by the academic department on a course-by-course, quarter-by-quarter basis.

You can only enroll in courses during open enrollment periods, but you’re welcome to complete your online application and send transcripts and documents to SCPD at any time in order to be fully-prepared in advance of the next open enrollment period.

To complete your application, you will need to:

  • Create an account on the mystanfordconnection student portal.
  • Submit an online application that indicates whether you’ve chosen to pursue individual courses or declare a specific graduate certificate.
  • Select your course on the StanfordOnline website and enroll during an open enrollment period. To enroll, add the desired course(s) to the cart, continue to checkout, and enter payment information. If your application is declined for any reason, your payment will be reimbursed.

    Note that:

    • Your application is not considered fully complete until you have enrolled in at least one course.
    • A minimum of 3 units is required per quarter to remain an active student. You do not need to enroll in courses every quarter, but student status will be inactive during the time you are not enrolled.
  • Request official transcripts from all institutions (including undergraduate and graduate schools from which you’ve earned college credit) to be sent via:
    • Email to (preferred) 
      • Official transcripts are required for admission, but you may expedite the process by emailing unofficial, scanned transcripts.
      • Transcripts that are not in English must be translated by a certified translator.
    • Mail to Stanford Center for Professional Development
      P.O.  Box 20142   Stanford, CA 94309 
    • Fax to (650) 723-5628
  • Email or fax a copy of your photo identification to using subject line “Program Application, student X number” or fax to (650) 725-2868.  Non-citizen U.S. residents must also provide visa documentation.
    • U.S. citizens must send a copy of your driver’s license or passport picture page
    • International students must send a copy of the picture page from your passport 
    • Non-citizen U.S. residents, must send ALL of the following:
      • Current passport picture page, and
      • Current passport visa stamp page with issue and expiration dates
      • Current visa document that is one of the following: Permanent Resident Card, Notice of Action, U.S. visa stamp or an official U.S. document specifying your student status and indicating an expiration date that covers the duration of the quarter for enrollment

Once you’ve enrolled and we’ve received your completed application and documents, we’ll forward them to the appropriate academic department for approval. You should receive an email from Stanford Online with the review outcome within 3 weeks of your enrollment. 

You can check the status of your application at any time by logging into the online self-service portal mystanfordconnection.

Updating Personal Information

You must note any updates to your personal information in the profile of your mystanfordconnection account as well as in the Axess system. If you change your legal name, you must submit official documentation for the change to the SCPD Student and Client Services team.

How to Apply and Enroll for Returning Students

Application Review
While an application is only required the first time that you enroll in an academic department, your academic background will be reviewed for each subsequent course in which you enroll to ensure that you have the skills necessary to be successful. You will be contacted via email regarding the application review results.

Each graduate certificate program has its own admissions committee that reviews applications on a course-by-course, quarter-by-quarter basis, in part considering your previous Stanford course grade. It is not guaranteed that you will be accepted into all subsequent courses.

Some departments have specific grade requirements for subsequent course approval, including:

  • Computer science department:  Requires students to have a final course grade of a B or better to be approved to continue. If you receive lower than a B, you will need to petition the department for approval. If you receive a second grade lower than a B, you will be required to retake one or more of your previous courses and receive a higher grade in order to be considered for future coursework.
  • Electrical engineering department:  Requires students to maintain a B or better average (GPA of 3.0) to be approved to continue. If your average is lower than a B, you will need to petition the department for approval. If you receive a second grade lower than a B, you will be required to retake one or more of your previous courses and receive a higher grade in order to be considered for future coursework.

In order to receive department approval, you will need to enroll in a course via Stanford Online during an open enrollment period. To enroll, add your desired course to the cart, continue to checkout and enter payment information. If your application is declined for any reason, your payment will be reimbursed.

Once you have completed the payment process, your request for approval will be forwarded to the appropriate academic department. You will receive email notification of the department’s decision within 2-3 weeks. You can check the status of your review request at any time by logging into the online self-service portal, mystanfordconnection.


To earn a graduate certificate, declare your intent, be approved, and successfully complete the course requirements. You’re welcome to complete individual courses that contribute to a certificate prior to declaring your intent, but you will have to formally declare your intent to earn a certificate by submitting the graduate certificate request form.

Once you have successfully completed all certificate requirements and your certification is approved by the academic department, you will be mailed a certificate within three weeks.

Steps to earn a certificate

Declare your intent:

  • Explore graduate certificates, review prerequisites and choose a certificate. Because each academic department has its own requirements for earning a graduate certificate, you should review the specific certificate page.
  • Update your online application to include a declaration of your intent to pursue a graduate certificate (as noted on the application). In order to change a previously submitted online application by adding or changing your intent to earn a certificate, you should contact SCPD Student and Client Services.

Successfully complete courses:

  • Enroll in each course for credit and a letter grade. If you enroll in or change to a pass/fail basis, the course will not count toward a certificate.  
  • Complete the certificate requirements within 3 academic years of completing your first course in the certificate.

Submit Graduate Certificate Request form:

  • Submit the Graduate Certificate Request Form after you’ve completed the required courses and your grades have been posted. The awarding academic department will review your graduate record to ensure all the certificate’s requirements have been met.

With each successful completion of a SCPD graduate course, you earn Stanford University credit that may later be applied toward a relevant graduate degree. Up to 18 units of graduate credit can be transferred to an applicable graduate degree with academic department approval.


Honor code

As an enrolled student in a Stanford University course, you are required to adhere to the following Stanford guidelines:


Successful completion of graduate courses requires that you complete all assignments on time according to the course syllabus.

Students will submit assignments through an online method or directly to the course teaching team. Please review your course’s syllabus or contact your course teaching team within the first week of class to ensure you understand the submission requirements for your course.

Submitting Homework
You are expected to complete all assignments on time according to the course syllabus and schedule. You will submit assignments through an online method or directly to the course teaching team. Please review your course’s syllabus or contact your course teaching team within the first week of instruction to ensure you understand the submission requirements.

Course Readers and Textbooks
You may purchase course readers and textbooks directly from the Stanford Bookstore or call (650) 329-1217, extension 8356. Course readers and textbooks are not available through Stanford Center for Professional Development. The Bookstore will not accept vouchers from your company.

Course Materials Available Online
You can access your course videos through your mystanfordconnection account.

Additionally students can access course materials through the course website (if the professor has developed a website for the course) which may require a SUNet ID and password. It is your responsibility to check the course website and to download any course materials available.


Minimum unit requirement

You must register for a minimum of 3 units per academic quarter. Stanford Center for Professional Development charges for a minimum of three units per quarterly enrollment. You may take a maximum of three courses per quarter.

Please note: first-time graduate students taking a Computer Science course are only permitted to take one class.

Variable Units

Certain courses offer a variable number of units for credit.

For Computer Science and Mechanical Engineering, per the department, you are required to take these courses for the maximum number of units. For instance, if a CS course is a 3 to 4-unit course, you are required to enroll for 4 units.

For non-CS or ME courses with variable units you have the option to choose the number of credit units you enroll in. Courses taken for a higher number of units, may require additional work, such as a project, paper, or laboratory component. You should contact the Stanford Center for Professional Development Student and Client Services team with any questions about variable unit courses.

If you wish to change the number of units you’ll receive, please submit a written request to prior to the quarterly financial drop deadline.


All graduate students are automatically enrolled in courses for a letter grade.

If you wish to change your grading basis to Pass/Fail or Credit/No Credit for a course that allows this option, send an email to by the grading basis deadline.

Please note:  some academic departments, such as Computer Science, require students to take all courses for a letter grade and the Pass/Fail or Credit/No Credit option is not available.

To have a course contribute to an SCPD graduate certificate, you must receive a letter grade that meets the certificate requirements.

How to request a Stanford transcript

Changes to Your Course Schedule

You should check your course’s schedule on the official course website and your mystanfordconnection account before classes start. Course schedules may change at any time at the discretion of the course teaching team. We reserve the right to cancel a course; if that occurs we will suggest alternative courses or provide a full tuition refund.

Changing Courses 

In order to transfer to a different course, submit a written request to  You may only transfer courses during the first week of instruction.

Dropping A Course

To drop a course, you can either request a drop through your mystanfordconnection account, or email a drop request to by 5p.m. PST (PDT) of the financial drop deadline. Courses will be removed from your transcript and a refund issued, minus the charge of $100 per dropped course and any assessed non-refundable fees.

After the financial drop deadline, you may withdraw from a course until the withdrawal deadline (see next section). Please be sure that you are familiar with the financial drop deadline and other academic deadlines.

Questions? Contact the Student and Client Services team with questions at (650) 204-3984 or

Withdrawing from Courses

Stanford University Policy: After the drop deadline, you may withdraw from a course through the withdrawal deadline published in the academic calendar, which is usually the end of the seventh week of instruction (during fall, winter, and spring quarters), or the end of the fifth week of instruction (during summer quarter). To withdraw from a course, you must submit an email request to the SCPD Student and Client Services team at prior to the university withdrawal deadline. For further information you should refer to the Office of the Registrar's policy on course withdrawal.

Please note: Withdrawn courses are not eligible for any refund and a ‘W’ will appear on your official Stanford transcript.

If you have questions about the withdrawal process, you should immediately contact the Student and Client Services team for assistance at (650) 204-3984 or

Incomplete Course Policy

Stanford University Policy:
An incomplete grade ‘I’ is restricted to cases in which the student has satisfactorily completed a substantial part of the course work. No credit will be given until the course is completed and a passing grade received. When a final grade is received, any reference to the initial incomplete grade ‘I’ is removed. The decision to award an incomplete is at the sole discretion of the teaching team.

Stanford Center for Professional Development Request for Incomplete Policy:

  • To request an incomplete, contact your course teaching team in writing. The approval of an incomplete request is entirely at the discretion of the course teaching team and is solely based on the amount of work completed to date. An incomplete grade is not an opportunity to restart the course to earn a better grade. If your request for an incomplete is approved, you must notify SCPD via email at
  • You will have one academic year to return and complete your course. Notify SCPD of your readiness to resume the course and to work with the teaching team to establish a learning plan for successfully completing the course. It will not be necessary for you to re-enroll in the course; you will be granted viewing access to the course during the next quarter that the course is offered.
  • Under no circumstances should you enroll again in the same course through the SCPD website.
  • You will not need to pay tuition or fees again to resume the course.

We recommend that you keep all incomplete grade approval correspondence from the course teaching team.

  • Upon resuming your incomplete course, you will no longer be allowed to withdraw from the course and you must receive an adequate letter grade to receive credit.
  • For further information please read the Registrar's policy on incomplete, changed and repeat grades.

Repeated Courses

Most SCPD graduate courses may not be repeated for credit. The few graduate courses that may be repeated for credit will be noted in the Stanford Bulletin. Under the general University grading system, when a course which may not be repeated for credit is retaken, the following special rules apply:

  1. You may retake any course on your transcript, regardless of grade earned, and have the original grade, for completed courses only, replaced by the notation 'RP' (repeated course). When retaking a course, you must enroll in it for the same number of units originally taken. When the grade for the second enrollment in the course has been reported, the units and grade points for the second course count in the cumulative grade point average in place of the grade and units for the first enrollment in the course. Because the notation 'RP' can only replace grades for completed courses, the notation 'W' cannot be replaced by the notation 'RP' in any event.
  2. You may not retake the same course for a third time unless you received a 'NC' (no credit) or 'NP' (not passed) when it was originally taken and completed the second time. You can file a petition for approval to take the course for a third time with the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education. When a student completes a course for the third time, grades and units for both the second and third completions count in the cumulative grade point average. The notation 'W' is not counted toward the three-retake maximum.

Transferable Units of Credit

If you apply for a Stanford master’s degree and are accepted, a maximum of 18 units obtained as a graduate student may be transferred to the master’s degree, provided department approval is given. You should discuss course approval with your graduate department and faculty advisor.


You are responsible for meeting all academic and university deadlines. 

You can view the university-wide Academic Calendar, which includes some deadlines that are not applicable to SCPD students, such as the term withdrawal deadline and per diem tuition refund deadline.

You should identify important relevant deadlines for each quarter in which you are enrolled, such as:

  1. Financial Drop Deadline
  2. Exam Monitor Deadline
  3. Grading Basis Deadline
  4. Withdrawal Deadline
  5. Incomplete Deadline

If you have any questions about which academic deadlines are applicable to you, contact  the Student and Client Services team at (650) 204-3984 or

For students taking individual graduate courses for credit, meeting a deadline will include having demonstrable proof that a message or material was sent and received successfully with a standardized date and time stamp, whether by email, fax, mail, or phone. All deadlines are applied via the standard Pacific Time Zone (PST or PDT). Missing academic deadlines may impact your:

  • Access to the instructor’s website and course material
  • Eligibility for financial refund
  • Grades on individual assignments or for an entire course, which may be reflected on permanent Stanford transcripts
  • Eligibility for adding, dropping, or changing classes


Tuition and fees payable to the Stanford Center for Professional Development include:

  • Tuition per credit unit (3-unit minimum up to a maximum of 3 courses)
  • One-time document fee (only charged for the first course registered at Stanford)
  • $100 drop fee for every course dropped before the deadline

Tuition and fees are reviewed annually and are subject to adjustment by the Stanford Center for Professional Development.  Any fee changes take effect at the start of each autumn quarter and are applicable for the duration of the academic year.


Payment for individual courses for graduate credit is due by the start of instruction, unless otherwise noted. Access to online courses will be blocked and/or dropped if payment is not received by this time.

In order to complete course enrollment on Stanford Online, you will be prompted to provide payment information, such that: 

  • If you are solely responsible for your own tuition, you will be required to pay in full at this point. You must pay by credit card (Visa, MasterCard, and American Express), or wire transfer (please email Student and Client Services to arrange this payment). Credit cards are charged automatically during the checkout process.
  • If your tuition will be paid for by your company, you will be prompted to provide a company voucher, purchase order, letter of credit, or contact information for your company representative to provide approval and payment details. SCPD will contact the representative for approval and then invoice the company shortly after the quarter commences. Late payment fees are not applicable to company accounts. If paying by purchase order, voucher, letter of credit, GI Bills, or tuition assistance form, the document must be emailed to the Stanford Center for Professional Development Student and Client Services team by the start of instruction, unless otherwise noted. Access to online courses will be blocked and/or dropped if payment is not received by the end of the first day of instruction.

As the student, you will be ultimately responsible for all tuition and fees, even if your company has agreed to pay and company agreement is in place for that payment.

Tuition Refund Policy

The Stanford Center for Professional Development will provide a refund minus a $100 fee for every course dropped before the financial drop deadline.

Requests for refund of tuition and fees made after the financial drop deadline will not be honored, except under the following circumstances:

  1. Medical emergency (prolonged hospitalization or major medical condition of student). Official signed documentation from a physician is required which states date originally seen, diagnosis, and prognosis and notes a specific inability to continue with a course or courses.
  2. Death of close family member. Close family is limited to spouse, domestic partner, children, parents and parents-in-law, parent surrogate, brothers and sisters, grandparents and grandchildren. Official documentation will be required (Death Certificate).
  3. A call to active military duty (in the event of a national emergency such as in a time of war). Written documentation will be required.

Tuition will not be refunded after the financial drop deadline for other reasons, such as business travel, family emergency travel (other than #2 above), minor illness, injury, or workload increase.


If a refund is due and the original payment was by credit card, that same credit card account will be credited within 5 business days. If you made payment via wire transfer, a check will be issued as a refund within 10 business days of the wire transfer clearing. If the payment was made by company check, the company will be granted a refund by check.


Educational benefits are available for veterans and active military personnel.


Eligibility for the GI Bill® is determined solely by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). VA will provide eligible students with a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) confirming the type of benefit they are approved for, amount of entitlement, and any other important information.

Different types of benefits provide different support; the most up to date information can be found on VA’s website. Students wishing to use their GI Bill® at Stanford should follow the document submission and activation instructions located on this page.

GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website.


If you are affiliated with the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Navy or Marine Corps, tuition benefits are available to you through Chapter 33.

If you are receiving Chapter 31 (Vocational Rehabilitation for Disabled Veterans) benefits, you may use if for two professional certificate programs:


With a reliable, high-speed Internet connection, you will be able to:

  • WATCH LIVE on your desktop or mobile device using major browsers
  • WATCH ON DEMAND (VOD) within 30 minutes after the live class ends
  • DOWNLOAD files to your desktop to view without an Internet connection
  • SPEED through content at your own pace with variable speed playback
  • USE “SMART SEARCH” to locate content by any word that is spoken, typed, or legibly written on a slide or whiteboard

All graduate courses require that you have an active SUNet ID to access video content. 

If you need technical support, please contact us at or (650) 741-1542.


Exam Monitor Information

Successful completion of graduate courses require that you complete all course exams.

To take an exam you must either:

  • Designate an exam monitor, who will administer the exam at your location and submit your completed exams to SCPD, or
  • In some cases, you may visit Stanford campus to take your final exam.

Exam monitors must be designated by the end of the second week of the academic quarter. Visit the "My Exam Monitors" section of your mystanfordconnection account for more information on exam monitor’s responsibilities and to nominate your exam monitor.

Exam monitors may be:

  • Company or immediate supervisors
  • Company HR representatives
  • Company education coordinators
  • Local College/School representatives
  • Local librarians
  • Tutor club representative
  • Official proctoring service

Exam monitors may not be:

  • Peers
  • Direct reports
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Former coworkers/supervisors
  • Fellow students

Nomination Process:

  • You must contact the person you would like to be your exam monitor and obtain their consent. It is your responsibility to nominate an acceptable exam monitor on your mystanfordconnection account. Your potential exam monitor will need to provide the following information to you before you can fill out your nomination:

    • Name
    • Employer
    • Title/position
    • Phone number
    • Email address
    • Address
  • If your exam monitor nomination is verified and approved, you and your exam monitor will receive an email stating the approval. You will now be able to link your exam monitor with your current course exam.

  • You will then contact your exam monitor to schedule each upcoming exam for your course. Exam logistics are set by the course teaching team so please contact them with any logistical questions.

Coming to Campus

A course teaching team may allow you to come to campus to take an exam during the scheduled in-class exam time. If you would like to take a course exam during this designated time, you will need to reach out to your course teaching team and have them confirm that request. Once approved, you will need to go to the “Exams” section of your mystanfordconnection account and click “Select an Exam Monitor” for your course. A drop down menu will appear and you can select the option “I would like to take this exam on campus.” If you come to campus for your exams, it is advised you still have an exam monitor on file to act in a backup capacity.

Exam Monitor Information

Consistent with the Stanford honor code, an exam monitor is not a proctor and will not need to be present in the same room with you during the duration of the exam. As would occur on campus, the exam monitor assures that there is a suitable space and any necessary materials available for you to complete your exam at a pre-designated time. It is the responsibility of your exam monitor to administer the exam and ensure that the academic integrity guidelines of Stanford University are being upheld. Each course exam will have specific instructions provided to your exam monitor prior to your scheduled exam date. Please look at the outlined exam process for you and your exam monitor.

Preparing for an exam:

  • Typically, a course teaching team will give a 24-hour window within which remote students can schedule and return their exam, but you will need to confirm the exam logistics with your course teaching team.

    • You are responsible for communicating the exam time frame with your exam monitor and scheduling a time to complete the exam. Any exceptions to the designated time frame will be made by the course teaching team.

  • The Stanford Center for Professional Development will email the exam materials to the exam monitor listed for your course in the “Exams” section of your mystanfordconnection account. Please make sure that you assigned the correct exam monitor for your course in your “Exams” to avoid any delay in receiving exam materials.

    • Please have your exam monitor check their Junk or Spam Folder to see if the materials are there before contacting our office.
    • If the exam materials are not in either of those folders, email us at and appropriate materials will be sent to your monitor.
  • Exam monitors should read the exam instructions before your scheduled exam and pay close attention to the materials and allotted time for the exam.

Exam Day:

  • Your exam monitor will make sure you only have approved materials while taking your exam. Approved materials will be listed on the instructions provided with the exam. The course teaching team will let you know what materials are approved ahead of time.
  • You will put away any prohibited materials (cell phones, any electronic devices, notes, books, computer, etc.) before you begin your exam.
  • Your exam monitor will administer the exam and make sure you only use the allotted exam time specified in the instructions.

After the exam is complete:

  • Your exam monitor will fill out the Exam Monitor Form and sign it. Exams returned without an exam monitor form will not be accepted.
  • The completed exam should be scanned and emailed along with the exam monitor form to the designated email included in the exam instructions.
    • All exam materials must be sent by any deadline set in the exam instructions. Please make sure your exam monitor adheres to any deadline set.
    • The completed exam should be sent by the exam monitor and not you. Exam monitors should not include you in the email as you are not to have access to the exam file until it has been graded.
  • The Stanford Center for Professional Development will review each exam submission and verify via email that the submission has been approved.
    • Exam monitors should keep your original exam until it has been approved in case there is any issue with the file.
  • The approved exam submission will be sent to the course teaching team for grading.

Late Submissions

Each class will have its own policy regarding late submission of assignments. The policy for each class is under the discretion of the instructor who holds final authority for all grading decisions. Late assignments may be assigned a grade reduced in proportion to the tardiness of the submission. Some instructors may have a strict policy of not accepting late assignments at all. If you experience any trouble submitting course materials, you should notify your course instructor and the teaching assistant. 


Stanford Identification (ID) Number

As a new SCPD graduate student, you will be assigned a Stanford University ID (SUID) number after your enrollment and application have been accepted. The SUID will appear on your mystanfordconnection account home page, underneath your name.

Please note this is not the same as the Stanford Center for Professional Development student number (e.g. X123456).

You should indicate your SUID number on all correspondence with the Stanford Center for Professional Development. Your SUID number will remain the same throughout your Stanford experience.

Student ID Cards

As an SCPD student taking individual courses for credit outside of a degree program, you are considered a non-matriculated student and are not eligible to obtain a Stanford student ID card.

Library Access

As an SCPD graduate student, you will have access to the Terman Engineering, Green, Lathrop, and Lane Libraries at Stanford University (The Lane Medical Library focuses on topics relevant to the Medical School and related fields such as biology or biochemistry.) You will need to show your official enrollment receipt and valid personal identification (such as a driver’s license) to gain access. You may use resources in the libraries, but may not check out books to take home. You also have access to online library resources, such as journals.

Library Cards

Any individual or company can purchase a Stanford library card, with access privileges only, or with both access and borrowing privileges. Please see the following link for more information on fee-based library memberships.

Hours: check here for each library’s hours
Phone: (650) 723-1492