Tips on Preparing to Graduate

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Prepare for a 2015-16 Graduation -- FAQs Below

Get yourself squared away for a 2015-16 graduation, starting now – actions taken fall and winter quarter can save you from missteps and anxiety this spring. There is lots of important information here so be sure and read it all! If your questions are not addressed here, #1 and #3 are tips about where to go next…

Apply on Axess for degree conferral: 

  • Winter conferral application deadline is February 26, 2016, 5PM; late application by Friday, March 11 at 5pm
  • Spring conferral application deadline is Friday, April 8, 2016, 5PM -- You can apply to graduate after this (until Jun 1, 2016) but your major program will be reviewed LAST out of more than 600 graduating students, leaving you little time to fix any issues. Also you will pay a $50 late fee.

If you will graduate during a quarter other than spring 2016, adjust your timing of actions accordingly.

This set of questions refers to your engineering major. For general information on University requirements, check the UAR website.

Most Important 

  • Fill out and hand in a program sheet to your student services staff in your department -- this should be done fall or winter quarter but there is still time in spring (until April 8). Program sheets signed and handed in before fall 2015 are not considered current. If an old copy is in your file on April 8, you will be contacted to fill out a new one PLUS risk having your program reviewed late
  • When filling out your PS, make sure you have already had your AP signed off (once is enough) OR added a copy of your unofficial transcript showing AP credit to your major file in your department
  • Transfer credit should be processed by both the Registrar and the OSA office in the School of Engineering well before the end of your final quarter. See #8 below for important warnings on finishing transfer work your final quarter -- delay is probable
  • Course exceptions (deviations from program requirements) should be petitioned by end of winter quarter so you have time to explore other options in case your petition is denied
  • If you have more than one degree program, like a second major or a minor, fill out the correct form and get it signed BEFORE April 8 if you haven't already done this
  • Get all your courses into the correct career NOW if you are a coterm
  • APPLY to graduate by the deadline or risk having your PS reviewed last after all other students who did things on time. This puts you at risk of delayed graduation if it turns out you have issues with your major program.
  • TiS Note: PUBLPOL 122 was allowed to fulfill the TiS requirement if and only if taken prior to Autumn 2015 and if Professor McGinn (email at approved the paper topic and final draft. If you took the course prior to 2015-16 and are using it for TiS, be sure the approval has been solicited (and a copy of the approval email sent to Darlene Lazar at well before the middle of your final quarter (and ME 120 does not fulfill TiS)
  • Detail on all this and more is below...

Frequently asked Questions

1. All the different engineering requirements confuse me -- what should I do?
First, read this whole letter. If you still have questions after reading through all the details, you have three choices:
a) Confer with your major department’s student services staff and/or advisor
b) Talk to Darlene in 135 Huang Engineering Center (or email at, but talking is better if you have complicated questions). My office hours are 9-4PM, except for the noon hour.
c) Check the Handbook for Undergraduate Engineering Programs and the footnotes on your particular program sheet.

2. What is the deadline to apply to graduate on Axess?
Spring conferral application deadline is Friday, April 8, 2016, 5PM -- You can apply to graduate after this (until Jun 1, 2016) but will pay a $50 late fee and your program will be reviewed very late.

3. I want to review my program with someone to make sure I am set to graduate – who do I talk to?
It depends on what part of your program you want to check (and start by making sure you have followed the guidelines listed in the footnotes on your program sheet.)
► For your School of Engineering major overall, and particularly questions about your depth program, contact the student services specialist in your department. If you don’t know who this is, see the Contact page on the UGHB Handbook or go to Departmental Links.
► For your SoE breadth (AP, math, science, TiS and Fundamentals), you can talk to Darlene Lazar in 135 Huang. Nan Aoki, in the same office, can also sign off on your AP.
► For making changes in your program that are off the beaten path of pre-approved options, talk to your advisor first – you will need his/her approval, and maybe a petition as well.
► For GER and other University-level requirements, check the excellent Undergraduate Graduation Checklist at the Registrar site. Direct your questions on overall degree progress to the Student Services Center, Suite 7 in Tresidder Union or file a HelpSU ticket.

4. I am counting on using AP credit for my major – am I all set if the AP Board sent my scores to Stanford?
That is not enough – we need to sign off on AP (or IB or A-Levels or GCE) so we know the credit is recorded and you are using it correctly in your School of Engineering major. If you already did this when you declared, that is enough -- no need to do it again.
To apply credits in Math, Physics, Chemistry, or Computer, come to 135 Huang to have your credits approved. Bring your unofficial Stanford transcript and your Program Sheet (the final version you plan to use for conferral); Nan Aoki or Darlene can help you OR take a copy of your unofficial transcript showing AP credit to your major department to be placed in your file. And DO IT: Three students have failed to graduate on time the past year solely because they did not make sure their AP credit was properly recorded before the deadline for conferral.

5. I’m declared as an engineering major but have never turned in a program sheet – is this a big deal?
Yup! The program sheet (PS) is the essential graduation application/planning tool for every School of Engineering major and your department administrator needs a version that has been updated your senior year in your file. It must be accurately and completely filled in (use ink or type -- no pencil) with all major requirements, including grades, units, and transfer courses (of course, we will fill in spring quarter grades for you). Find Excel and pdf templates on the Program Sheets page for every year and major.

6. When do I need to get an updated program sheet to my department?
Best is fall or winter quarter, but at any rate before April 8! If your senior program sheet is turned in on time you are more likely to be informed in time to do something about it in case there are problems you could not foresee until someone took a look at your program. ►The program sheet is what the Dean’s Office and your department use to check that you have completed your major requirements. Make sure it accurately reflects course numbers/names as found on your transcript, is legible, and is in the correct 2-page format (as it appears in pdf format on the Program Sheet page). You may use a program sheet template from any year you are enrolled at Stanford.
Step-by-Step Directions on How to Prepare a Program Sheet

  • Where is the form? Go to the Program Sheets page and locate the correct program sheet for your major.
  • How? Save the PS Excel version file to your desktop, fill in all courses you will take for your major, adjust preset fields to show only the elective courses/units you will actually complete (deleting courses/units not being used), and make sure the totals are correct.
  • Format? Use Print Preview to make sure the PS will print in Portrait format on two pages (you may need to shrink the width of one of the fields to make sure content does not overflow the page and/or adjust rows so the second page starts at the top of the second sheet), and print.
  • Who wants it? Take your program sheet to your departmental Student Services administrator for evaluation and next steps; they may have special requirements to prepare your PS for conferral – check NOW. Policies vary by department on who must approve your major program, but most require an administrator’s and/or advisor’s review and signature. Your department will keep your PS on file for you to pick up when you want to file a petition or get your AP units signed off in 135 Huang.
  • Using AP? Bring your Program sheet and unofficial transcript to Darlene Lazar  or Nan Aoki in 135 Huang.
  • Using units that deviate from norm? If you are using a course that is not normally allowed on your official major plan, you must have the change approved to graduate (see #7 below) and then amend or redo your PS and have it (re)signed. If you changed your elective ENGR courses but they are approved alternatives, there is no need for a petition but you should adjust your program sheet before the end of winter quarter.
  • Signatures? Yes, get your advisor and department to sign now. But don’t worry about the School of Engineering approval field – this will be signed post-graduation, after final clearance from the University Senate has been granted.

7. I had to substitute other courses for some of the requirements in my major program – do I have to do anything extra about this?
Yes, and you need to act fast in case your request is not approved. Students have the option to petition for deviations from the usual major program requirements. This means filing a petition either with your department (for Depth courses) or the Dean’s office (for all other ENGR requirements) Petitions should be approved PRIOR to a student's last quarter. This gives you time to make adjustments in your schedule in case your petition is denied. Note: Having an advisor signature on your program sheet does not mean your changes are approved! Petition forms and instructions can be found on the Petitions page of this site.

8. I am using transfer credits in my SoE program and the units appear on my SU transcript – am I all set?
Not yet! Transferring credit for courses taken at another institution to meet Engineering requirements is a two-step process: First comes the Registrar Office petition to transfer the units into the University, then comes the School of Engineering petition that will allow substitution for required courses in your major program. BTW, do all this PRIOR to your final quarter so that if there are any problems with your transfer, there is still time to figure out an alternative. Plus, the SSC gets very, very busy during the last half of spring quarter, which could delay your action until deadlines have passed. Transfer credit should be completely processed well before the end of your final quarter as frequently there is a long delay in getting the other school to send a transcript and for Stanford to process it. If you are taking a Foothill College course your final quarter you WILL NOT be able to complete the transfer in time -- see #9. Petition forms and instructions can be found on the Petitions page.

9. What if I am going to complete a requirement by taking a class at Foothill College the final quarter of my Senior year?
That’s fine, but you will not be able to graduate that quarter – the Foothill (and some other college's) schedule is two weeks behind Stanford’s and grades will not arrive in time. Don’t worry – you can still take the course and walk in commencement; you will just have to delay getting your diploma (and file a couple of forms: Graduation Quarter and Last Units Out of Residence) with the Student Services Center – see the Stanford Registrar website for details and forms; get these signed in 135 Huang.

10. What is ABET and why should I care?
Only care if your major is CE, CHEME, EE (if using a PS from previous yeas -- EE is no longer accredited), ENVEN, or ME. ABET is the acronym for the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, an external entity that determines accreditation standards for undergraduate programs at many universities. If you are in one of these ABET-accredited majors, you will need to have a minimum amount of engineering coursework to graduate. To find out if you have the required 68 units of engineering work, add the units for Fundamentals and Depth listed on your program sheet (do not count writing or professional courses such as ENGR 102M, CHEMENG 10, or EE 100). Note that the newer program sheets for the ABET majors arrange the depth field such that the adding of separate columns as in the past is no longer necessary. Pre-2011-12 versions of program sheets still must be totaled by columns –see footnotes on the PS for details.

11. I’m a Coterm -- is there anything special I need to pay attention to?
Since we are unable to see or use any course that is not in your undergraduate career when we are attempting to clear your BS degree, you must ensure that courses being used for your BS degree appear in your UG career and those being used for your MS degree appear in your graduate career – check to make sure! It is common to place a course into the incorrect career, and it is a big hassle for you and for the Registrar staff to get corrections petitioned, approved, and moved in a timely manner during the last few weeks of spring quarter.

12. What do I do if I have a Minor or more than one Major?
Complete the Multiple Major-Minor form available on Registrar site and obtain the approval signature from Darlene (Dean’s Office, 135 Huang) for any degree(s) within the School of Engineering (NOT from your department). This form must be completed, signed and turned in to the Student Services Center in Tresidder Union not later than the first day of the graduation quarter. Those with a minor degree in ENGR can find minor forms on the new Minor Program Sheets page of this website. Here is a list of all the Registrar's Office forms that should be signed in 135 Huang rather than by your advisor or department:

  • Multiple-Major and Major-Minor form
  • Graduation Quarter form
  • 13th Quarter form
  • Last Units Out of Residence form
  • Permit to Attend for Services Only

13. Can I walk through commencement even though I can’t graduate in June?
If you have 165 units or more and have applied to graduate, you may talk to your department about walking in the spring commencement ceremony even though you can't finish all your requirements by the deadline of June 9. Here is what you need to do:

  • Go to the Registrar UG Forms for Graduation site and download a Withdrawal of Application to Graduate form. The deadline to submit this form is June 4.
  • Check with your major department to find out if they require a walk-through petition or other process
  • Consult with the OSA and/or your department and/or the Student Services Center to figure out what you need to do to finish requirements
  • The SSC will require one or more Registrar forms, depending on what you are doing. Most students need to file a Graduation Quarter form (fee of $100), and perhaps a Last Units Out of Residence form – check the Registrar site. These forms are signed by Darlene in 135 Huang, not your advisor or department.
  • Coterms must decide when to confer their Bachelor's degree and when to walk -- you can only walk once.

14. How do I know if I have completed all my GERs?
Status of GERs and other University-level requirements may be checked on Axess or see the excellent Undergraduate Graduation Checklist at the Registrar site. Direct your questions on degree progress to the Student Services Center, Suite 7 at Tresidder Union or check at the Registrar site.
15. Can I get a quick checklist of all this information?
You bet! And to be a good pal, make sure your engineering friends who plan to graduate also see this information.
√ General Education Requirements – Check with Student Services Center or online at the Registrar site.
√ AP Credit – Get your AP credits approved by the SoE Office of Student Affairs if you want to count them toward your major.
√ SoE Program Sheet – Get a fresh version of your Program Sheet to your department before the deadline to apply to graduate, April 10 (at latest!), that lists all courses, units, and grades (except spring quarter grades) required by your major.
√ Program Deviations – If you varied your program from any required courses or units in your official major plan, file the appropriate petition NOW – see the petition page.
√ Transfer Credits – Any courses taken outside of Stanford that you want to use for your ENGR major must be approved at both University AND School of Engineering (SoE) level by end of winter quarter – see the petition page.
√ ABET – CE, CHEME, EE, ENVEN, and ME majors must have a minimum number of ABET units of engineering within their Fundamental and Depth coursework.
√ Coterm Students – Assign your BS courses to the correct career or we can’t use them for your UG degree.
√ Multiple Majors or Minors – Fill out form on Registrar site and bring to Darlene in 135 Huang for signature by end of Winter quarter
√ Walking Without Graduating – It happens all the time, but you need to consult with your department as early as possible about the process and how you will finish your degree.
The bottom line is that you should make contact with your department and the Dean’s Office far enough in advance that we can resolve any problems... we want to help you graduate!

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