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Graduate Program Changes

Policy Summary

Once per quarter, continuing graduate students may submit a Graduate Program Authorization Petition in Axess to request additions or changes to their graduate program, rather than applying through Graduate Admissions.

If a graduate student wishes to terminate enrollment (permanently or indefinitely) in one or more of their current graduate degree programs, they may submit a request to Permanently Withdraw from a Graduate Degree Program.

Policy Statement

Graduate students are admitted to Stanford for a specific degree program. Students who have attended Stanford for at least one term and who are currently enrolled may submit a Graduate Program Authorization Petition in Axess to make one of the following changes:

  1. change to a new degree program in the same department;

  2. change to a new degree program in a different department;

  3. add a new degree program in the same or a different department to be pursued concurrently with their existing program. Coterminal students must have the bachelor's degree conferred before adding a second advanced degree program. Summer term enrollment is optional for students beginning a new degree program in the autumn term provided that they have been enrolled the prior spring term.

Students are only permitted to submit the Graduate Program Authorization Petition while currently enrolled at Stanford. Unenrolled students who wish to make changes to a former or upcoming graduate program must submit a new Application for Graduate Admission.

The Graduate Program Authorization Petition is submitted electronically through Axess to the department in which admission is requested, as well as the student's current academic department if different; the admitting department may require that additional materials or documentation be submitted by the student before approving the petition, particularly in the case of requesting authorization for a terminal degree program; this documentation may include but is not limited to GRE General or Subject Test scores, a statement of purpose, or new letters of recommendation.

Petitions submitted by International students changing departments or degree programs will also require approval from the International Student Advisor at the Bechtel International Center. International students may be required to submit additional information or documentation to Bechtel before their petition will be approved, e.g. if the requested change lengthens their planned stay.

Petitions are approved or denied at the discretion of the student's approving departments. The student will be charged a $125 petition fee upon final decision of the petition.

Students who wish to terminate study in a graduate program should submit a Request to Permanently Withdraw from Degree Program form prior to the academic calendar term withdrawal deadline for a given quarter. To return to graduate study thereafter, the student is required to apply for reinstatement into their prior program, or apply through Graduate Admissions to a new program; both instances will be assessed a fee. Reinstatement is contingent upon departmental approval.

Coterminal students with an incomplete Bachelor's degree wishing to be reinstated must first submit the undergraduate Request to Return and Register before their graduate reinstatement will be approved.

Implementation Information

Instructions for students interested in making changes to their graduate program can be found on the Student Services website.

Contact Information

Degree Progress

Office of the University Registrar