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Graduate Program Authorization Petition

On this page:

Overview Eligibility Residency Requirement • Deadline Application Fee • Application Fee Waivers • How to Submit a Grad Auth Petition in Axess Grad Auth Process • Timing of Program Changes • Enrollment Agreements for Students with Multiple Programs • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


The Graduate Program Authorization (“Grad Auth”) petition is submitted through Axess by graduate and professional students in order to request a new degree program, or to request a change of degree programs. Grad Auth petitions may only be submitted once per quarter and cannot be used to add a duplicate academic program. It is the student's responsibility to ensure that they are eligible to add, or to change to, the new degree program prior to submitting a Grad Auth petition.

Graduate and professional students wishing to add a Ph.D. minor should use the Application for Ph.D. Minor (pdf) form rather than the Grad Auth petition.

Departments and programs may choose not to accept Grad Auth petitions and require students to apply through their standard admissions process. 

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In order to submit a Grad Auth, a student must meet all of the following requirements:

  • Enrolled at Stanford at least one quarter

  • Have an active academic status (not discontinued or on leave)

  • Enrolled in classes during the quarter that the Grad Auth is being submitted

  • Undergraduate degree must be conferred

  • Only one Grad Auth can be submitted per quarter

  • Grad auth petitions must be submitted prior to conferring the degree

  • Cannot add a duplicate academic program

Residency Requirements

Students should carefully consider the impact of adding a program on their University residency requirements, as the units required to graduate may increase when adding additional programs. See the Residency Policy for Graduate Students and the University Minimum Residency Requirements for Graduate Degrees in the Stanford Bulletin. 

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Grad Auth Petition Application Deadline

The deadline to submit the Grad Auth Petition is the last day of classes for the requested quarter. The petition must be submitted prior to conferring degree. The Grad Auth may be submitted for the current term or for an upcoming future term. During the Spring Quarter, petitions may be submitted for Spring, Summer, or Autumn. Summer term enrollment is optional for students who have been approved to begin a new degree program in the Autumn term, provided that they have been enrolled the prior Spring term.

Grad Auth Petition Application Fee

A $125 application fee is assessed for each Grad Auth petition, regardless of the outcome. The grad auth petition fee generally appears on the student's bill within one month of the grad auth being closed (i.e. all required staff have reviewed the petition and submitted approval or denial decisions).

Grad Auth Petition Application Fee Waivers


The application fee for the submission of a Graduate Program Authorization Petition can be waived upon department request in the following circumstances:

  • for doctoral students in the Biosciences programs, Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, or Bioengineering, and who are changing to another degree at the doctoral level within one of these programs;

  • for doctoral students who have been dismissed from their Ph.D. program for academic reasons and, with permission of the home department, add a master’s or engineer degree in the same program. The Ph.D, program and any other active graduate degree programs must be discontinued in order for the student to be eligible for the fee waiver.

  • graduate students participating in a diversity program or school-based waiver. Please see the Graduate Fee Waivers page for additional information.

Procedure for Requesting Fee Waiver

If the students qualifies for a waiver, then the department must submit the request for the application fee waiver by submitting a Help Ticket to the attention of Degree Progress. 

How to Submit a Grad Auth Petition through Axess

  1. Log into Axess, and go to Student tab

  2. In Academics section, click on drop down menu and select “Petitions and Forms.”

  3. Select Petition “Graduate Program Authorization Petition.”

  4. Complete the petition

  5. If switching programs, select “I wish to discontinue this program…”, and the current academic program will be discontinued at the end of the current term.

  6. Select effective term.

    •  ​Note: future quarters will only display if they are active in the system. Activation for a future quarter typically occurs 10 days before Axess opens for enrollment for that quarter. For example: if Axess opens for enrollment for Spring 18-19 on February 10, 2019, then the earliest a student could see Spring 18-19 as an option for 'effective term' for the graduate program authorization petition would be January 31, 2019.

  7. Select joint degree only if participating in a Stanford joint degree program. 

  8. Select new academic program. Click the look up icon to identify the program and plan.

  9. Save.

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Grad Auth Process

The submitted petition is electronically routed first to the current department, and then to the proposed department. If the current and proposed departments are the same, only one approval is required. International students’ requests are also routed to the Bechtel International Center for approval. An email is sent to the student upon every approval, and a final approval email is also sent.

  • If the Grad Auth petition is approved: no additional action is needed from the student or department. 

  • If the petition is returned because more information is needed or the petition needs to be edited: the student can edit the petition in Axess and resubmit. 

  • If the petition is denied: the student is notified and no further changes can be made to the petition.

Timing of Program Changes

Adding Programs

If a student is approved to add a new program, the effective start date of that program will be the same date that the grad auth was approved. If the grad auth is for a future quarter, then the effective date of the new program will be the day after the term withdrawal deadline for the term the grad auth was submitted so that students are not assessed tuition for the current quarter.

Discontinuing Programs

If the student is approved to discontinue a program, the effective date will be the last day of that quarter (not the date that the grad auth was approved). This prevents courses from being inadvertently dropped. If a student is trying to apply for graduation and/or a special registration status, and has a pending a program addition or discontinuation for the same quarter, then they should submit a Request to Permanently Withdraw from Degree Program instead, to ensure the program discontinuation can take effect immediately.

Enrollment Agreement for Students with Multiple Programs

If the Grad Auth petition is submitted for a program in a different school than the original program (e.g., School of Education M.A. adding a Graduate School of Business M.B.A.), then the Tuition Agreement for Students with Multiple Programs form is required to determine the tuition amount assessed each quarter and to prevent duplicate tuition charges. Please note that this form is an electronic form.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • What happens if a student made an error on their petition? If the petition has not yet been approved by all required departments, then the department who currently has the petition in their worklist can reject the petition. Rejecting the petition will allow students to resubmit a corrected grad auth for the same quarter (without being assessed the grad auth fee). If the petition has already been approved by all required departments, then a Help Ticket should be submitted.

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