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Graduate Student Graduation Checklist

Enroll in Classes

Students are required to have an active registration status by the Preliminary Study List deadline in the quarter in which they are conferring a degree. Students must either enroll in a full-time course load or apply for a special registration status (Terminal Graduate Registration, Graduation Quarter, or Graduate Petition for Part-Time Enrollment). Please refer to the Special Registration Statuses for Graduate & Professional Students page for more information regarding eligibility requirements and the application process. Please refer to the Academic Calendar for a list of the Preliminary Study List deadlines for each quarter.

Review Degree Plan(s)

Confirm that your degree plan(s) and type(s) are correct in Axess before applying to graduate. If any changes need to be made to your degree plan(s), then please contact your student services officer to request those changes. It is best to have your degree plan(s) in order prior to starting your terminal quarter.

Apply to Graduate

After confirming your degree plan(s) and type(s) are correct, you can apply to graduate in Axess. Please see the Applying to Graduate page for detailed instructions on how to submit your application to graduate. Students who apply to graduate by the application deadline (see the Academic Calendar) may do so without being assessed a fee. After that deadline, students may still apply to graduate via Axess, but will be charged a $50 fee. No applications to graduate are accepted after the late application to graduate deadline.

Complete the Exit Survey

The Exit Survey is an optional part of the application to graduate process for PhD students. The Exit Survey is not available for graduate students in other degree programs.

Check Department Requirements

Confirm with the student services administrator in your department(s) or school(s) that you have completed, or are on track to complete, all program requirements for your degree, including milestones such as the master's thesis/project and doctoral dissertation. Please note that departments may have earlier deadlines for milestones.

Cardinal Care Early Cancellation

If you plan to graduate at the end of Autumn or Winter Quarter, you may be eligible for early cancellation of Cardinal Care. Students wanting to cancel Cardinal Care can submit the Petition for Early Cancellation due to Degree Conferral by the deadline of December 15th (if conferring in Autumn Quarter) or April 15th (if conferring in Winter Quarter).  Once your application to graduate has been approved by the Registrar's Office, the Petition for Early Cancellation will be approved and processed, and the Autumn or Winter Quarter Cardinal Care health insurance charge will be waived from your account.  Your Cardinal Care enrollment will terminate on December 31st (if conferring in Autumn Quarter) or April 30th (if conferring in Winter Quarter).  For more information, please visit the Cardinal Care website.

Complete Milestones

Your graduate program(s) has at least one university-required milestone. For a list of university-required milestones by degree type, please visit the University-Required Non-Course Milestones by Degree page on the Student Services Center website. Check your unofficial transcript to confirm your department has marked these milestones as complete. If not, contact your department to determine if there is anything else you need to do to complete your required milestone(s).

Furthermore, confirm with your department(s) if there are any additional non-course requirements (i.e. milestones) that need to be completed for your declared programs. Declared programs include your master’s, engineer’s or doctoral plans. Required milestones may include: submitting a master’s or engineer’s thesis, fulfilling a language requirement or teaching requirement, etc. These milestones should be completed no later than the last day of classes of your conferral quarter, but you should check with your department(s) to confirm the specific deadline as your department(s) may have an earlier deadline. For general questions about student milestones, please visit: Milestone FAQs.

Resolve Outstanding Grades

Work with your instructor(s) and/or department(s) to resolve any and all outstanding grades (e.g., GNRs, incomplete grades) from previous quarters as soon as possible and before degree conferral. Outstanding grades may cause students to fall below minimum unit requirements and ultimately prevent degree conferral.

Diploma Distribution

When you apply to graduate on Axess, you will be asked if you would like to attend the Commencement ceremonies. All diplomas are mailed by Regular 1st Class Mail through the United States Postal Service (USPS). The only diploma distribution option available in the Application to Graduate is the Mail. Diploma covers will distributed at the Commencement ceremonies. To see diploma distribution dates or to see the expedited shipping options that are available at a cost visit Obtaining Your Diploma.

Withdrawing the Application to Graduate

If after applying to graduate, it is determined that the degree requirements will not be successfully completed, students should submit a Withdrawal of Application to Graduate form (no fee).

Clear Diploma Holds

Students should resolve current holds and prevent future holds. If you have an unmet financial obligation to the University, you will not receive a diploma or transcript until the obligation is fulfilled.

Update Contact Information

Since your Stanford email will be discontinued 120 days after degree conferral, set up email fowarding at StanfordYou. Please also update your contact information (e.g., email, mailing address) in Axess. Direct Deposit information may be updated in ePay.