The Non Degree Option program (NDO) provides industry students with the opportunity to take Stanford graduate courses on a part-time basis. Students take a few courses in a specific subject area, or a variety of courses in a range of subjects, without having to be formally admitted to a degree program. NDO students enroll as distance learners where up to 18 units of graduate credit earned may later be applied toward a degree program (if admitted). NDO students can elect to work toward a graduate certificate in a defined area of knowledge, achieved by successfully completing a set of graduate courses specified by the sponsoring department. Students enrolled under the Non Degree Option Program complete courses entirely online.
Application and Enrollment (New and Returning Students)
How to Apply and Enroll – New Students
- Create a mystanfordconnection account.
- Complete and submit an online application*.
- Submit official transcripts from each institution attended and residency documents (if needed) via the following methods:
- Email transcripts to firstname.lastname@example.org (preferred)
- Fax transcripts to 650.723.5628
- Mail transcripts to 496 Lomita Mall, Durand Bldg 3rd Floor, Stanford CA 94305
- In the final section of the application, indicate the chosen graduate certificate.
- Note that students may also pursue individual courses, and declare intent to pursue a graduate certificate at a later time, if desired
- Select and enroll in an online graduate course for credit.
- The desired course(s) should be added to the cart. Once the cart is ready, students select Continue Checkout (Note: minimum 3 units required per quarter).
- Enter payment information.
*An application is not considered fully complete until students have enrolled in at least one course.
An application is required the first time a student enrolls. Once the application is complete, the review committee will assess each completed application to ensure that students have the background to be successful in their chosen course(s).
Returning students will have their course selections approved each quarter by the review committee. Students will be contacted via email once the course enrollment is approved or denied.
How to Apply and Enroll – Returning Students
- Explore the quarterly graduate course schedule on the graduate courses page.
- Review course prerequisites. Please Note: departments review enrollments on a course by course, quarter by quarter in basis, in part considering your previous NDO course grade.
For the CS department, students must receive a B or better to be approved to continue on. Students who receive lower than a B will need to petition the department for approval; if they go on to receive another grade lower than a B, they will need to retake one or more of their previous courses for a higher grade to be considered for future coursework.
For the EE department, students must maintain a B or better average (GPA of 3.0) to be approved to continue. Students who receive lower than a B average will need to petition the department for approval; if they go on to receive another grade lower than a B, they will need to retake one or more of their previous courses for a higher grade to be considered for future coursework.
- Enroll in chosen course(s).
- The desired course(s) should be added to the cart. Once the cart is ready, students select
- Continue Checkout (Note: minimum 3 units required per quarter).
- Students are prompted to log into their mystanfordconnection .
- Enter payment information.
International Student Visa Status
All NDO students who reside in the United States and who are not US citizens must have a current US legal status document with an expiration date that covers the duration of the quarter for enrollment. Required documentation includes: Permanent Resident Card, Notice of Action, US visa stamp or an official US document specifying the student’s status. Applicants who take courses under the Non Degree Option program must submit documentation via fax to 650-725-2868 or email to email@example.com. This is applicable to new and returning students.
International students not residing in the US are welcome to apply for courses and do not need to submit visa documentation.
Updating Personal Information
Students should note any updates to their personal information in the student profile of their mystanfordconnection account. Additionally, these changes should also be made in the Axess system. If a student has changed their legal name, official documentation for the change must be submitted to the Stanford Center for Professional Development Student and Client Services team.
Graduate Certificate Programs
Graduate certificate programs are focused, guided curricula of study specifically designed for working professionals by Stanford faculty. A certificate is awarded after successfully completing all course and GPA requirements. Each course earns Stanford University credit that may later be applied toward a graduate degree, if applicable. Note that up to 18 units of graduate certificate coursework can be transferred to an applicable graduate degree.
Steps to Earn a Graduate Certificate
- Choose a Certificate
- Explore graduate certificates listed by department/subject.
- Review certificate prerequisites and apply
- Those who have already submitted their NDO application and wish to declare a certification, should contact Stanford Center for Professional Development Student and Client Services.
- Declare Your Intent
NDO Students indicate their "Intent to Pursue" a graduate certificate(s) on the last page of their Non Degree Option application. Once submitted, the application to take courses will be assessed and the student will be notified of a decision within 7-10 business days. Note: students may enroll for individual courses that contribute to a certificate prior to declaring their intent.
- Earn the Certificate
- Students must enroll in each course for credit and for a letter grade. Courses taken for Pass/Fail will not count toward the certificate. Please Note: each academic department has its own further requirements for earning a graduate certificate. Please refer to the relevant certificate page to check those requirements before enrolling.
- Students must complete the certificate requirements within 3 academic years of their start date.
- Once a student has completed the required courses and their grades are posted, they should submit the Graduate Certificate Request Form. The awarding academic department will review the student’s graduate record to ensure all the certificate’s requirements have been met.
- Students should allow 2-3 weeks after submitting the request form to receive their certificate.
Enrollment and Grading Policies
Minimum unit requirement
Students must register for a minimum of three units per academic quarter. Stanford Center for Professional Development charges for a minimum of three units per quarterly enrollment. The maximum number of courses that can be taken per quarter is three.
Please note: first time NDO students taking a Computer Science course are only permitted to take one class.
Certain courses offer a variable number of units for credit.
For Computer Science, per the department, all NDO students 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, NDO students are required to enroll for 4 units.
For non-CS courses with variable units, students may have the option to choose how many units they wish to enroll in. If choosing to take these courses for the higher number of units, there may be additional work required, such as a project, paper or laboratory component. Students should contact the Stanford Center for Professional Development Student and Client Services team with any questions about variable unit courses.
All NDO students will be enrolled by Stanford Center for Professional Development with a letter grade status. If you wish to change your grading basis to Pass/Fail or Credit/No Credit for a course that allows this option, you must send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org by the grading basis deadline.
Please note that some academic departments, such as Computer Science, require NDO students to take all courses for a letter grade and the Pass/Fail or Credit/No Credit option is not available.
Any course that will contribute toward a Stanford graduate certificate must be taken for a letter grade to meet certificate requirements.
Changes to the Course Schedule
Before classes start, students should check their course’s schedule on its Stanford Center for Professional Development webpage (a link to the current quarter’s courses can be found here). 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 refund.
Changing Courses and Units
Changing the number of units, transferring to a different course (permitted within the first week of instruction only) or dropping a course(s) is carried out by an internal drop and add process. Students should submit a written request to email@example.com for assistance. Note that students may only transfer courses during the first week of instruction. Students can request to change the number of units or drop a course(s) before the quarterly financial drop deadline.
Please note: Stanford Center for Professional Development only allows a maximum of three transfers per quarter.
Dropping A Course
Students may drop courses and units up to 5PM PST (PDT) on the financial drop deadline without incurring financial penalty. Courses will be removed from the student’s transcript and a refund issued, minus the charge of $100 per dropped course and any assessed non-refundable fees. After the financial drop deadline students may withdraw from a course until the withdrawal deadline (see next section). View the financial drop deadline and other academic deadlines.
If students have questions about these processes, they should immediately contact the Student and Client Services team for assistance at (650) 204-3984 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Withdrawing from Courses
Stanford University Policy: After the drop deadline, students may withdraw from a course(s) 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(s) a student must submit an email request to the Stanford Center for Professional Development Student and Client Services team at email@example.com prior to the university withdrawal deadline. For further information students 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 the student’s official Stanford transcript.
If students have questions about these processes, they should immediately contact the Student and Client Services team for assistance at (650) 204-3984 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Stanford Center for Professional Development Request for Incomplete Policy
In order to request an Incomplete students need to:
- Contact the course teaching team directly and request an incomplete grade in writing by the last class meeting.
- Notify the Student and Client Services team of the result of their request for an Incomplete.
- If the request for an Incomplete is granted, students have one academic year within which to resume and complete the course. Students must contact both Stanford Center for Professional Development and the course teaching team when they are ready to resume the course.
- Keep all incomplete grade approval correspondence from the course teaching team.
- When making up for an incomplete grade, students may not withdraw from the course and they must receive a letter grade.
- Approval of all incomplete requests are entirely at the discretion of the course teaching team and are 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.
- For further information please read the Registrar's policy on incomplete, changed and repeat grades.
Steps to Resume from an Incomplete
In order to resume and complete a course students need to:
- Contact the teaching team and so that a learning plan can be agreed on that sets out what is needed to successfully finish the course.
- Inform the Student and Client Services team when they are ready to resume the course.
- The Student and Client Services team will grant viewing access to the course during the next quarter that it is offered.
- Enroll in and complete the course within one academic year.
Most courses may not be repeated for credit. Some Stanford courses may be repeated for credit and they will note this in the Stanford Bulletin. Under the general University grading system, when a course which may not be repeated for credit is retaken by a student, the following special rules apply:
- A student may retake any course on his or her 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, the student 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 case.
- A student may not retake the same course for a third time unless he or she received a 'NC' (no credit) or 'NP' (not passed) when it was taken and completed the second time. A student must 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 students apply for a Stanford master’s degree and are accepted, a maximum of 18 units obtained as an NDO student may be transferred to the master’s degree, provided department approval is given. Students should discuss course approval with the appropriate graduate department and faculty advisor.
All students are responsible for meeting all academic and University deadlines. Students can view the Academic Calendar here. Note that this is the University-wide academic calendar, and includes some deadlines that are not applicable to NDO students, such as the term withdrawal deadline, per diem tuition refund deadline, etc.
Academic deadlines are strictly enforced and students should identify important relevant deadlines for each quarter in which they are enrolled, such as:
- Financial Drop Deadline
- Exam Monitor Deadline
- Grading Basis Deadline
- Withdrawal Deadline
- Incomplete Deadline
If you have any questions about academic deadlines, or which deadlines apply to non-degree option students, please reach out to the Student and Client Services team at (650) 204-3984 or email@example.com.
For distance students, 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 the following:
- 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
Stanford Center for Professional Development Tuition and Fee Payment Policy
Students will be prompted to provide payment information when they are completing their enrollment. If a student is paying their tuition, payment in full is required at the time of enrollment. If a company is going to pay the tuition, the student will be prompted to enter contact information for the person at that company who can approve payment for the courses. If approved, the company will be invoiced shortly after the quarter commences.
Tuition and Fees are reviewed annually and are subject to adjustment by Stanford Center for Professional Development. Fee changes take effect at the start of each autumn quarter and are applicable for the duration of the academic year. Please note there is a minimum $100 course drop fee per course in all cases.
Tuition and Fees Payable to Stanford Center for Professional Development
- Tuition per credit unit (3 unit minimum up to a maximum of three courses)
- One-time document fee (only charged for the first course registered at Stanford)
- A $100 drop fee for every course dropped before the deadline
NDO students will be ultimately responsible for ALL tuition and fees, even if a student’s company has agreed to pay and company agreement is in place for that payment.
Payment is due by the start of instruction, unless otherwise noted. Access to online courses will be blocked and/or dropped if no payment is received by this time.
Student Payment Methods
NDO students who pay their own tuition and fees must pay by credit card (Visa, MasterCard and American Express), debit card (as per credit option), or wire transfer (please email Student and Client Services to arrange this payment).
Credit/debit cards are charged automatically during the checkout process.
If a company pays tuition and fees, Stanford Center for Professional Development will send an invoice to the company shortly after the financial drop deadline (please see section on Company Invoices).
Companies who pay Stanford Center for Professional Development for their employee’s tuition and fees will receive an invoice 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 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 no payment is received by this time.
Stanford Center for Professional Development Tuition Refund Policy
Stanford Center for Professional Development will charge a $100 fee for every course dropped before the financial drop deadline.
After the financial drop deadline, tuition and fees paid to Stanford Center for Professional Development will not be refunded except under the following circumstances:
- 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 past a one-time physician.
- Death of “close family” member. “Close family” is limited to the student’s spouse, domestic partner, children, parents and parents-in-law, parent surrogate, brothers and sisters, grandparents and grandchildren. Written documentation will be required (Death Certificate).
- 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 payment was made via wire, after the wire has cleared a check will be issued as a refund in 10 business days or less. If the payment was made by company check, the company will also be granted a refund by check.
Courses are offered by Stanford Center for Professional Development through the online classroom.
- Delivered via streaming video, courses are posted to the internet within two hours of the completion of the live class at Stanford University.
- Videos for online courses are available up to the end of the quarter’s exam period.
- Regarding homework and exams, students taking courses online are usually required to adhere to the on-campus deadlines for each particular class. Establishment and enforcement of course deadlines is at the sole discretion of the teaching team and will reflect the University calendar for final exams.
Free course previews can be accessed without logins.
Viewing enrolled courses online:
- Log in to mystanfordconnection.
- Click on Online Videos.
NDO students have access to the Terman Engineering, Green, Lathrop, and Lane Libraries at Stanford. (The Lane Medical Library focuses on topics relevant to the Medical School and related fields such as biology or biochemistry.) Students will need to show their NDO enrollment receipt (which is sent to the preferred email address automatically when enrollment is completed) and valid personal identification. NDO students may use resources in the libraries, but may not check out books to take home. NDO students not in the Stanford area also have access to online library resources such as journals, etc.
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.
Stanford Identification (ID) Number
New NDO students will be assigned a Stanford University ID (SUID) number when their enrollment and application are accepted. The SUID will appear on a student’s mystanfordconnection account home page, underneath their name.
Please note this is not the same as the Stanford Center for Professional Development student number (e.g. X123456).
Students should indicate their SUID number on all correspondence with Stanford Center for Professional Development. The SUID number will remain the same for the duration of a student’s Stanford studies.
Student ID Cards
NDO students are not eligible to obtain a student ID card because of their non-matriculated status.
Exams and Homework
Students enrolled in graduate courses for credit are expected to 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 to ensure you understand the submission requirements.
Course Readers and Textbooks
Course readers and textbooks may be purchased directly from the Stanford Bookstore. To place orders, students can visit the bookstore web page, 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
Students access course videos, the NDO Student Resources document, and a NDO Student FAQs document through their 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 the student’s responsibility to check the course website and to download any course materials available.
The Stanford Center for Professional Development manages exam logistics in conjunction with the course teaching teams. All NDO students taking exams remotely are asked to submit an exam monitor nomination at the time of course enrollment with the Stanford Center for Professional Development. Local students may choose to come to campus and take exams during the regular scheduled exam time set by the course teaching teams. Students taking exams remotely may nominate an exam monitor via their mystanfordconnection account. Possible exam monitors include:
- A Manager or Supervisor
- An HR representative at the student’s place of employment
- An education coordinator at the student’s place of employment
- A local college or school representative
- A local library official
- A member of staff from a recognized private proctoring service
Please note that Exam monitors are not considered if they are peers, direct reports, family members or friends.
Once an exam monitor has been nominated, the Stanford Center for Professional Development will verify their credentials and approve them on your account. The approved exam monitor will be able handle all the logistics of receipt, administration and return of the exams for the course.
You can also learn more about the process here.
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 students experience any trouble submitting course materials, they should notify their course instructor and the teaching assistant about the problem.