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5.8.1 Exchange Programs: Policy

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Last updated on:
Monday, November 7, 2022


Stanford University participates in a limited number of exchange programs at the graduate level, permitting Stanford graduate students enrolled in a degree program to register for courses at other participating universities, and permitting graduate students at those universities to register for courses at Stanford.


Stanford University participates in a limited number of exchange programs at the graduate level, permitting Stanford graduate students enrolled in a degree program to register for courses at other participating universities, and reciprocally permitting graduate students at those universities to register for courses at Stanford. Exchange programs typically charge participating students tuition at the home institution. New exchange agreements are approved by the Provost, and for international exchanges, the Office of International Affairs.

Stanford University participates in several programs permitting graduate students to apply to study at other universities.

  • The IvyPlus Exchange Scholar Program enables a graduate student enrolled in a doctoral program in one of the participating institutions to apply to study at one of the other graduate schools for a limited period of time so as to take advantage of educational opportunities not available on the home campus. The academic experience, including courses taken and/or research conducted with particular faculty at the visited institution, will be registered on the academic record maintained by the student's home institution.
  • Stanford also has separate exchange programs with the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of California, San Francisco that enable graduate students who wish to enroll in courses at either of those campuses to do so during a quarter in which they are also enrolled at Stanford. 
  • The School of Law has several exchange programs for law students only.


  • Vice Provost for Graduate Education (policy)
  • Office of the Registrar via Service Now (implementation)
    • All incoming exchanges (non-Stanford students) for UCB, UCSF, and the IvyPlus Exchange Scholars, see Graduate Admissions.
    • All the outgoing exchange student arrangements (Stanford students) for UCB, UCSF, and IvyPlus, see the Office of the University Registrar. 


  • IvyPlus Exchange Scholar Program is applicable to doctoral students who have completed one full year of study at one of the participating institutions.
  • UCB and UCSF exchange are applicable to all Stanford graduate students. 

Related Pages: 

5.8.2 Exchange Programs: Implementation

1. Exchange Scholar Program

The participating institutions are Brown University, University of California, Berkeley, University of Chicago, Columbia University, Cornell University, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Princeton University, Stanford University (Schools of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences; Education; Engineering; Medicine; and Humanities and Sciences), University of Pennsylvania, and Yale University (see IvyPlus Exchange Scholar Program Application). (Extension of the program was approved by the graduate deans and vice provosts of participating universities on September 1, 2018.)

Participation in this program requires the timely review and approval of both the student’s home institution and of the host university.  For Stanford doctoral students, participation requires the discretionary approval of the student’s advisor and degree program; degree programs are not obligated to approve such requests. All approvals must be obtained two months before the registration date at the host institution. 

NOTE: Differences between the academic calendars of the home and the host institutions should be taken into consideration when planning an exchange under this program.  For example, differences between institutions with semesters, as opposed to quarters, can affect the timing of visits, periods of insurance coverage, and the provision of financial support to the student. 

Eligibility and Application Process

Normally students will be eligible to apply to be Exchange Scholars only after they have completed one full academic year in residence in a doctoral degree program at their home institution. 

Stanford doctoral students who wish to participate in the IvyPlus Exchange Scholars Program complete the IvyPlus Exchange Scholar Program Application and submit it to their home program for approval; the program will then submit the approved form to Degree Progress in the Office of the University Registrar.


A minimum of one term of study, i.e., either semester or quarter, and a maximum of one academic year is allowable in the program. 

Summer Session

This program is not operational solely during Summer Sessions. Students from other institutions who want to study at Stanford for summer do so through the Summer Session program. 

Registration Status

Exchange Scholars will be registered by the home and host institutions in whatever category ("in absentia," "in residence," "special student," "Exchange Scholar") is appropriate at each institution. 

At Stanford, the Office of the Registrar will register students coming to Stanford as Exchange Scholars in a non-matriculated student category.

The Office of the Registrar considers outgoing Stanford students who will be Exchange Scholars as full-time students during each quarter of the exchange. The Exchange Program will be notated on their student record, and after completion of the exchange, the transcript will be updated to reflect course enrollment information. 

Enrollment Requirements

Exchange Scholars will enroll at the host institution, as required by that institution and approved by their home program. Each participating institution determines its own exchange program enrollment policies, not all institutions require an exchange student to enroll in coursework or research units.  

Stanford students participating in this program should discuss in advance with their advisor, degree program and with the host institution whether and how to enroll at Stanford and at the host school. 

Outgoing Stanford students who have not reached TGR status

Stanford students who are not yet at TGR status will enroll at the host institution for the number of units that would be expected by their Stanford degree program. In this case, the home degree program must advise Graduate Admissions at Stanford in order for the student to be charged the correct Stanford tuition (either the 8 – 10 unit rate, or the tuition rate for 11-18 units). 

 Tuition will be billed based upon the student’s enrollment at Stanford during the exchange:

  • If the student is not enrolled at Stanford (i.e., only enrolled at the host institution) or enrolled at Stanford for 10 units or less during the exchange, tuition will  be billed at the 8-10 unit tuition rate. 
  • If the student is enrolled for 11-18 units at Stanford during the exchange, tuition  will be billed at the 11-18 tuition rate.

The units completed at the host institution will be evaluated by the Office of the Registrar and by the Stanford degree program for inclusion on the student’s Stanford transcript; units completed in a system other than the quarter system will be calculated and posted at an appropriate ratio of equivalence. Units earned in this way will be counted as Stanford units (as opposed to transfer units) for the purpose of completing program and residency requirements. 

Outgoing Stanford students in TGR status

Stanford TGR students who will be an Exchange Scholar at a host institution are required to continue their TGR enrollment at Stanford during the period of the exchange. If these students enroll in units at the host school, they may have those units recorded on their Stanford transcript; units completed at the host institution cannot be used to satisfy any Stanford degree requirements consistent with policy for students in TGR status. These students will be billed for TGR tuition during the period of the exchange.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Tuition will be charged and collected by the student's home institution. Stipend support, if any, is ordinarily paid only by the home institution.

Degree programs that wish to provide financial support to a Stanford student participating in this program and in residence at another institution may do so. Any aid provided will be disbursed to the student on the Stanford academic calendar schedule, rather than on the schedule of the host institution. 

Health and Hospitalization Coverage

All students participating in an IvyPlus Exchange program are required to have insurance coverage through their home institution (or through a source that provides coverage comparable to that required by the home institution) that will provide coverage while the student is at the host institution.

The host institution will be responsible for assuring that hospitalization and health services are locally available. However, the host institution may either charge the student for such services or require that the student purchase health insurance coverage from the home institution.


At the host institution, IvyPlus Exchange Scholars will be accorded all the benefits of that institution's resident students. They will receive a student ID card which permits access to the host institution's libraries, labs, health facilities, athletic facilities, housing (as available) and other services as identified by the host institution. Where these services entail fees in addition to tuition, the host institution will charge Exchange Scholars the same fees it charges its own graduate students. Host institutions reserve the right to limit Exchange Scholars’ access to resources that are specifically dedicated to its own students who are pursuing a degree program or for which such students have priority. 

International Students

International students are understood to be under the continuing sponsorship of their home institution. All US Immigration Services is performed by an international student advisor at the home institution. International students on F-1 visas should note that they are not allowed to work at the host institution unless they obtain prior written approval from their international advisor at the host institution.

Stanford students participating in this program are responsible for informing Stanford’s Bechtel International Center of their plans to be in residence at a host institution. 


Upon completion of the IvyPlus Exchange, an official transcript from the host institution  may be sent to the student’s home institution. Administrative contacts from the home institution should confirm this process with the host institution; in some cases,  students or administrative contacts may need to request the transcript.

Stanford students who enroll in units at a host institution must request that a transcript of their course of study be sent to the Graduate Admissions Office at Stanford. The institution attended, units awarded and the Exchange Program status are reflected on the transcript. Units recorded in this way are counted as Stanford units (as opposed to being counted as transfer units) for the purpose of satisfying Stanford residency requirements when the participating Stanford student is not yet TGR at the time of the Exchange.

Students from other institutions for whom Stanford is the host institution use their student AXESS account to request a Stanford transcript to be sent to their home institution. Stanford students going to an exchange institution will make a similar request at that institution. Normally this information will include the course record (title, number, instructor, credit or class hours and grade received) and credit achieved for research conducted under the auspices of a faculty member if the student enrolled in and completed research units. The information will then be posted on the student's academic record or made part of the record as appropriate to the home institution.

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2. University of California Exchange Programs

Stanford also has separate exchange programs with the nearby University of California campuses. Application forms are available online for Stanford graduate students who wish to enroll in courses at either University of California, Berkeley or University of California, San Francisco. Students enroll concurrently at Stanford and the University of California campus. For Stanford students, the minimum Stanford enrollment is four units. 

separate application form is provided for students at the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of California, San Francisco who wish to take courses at Stanford.

Course instructors must give permission for exchange applicants to enroll in classes by signing the form. Exchange applicants should discuss their plans with their Stanford degree program and with the academic department at the exchange institution. The application form requires the discretionary approval of both degree programs, and from the Registrar’s Offices of both institutions.

Exchange arrangements for these programs are made on a quarter-by-quarter basis. A new application is required for each quarter at an exchange institution.

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