Summer quarter registration exceptions
Summer is an academic quarter at Stanford, but it is "special" in several ways. First, fewer courses are offered than during other quarters in the university. Second, most students may enroll less-than-full-time and pay tuition on a unit basis, or choose not to enroll at all. Note: Students receiving any summer funds, including research assistantships (RAs) and fellowships, must be registered. International students may have much more restrictive registration requirements as a condition of their visas, and should check with the Bechtel International Center for details.
The standard RA is a 50 percent appointment requiring 20 hours a week of work and paying for 8-10 units or TGR fees. The key difference in summer quarter is that students can be hired to work up to a maximum of 90 percent — which brings proportionally more salary and less tuition payment. Each labs has specific policies on whether, and when, students can be paid for more-than-50-percent effort.
Students who are "trying out" research with a faculty member might also be hired for less-than-50-percent appointments, which bring proportionally less salary and fewer units. This can happen during any quarter. In summer quarter only, however, students may enroll at less than 8 units (minimum 3 units), so an RA that pays for less than 8 units will not necessarily leave the student with a large tuition bill.