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Preparing to Graduate

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If you are planning to finish a degree, you MUST notify the university or your degree will NOT be conferred. Students may apply to graduate for any quarter during the year: autumn, winter, spring or summer.

If you’re planning to continue for another degree at Stanford, there are forms you must file before you graduate. See the Aero/Astro Grad Student Handbook (PDF) for information. Degree conferral dates can be found on the Academic Calendar, generally about a month after the last day of classes for that quarter.

Application process

Students can apply to graduate directly in the Axess system. This will trigger them to be included in a list that is provided to the department by the Registrar’s Office, called the “recommending list.” The department then looks at the program sheet and transcript and ensures that the student has completed all of the departmental requirements to graduate. For undergraduate students, the file is then forwarded to the School of Engineering Student Affairs Office for review of general engineering and university requirements (e.g., math, science, TIS, fundamentals).

The student will be contacted via email if there are any problems. When all problems have been resolved, the student will be “cleared” to graduate. To ensure a smooth progression, it is important that students submit an updated program sheet with all required signatures at the start of the final quarter.


Stanford has Commencement ceremonies (and distributes diplomas) only once a year, even though students can graduate — have their degrees conferred — every quarter. In June, the university holds a general ceremony for all graduating students in the morning, and afterward, the department holds an Aero/Astro Diploma Award Ceremony.

Students just shy of completing graduation requirements are also allowed to “walk through” by submitting a petition at least one month prior to the commencement ceremony. Students graduating in summer or fall can come to the department ceremony held in the June prior to degree conferral. Students graduating in winter should attend the June ceremony the quarter after degree conferral.