Stanford Online offers a wide range of credentialed education opportunities designed to help you meet your personal learning goals, wherever you are in your life or career.
From professional and executive education certificate programs, to accredited graduate courses and master’s degree programs, you can choose the level of academic rigor and investment that’s right for you. The credentials that you can earn by completing these courses and programs are illustrated in the Stanford University Credentials Framework chart below.
Stanford University Credential Framework:
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As you move from left to right on the chart, Stanford credentials increase in academic rigor and the time commitment required to earn them.
Stanford credentials are conferred by a Stanford University school or department, including the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability, Graduate School of Business, School of Education, School of Engineering, School of Humanities and Sciences, and School of Medicine.
Professional and Executive Education Courses and Programs
These programs offered through Stanford Online span many of Stanford’s interdisciplinary specialty fields. You may choose from individual courses or certificate programs. Programs consist of a sequence of courses (typically a combination of required courses and electives). Typically, professional education courses are taught at the post-baccalaureate degree and master’s degree levels.
Record of Completion
You earn a Record of Completion when you successfully complete an individual course.
For School of Engineering courses, this credential document is being transitioned from a PDF or printed format to a digital badge format, verified on the blockchain.
Certificate of Completion
You earn a Certificate of Completion when you successfully complete a course or a program that requires a minimum of 20 hours of Stanford coursework and other relevant criteria established by a Stanford school.
For the School of Engineering: The completion document for a program (a sequence of courses) at the Certificate of Completion level is delivered as a digital certificate (pictured here), verified on the blockchain. The single-course completion credential is being transitioned from a printed or PDF Record of Completion to a being delivered as digital badge, verified on the blockchain.
Certificate of Achievement
You earn a Certificate of Achievement when you successfully complete a program or course that ranges from 36 hours to 150 hours of Stanford coursework as determined by a Stanford school, and includes learning outcomes assessment(s) (such as a project or capstone submission, final essays, presentations, a proctored exam, or other requirement), and other relevant criteria established by the school.
For the School of Engineering: The completion document for a program at the Certificate of Achievement level is being transitioned to a digital certificate, verified on the blockchain. Single-course completion documents are being transitioned from a pdf or a printed Record of Completion to a digital badge, verified on the blockchain.
You earn a Professional Certificate when you successfully complete a program that requires 150 or more hours of Stanford coursework, rigorous assessment of content mastery and proficiency, in-depth class participation, and/or other criteria established by a Stanford school. Typically, a Professional Certificate consists of a sequence of courses. For the School of Engineering, the program completion document for the Professional Certificate is transitioned from a pdf or paper document to a digital certificate, verified on the blockchain.
Academic Credit and Degree Courses
Stanford Online offers academic credit-bearing courses and programs that are delivered online and in blended formats, on a part-time basis. When you successfully complete a course, you earn Stanford University credit, affirmed in an official university transcript. That credit can contribute to a Stanford University graduate certificate or a Stanford University degree.
Select departments at the School of Engineering, the School of Medicine and the School of Humanities and Sciences offer Stanford University online and hybrid graduate degrees and online graduate certificates. Degrees offered online and part-time are the same degrees that are earned by full-time, matriculated students on the Stanford campus. They have the same admissions requirements, the same curriculum, the same grading system, and the same completion requirements. Full-time, on-campus students have a wider selection of courses to choose from. Some courses may not be available online.
Graduate certificates issued from the School of Engineering are being transitioned from a pdf or paper document to a digital certificate format, verified on the blockchain.
Statement of Participation Document
A Statement of Participation may be issued for offerings that require less than 20 hours of coursework and don’t meet the criteria for any of the credentials mentioned above (for example, they do not require assessment). These offerings have included webinars, seminars, workshops (and in the past, MOOCs).
For courses offered by the School of Engineering through Stanford Online, the Statement of Participation document is delivered as a digital document. Once learner identity is verified, the digital Statement of Participation is verified on the blockchain. For other courses, the Statement of Participation document is delivered in paper document format.
Questions About Credential Verification
For questions about verification of credentials that are part of the Stanford Credential Framework, please contact the Stanford Center for Professional Development at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lifelong Learning through Stanford Continuing Studies
Stanford Continuing Studies offers courses that confer continuing education credit. There is no formal application process.
Stanford Online High School Diploma
Stanford University affords the opportunity to earn a fully accredited and highly ranked online high school diploma through the Stanford Online High School.
Open learning is offered through free class lectures on the Stanford Online YouTube Channel and other educational content created by Stanford University faculty. You don’t have to register for these courses, nor verify your identity. No credentials are issued.
Other Credentials not issued by Stanford
The Stanford Credential Framework represents only those credentials issued by Stanford University. It does not represent credentials issued by a third party learning provider (including Coursera and edX / 2U) for courses that are offered on their platform in collaboration with Stanford University.