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Winter Quarter 2021 Information

Key dates for all students

  • Registration for classes for most students begins Dec. 6. 

  • Stanford’s Winter Closure is Dec. 14 through Jan. 3.

  • Classes begin for many students in professional schools Jan. 4.

  • Classes begin for undergraduates and other graduate students Jan. 11. 

  • You can view the full academic calendar here

Summary information for all students


Classes, student services, housing


  • This update from Provost Drell summarizes the university’s plans for winter quarter 2021. This information is relevant to all students, but especially those living on campus during winter quarter. 

  • Most instruction will be delivered remotely. Here are Stanford’s grading policies in response to COVID-19. We will provide in-person classes where feasible, including labs and other classes that cannot reasonably be taught remotely, though these will continue to be limited and subject to indoor capacity limits.

  • Most student services will be delivered remotely. Services for undergraduate students by student status are described here

  • On-campus and off-campus graduate housing programs will continue in the same manner as autumn quarter.

  • Stanford is proceeding with plans to offer on-campus housing to frosh, sophomores, new transfer students, and other undergraduates who have approved academic, athletic or personal circumstances. 


Campus health and safety


  • All students living in R&DE assigned housing or visiting campus will be required to sign the Campus Compact, or choose to be subject to standing university disciplinary procedures, not the compact process.

  • We expect instruction to be fully remote early in the quarter to allow sufficient time for students who are newly arriving or returning from winter break travels to complete their initial COVID-19 testing and settle into the campus environment safely. Lab classes may be allowed in person in Week 2, if conditions permit.

  • There will be no in-person gatherings early in the quarter, including indoor dining, student households, and essential visitors (except accommodation-related service or child care).   

  • Our hope is to gradually provide more opportunities for gatherings over the course of the quarter, beginning with expanded university-sponsored activities, broadening to approved activities of voluntary student organizations, and ultimately extending to other student activities.

  • This progression will be dependent on public health conditions and on our community’s compliance with campus health and safety protocols, including testing. 

  • COVID-19 testing for students will be required twice weekly at the beginning of the quarter; we may reduce this to once weekly if our medical experts deem it advisable and safe to do so. More information on our student testing program is here.

  • We’ll also continue to require all students to wear face coverings, maintain physical distancing, use Health Check daily to self-report health status, and engage in other hygiene best practices to keep one another safe, as summarized in the Campus Compact.

  • Flu shots are strongly recommended and will be available from Vaden Health Services throughout winter break and on a very limited basis during winter closure. Make an appointment here.


International students


  • All international students entering the United States under Stanford visa sponsorship for the first time are required to enroll in at least one class with an in-person component.

  • All international students planning to come to Stanford for winter quarter are expected to arrive in the United States before the start date on their visa document (F-1 or DS-2019), but not more than 30 days before that date.

  • International students who are unable to arrive for the start date of the quarter should contact Bechtel International Center. Graduate students should contact their departments as well.

  • Undergraduate international students are still welcome to apply for winter quarter housing. Contact the Dean of Students Office ( for assistance.


Key web resources


  • You can view Stanford’s current COVID policies and status here. You can view the university’s COVID testing dashboard here

  • Re-Approaching Stanford and Grad Updates will be refreshed to reflect the news shared here.