For Advisors

From Undergraduate Engineering Handbook

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Note: The School of Engineering Advisee Meal Program has been discontinued.


New for 2012-13

EE and Engineering Physics Majors Have New Specialties

Electrical Engineering (EE) has changes in the specialty areas EE majors can focus on within the major. Now offered:  Bioelectronics and Bioimaging; Circuits and Devices; Computer Hardware; Computer Software; Music; Signal Processing, Communications, and Controls; Solid-State, Photonics, and Electromagnetics'

Fundamentals in CEE and EE; ENGR 60 Going Away

  • CEE is crosslisting one of their depth courses to be used as a new Fundamental:

ENGR 90 (same as CEE 70): Environmental Science and Technology (A), 3 units,

  • Two courses from EE, one new and one re-puposed, have been added to the list of ENGR Fundamentals:

ENGR 40N: Engineering Wireless Networks (S), 5 units, Katti, S.
ENGR 40P (same as EE 41): Physics of Electrical Engineering (W), 5 units, Solgaard, O.

  • ENGR 60 will be offered for the last times in Autumn 2011 and Summer 2012. MS&E, the home department for E 60, has replaced the content with upper-level courses more appropriate to the major. CEE will debut a new course next year to replace E 60 for CEE majors.
  • The 3rd Fundamental: To preserve the idea of breadth within each student' program, we will continue to enforce the long-standing policy of allowing only one iteration of a course, such as CS 106, to be used within the ENGR Fundamentals catagory. A note has been added to all program sheets to this effect so that more students are aware that they cannot use two courses from any SoE field to fulfill the FUND requirement.

ABET Looks Different on PSs

After reviewing official ABET Guidelines, our SoE faculty have decided that it is unnecessary to continue to maintain separate lists of ENGR Science, Design, and Experimentation unit counts in the Handbook and in additional columns on our program sheets. The CHE, CE, EE, ENV, and ME programs will continue to need 68 units of Engineering coursework (not including the writing courses such as ENGR 102E/M or professional courses that some majors require, such as EE 100), 45 units of combined Math & Science, and experimentation experience to satisfy accreditation requirements. However, it has been determined that the setup of our programs is sufficient to provide these elements without the extra work of a separate count. Program sheets and course charts in the UGHB have been amended to remove the ENGR Science, ENGR Design, & EXP columns – a BIG change! We will continue to have lists of courses that count for each major, but will assume that the full unit count from each approved course applies toward the 68-unit minimum. Experimentation will also be assumed to be fulfilled with completion of the usual course requirements.

CSE ENGR Subplan Now a CS Track

The Computer Science major now offers a track called Computer Engineering (CS-BS) that replaces the Computer Systems Engineering subplan (ENGR-BS, CSE); the content is essentially the same. Students currently declared in CSE may finish their program or talk to CS student services about switching to the new CS track plan.

Not New but Still Useful

The Handbook is a comprehensive and useful reference tool for advising interested undergraduates about the academic programs within the School of Engineering. Chapter 11 (p. 365 or see below) contains guidelines on advising students.

The first five chapters explain SoE policies and procedures of importance to the student; for example, the purpose of the Program Sheet (pgs 31-32), how to petition (pgs 25-28), SoE policy on use of AP credits (pg 28), and approved courses in math and science (pgs 18-19).

An undergraduate may choose to follow the requirements in any Handbook published from his or her date of entry at Stanford, so it's a good idea to keep back issues of the Handbook. The Office of Student Affairs (135 Huang) keeps a complete set; past editions can be found online.

The SoE Advisee Meal Program is no longer being funded.

If you have any suggestions about the handbook, or about possible improvements in the quality of undergraduate advising, please get in touch with me.

Brad Osgood
Senior Associate Dean of Student Affairs

Chapter 11. Information for Advisors

Advising within the School of Engineering varies somewhat depending upon the category of student involved. Engineering advisors are typically assisting graduate students, undergraduates who have declared their major, and undeclared undergraduates who have indicated a preliminary academic interest in engineering. This Handbook deals only with undergraduates.

Advising of undergraduates can occur on many levels. Most of the questions that advisees will bring to you relate to specific requirements for an engineering degree at Stanford. This Handbook for Undergraduate Engineering Programs is meant to serve both you and your advisees as the source of most of the answers to such questions. Further clarifications on curricula can be obtained from the Office of Student Affairs in 135 Huang, 723-5984.

There is, of course, no manual to turn to for the most valuable information that you will be able to impart to your advisees, which is based on your knowledge, wisdom, and personal experiences. The individual counseling of your students on matters of personal concern to them is probably the most valuable function that you will perform.

At times, you may feel the need to refer the student to any of a variety of support services offered by the School and University, including: Undergraduate Advising and Research (UAR), the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL), Engineering Diversity Programs (135 Huang), the Career Development Center (CDC), Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), Vaden Health Center, the Bechtel International Center, the University Ombudsperson, and the Dean of Students. Undergraduate Advising and Research also provides resources and general information at

Advisors are strongly encouraged to make themselves available on a regular basis to their advisees, but in particular it is essential that each advisor schedule a liberal number of office hours during registration periods. During these registration periods, students frequently need to be able to stop by to obtain necessary signatures and advice. Your indulgence in these sometimes-unscheduled visits is greatly appreciated by the students as they go about their rush of activities.

To advise pre-major students, Undergraduate Advising and Research (UAR) assigns each new freshman and transfer student a Pre-Major Advisor and an Academic Director. Pre-Major Advisors are Stanford faculty and staff who volunteer to advise up to six incoming freshmen from the time they arrive at Stanford until the time they declare their major (typically during the sophomore year). UAR asks only that Pre-Major Advisors do what they already do best as scholars, teachers, and/or higher education administrators: inspire students to embrace the next four years of their life with the full depth of their curiosity. Although Pre-Major Advisors are encouraged to engage a student across his or her full range of interests, they are not required to know the specifics of majors that lie well outside of their own expertise. In such instances, Pre-Major Advisors may either consult with the student’s Academic Director or refer the student directly to the Academic Director.

The Academic Director serves as UAR’s representative in each residence that houses freshmen and sophomores. To accomplish such far-reaching support, nearly all Academic Directors serve multiple residences, with an office located in a residence that is geographically proximate to the residences they serve. Each Academic Director can advise on Stanford’s undergraduate curriculum, research and public serve opportunities, academic rules and regulations, and other campus resources. Academic Directors are available five days per week to discuss logistics, course selection, majors, units, overseas studies, transfer credit, and academic standing with undergraduate students.

UAR also has advisors who work specifically with student athletes, particularly regarding the strict NCAA compliance guidelines to which all student athletes must adhere. UAR Advisors in Sweet Hall provide general advising for all class years and special advising for pre-professional planning such as the health professions (e.g., medicine) and law.

Major Advising in Engineering: For advisees who declare your department as their major, one of your principal administrative responsibilities is the approval of their Program Sheet. This document is usually submitted twice, once when they declare and again during their senior year as they prepare to graduate. You must certify that their course work meets the degree requirements established by your own department and by the School of Engineering. As mentioned in this Handbook, deviations within the category of Engineering Depth must be approved by a student's advisor – including approval of courses transferred from another institution. Your approval of such variances is indicated by initialing and dating the entry on the Program Sheet.

Checklist for Advising Undergraduate Engineering Students

• Review Program Sheet (PS), ensuring it includes required courses and units as stated in UGHB PS samples (given in Chapter 5, Program Descriptions and Requirements for Engineering Majors; a student may use a Program Sheet from any year they are enrolled at Stanford)
• Inform student of how and when to use the Petition process (to deviate from Depth or SoE requirements; to transfer course credit for units taken outside of Stanford – see UGHB, Chapter 4 for details)
• Advise student that they must come back for a final review of their PS and to obtain an advisor (and in some cases departmental) signature two quarters before they expect to graduate.

Review Program Sheet, looking for the following:

• Check that all required Depth courses have been taken OR will be taken Senior year OR the student has deviation/transfer petitions approved by the advisor/department in their file
• Check that minimum unit totals required by the department, as stated on their chosen Program Sheet, have been met for Math, Science, TIS, WIM, Fundamentals, and Depth.
• If you have a Math/Sci/Fund/TIS class that you require for your major, please check progress toward completion since students rarely come into OSA to check their progress unless specifically petitioning to transfer credit or deviate. Example: An ME student should be told s/he has not fulfilled their TIS requirement for ME unless the STS or other course they have chosen is one approved specifically for ME majors (see Chapter 3, Fig. 3-3). This select list is specific to the ME major and should be drawn to the attention of the student by the department.
• Check that an approved Writing in the Major (WIM) course has been/will be completed (see Program Sheet footnotes for appropriate course[s])
• ABET-accredited majors: Make sure that the advisee will meet the required 68 units of Engineering depth, not including writing or professional courses (see 2011-12 program sheet footnotes for details)
• Please DO NOT sign a Program Sheet without ensuring that all Depth and ABET requirements have or will be met by the student’s final quarter.

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