Taking Stanford Classes Through SITN: Getting Started

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Getting Started as an SITN Student:

What is SITN?

SITN is the Stanford Instructional Television Network, a part of the Stanford Center for Professional Development. This organization is generically referred to as "SITN."

SITN allows professionals working in industry to take, on a part time basis, classes offered by the Stanford School of Engineering. It is the only part-time program offered by Stanford. Only the employees of SITN member companies are eligible to enroll as SITN students.

Please refer to the Autumn 07 program guide and Winter 07 program guide (.pdf files) for more complete information.

How are the SITN classes made available?

In the San Francisco Bay Area, SITN broadcasts classes on several channels through microwave transmitters. Local member companies have a receiving station and one or more television rooms. Students are permitted to view and/or tape classes they are enrolled in for later viewing or review.

SITN offers Stanford On-Line as an alternative to (or as an adjunct to) the microwave broadcasts. Stanford On-Line is a video-on-demand facility for watching lectures over the Internet. Most, but not necessarily all classes broadcast by SITN are also available through Stanford On-Line.

Access to Stanford On-Line classes is protected by password at some point in the quarter. Early on, there is no password protection, so you can "shop around" a bit and see what the other classes and professors are like. Should your granny in Duluth somehow get ahold of the URL, she would be able to see what her "little one" is up to at Stanford. You may find the Stanford Online FAQs to be a useful resource.

If you miss a lecture, videotapes of SITN classes are available from SITN. SITN will send you the tape within a couple of days. Currently, they cost $29 per class. SITN is willing to bill the tapes to the company if your SITN coordinator calls directly. However, if you call SITN to obtain a tape, you will have to provide a credit card number.

Distance learning students (SITN students in other parts of the country or world) can attend certain SITN classes remotely via tutored videotape. Some time delay is involved. Not all SITN classes are offered through this program.

What are the SITN student categories?


The SITN audit student has the privilege of viewing all the lectures, and receives all materials handed out in class. The auditor does not take exams, does not submit homework for grading, and receives no grade or credit. Stanford logins, and hence course newsgroup access are not provided. The student is not supposed to have access to the course staff or attend lectures on campus.

Basically, the audit student can watch the lectures and receive the course material. How much, or how little effort the student puts into the class is really up to them.

Auditing a class permits the student to gain exposure to the material without making a time commitment. For students unfamiliar with Stanford classes, this is a good way to gauge the difficulty of the class and of the material. Stanford classes move at lightning pace!

Auditing is also a clever strategy for approaching a difficult class. Taking a class for credit is easier if you have already gained some familiarity with the material through auditing.

Audit tuition is relatively inexpensive, currently $592. per class (less in some cases). Since there are no grading criteria, reimbursement at the author's company was pretty much automatic. Note: Policies regarding payment of or reimbursement of course fees is company specific!


SITN NDO (non-degree option) students have the privilege (and the responsibility) of taking Stanford classes for credit and a grade. They are expected to complete all class homework, projects and exams, and are graded to exactly the same standards as regular Stanford students.

NDO students are not matriculated; they are not admitted to any Stanford department or degree program, and are not working towards any degree. However, they are earning credit units and grades which will appear permanently on their official Stanford transcripts. If an NDO student is later accepted into a degree program, up to 18 units earned as an NDO student can be applied towards the degree.

Naturally, NDO students benefit from classes they take in the traditional sense of learning. In addition, they establish a track record of performance, and make contacts with certain faculty and lecturers. A positive track record can strengthen the a student's application for matriculated status. A poor showing can do quite the opposite. Taking classes as an NDO student, therefore, may have important consequences in regards to a person's future academic opportunities. Specifically, poor grades as an NDO student could remove you from consideration for later HCP enrollment


HCP (honors co-op) students are fully matriculated Stanford graduate students, with the same privileges and responsibilities as full-time graduate students. They may attend Stanford full-time any time they so choose. HCP students have full access to student amenities, parking and libraries. They may attend classes on campus if they wish.

SITN HCP students take Stanford classes for credit and a grade. They do exactly the same work, and are graded according to the exact same standards as regular Stanford students.

How do I enroll as an SITN student?

Consult general course enrollment information and HCP/NDO/audit enrollment information for official SCPD/SITN enrollment procedures.

Transcript Tips

First-time NDO applicants must provide transcripts from the undergraduate institutions they attended while earning their degree. In part this is proof of completion of an undergraduate degree.

First-time HCP students needed to provide transcripts (two copies) as part of the normal graduate school enrollment process.

Stanford prefers the sealed transcripts provided directly to students by university registrars. They must be forwarded, unopened, to SITN (NDO applicants) or the target department (graduate admissions).

So, as a first-time NDO student, you need to send one copy to SITN. Later, if you apply to become an HCP student, you will need to send two more copies to Graduate Admissions in your chosen department. Perhaps you will need to open yet another copy so you can compute your in-major GPA. It would be a lot easier if you just ordered four copies up front, so you don't have to order more later.

Make sure you order your transcripts early. You don't want to miss the application deadline. Even rush-order transcripts, which cost more, take a while to arrive. International students face an additional impediment, since it can take months for transcripts to arrive from universities in other countries.


Students may audit classes offered through SITN without first providing college transcripts. This implies that completion of an undergraduate degree is not a strict prerequisite.

It is possible for HCP students to audit classes if they wish. Auditing is generally free in any quarter where the HCP student is actively taking classes (paying for 3 or more HCP units). The HCP student must pay the normal audit fee if auditing while not actively taking classes (a situation which may arise during Summer quarter). Contact SITN Student Services to make audit arrangements.

NDO students may audit classes as well, but must pay the audit fee in all cases.


First-time NDO students must provide a sealed transcript along with their SCPD/SITN application. Payment of a documentation fee (currently $55.) is also required.


To enroll under the HCP option, a student must first have been accepted for graduate study by a Stanford department.

First-time HCP students, who have not previously been NDO or full-time students, must pay the documentation fee (currently $55.).

How do I retain SITN enrollment privileges?

Maintain GPA (EE and CS departments (and other departments?) review).

Abide by the Honor code.

Miscellaneous Information:

BTVI (broadcast tutored videotape instruction) classes during the summer

Alternate delivery mechanisms -- two way video and video tape

Some companies pay SITN directly, and others require the student to write a check, then reimburse on successful completion. Contact your company coordinator for more details.