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Zero Unit Enrollment Policy

Zero-unit offerings in the Department of Music must be utilized by students who are unable to register for lesson or ensemble courses due to University enrollment limitations, but who still wish to participate in either lessons or ensembles. 

Enrolling for credit is the preferred option for enrollment in Music lessons and ensembles. However, we recognize that many students across the University value the opportunity to participate in lesson and ensemble courses while working toward requirements in another department or school. In order to correctly track the participation in our programs, we need an accurate count of all students who participate in Music ensembles and lessons.

All students are now required to register for lessons and ensembles in either the unit-bearing or zero-unit version of a course.

During Summer Quarter, Stanford students may only enroll in zero-unit courses if they have enrolled in another unit- and credit-bearing course. Students are responsible for any tuition and fees associated with an ensemble or applied music lesson for both unit-bearing and zero-unit versions of a course.

MUSIC courses with a ‘Z’ in the catalog number are not available to Summer Visitors.

Who should enroll in zero units?

The University and the Department of Music are working together to capture reality. We would like all students who are taking applied music courses to be visible to the university on a class list. Therefore, students who previously audited lesson and ensemble courses should now register in zero-unit versions. Undergraduates with questions about exceptions to the enrollment cap should contact Academic Advising.


  • Graduate students may enroll in zero-unit lessons (MUSIC 179Z in appropriate instructor‘s section) with faculty permission.
  • Undergraduate students are strongly encouraged enroll for credit when possible. Academic Advising works with undergraduates to accommodate requests to exceed minimum enrollment for a Music performance course whenever possible. Courses taken for zero units cannot count toward Music major/minor or university requirements.
  • Although zero-unit lessons do not impact tuition, there is still a lesson fee for participation. Read about lesson fees here.


  • Graduate students may enroll with faculty approval.
  • Undergraduate students may enroll with faculty approval.
How to enroll
  1. Discuss the option with your lesson or ensemble instructor immediately;
  2. Instructors must request a permission number on your behalf by the second Wednesday of the quarter by filling out the spreadsheet OR submitting via the GOOGLEFORM “Zero-Unit Online Webform” (link provided in the Student Services Officer’s email to faculty each quarter);
  3. A permission number will be emailed to the student; and
  4. Enroll in the designated applied music course via Axess for the zero-unit option, using the permission number.

All ensembles should have a ‘Z’ version (i.e. MUSIC 165: Chamber Chorale has MUSIC 165Z: Chamber Chorale) as its zero-unit equivalent. 

Zero-unit lessons do not have the same numbering scheme. Zero-unit lesson students should find their instructor’s name and section number for MUSIC 179Z in Axess, and enroll using the permission number process described above.

If you do NOT meet these criteria above, then you must register for the normal number of units in order to participate in the lesson or ensemble course. 


Please submit names of students in need of zero-unit enrollment numbers via the GOOGLEFORM “Zero-Unit Online Webform” (link provided in the Student Services Officer’s email to faculty each quarter). If you have more than seven students, use the Zero-Unit Group Request Form. Permission numbers must be requested by a faculty member, not by the student themselves. The Zero-Unit Group Request Form allows you to pass around a printable sheet during a rehearsal or masterclass. The “Zero-Unit Online Webform” allows you to submit students one by one online. 

All requests must be received by the second Wednesday of the quarter at 4:00 p.m.


Zero-unit courses are available for a Satisfactory/No Credit grading option in Axess. Although zero-unit courses are not unit-bearing, they appear on a student’s official transcript. A grade of ‘S’ (satisfactory) or ‘NC’ (no credit) should be entered for the student at the end of the quarter.