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Cardinal Service Notation
Cardinal Courses, 
Cardinal Quarter

Cardinal Service Notation

Quarter-long course
Arts & Media, 
Education & Youth Development, 
Environmental Sustainability, 
Human Rights, 
Law, Policy & Justice, 
Technology & Engineering

What is a Cardinal Service Notation?

Students who complete a Cardinal Quarter, 12+ units of Cardinal Courses, or a Cardinal Commitment through the Public Service Leadership Program are eligible to have these commitments reflected on their academic transcript with the Cardinal Service Notation. 

Since our founding, students at Stanford have made significant public service commitments—commitments that have enriched their academic pursuits and provided opportunities to apply their knowledge and skills to pressing social and environmental challenges. With the Cardinal Service Notation, Stanford formally recognizes these commitments as part of students’ academic experience. 

The Haas Center for Public Service invites all students who meet the eligibility requirements below to apply for the Cardinal Service Notation. Applications are accepted twice per year, in Autumn and Spring quarters.

Students who complete the requirements for more than one category need only apply under one of the categories. We encourage you to choose the experience that most influenced your overall education and experience here at Stanford, and share with us why in your academic integration statement.

How to apply

Complete the application form, including:

  • A current unofficial transcript
  • An academic integration statement (minimum 2,000 words) responding to the following prompt:

    Please describe your Cardinal Service experience, and discuss how this experience:  
    • Contributed to your intellectual and civic development;
    • Provided opportunities to apply academic knowledge and skills to important public issues; and
    • Reflected a commitment to Stanford's Principles of Ethical and Effective Service.

See the rubric for more on what to include in your statement.


Students are eligible for the Cardinal Service Notation after completing one of the following:

  • Cardinal Courses: Students complete a minimum of twelve units in certified Cardinal Courses (students must take courses for a letter grade if offered), and receive a 3.0 or higher in all courses; or
  • Cardinal Quarter: Students successfully complete a full-time (minimum 35 hours per week), quarter-long (minimum 8 weeks) public service experience.
  • Cardinal Commitment: Students complete the Public Service Leadership Program by sustaining a service commitment for at least three quarters, completing two related courses and the gateway course Ethics and Leadership in Public Service, and engaging regularly with an advisor and a peer cohort.

Students should satisfy their eligibility before applying. For example, a student completing a Cardinal Quarter in the autumn should wait to apply until the spring. Similarly, a student enrolled in a Cardinal Course in the spring should apply the following autumn.


Autumn, Spring

Open To


Offered By

Haas Center for Public Service
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