The School of Humanities & Sciences represents the heart of Stanford University. Awarding nearly 80 percent of undergraduate degrees and 40 percent of doctorates, H&S is Stanford's largest school. Undergraduate education takes place alongside graduate training and research by faculty who are leaders in their fields.
Learn more about the school on the School of Humanities & Sciences website.
The Art History program is designed to help students think critically about the visual arts and visual culture. Courses focus on the meaning of images and media and their historical development, roles in society, and relationships to disciplines such as literature, music, and philosophy.
The Art Practice program offers production-based courses founded on the concepts, skills and cultural viewpoints that characterize contemporary art practice. Our goal is to educate students in the craft, culture, and theory of current fine art practices to prepare them for successful careers as artists. The studio program is designed to develop in-depth skills in more than one area of the visual arts. It emphasizes the expressive potential of an integration of media, often via a cross-disciplinary, interactive path. Through collaboration and connections with scientists, engineers, and humanities scholars, the program addresses a breadth of topical and artistic concerns central to a vital undergraduate education.
The study of Classics is an exciting, intensely active, interdisciplinary endeavor. While exploring more than 3,000 years of human history, students investigate the ways that abiding issues (justice, death, human relations, the divine) have been articulated in every era. Stanford's Classics program provides a solid undergraduate experience that can lead to graduate study. Its thorough humanist background informs such modern fields as law, business, science and medicine.
Students of Comparative Literature encounter imaginative literature in all its forms. While other literary disciplines focus on works of literature as parts of specific national or linguistic traditions, the Comparative Literature program draws on literature from all contexts. This approach allows students to examine the nature of literary phenomena from around the globe and from different historical moments while exploring how literary writing interacts with other elements of society.
The Stanford Dance Division offers diverse approaches to dance as a performing art, cultural practice, political act and embodiment of ideology and beliefs. The Dance Division courses engage all of the dimensions through which one comes to experience dance--from studying a range of dance techniques, to choreographing and performing, and to critically and historically assessing dance.
East Asian Languages and Cultures is a program for the "new humanist" who wants his or her education to be broad enough to understand a non-Western language and culture. Many students combine studies in Asian Languages with courses in the Anthropology, Art, Economics, Education, History, Law, Linguistics, Philosophy, Political Science, Religious Studies and Sociology departments. Combining interdisciplinary coursework and language skills creates an advantageous foundation for students pursuing any professional career.
To major in English at Stanford is to explore -- deeply and rewardingly -- the rich legacy of literature written in English, past and present. The English department offers a wealth of courses on individual authors, the history of literary genres, literary theory, new media, and Creative Writing. Given the emphasis on critical thinking and interpretation, the English major is in turn an excellent preparation for many professional fields, including teaching, journalism, law, publishing, medicine, and business.
The Bachelor of Arts in Film & Media Studies provides an introduction to film aesthetics, national cinematic traditions, modes of production in narrative, documentary, and experimental films, the incorporation of moving image media by contemporary artists, and the proliferation of new forms of digital media. The program is designed to develop the critical vocabulary and intellectual framework for understanding the role of cinema and related media within broad cultural and historical concepts.
Students pursuing the French program at Stanford immerse themselves in one of the world's richest and most influential cultures. They read works that made France the model for cultures around the world and that still resonate today. They study the history of a country whose various upheavals?from political absolutism to modern revolution?have had worldwide impact. And they become familiar with the philosophical and intellectual developments that still shape the way we think today.
The program in German Studies provides students with the linguistic and analytic background to explore the cultural traditions and political histories of the German-speaking countries in Central Europe. Its interdisciplinary component prepares students to evaluate how the literary, artistic and cultural responses to the recent rapid modernization of Germany reflect its current condition. Course work at all levels focuses on the languages, literatures and intellectual histories of the Germanic nations. Most graduates pursue careers in business, social service or government, or graduate work in German Studies.
History courses teach the analytical, interpretive, and writing knowledge and skills necessary for understanding the connections between past and present. It is a pragmatic discipline in which the analysis of change over time involves sifting the influences and perspectives that affect the course of events, and evaluating the different forms of evidence historians exploit to make sense of them. Students will learn how to weigh these sources and convert the findings into persuasive analysis.
The mission of the undergraduate program in Iberian and Latin American Cultures is to expose students to a variety of perspectives in languages, literatures, and cultures of the Iberian Peninsula, Latin America, and Latina/o populations in the United States. The program balances literary studies with a diverse set of approaches to cultural and social issues. Courses in the program provide students with a contextualized knowledge of the literatures and cultures of the Iberian Peninsula from the medieval period to the present, the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking countries of Latin America, and the Spanish-speaking communities of the United States. Students in the major are prepared for advanced study in these areas and for a range of professional fields.
The mission of the undergraduate program in Italian is to expose students to a variety of perspectives in Italian Language, culture, and history. The program provides training in writing and communication, as well as cultural, textual, and historical analysis, in order to develop students into critical and global thinkers prepared for careers in business, social service, and government, or for graduate study in Italian.
The Linguistics program draws upon a vibrant department of 20 faculty members with expertise in a diverse range of languages. The broad scope of linguistics research and teaching at Stanford includes acquisition, computational linguistics, historical linguistics, morphology, phonetics, phonology, pragmatics, psycholinguistics, semantics, sociolinguistics, syntax, typology and variation.
The Department of Music's aims are to provide specialized training for those who plan to pursue careers in music as composers, performers, teachers, and research scholars. The Department's courses and performance offerings also promote understanding and enjoyment of music throughout the University. As a Music major, your program will be built around a series of foundational courses in theory, musicianship, and music history, as well as both individual and ensemble performance.
The mission of Philosophy is to train you to think and write clearly and critically about the deepest and broadest questions concerning being, knowledge, and value and to explore their connections to a range of human activity. Is there one truth or many? Does science tell us everything there is to know? What makes right actions right and wrong actions wrong? Do we have free will? What is the meaning of life? What is love? Join us to explore these types of questions as a member of our undergraduate program in Philosophy.
Stanford's Religious Studies program constitutes a critical, impartial and interdisciplinary investigation of humankind's religious experiences. It is distinct from theology and other approaches that assume faith and adherence to particular religious positions. Students work with experts in multiple areas to study the impact of religion on belief, literature, politics, law, economy and other aspects of human life. By examining these issues throughout history and in the contemporary world, students expand their understanding of the significant role that religion continues to play in human experience.
Slavic Language and Literatures is designed to expose students to a variety of perspectives in Russian language, history, culture, literature, and philosophy. The program offers three tracks. Courses in the Russian Language and Literature track focus on the linguistic and philological study of literature, as well as the history of Russian literature. The Russian Language, Culture, and History track guides students through a comprehensive interdisciplinary study of Russian literature and culture in a historic context. The Russian and Philosophy track builds upon Russian language and literary tradition to explore philosophical thought. Students are prepared for a future in business, government agencies, teaching, graduate schools and professional schools.
The undergraduate Biology program fosters in-depth knowledge of the discipline, from molecular biology to ecology. Our students learn to think critically, conduct analyses, and integrate insights from different fields to impact the scientific community. The major emphasizes the scientific process through core courses and subdisciplinary electives, and prepares students for professional careers such as medicine, dentistry, veterinary sciences, teaching, consulting, research, and field studies.
Students in the Chemistry program acquire in-depth knowledge of the principles of chemistry, the methodologies necessary to solve problems in the field's subdisciplines, and the ability to articulate ideas effectively to the scientific community. The Chemistry program also has a long-standing tradition of encouraging you to become involved in research during the academic year and through a ten-week summer research program.
Mathematics is fun, challenging, and rewarding. It is logical yet creative. It is important for applications and yet enjoyable in its own right. As a Mathematics major, you will develop skills in critical thinking and problem solving, oral and written communication, data analysis and interpretation, and small-group work. All of these skills are highly desirable for a wide range of careers, including law, medicine, and business.
The undergraduate program in Physics provides students with a foundation in both classical and modern physics. Courses include labs in which Undergraduates carry out individual experiments; in advanced courses, this may include the conception, design, and fabrication of laboratory equipment. Students are also encouraged to participate in independent research projects. The major prepares students for careers in medicine, engineering, government, and industry, as well as graduate physics programs.
Anthropology is devoted to the study of human beings and human societies as they exist across time and space. The Department of Anthropology offers a wide range of approaches to the various topics within anthropology including archaeology, ecology, environmental anthropology, evolution, linguistics, medical anthropology, political economy, science and technology studies, and sociocultural anthropology. The department provides students with excellent training in both theory and methodology.
Focusing on media in all forms, the Communication undergraduate program introduces you to the processes and effects of mass communication: the nature and social role of the various media, their structure, function, and ethics, and their impact on society. In this context, we consider not only traditional mass media (newspapers, magazines, radio, television, film), but also information technology, online media, and the Internet. Explore the exciting future possibilities for Communication majors!
The Economics major is one of the most popular at Stanford. The major provides a rigorous toolkit for thinking about the economy and about economic policy. It promotes an active learning approach to economics in which you think about real problems in an analytically-rigorous way. In addition, the major aims to teach you how to put the acquired skills to use in your own research. You will find a cumulative and hierarchical body of knowledge laid out in a structured series of courses; these courses deepen and broaden your analytical toolkit and help you to apply it in productive ways. Economics is also applicable for those of you in other disciplines who seek to study a broad range of courses and to develop robust analytical skills.
The undergraduate major in Political Science provides students with a solid grasp of the American political system and other political systems within the context of global forces, international conflicts and social movements, ideological systems, and diversity. Courses in the major are designed to help students gain competency in the primary subfields of political science, including American and comparative politics, international relations, and the theory and philosophy of politics.
Stanford's program in Psychology offers excellent training in how to understand human behavior using scientifically rigorous methods. A judicious selection of psychology courses can provide an excellent background for students planning careers in business, education, law, medicine, and social work as well as psychology. Faculty advisors and the Student Services Office help students select courses that provide a strong foundation for their career goals.
Sociology seeks to understand all aspects of human social behavior, including the behavior of individuals and the social dynamics of small groups, large organizations, and entire societies. Sociology is for individuals who have an interest in researching and analyzing how social networks, gender roles, and ethnic relations affect social life, or how gang violence, the economy, and social trends impact social behavior.
The Program in African and African American Studies (AAAS), established in 1969, was the first ethnic studies program developed at Stanford University and the first African & African American Studies program at a private institution in the U.S. AAAS provides an interdisciplinary approach to the study of peoples of African descent as a central component of all societies, offering courses that promote research across departmental boundaries.
American Studies provides students with a broad understanding of American culture and society. Building on a foundation of courses in History and Institutions, Literature and the Arts, and Race and Ethnicity, students learn to analyze the American experience, past and present. Students will be able to pursue individual interests within this dynamic interdisciplinary major, leading to careers in many possible fields (government, education, law, the arts, business, etc.).
Archaeology is the study of the past through its material remains that survive into the present. Archaeology is a discipline that offers direct access to the experiences of a wide range of people in numerous cultures across the globe. Increasingly, archaeology bridges past and present societies through the study of the human heritage and its role in contemporary societies. Stanford's Archaeology Program provides students with an interdisciplinary approach to the material remains of past societies, drawing in equal parts on the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences.
Asian American Studies (AAS) provides an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the historical and current experiences of persons of Asian ancestry in the United States. The AAS major brings together courses that address the artistic, historical, humanistic, political, and social dimensions of Asian Americans. Students may apply this foundation to analyze and address a variety of issues related to the Asian American community.
Chicana/o Studies (CHS) is an interdisciplinary program focusing on the Mexican-origin population of the United States, the second largest ethnic group in the nation. Students who major or minor in CHS have an opportunity to select from courses in the humanities, social sciences, and education. CHS affords students an opportunity to explore the culture, society, economy, and politics of this important and growing segment of our national population.
Critical engagement with issues of race and ethnicity is essential to an understanding of the world today. Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity (CSRE) is an interdisciplinary program that allows students to design a curriculum in relation to a theme or concept. Theme area may compare various ethnic groups or explore topics that cut across group experiences in the United States and elsewhere in the world.
The Program in Ethics in Society is an undergraduate honors program. Our course of study combines the analytical rigor of moral and political philosophy with the subject matter of each student's self-chosen major to develop a sophisticated understanding of social challenges. Students take two required core courses in moral and political thought, a thesis seminar, and two electives related to their thesis topic. Students may also pursue additional coursework towards a Minor.
Feminist Studies is an interdisciplinary undergraduate program investigating the significance of gender, sexuality, and power in all areas of human life. If you are interested in how feminist perspectives expand upon and reevaluate assumptions in the traditional study of individuals, cultures, social institutions, policy, and other areas of scholarly inquiry, then Feminist Studies could be the program for you.
Human Biology is an undergraduate program at Stanford that takes an interdisciplinary approach to understanding humans from biological, behavioral, social, and cultural perspectives. With this base, students examine environmental, health and other public policies that influence human welfare. Human Biology is for individuals interested in an integrated holistic approach to solving problems facing humanity.
International Relations is an interdisciplinary undergraduate major focusing on the changing political, economic and cultural relations within the international system in the modern era. The program explores how global, regional, and domestic factors influence relations between actors on the world stage. Students are equipped with both the foundational skills and specific knowledge necessary to analyze the choices and challenges that arise in this arena.
Students who choose an individually designed or double major in Jewish Studies receive a focused overview of the history, literature, and religion of the Jewish people from the Biblical period to the present. This major is an interdisciplinary major, and individual courses of study are therefore tailored to the individual student in consultation with a faculty advisor. All students, however, receive intensive training in the methods of at least one discipline (for example, history) and exposure to methods of others (for example, literature). With the help of related courses outside Jewish studies, students seek to bring these approaches to bear on the development of Jewish civilization in all its varieties.
The Latin American Studies program, offered through Stanford's Center for Latin American Studies, pairs rigorous course work with a strong network of visiting professors and scholars from Latin America and elsewhere. Students of any major may pursue undergraduate honors and minor certification in Latin American Studies. The program also shares in a range of cross-listed courses in other departments.
Mathematical and Computational Science is a major sponsored by the Mathematics, Computer Science, Management Science & Engineering and Statistics departments. Students fascinated by the integration of the above fields will find that the MCS program provides an essential mathematical foundation to be applied in the areas of engineering, biology, finance, management, and other disciplines involving scientific research. The program is unique in its strong support for students seeking both academic and industry opportunities after graduation.
The Native American Studies (NAS) program introduces students to approaches in the academic study of Native American people, history, and culture. All courses in the program promote the discussion of how academic knowledge about Native Americans relates to the historical and contemporary experiences of Native American people and communities. Students who major in NAS have the opportunity to perform advanced work in related fields including literature, sociology, education, and law.
The core courses in the Public Policy program develop the skills necessary to assess alternative approaches to policy implementation, evaluate the effectiveness of policies, understand the political objectives and constraints faced by policy makers, and appreciate the conflicts in fundamental human values that often animate the policy debate. After completing the core, students focus on one of several areas of concentration that address specific fields of public policy, types of institutions or the tools of policy analysis. They design their concentration with the help of a faculty adviser and the approval of the program director, submitting a list of proposed courses and a brief written defense of the concentration before beginning course work.
STS is an intellectually challenging, interdisciplinary undergraduate program. STS teaching and research are predicated on the belief that science and technology are two of the most potent forces for individual, societal, and global change. Students will study the natures, causes, and social consequences of scientific and technological developments, how science and technology function in different societies, and how social forces attempt to shape and control these forces to serve diverse interests.
The Symbolic Systems Program (SSP) at Stanford University focuses on computers and minds: artificial and natural systems that use symbols to represent information. SSP brings together students and faculty interested in different aspects of the human-computer relationship, including cognitive science, artificial intelligence, and human-computer interaction. The flexible and interdisciplinary nature of the program appeals to students who have strong technical skills and who seek to apply those skills to address humanistic challenges.
The mission of the undergraduate program in Theatre and Performance Studies is to provide a strong non-conservatory program for students studying Theatre and Performance Studies in a liberal arts context. Joining academic research with performance and technical practice, department majors pursue areas of interest in acting, directing, playwriting, dance, design, stage management, performance theory, and cultural studies. Students explore these fields in a collaborative environment with close faculty contact. One of the requirements of the major is to fulfill a stage management course, generally in the junior year, which allows students practical exposure to managing and/or crewing a production. It is essential that students understand the concrete workings of theater in order to appreciate its history and literature. With faculty collaboration, students of Theatre and Performance Studies integrate research, theory, intellectual engagement, and performance.
Urban Studies is an interdisciplinary, undergraduate program at Stanford that combines academic approaches with real-world experience to understand cities. Urban Studies is for those who have wondered why people live in cities (or suburbs), how the physical environment influences behavior, or how to address seemingly intractable problems like urban poverty, homelessness, or troubled schools.
Last update: December 11, 2013 11:04 AM