Stanford’s Department of Anthropology focuses on the study of human beings and societies through the examination of social, historical, ecological, and biological change across time. Known for its innovative approaches, the department focuses on the full span of human history and full range of human societies and cultures, including those in marginalized parts of the world.
Students are encouraged to integrate theory and research methods as they explore a range of related subfields that include archaeology, ecology, evolution, linguistics, medical anthropology, political economy, and science and technology. Areas of faculty and student research include questions of social, cultural, and biological diversity and issues of power, identity, and inequality.
African and African American Studies (AAAS) provides an interdisciplinary approach to the study of peoples of African descent within societies worldwide. Courses promote research across departmental boundaries, allowing students to explore the intersections of gender, class, race, religion, and other dynamics.
The first ethnic studies program developed at a private institution in the United States, AAAS has established a network of scholars who bridge such fields as anthropology, art, economics, feminist studies, history, linguistics, and literature. It is closely associated with Stanford’s Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity and many other centers on campus that support social progress though the expansion of knowledge.
Drawing methods and ideas from the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, archaeology introduces students to robust, multifaceted analyses of material culture and human societies. Coursework intersects with history, biology, earth systems, classics, anthropology, and other disciplines.
Stanford archaeology advances innovative research across the globe. The Archaeology Center on campus supports interdisciplinary collaboration as a venue where Stanford faculty and visiting scholars work to make the experiences of people, from the ancient past to the modern era, accessible in new ways. Students can apply what they learn in the classroom by participating in summer field schools in Europe, South America, and California.
Asian American Studies (AAS) is dedicated to understanding Asian peoples in the U.S. from contemporary and historical points of view. With a broad range of interests and expertise, faculty in AAS take an interdisciplinary approach to studying the complex, diverse, and ever-changing cultures that constitute the Asian American experience.
Undergraduates at Stanford may earn a major or minor in Asian American Studies by taking courses in many departments, including history, English, anthropology, and music. The program is a home for students exploring every dimension of Asian American life from art and literature to social and cultural history to politics and policy. It provides an excellent foundation for appreciating complexity within a diverse, interdependent world.
Undergraduate students interested in exploring race and ethnicity from an interdisciplinary perspective may choose from a diverse array of courses as part of a major or minor in CSRE. Faculty in fields such as anthropology, economics, and philosophy teach in the program. In addition to coursework, students are encouraged to pursue their interests through internships, engagement with the community, and original research.
The Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity supports scholarship that illuminates how race and ethnicity are essential aspects of society today. As a hub for interdisciplinary research and teaching, the center fosters a deep understanding of the past and develops tools to address current social problems in the interest of creating a more just and equitable world.
In Stanford’s undergraduate program in linguistics, students analyze the structure of language with close attention to sound, meaning, words, and sentences and learn how these structural patterns vary over time. Courses also draw connections between linguistics and anthropology, psychology, and cognitive and computer sciences, among other disciplines.
The graduate program emphasizes theoretical work based in empirical language data. Research and teaching explore a range of topics that includes computational linguistics, historical linguistics, language acquisition, psycholinguistics, semantics, and sociolinguistics. Linguistics also collaborates with Stanford’s departments of computer science, philosophy, and psychology to offer interdisciplinary doctoral study in cognitive science.
Modern Thought and Literature (MTL) is an interdisciplinary graduate program directed by faculty in English, theater and performance studies, comparative literature, and law. The program, which explores critical approaches to modernity, supports research in literature, film, popular culture, technology, ideology, and more.
MTL students are trained in literary and cultural studies as well as disciplines such as anthropology, gender studies, or sociology. The program expects that many of its alumni will go on to become innovative teachers and scholars in all areas of the humanities.
Native American Studies supports scholarship on Native communities in the interest of preserving and appreciating their unique social systems, languages, and natural resources. Its courses are housed across campus departments and schools including sociology, education, anthropology, archeology, English, art history, linguistics, and law.
A major or minor in Native American Studies introduces students to a broad range of approaches to the academic study of indigenous cultures while promoting understanding of both the traditions and the continuing experiences of Native American peoples and communities. Students may pursue a plan of study that integrates specialized courses with the methods of other disciplines such as history and psychology.
The interdisciplinary program in Science, Technology, and Society (STS) offers a modern liberal arts education by bringing together scholars from fields such as anthropology, computer science, and sociology to explore the impact of scientific discoveries and how people understand their relationship to technology.
Through courses in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering, students acquire technical skills along with an understanding of the history of science as well as the values and economic forces that guide technological change.
The School of Humanities and Sciences is the foundation of a liberal arts education at Stanford, where students are free to explore the arts, humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences. The university's home for foundational research, H&S supports free and critical thinking across all disciplines, offering endless opportunities to learn about humans, the world in which we live, and ways to make life better.
The school comprises 23 departments—from music, literature, and history to economics, mathematics, and biology—as well as 23 interdisciplinary programs. This extraordinary community supports a wide range of undergraduate majors and minors, honors programs, joint majors, and master’s and doctoral degrees.