Undergraduates may earn a certificate or minor in humanities by taking courses that are part of the Humanities Core, which introduces fundamental questions about the meaning of human experience. The core offers opportunities to explore cultures and civilizations in depth through integrated sequences of courses on East Asian and European civilization, among other areas. Studying the humanities offers all Stanford students valued skills, such as critical thinking, collaboration, and effective communication, along with the chance to discover their intellectual interests and gain a broader view of the world.
Human Biology offers an interdisciplinary approach to understanding human beings from biological, behavioral, social, and cultural perspectives. Through teaching and research on topics such as environmental policy, genetics, and child development, the program promotes the welfare of humans as well as the world at large.
Students take courses in many departments, developing a strong, integrated foundation in the biological and social sciences, as well as statistics. Capstone projects in research or community service allow students to pursue an area in great depth. In addition to offering a major and a minor, the program also awards honors to undergraduates who write a thesis based on their own research.
The Stanford Biophysics Program is an interdisciplinary, interdepartmental graduate training program that leads to a doctoral degree. It brings together faculty from more than a dozen departments in the Schools of Humanities and Sciences, Medicine, and Engineering, as well as the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory. Research in Biophysics applies the principles of chemistry and physics to solving biological problems with the help of the latest methodologies, such as computational biology and molecular analysis.
The program trains students to approach biological problems quantitatively. With the benefit of advanced coursework and exceptional facilities—including the Lucas Center for Imaging, which houses multiple whole-body MRI systems—students develop the skills needed to direct their own research to address critical problems in the field.
Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies is an interdisciplinary program that provides students with the knowledge and skills needed to investigate the significance of gender and sexuality in all arenas of human life. Students learn to think critically about gender roles, relations, and identities and also how gender intersects with other social constructs such as class and ethnicity. The program offers outstanding support and opportunities through close partnerships with the Clayman Institute for Gender Research and the Stanford Women’s Community Center.
The program offers an undergraduate major and a minor, as well as the opportunity for students in any major to earn honors with a research paper or creative project. A doctoral minor is also available for students who desire a rigorous foundation in the field. Students are encouraged to design their own plans of study to align with their identities, interests, and goals.
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.
The Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies (CREES) advances interdisciplinary approaches to a vast region stretching from the Berlin Wall to the Bering Strait. In addition to supporting undergraduate and doctoral students, it offers a one-year master’s program providing intensive study for students with an academic background in the region.
Degree programs in CREES combine language and area courses with work in the social sciences and humanities. Students' professional interests include government, journalism, business, and non-governmental organizations. CREES also attracts students pursuing doctoral or professional degrees who desire intensive area studies and language training.
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.
Stanford’s top-ranked Department of Statistics gives students a foundation in the role of probabilistic and statistical ideas and methods in science, medicine, technology, and the humanities. Faculty provide instruction in the theory and application of commonly used techniques in the field, while offering training through innovative programs. The department administers a mathematical and computational science major for undergraduates, a data science track through its master’s program, and a doctoral training program in biostatistics for personalized medicine.
To foster the relationship between theory and application, the department also promotes interdisciplinary collaboration through faculty appointments in economics, education, political science, and other fields.
Symbolic Systems is an interdisciplinary program that investigates both the computer and the human mind as systems that use symbols to communicate and represent information. Faculty approach the relationship between humans and computers by way of theoretical and technical expertise in cognitive science, linguistics, philosophy, and other fields.
Students learn technical skills in mathematics and computer programming, along with a foundation based on humanistic perspectives and empirical research. Many students go on to pursue advanced studies in artificial intelligence, neuroscience, or the philosophy of language.
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.