Stanford Earth has four majors (Geological Sciences, Geophysics, and Energy Resources Engineering), including one interdisciplinary program (Earth Systems). We work to gain a better understanding of our planet’s history and its future, geologic hazards that impact a growing population, the energy and resource base that supports society, a changing climate, and the challenge of sustainability. This creates a tremendous diversity of topics to study, numerous research opportunities, and varied opportunities for field work and travel.
School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences
School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences
The Earth Systems Program is an interdisciplinary environmental science major. Students learn to independently investigate complex environmental problems caused by human activities in conjunction with natural changes in the Earth system. Earth Systems majors become skilled in those areas of science, economics, and policy needed to tackle the world’s most pressing social‑environmental problems and sustainability challenges. Earth Systems also offers a minor, with a focus in Sustainability.
Energy Resources Engineering
Energy Resources Engineering provides students with the engineering skills and foundational knowledge needed to flourish as technical leaders within the energy industry. Students will apply fundamental science to practical problems in maintaining and diversifying our energy supply while finding the least impactful and most rapid pathways toward greater energy sustainability.
In Geological Sciences students learn to answer fundamental questions about our planet and its neighbors. Research includes Earth’s history and the evolution of life; the oceans and atmosphere; the chemistry and physics of Earth materials; the processes that make mountains, continents, oceans and other planetary surfaces; volcanoes, earthquakes, and other geohazards; sources of water, economic minerals, metals and fuel, the impacts of climate change; and planetary science and exploration. Students acquire a broad background in the fundamentals of the Earth and planetary sciences. The major provides excellent preparation for graduate school and careers in environmental consulting, land use and planning, law, teaching, and other professions in which an understanding of the Earth and a background in science are important.
Geophysics is the branch of Earth sciences which explores and analyzes active processes of the Earth through physical measurement. Students in the program obtain a solid foundation in the essentials of mathematics, physics, and geology, and build upon that foundation in application to questions in resource exploration, environmental geophysics, seismology, and tectonics.
School of Engineering
Aeronautics and Astronautics
The undergraduate program in Aeronautics and Astronautics Engineering provides students with the fundamental principles and techniques necessary for success and leadership in the conception, design, implementation, and operation of aerospace and related engineering systems. The major prepares students for careers in aircraft and spacecraft engineering, autonomy, robotics, unmanned aerial vehicles, drones, space exploration, air and space-based telecommunication industries, computational engineering, teaching, research, military service, and other related technology-intensive fields.
The mission of the Architectural Design undergraduate program is to develop students’ ability to blend innovative architectural design with cutting-edge engineering technologies. Courses combine hands-on studios with a broad mix of elective courses that include sustainability, building systems, and structures, as well as design foundation and fine arts courses. The program’s math and science requirements prepare students for graduate work in fields such as civil and environmental engineering, law, and business.
The Department of Bioengineering offers an interdisciplinary program that resides jointly in the School of Engineering and the School of Medicine. The mission of the undergraduate program is to enable students to combine engineering and the life sciences in ways that advance scientific discovery, healthcare and medicine, manufacturing, environmental quality, culture, education, and policy. At its simplest, Stanford Bioengineering pivots on three pillars: Measure, Model, Make.
The Chemical Engineering Program focuses on making an impact on the key environmental, technological, and biological questions of our time. Chemical engineers conceive and design processes to produce, transform, and transport materials—beginning with experimentation in the laboratory, followed by implementation of technologies in full-scale production. To match our field’s new focus and widened potential, our department is undergoing a dynamic expansion organized along three distinct lines of strategic focus: chemistry of life, energy, and environment.
The Civil Engineering major is an ABET-accredited program and offers the opportunity to focus on structures and construction or on environmental and water studies. Students in the major learn to apply mathematics, science, and civil engineering to conduct experiments, design structures and systems to creatively solve engineering problems, and communicate their ideas effectively. The major prepares students for careers in consulting, industry, and government.
The undergraduate major in computer science offers a broad and rigorous training for students interested in the science of computing. The track structure of the CS program allows students to pursue the area(s) of CS they find most interesting while giving them a solid overall foundation in the field. The CS major offers coursework in areas such as artificial intelligence, biocomputation, computer engineering, graphics, human-computer interaction, information, systems, and theory.
The undergraduate program of the Department of Electrical Engineering includes a balanced foundation in the physical sciences, mathematics, and computing; core courses in electronics, information systems, and digital systems; and develops specific skills in the analysis and design of systems. The program prepares students for a broad range of careers—both industrial and government—as well as for professional and academic graduate education.
Environmental Systems Engineering
The Environmental Systems Engineering major teaches students to incorporate environmentally sustainable design, strategies, and practices into natural and built systems, including buildings and energy, water resources and supply, and urban coastal regions. The curriculum is flexible, with students choosing one of three focus areas: coastal, freshwater, or urban environments. This major prepares engineering students to take on the complex challenges of the 21st century relating to the expansion and renewal of urban infrastructure.
Management Science & Engineering (MS&E)
MS&E teaches the fundamentals of engineering systems analysis so graduates may plan, design, and implement complex economic and technical management systems. Students complete courses in accounting, computer science, economics, ethics, organizational theory, mathematical modeling, optimization, probability, and statistics, and area electives in finance and decision, operations and analytics, and organizations, entrepreneurship, and policy. MS&E prepares students for a variety of career paths, including investment banking, management consulting, data analytics, facilities and process management, and for graduate school.
Materials Science & Engineering
Materials Science and Engineering is essential to the development of modern devices and technologies. All facets of engineering depend critically on the materials utilized for specific applications, including semiconductors for electronic devices, ceramics for advanced energy storage, and polymers for new biotechnologies. A core component of MatSci is the investigation of materials processing in order to alter the structure of materials and thereby control their properties. Materials scientists and engineers also utilize a distinctive suite of characterization techniques such as advanced electron microscopes that probe materials structure down to the atomic level. This field combines approaches from Physics, Chemistry, and Biology in a unified discipline in order tackle global problems of technological, engineering, and scientific significance.
The mission of the undergraduate program in Mechanical Engineering is to provide students with a balance of theoretical and practical experiences that enable them to address a variety of societal needs. The curriculum encompasses elements from a wide range of disciplines built around the themes of computational engineering, design, energy, and multiscale engineering. Course work may include mechatronics, computational simulation, solid and fluid dynamics, microelectromechanical systems, biomechanical engineering, energy science and technology, sensing and control, and design. The program prepares students for entry-level work as mechanical engineers and for graduate studies in either an engineering discipline or other fields where a broad engineering background is useful.
School of Humanities & Sciences
African and African American Studies
African & African American Studies promotes an understanding of how history informs the present and inspires an engagement with the past to collectively dream a more just and equitable future. We value the interrelated nature of the personal and political and aim to create a community that allows for intellectual and personal flourishing. Our interdisciplinarity equips students with tools to produce revolutionary scholarship, question assumptions and norms, and confront power imbalances of our social reality.
American Studies is an interdisciplinary program that provides students with a broad understanding of American culture and society. Students learn to analyze the American experience, past and present, through a foundation of courses in History and Institutions, Literature and the Arts, and Race and Ethnicity.
Anthropology is the study of human beings and human societies as they exist across time and space. There is 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. Students can major, minor, earn honors and explore summer research, field school, and other travel research opportunities through the department.
Archaeology is a discipline that offers direct access to the experiences of a wide range of people in numerous cultures across the globe. The 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. Departmental summer field school opportunities are available as well, with major past projects having been stationed in Peru, Italy, and Mauritius.
Art & Art History | Art History, Art Practice, Film & Media Studies
The Art History program focuses 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.
The Film & Media Studies 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.
The Biology program fosters in-depth knowledge of the discipline, from molecular biology to ecology, and emphasizes the scientific process through foundational courses and sub-disciplinary electives, preparing students for professional careers such as medicine, dentistry, veterinary sciences, teaching, consulting, research, and field studies. Please note: the Biology major is not the same as being pre-med.
Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis (CESTA)
CESTA is home to a dynamic intellectual community whose interdisciplinary study brings computation and digital technology into contact with social and cultural phenomena, past and present. CESTA projects focus on the study of history, literature, media, technology, policy and identity, pioneering research at the intersection of data science and the human experience. As research assistants, undergraduate students have the opportunity to work hand in hand with a diverse community of faculty, staff and graduate students, participating in this exciting new frontier of research, and building valuable skills in the methods, theories and practices of the digital humanities and social sciences.
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 program also encourages students to become involved in research during the academic year and through a ten-week summer research program.
Students in classics explore more than 3,000 years of ancient human culture, investigating the ways that abiding issues (justice, death, human relations, the divine) have been articulated in every era. The interdisciplinary nature of classics enables students to explore languages (classical Greek and Latin), literature, ancient history, archaeology, and ancient art. Opportunities are available for funded travel to the Mediterranean region, working in digital humanities, and completing an honors thesis.
Our students explore the ways that communication techniques and technologies shape who we are, how we govern ourselves, and what kinds of cultures we inhabit. Embracing both media theory and practice, we offer courses focused on digital media studies, journalism, media psychology, and political communication.
Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity (CSRE) | Asian American Studies, Chicanx/Latinx Studies, Jewish Studies, and Native American Studies
The Asian American Studies Major and Minor under the Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity program provides an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the historical and current experiences of persons of Asian ancestry in the United States. This program brings together courses that address the artistic, historical, humanistic, political, and social dimensions of the Asian American experience and the Asian Diaspora.
The Chicana/o-Latina/o Studies Major and Minor under the Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity program takes an interdisciplinary approach that encourages the exploration of identity, culture, politics, history, literature, and much more as it relates to the Chicana/o and Latina/o experience in the United States.
The Interdepartmental Program in Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity (CSRE) is an interdisciplinary program offering students the opportunity to investigate the significance of race and ethnicity in all areas of human life. The program’s mission is to educate students to be leaders and produce knowledge for race and justice.
The Jewish Studies Major and Minor under the Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity program provides students with an understanding of Jewish history, language, literature, religion, thought, and politics. This program can help introduce students to Jewish Studies beyond a superficial level and deepen their understanding of Jewish languages like Hebrew and Yiddish.
The Native American Studies Major and Minor under the Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity 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.
The Creative Writing Program offers a unique interaction between students and our talented pool of lecturers and Stegner Fellows, all of whom are working writers with a passion for good writing and a real ability to teach it. Our classrooms are an exciting space where important conversations about craft and literature can happen, and where innovation and tradition are happily balanced. Students can choose from a wide array of courses in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction writing, along with unique studio courses such as the Graphic Novel.
Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages (DLCL)
The Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages unites five departments of literature and culture. These departments place a special emphasis on works written in foreign languages, on the comparative study of literature, and on cultural area studies. Within each of the programs, students explore, analyze, and evaluate the historical, cultural, literary, artistic, and other developments that have shaped their respective nations, regions, and the world.
- Comparative Literature
- French and Italian
- German Studies
- Iberian and Latin American Cultures
- Slavic Languages and Literatures
East Asian Languages and Cultures
The East Asian Languages and Cultures undergraduate program is designed to promote students’ interests in East Asian countries, offering courses that focus on China, Japan and Korea or compare the intersections between these East Asian regions. Students are encouraged to incorporate their other interests – e.g., STEM, politics, economics, nonprofit, etc. – to shape their academic careers. With the emergence of rapid technological advances, East Asian cultures have an increasing impact on western societies and vice versa. The undergraduate program provides students the necessary background to contextualize these global phenomena.
The Economics major provides a rigorous toolkit for thinking about the economy and about economic policy. It promotes an active learning approach to economics in which students think about real problems in an analytically rigorous way and teaches students how to put the acquired skills to use in their own research.
The Engineering Physics major is designed for students who have an interest in both engineering and physics. The program provides students with a foundation in physics and mathematics, together with engineering design and problem-solving skills. Students are prepared to tackle problems in multidisciplinary areas that are at the forefront of modern technology, such as aerospace physics, biophysics, computational science, quantum science and engineering, materials science, nanotechnology, electromechanical systems, and renewable energy.
Literature lies at the heart of human experience. Literary study nourishes our critical minds and our imaginations, and encourages the art of close reading, interpretation, and verbal analysis. In English, students have the opportunity to read great works of fiction and poetry, to develop their capacities for rigorous argument and critical expression, to acquire fundamental writing skills, and to trace the development of English literature from the Middle Ages to Anglophone writing around the world today. The department is also deeply involved in the digital humanities and in interdisciplinary research and studies.
Ethics in Society
The Program in Ethics in Society is an interdisciplinary program that offers undergraduates from any major the opportunity to explore difficult moral, political, and social questions through writing an honors thesis or completing a General Minor or a Minor in Ethics and Technology. Students who choose to write an honors thesis embark on a specialized course of study that enables them to apply the tools of moral and political philosophy to a social problem typically encountered within their self-chosen major.
Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Gender and sexuality are central to how we understand our culture and our identities and how we organize our personal lives and social institutions. Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies is a newly expanded interdisciplinary undergraduate program with opportunities to major, minor, or complete interdisciplinary honors through an individualized course of study. Students may choose one of four sub-plans (Queer Studies, Arts and Culture, Global Studies, or Health Studies) or may design their own.
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.
Human Biology provides students with an interdisciplinary approach to understanding human beings from biological, behavioral, social, and cultural perspectives. Students gain a solid foundation in biology and examine connections and parallels with other fields as they learn to formulate and evaluate health, environmental, and other public policy issues that influence human welfare.
Institute for Diversity in the Arts (IDA)
The Institute for Diversity in the Arts is a student-facing and serving organization at Stanford University. IDA trains and supports undergraduates in visionary arts leadership through stewarding the power of the arts toward social justice. Under Comparative Studies in Race & Ethnicity and African & African American Studies, IDA offers the Identity, Diversity, and Aesthetics Concentration, a program designed to explore the intersections of art, culture, race, and social transformation.
International Relations is an interdisciplinary 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.
The Language Center offers courses in over 40 languages to approximately 2,000 students each quarter in addition to opportunities for immersion and intensive study, conversation practice, the Advanced Proficiency Notation, and Service Learning. The goal is to prepare all students to have a foreign language capability that enhances their academic program and enables them to live, work, study, and research in a different country.
The seven billion humans living on Earth today speak around 7000 different languages. No other species communicates using such a complex symbolic system. What makes humans able to talk? How different are all of these languages? What are the similarities? Can computers learn to talk? Using data from the world languages as well as psychological experiments and computational models, linguists unravel the mysteries of human communication and shed light on human nature and social life.
Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute is a major research effort to assemble and disseminate historical information concerning Martin Luther King, Jr. and the social movements in which he participated. The Institute offers research opportunities for students interested in historical research, Dr. King, and the civil rights movement. Also, the Institute, across from Y2E2 at 466 Via Ortega, Cypress Hall D, is open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for visitors to view exhibits featuring King’s life and work.
Mathematical and Computational Science
Known as Stanford’s Data Science major, Mathematical and Computational Science is an interdisciplinary major sponsored by Mathematics, Computer Science, Management Science & Engineering, and Statistics that is designed for students interested in the use of mathematical ideas and analysis in the areas of engineering, education, health, biology, finance, management, and other disciplines involving scientific research.
Mathematics majors develop skills in logical and visual thinking and oral and written communication through problem solving, small-group work with classmates, and experience using techniques and ideas in both pure and applied mathematics. Students may also pursue electives in nearby fields such as statistics, computer science, economics, and physics.
The Department of Music provides specialized training for those interested in music as composers, solo and ensemble performers, computer and jazz musicians, teachers, and research scholars. The major program is grounded in a series of courses in theory, musicianship, and music history. A new low-unit flexible minor offers rounded individualized experiences. Non-majors may pursue a capstone experience in performance.
The mission of Philosophy is to train students 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?
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 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, social movements, ideological systems, and diversity. Students who major in political science will learn how political decisions are made and develop analytic skills useful in their future careers. To complete a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, students focus on two of five tracks: Data Science; Elections, Representation, and Governance; International Relations; Justice and Law; and Political Economy and Development.
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.
The Public Policy Program gives students the foundational skills for understanding the policy process and provides an interdisciplinary course of study in the design, management, and evaluation of public sector programs and institutions. In the Public Policy core courses, students assess alternative approaches to policy implementation, evaluate the effectiveness of policies, and analyze the political objectives and constraints that policy makers face. After completing the core, students focus on one of several areas of concentration that address specific fields of public policy.
The 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.
Science, Technology, and Society (STS)
Science, Technology, and Society is an interdisciplinary undergraduate program where students 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. STS has concentrations in the following areas: Innovation & Organizations, Politics & Policy, Communication & Media, Life Sciences & Health, and Nature & Environment.
Sociology seeks to understand all aspects of human social behavior, including the behavior of individuals and the social dynamics of small groups, large organizations, communities, institutions, and entire societies. Sociologists are motivated by the desire to better understand the fundamental principles of social life and the conviction that this understanding may aid in the formulation of more effective social policy. Sociology thus provides a strong intellectual background for students considering careers in business, social services, public policy, government service, international nongovernmental organizations, foundations, or academia.
The Symbolic Systems Program 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.
Theater and Performance Studies (TAPS)
The Department of Theater and Performance Studies combines creative practice and critical scholarship to cultivate well-rounded artist-scholars. With close faculty contact, majors and minors pursue courses in acting and improvisation, dance and choreography, costume, scenic and light design, directing and performance making, play writing and devising, Shakespeare and avant-garde, Greek tragedy, and global theater. Mission-driven, TAPS produces numerous events through its robust season of live shows. TAPS provides students with the tools they need to become future leaders in the field.
Urban Studies is an interdisciplinary undergraduate program that combines academic approaches with real-world experience to understand cities, suburbs, and other settlements. Urban Studies is for those who have wondered why people live in cities, how the built environment shapes behavior, or how to address complex problems like urban poverty, gentrification, climate change, and educational inequality.