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Departments & Programs

Interdisciplinary Programs

  • African and African American Studies

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    African and African American Studies (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. Scholars can focus on critical intersections between gender, class, region, religion and other factors, and often work closely with other ethnic programs and fields of study—from International Relations to Political Science, and from Feminist Studies to Sociology.

    AAAS also encourages students to use interdisciplinary methods drawn from anthropology, art, art history, economics, languages, linguistics and literature, music, philosophy, political science, psychology, and religion, among others. Learn More »

  • African Studies

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    African Studies seeks to enrich understanding of the interactions between the social, economic, cultural, historical, linguistic, geopolitical, and biomedical factors that shape African societies.

    Courses in African Studies are offered by departments and programs across the university. African language classes coordinated by the Center for African Studies include Swahili, Xhosa, Zulu, and Arabic. Each year the center sponsors a seminar to demonstrate how topics of current interest in African Studies are approached from different disciplinary perspectives.

    The Center for African Studies offers a one-year master’s degree program. Students may also pursue a joint degree program with Stanford Law School. Undergraduates and graduate students not pursuing the master’s degree can specialize in African Studies through other Stanford departments and programs. Learn More »

  • American Studies

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    The interdisciplinary program in American Studies provides students with an expansive understanding of American culture and society. Through courses on history and institutions, literature and the arts, and race and ethnicity, students analyze the past and present of the United States.

    Because the major spans disciplines, students can pursue interests in African-American studies, art, economics, feminist studies, film, education, history, literature, music, and more. Recent classes have included American Fiction into Film: How Hollywood Scripts and Projects Black and White Relations and the History of Women and Medicine in the United States. Learn More »

  • Archaeology

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    Through applying methods and concepts from the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, the archaeology program introduces students to a robust and multidisciplinary analysis of the material culture of past societies. Faculty and visiting scholars come from a wide range of university departments, including classics, art history, and biology.

    Students relate their coursework to the practice of archaeology through cutting-edge research and collaboration in the Archaeology Center on campus and at a range of dig sites around the world. Learn More »

  • Biophysics

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    Biophysics The Stanford Biophysics Program is an interdisciplinary, interdepartmental graduate training program that leads to a doctoral degree in biophysics. The program, which brings together faculty from 16 departments in the schools of Humanities & Sciences, Medicine, and Engineering, as well as the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory, imparts an understanding of biological functions in terms of physical and chemical principles.

    Studying the physical interactions of DNA molecules, for example, can lead to insights into diseases such as Alzheimer’s. The program trains students to approach biological problems quantitatively and also encourages high-level independent research on biological issues at the forefront of science. Learn More »

  • Center for International Security and Cooperation Honors Program

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    The CISAC Interschool Honors Program in International Security Studies provides an opportunity for undergraduates from all majors to write a thesis that makes a substantive contribution to the understanding of international security.

    The program requires that students serve an internship with a security-related organization, participate in CISAC's Honors College in Washington, D.C. at the beginning of the honors year, and attend a yearlong seminar that culminates in the writing of their theses.
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  • Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law

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    The Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law Interdisciplinary Honors Program aims to provide an opportunity for eligible seniors focusing on democracy, economic development, and rule of law subjects in any university department to earn honors in democracy, development, and rule of law (DDRL). Students work to complete their thesis under the guidance and consultation of CDDRL faculty, but may have a primary thesis advisor from their own department. Learn More »

  • Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity

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    Students interested in exploring the constructs of race and ethnicity from an interdisciplinary perspective select from more than 150 courses across the university through the undergrad program in Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity (CSRE). The broad range of coursework provides students with a historical background in diversity, as well as the tools needed to address current issues of race, ethnicity, nationality, and inequality. CSRE encompasses four degree-granting programs: Asian-American Studies, Chicana/o studies, Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, and Native American Studies.

    Students are encouraged to choose a thematic concentration to guide their coursework: public service, American diversity, race and the American city, or a self-designed concentration. Another concentration within CSRE—the Institute for Diversity in the Arts and Committee on Black Performing Arts—provides a study track for those interested in studying culture, identity, and diversity through the arts. Learn More »

  • East Asian Studies

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    Stanford’s master’s program in East Asian Studies combines language training, interdisciplinary area studies, and a disciplinary concentration. Students construct a course of study suited to their individual interests and career aspirations.

    The program is designed for those who want to concentrate on East Asia at the doctoral level, but have not selected a specific discipline or wish to pursue intensive area studies and language training before moving on to advanced study. Stanford offers a joint degree program in East Asian Studies and law and dual degree programs with medicine or business. The program also attracts students who plan to specialize in East Asian Studies for careers in fields such as government service or journalism. Learn More »

  • Ethics in Society

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    The Program in Ethics in Society offers undergraduates the opportunity to write a senior honors thesis within a community of interdisciplinary scholars. The program includes course offerings from philosophy, history, comparative studies in race and ethnicity, economics, and political science. The broad range of courses prepares students for the challenge of integrating ethical theories with real-world moral and political problems.

    Students who write an honors thesis in the program major in many disciplines, including earth sciences, human biology, economics, and religious studies. With its committed faculty and small size, the program is able to offer individualized advising. Students meet with an advisor when they begin their honors thesis, and maintain relationships with faculty mentors until graduation.
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  • Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

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    Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies is an interdisciplinary undergraduate program that explores gender and sexuality with the assumption that gender is a critical component in the organization of personal lives and social institutions. Students investigate how societies structure gender roles, relations, and identities, and how those intersect with other constructs such as class and ethnicity.

    The Queer Studies component of the program provides a multidisciplinary approach to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, and queer political movements, identities, theories, and cultures. Students choose from classes across the university to develop an individual study track around a self-defined thematic focus. Learn More »

  • Financial Mathematics

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    The interdisciplinary MS degree in financial mathematics is offered by the departments of Mathematics and Statistics along with the departments of Management Science and Engineering (MS&E) and Economics and the Graduate School of Business. The program provides an education in applied and computational mathematics, statistics, and financial applications. Learn More »

  • Human Biology

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    Human Biology The undergraduate program in Human Biology offers a unique interdisciplinary approach to understanding human beings from biological, behavioral, social, and cultural perspectives. Coursework aims to help students see connections with other fields as they learn to evaluate health, environmental, and other public policy issues that influence human welfare.

    A core sequence typically completed in the sophomore year segues into an individualized road map of study within the program and across other university departments. Students can choose from concentrations such as human development; brain and behavior; environment and environmental policy; and health and health policy. A key aspect of the program is a required internship during which students leave the classroom to gain experience in a field related to their chosen track of study.
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  • International Relations

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    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. Learn More »

  • Latin American Studies

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    The one-year master’s program in Latin American Studies is designed for students who have experience working, living, or studying in Latin America or the Iberian Peninsula but have little prior coursework in the field.

    The interdisciplinary curriculum is based on core courses surveying the history, politics, and ecology of Latin America. Additional individualized courses allow students to further explore interests in specialized areas. Stanford also offers a joint degree program in Latin American Studies and law, and dual degree programs with medicine or business. Students benefit from advanced language training and opportunities to interact with leading scholars in a variety of disciplines. Learn More »

  • Mathematical and Computational Science

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    Mathematical and Computational Science The Mathematical and Computational Sciences program (MCS) provides students with a math core fundamental to all mathematical sciences. The curriculum also includes an introduction to concepts and techniques of computation, optimal decision-making, probabilistic modeling, and statistical inference.

    The interdisciplinary program uses faculty and courses from the departments of computer science, management science and engineering (MS&E), mathematics, and statistics. A computational biology track for those interested in biomedical applications, such as bioinformatics, statistical genetics, computational biology, and neurosciences, is also offered. Learn More »

  • Medieval Studies

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    The program in Medieval Studies brings together a wide range of disciplines. These include art and architecture; literature and languages; music; philosophy; religious studies; and economic, social, and political history. Faculty specialties bridge Western, Islamic, and Asian cultures, and coursework encompasses both traditional and innovative materials and methods.

    Recent courses include Arthurian Literature and Medieval Romance in the English department and Land of Three Religions: Medieval Spain in the History department. Students can also explore the period through workshops and events cosponsored by the Center for Medieval and Early Modern Studies. Learn More »

  • Modern Thought and Literature

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    Modern Thought and Literature Modern Thought and Literature (MTL) is an interdisciplinary graduate program that focuses on the study of critical issues in fields ranging from cultural anthropology and women’s studies to comparative literature and film. The program trains students to understand the history and methods of various disciplines.

    Students consider how the disciplines shape knowledge and, most important, how interdisciplinary methods reshape objects of study. Each student creates a program of study tailored to his or her research in areas across the humanities and social sciences, as well as in education, law, and medicine. Learn More »

  • Public Policy

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    Public Policy The undergraduate program in Public Policy teaches the concepts and tools used to evaluate policy options, with a focus on domestic policy issues that can be applied anywhere in the world. Students take courses in economics and qualitative methods, political science, law, philosophy, ethics, organizational behavior, and social psychology.

    The program provides an interdisciplinary framework for examining policies, programs, and political organizations while also teaching students how to apply their knowledge to decision-making in the real world. Learn More »

  • Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies (CREEES)

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    The master’s program in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies is designed to provide intensive study for students with a strong academic background in the region. The one-year program offers advanced training in area studies through an interdisciplinary course of study.

    The program combines language and area courses with disciplines in the social sciences and humanities. Students include those aspiring to pursue careers in government, journalism, business, and non-governmental and relief organizations. It attracts students who wish to pursue doctoral or professional degrees but also want intensive area studies and language training. The program also comprises students who have not yet decided on a career but want to deepen their understanding of Russia and the former Soviet Union, its successor states, and eastern Europe. Learn More »

  • Science, Technology and Society

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    The interdisciplinary program Science, Technology and Society (STS) explores the nature and consequences of technology and science in contemporary culture. STS teaching and research are based on the idea that science and technology are two of the strongest forces for individual, societal, and global change today.

    Students approach topics from a range of perspectives in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering. Courses encourage critical analyses of how science and technology influence—and are influenced by—human values, political and economic forces, and cultural and environmental systems. Learn More »

  • Stanford Global Studies

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    Stanford Global Studies Within the Stanford Global Studies division, 14 programs and international centers provide resources for examining the world through multiple perspectives—economic, political, social, technological, and cultural. Through courses, research, and events in programs such as Islamic, Iranian, and Buddhist studies, scholars engage in a deep comparative analysis of the increasingly interconnected world.

    Undergraduate majors are available in International Relations, and Jewish Studies. Minors are available in those programs, as well as in Latin American Studies and Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies. ICA also supports five interdisciplinary master’s degree programs: African Studies; East Asian Studies; Latin American Studies; Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies; and International Policy Studies. Learn More »

  • Symbolic Systems

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    The interdisciplinary program Symbolic Systems focuses on computers and the human mind, examining the relationship between artificial and natural systems that use symbols to represent information. Faculty members teach the theoretical background and technical skills necessary to research questions about language, information, and human and artificial intelligence.

    Coursework incorporates instruction in science and engineering, as well as humanistic approaches to issues surrounding language and intelligence. Core requirements include cross-disciplinary courses in symbolic logic, the philosophy of mind, formal linguistics, cognitive psychology, programming, the mathematics of computation, statistical theory, artificial intelligence, and cognitive science. Learn More »

  • Urban Studies

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    Urban Studies The interdisciplinary undergraduate Urban Studies program brings together students, faculty, and specialists to study the nature of cities and their impact on society and people’s lives. Coursework from the social sciences, history, and education explores how cities have changed over time, as well as contemporary urban issues such as poverty, homelessness, and troubled schools.

    Through instruction, independent research, and real-world experience, students develop the tools and knowledge needed to help improve urban environments. Learn More »

Featured Program: Human Biology

Human Biology

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