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Departments & Programs

Social Sciences

  • Anthropology

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    Anthropology Stanford’s Department of Anthropology focuses on the study of human beings and societies through the examination of social, historical, ecological, and biological change. Known for its innovative approaches, the department maintains that anthropology must be studied in relation to the contemporary world.

    Students are encouraged to apply theory and research methods to topics including archaeology, ecology, evolution, linguistics, medical anthropology, political economy, and science and technology. Current areas of emphasis at Stanford include globalization and transnational politics, gender and sexuality, and culture and health. Learn More »

  • Communication

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    Communication The Stanford Department of Communication’s undergraduate curriculum examines the foundation and influence of mass communication in society. Coursework involving theory and field methods covers topics ranging from the historical role of the press in elections to the intricacies of virtual communities and social media. Although the undergraduate program trains students as social scientists rather than as journalists, several practicum classes teach students how to read, write, and report the news.

    For prospective reporters, the Graduate Program in Journalism offers an intensive year of writing instruction combined with courses that promote critical thinking about what it means to practice journalism in the changing media landscape. Known for its core faculty of acclaimed former editors and writers, a focus on public affairs journalism, and location in Silicon Valley, the program has a near 100 percent placement rate for its entrepreneurial, media-savvy graduates. Learn More »

  • Economics

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    One of the leading programs in the nation, Stanford’s Department of Economics teaches students about the economic aspects of contemporary society and trains them to understand and evaluate policy. The department collaborates with Stanford’s programs in International Relations, Public Policy, and Urban Studies to cover subjects ranging from the global food market to the economics of law and institutions.

    Each summer the Department of Economics employs undergraduates as Research Assistants for faculty on the Stanford campus. A primary goal of the Program is to provide students with a deeper understanding of the nature and methods of academic research and to stimulate students’ interest in pursuing research projects of their own.

    Students can extend their education beyond the classroom through Policy Forums and other events at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR). At SIEPR, economists across campus work with leaders in business, technology, and government, uniting theory with policy-oriented research. Learn More »

  • Political Science

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    Political Science In the Department of Political Science at Stanford, students study political systems in the U.S. and worldwide in relation to international conflicts, social movements, ideological systems, and racial and ethnic diversity. From the politics of modern Iran to the complexities of China’s criminal justice system, the department’s course and research topics reflect the wide expertise of its faculty members.

    The department focuses on five subfields: American politics, comparative politics, international relations, political methodology, and political theory. Learn More »

  • Psychology

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    Psychology Ranked number one for more than 50 years, the Stanford Psychology Department uses high-caliber teaching and cutting-edge research to work toward a better understanding of human nature and behavior. The department is structured into five distinct, yet collaborative, areas of study: cognitive science, child development, neuroscience, social psychology, and affective science—the study of emotion.

    Courses span topics ranging from the psychology of prejudice to applied vision and image systems. Students can apply and build on classroom instruction by assisting leading scholars with research or designing their own studies in the 15 psychology labs on campus. These include Stanford’s Bing Nursery School, a thriving locus for developmental research, and the Stanford Memory Laboratory, which seeks to understand how memory is organized. Learn More »

  • Sociology

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    Sociology How can we better address the conflicts and inequalities in global, institutional, and personal relations? By teaching core sociological theories and methods, the Department of Sociology at Stanford instructs students how to critically evaluate human behavior and social organizations.

    The department specializes in four areas of study. These include organizations, business, and the economy; social movements, comparative politics, and social change; social psychology and interpersonal processes; and social inequality. Through its strong interdisciplinary ties with other Stanford programs such as the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity and the Michelle R. Clayman Institute for Gender Research, as well as its commitment to hands-on research, the department produces work that engages with social issues of our time. Learn More »

Featured Department: Political Science

Political Science

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