Undergraduate Education

Academic Freedom

Student-to-faculty ratio
Of classes have 19 students or fewer

At Stanford, students enjoy an unusual degree of academic freedom. The Stanford curriculum will not force you into specific courses that do not interest you. Instead, it will remind you at every turn why you wanted a strong liberal arts education.

  • Stanford follows the quarter system calendar. Each quarter is 10 weeks long and students are typically enrolled in classes for three quarters: autumn, winter, spring. With three sets of classes each year, the quarter system allows students to take up to 50% more courses during their time in college than would be possible on the semester system.
  • Students apply and are admitted to the University as a whole, not to any specific major, department or program. Students have two full years to explore their interests before declaring a major by the end of their sophomore year.
  • Approximately 25% of our students pursue interdisciplinary programs such as Human Biology, Earth Systems, International Relations, Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, and Urban Studies.
  • Each year over 200 seminars are offered exclusively to freshmen, sophomores and first-year transfer students, averaging 16 students.
  • Stanford students can pursue double-majors, add a minor, write an honors thesis, take graduate level courses, or graduate with both a bachelor's and a master's degree (often in as little as five years.)
  • Students can also take advantage of optional academic enrichment opportunities over the summer, like Leland Scholars , the Arts Intensive , Bing Honors College , or Sophomore College .

“Its object, to qualify its students for personal success, and direct usefulness in life; And its purposes, to promote the public welfare by exercising an influence in behalf of humanity and civilization, teaching the blessings of liberty regulated by law, and inculcating love and reverence for the great principles of government as derived from the inalienable rights of man to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

-Leland Stanford & Jane Lathrop Stanford

Updated on December 20, 2019 9:27 AM