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Independent research laboratories, centers, and institutes perform multidisciplinary research that extends beyond the scope of any one of the University's organized schools. The listings are not all-inclusive. A comprehensive list of Stanford offices is available on the University's A to Z Index page.

The following tabs contain information on programs for undergraduates:

Office of Vice Provost and Dean of Research

Vice Provost and Dean of Research: Ann M. Arvin

Office: 450 Serra Mall, Main Quadrangle, Building 60
Mail Code: 94305-2064
Phone: 650-723-8789 / Fax 650-723-0662
Web Site:
Office Fax: 650-723-0662

The following independent Laboratories, Centers, and Institutes report to the Vice Provost and Dean of Research:

Biological and Life Sciences

Environmental Sciences

Humanities and Social Sciences

Physical Sciences


Office: Stanford Arts Institute, Littlefield Center, 2nd Floor
Mail Code: 94305-2255
Web Site:

Courses offered by the Stanford Arts Institute are listed under the subject code ARTSINST on the Stanford Bulletin's ExploreCourses web site.

The Stanford Arts Institute forges arts connections across the University; gives grants for faculty, staff, and students; presents arts events; incubates new arts projects; and supports artists and cultural groups across campus. Since its founding in 2006, the Stanford Arts Institute has been a catalyst helping the Stanford arts community to grow.

Honors in the Arts

The Stanford Arts Institute offers the interdisciplinary Honors in the Arts program, which is open to undergraduates in all majors.

Stanford students in any major can complete a capstone project integrating their major studies with a broad arts perspective and receive "Honors in the Arts." The program features two tracks:

  • Interdisciplinary honors within the arts—for students majoring in an arts discipline who wish to incorporate other arts disciplines into their work. Students in this track are typically majors in a department such as Art and Art History; departments within the Division of Languages, Cultures, and Literatures; English; Music; or Theater and Performance Studies, who wish to do an honors project involving approaches from another arts field.
  • Interdisciplinary honors for non-arts majors—for students majoring in a non-arts discipline who complete a capstone project incorporating the arts. Students in this track are typically majors in a department other than those described above, who wish to do an honors project involving an arts element. This project should incorporate themes, discourse, or learning from a student’s major.


A minimum overall GPA of 3.67 (A-) is typically required for admission into the program. Upon petition, exceptions may be granted by the program director in the case of students demonstrating particular strengths relevant to honors in the arts.

Students are required to take at least three courses identified as preparing them to execute an interdisciplinary capstone project. These courses should be in either an art practice area relevant to the capstone project or should explore the methodology of interdisciplinary arts study. A sample list of courses can be found on the Arts Institute web site. It is recommended that students complete at least two of these courses prior to entering the program. However, upon approval of the program director, students may take these courses while pursuing their honors project. Courses are typically at least 2 units and must be taken for a letter grade.

Prospective students must submit a brief essay outlining their preparation and proposing a capstone project.

Students interested in pursuing Honors in the Arts can apply for acceptance in the junior year. Students should contact the program coordinator at to begin the application process.


  • Prior to Spring Quarter, Junior Year: Two preparatory courses for interdisciplinary study, 4-8 Units
  • Prior to Spring Quarter, Junior Year/Concurrent with Capstone: Preparatory course for interdisciplinary study, 2-4 Units
  • Winter Quarter, Junior Year: Apply for admission to Interdisciplinary Arts Honors
  • Spring Quarter, Junior Year: Confirm preparatory courses with honors program director
  • Autumn Quarter, Senior Year: ARTSINST 200A, 2 Units
  • Winter Quarter, Senior Year: ARTSINST 200B, 2 Units
  • Spring Quarter, Senior Year: ARTSINST 200C, 2 Units

The capstone project is developed during the senior year through three quarters of workshops. To receive Honors in the Arts, students must fulfill all requirements and must receive at least an 'A-' on the capstone project.

Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality

Certificate Program on Poverty and Inequality

The Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality (CPI) monitors and publicizes trends in poverty and inequality, publishes the country’s leading magazine on poverty and inequality (Pathways Magazine), supports research on the causes of poverty and inequality, and examines the effects of public policy on poverty and inequality. The center carries out these activities with ten research groups addressing the following topics:

  • poverty measurement and trends
  • educational access and achievement
  • income inequality
  • social mobility
  • safety net use
  • recession and recovery effects
  • spatial segregation
  • racial and ethnic inequality
  • discrimination, poverty, and the labor market
  • Hispanic poverty, inequality, and mobility.

The Certificate in Poverty and Inequality recognizes undergraduates who have developed expertise in one or more of these research areas. The certificate is conferred as soon as the coursework and research requirements listed below are completed.  Although the certificate does not appear on an official University transcript, it provides formal recognition of a rigorous program of study in the field of poverty and inequality.


Applications to the CPI certificate program are available on the CPI web site and may be filed at any time. Admitted students are assigned an adviser who assists in planning coursework and providing research opportunities within CPI. Contact CPI ( with any questions.


The student’s course and research plan, which is submitted with the application, should meet the four requirements listed below.

  1. Core Foundation Course: (SOC 140 Introduction to Social Stratification. This required introductory course examines the causes and consequences of poverty, inequality, and mobility. It is available as both a regular and online course.
  2. Elective Foundation Course: The second foundation course is selected from among the normative, empirical, and policy courses listed below. These courses examine the principles by which certain types of living conditions may be deemed unjust or impoverished (i.e., normative analysis), the social processes and forces by which poverty and inequality are generated and maintained (i.e., empirical analysis), and the types of policies and interventions that might reduce or increase poverty and inequality (i.e., policy analysis). 
  3. Units
    Elective Foundation Courses
    Normative Foundation
    ETHICSOC 136RIntroduction to Global Justice4
    ETHICSOC 171Justice4-5
    INTNLREL 136RIntroduction to Global Justice4
    PHIL 76Introduction to Global Justice4
    PHIL 171Justice4-5
    POLISCI 136RIntroduction to Global Justice4
    POLISCI 136SJustice4-5
    PUBLPOL 103CJustice4-5
    Empirical Foundation
    SOC 141Controversies about Inequality5
    SOC 144Inequality and the Workplace5
    Policy Foundation
    ECON 11NUnderstanding the Welfare System3
    SOC 135Poverty, Inequality, and Social Policy in the United States3
  4. Research Project: Students must complete a research paper on poverty or inequality.  Students are invited to join one of the ten CPI research groups and become involved in an ongoing CPI research project that might become the basis for their research paper. Alternatively, students  write an independent research paper rather than joining a CPI Research Group.  The research paper may either take the form of a research proposal or an empirical research project based on quantitative or qualitative methods.  This paper should be completed while the student is enrolled in Independent Study with a CPI faculty affiliate.
  5. Additional Elective: Students must take an elective course with a poverty or inequality focus. This requirement may be satisfied by taking an additional foundation course from the list provided above or by taking any of the preapproved elective courses listed below. Additionally, other unlisted courses addressing issues of poverty and inequality may also satisfy this requirement, although such courses require CPI approval (which is requested by submitting the Course Approval Form). It is recommended that approval be secured in advance of taking an unlisted course. If a new applicant to the certificate program wishes to count a completed course toward the requirements, that should be indicated on the application form and, if necessary, the Course Approval Form should be filled out).
  6. Units
    Preapproved Elective Courses
    EARTHSYS 106World Food Economy5
    ECON 11NUnderstanding the Welfare System3
    ECON 106World Food Economy5
    SOC 135Poverty, Inequality, and Social Policy in the United States3
    Educational Access and Achievement
    ECON 146Economics of Education5
    EDUC 102Examining Social Structures, Power, and Educational Access2-3
    EDUC 173Gender and Higher Education: National and International Perspectives4
    EDUC 181Multicultural Issues in Higher Education4
    EDUC 221APolicy Analysis in Education4-5
    EDUC 232Culture, Learning, and Poverty2-3
    FEMST 173
    SOC 132Sociology of Education: The Social Organization of Schools4
    SOC 134Education, Gender, and Development4
    SOC 173Gender and Higher Education: National and International Perspectives4
    Income Inequality
    AMSTUD 50NThe Literature of Inequality: Have and Have-Nots from the Gilded Age to the Occupy Era3
    POLISCI 127PEconomic Inequality and Political Dysfunction5
    SOC 14NInequality in American Society4
    SOC 117DRecognizing Inequality3
    SOC 141Controversies about Inequality5
    Social Mobility
    EDUC 102Examining Social Structures, Power, and Educational Access2-3
    SOC 144Inequality and the Workplace5
    Safety Net
    ECON 11NUnderstanding the Welfare System3
    PUBLPOL 101Politics and Public Policy4-5
    Recession and Recovery
    ECON 110History of Financial Crises5
    SOC 114DSociology of the Great Recession5
    Spatial Segregation
    SOC 149The Urban Underclass4
    Racial and Ethnic Income Inequalities
    CSRE 45QUnderstanding Race and Ethnicity in American Society4
    CSRE 145Race and Ethnic Relations in the USA4
    NATIVEAM 139American Indians in Contemporary Society4
    SOC 45QUnderstanding Race and Ethnicity in American Society4
    SOC 46NRace, Ethnic, and National Identities: Imagined Communities3
    SOC 139American Indians in Contemporary Society4
    SOC 145Race and Ethnic Relations in the USA4
    SOC 148Comparative Ethnic Conflict4
    Discrimination and the Labor Market
    ECON 11NUnderstanding the Welfare System3
    ECON 118Development Economics5
    ECON 145Labor Economics5
    SOC 142Sociology of Gender5
    SOC 144Inequality and the Workplace5
    Poverty, Inequality, and Mobility among Hispanics
    CHILATST 125SChicano/Latino Politics5
    POLISCI 125SChicano/Latino Politics5
    SOC 165Seminar on the Everday Lives of Immigrants5
    SOC 166Mexicans, Mexican Americans, and Chicanos in American Society5

Graduate Certificate in Digital Humanities


The Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis (CESTA) offers a Graduate Certificate in Digital Humanities (GCDH) to meet a growing need among the humanities for training in digital methods by leveraging existing resources at Stanford University. The Graduate Certificate in Digital Humanities allows graduate students to acquire and deepen their technical and conceptual skills as well as to strengthen their position in the competitive job market within and beyond the academy. The certificate program has been established as a pilot program from 2014 -17.

Completion of the program results in a Certificate, signed by the CESTA director and the chair of the doctoral student’s home department.

The Graduate Certificate in Digital Humanities is issued by the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis (CESTA) and will not appear on any University record, including the student’s transcript.


Office: Wallenberg Hall, 450 Serra Mall, Building 160
Mail Code: 94305-2084
Phone: (650) 721-1385. Fax: (650) 725-5916
Web Site:


Core Faculty: Mark Algee-Hewitt, Franco Moretti, Richard White, Dan Edelstein, Paula Findlen, Giovanna Ceserani, Walter Scheidel, Elaine Treharne, Amir Eschel, Zephyr Frank

Affiliated CESTA Faculty: Allyson Hobbs, Edith Scheffer, Caroline Winterer, Mark McGurl, Ana Minian, Mikael Wolfe.

CESTA Staff, Affiliates, and others: Celena Allen (GIS), Erik Steiner (visualization design and cartography), Ryan Heuser (programming), Nicole Coleman (information design and visualization), Jason Heppler (digital history), Elijah Meeks (information design), Karl Grossner (information design and cartography).


Admission to the program is on a rolling basis, and students may apply at any time. Submit a letter of interest and any supporting information to CESTA Lab Manager Matt Bryant at For more information about the new GDCH program or CESTA in general, see the program's web site or contact Matt Bryant at

Course work

Students wishing to take part in the first cohort starting in 2014-15 and thereafter are expected to complete one GCDH-approved graduate core course for a letter grade, and one additional approved elective course. The approved core courses for the first year of the program are:

Students who have completed any of the core courses, or equivalent courses taught by members of the program, in past years are eligible to move to the next step in the GCDH program.

Following or concurrent with the completion of the required core course, students must complete the following two certificate components:

  1. Additional course work (1 or more classes, may be taken credit/no credit, and must be approved in advance by the committee in charge) in computer science, information design, statistics, network analysis, linguistics, or other fields approved by the student’s supervisor and the CESTA committee in charge. A list of course recommendations is forthcoming.
  2. One of the following:
    1. Independent research project and portfolio including a finished project which is evaluated and approved by an Academic Council supervisor and accepted as an affiliated project in one of CESTA’s labs. The duration of such projects must be a minimum of one academic quarter. Students may take up to 5 units of credit of directed reading for the purpose of completing the independent research project. Final projects are included in the student’s ePortfolio and published on the CESTA web site.
    2. Supervised collaborative research in a CESTA lab with the expectation that the student’s participation culminates in a digital humanities product substantially of the authorship of the student; this must be a minimum of two quarters in duration. The student’s portion of the research is included in the ePortfolio and published on the CESTA web site.

Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI)


Office: Encina Hall Center, First Floor, 616 Serra Street
Mail Code: 94305-6055
Phone: 650-723-4581 / Fax 650-725-2592
Web Site:

The Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) provides opportunities for undergraduate research through the CDDRL Undergraduate Honors Program and the CISAC Interschool Honors Program in International Security Studies.

Interschool Honors Program in Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law

Director: Stephen J. Stedman

The Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law (CDDRL) Undergraduate Senior Honors Program provides students majoring in any Stanford academic department the opportunity to conduct an independent research project focused on the fields of democracy, development, and the rule of law under CDDRL faculty guidance. Students are required to complete a year-long honors research seminar that begins autumn quarter of the junior year. They will spend the last quarter of the senior year working independently with their faculty adviser to complete and submit their honors thesis ahead of their formal defense in mid-May. Upon fulfilling individual department course requirements and completing the honors program, students graduate with a certificate in Honors in Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law.

Students interested in the program consult with their prospective honors advisers in their junior year to determine the tentative thesis topic, which should have some degree of policy relevance. Prerequisites for the program include; a 3.5 grade-point average at the time they apply; a strong overall academic record; sufficient depth and breadth in the fields of democracy, economic and social development, rule of law, and human rights course work; and demonstrated skills in writing and conducting independent research.

Students are required to attend honors college in Washington, D.C. in September before Autumn Quarter classes begin. Applicants are discouraged from studying abroad during the duration of the CDDRL Undergraduate Honors program.

Required Course Work

Two courses that explore the areas of democracy, development, and the rule of law. CDDRL's flagship undergraduate lecture course taught during Autumn Quarter, which ideally should be completed before the student enters the honors program. DDRL Honors Research Methods Seminars meet on a weekly basis to present their project theses and receive feedback. 

Typical Schedule for CDDRL Honors Program

Select one of the following:5    
Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law (INTNLREL 114D)
Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law (POLISCI 114D)
DDRL 189 Honors Research Methods    3
Year Total: 5   3
DDRL 190 Honors Research Workshop3    
DDRL 190 Honors Research Workshop  3  
DDRL 191 Independent Study (Optional)1
Year Total: 3 3  
Total Units in Sequence: 14

 Optional any quarter during senior year for 1-5 units, repeatable once for credit.

Admitted students must be able to fulfill all course requirements in their individual majors by the time they graduate, in addition to the units required for the honors program. For more information, contact Alice Kada, CDDRL Administrative Manager at or go to

Interschool Honors Program in International Security Studies

Co-Directors: Coit D. Blacker, Martha Crenshaw

The Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) coordinates a University-wide Interschool Honors Program in International Security Studies. Students chosen for the honors program intern with a security-related organization, attend the program's honors college in Washington, D.C., in September, participate in a year-long core seminar, and under the direction of a faculty advisor produce an honors thesis relevant to international security policy. Upon fulfilling individual department course requirements and completing the honors program, students graduate in their major with the award of Honors in International Security Studies. To be considered for the program, students must demonstrate sufficient depth and breadth of international security course work. Successful applicants to the program are expected to have taken:

MSE 193Technology and National Security3
POLISCI 114SInternational Security in a Changing World5
and at least one related course such as4-5
ECON 106World Food Economy5
HISTORY 103FThe Changing Face of War: Introduction to Military History5
HISTORY 204ETotalitarianism4-5
HUMBIO 129SGlobal Public Health4
INTNLREL 114DDemocracy, Development, and the Rule of Law5
INTNLREL 140AInternational Law and International Relations5
LAW 479International Law4
MSE 93QNuclear Weapons, Energy, Proliferation, and Terrorism3
MSE 190Methods and Models for Policy and Strategy Analysis3
MSE 295Energy Policy Analysis3
POLISCI 42QThe Rwandan Genocide5
POLISCI 110DWar and Peace in American Foreign Policy5
POLISCI 116The International History of Nuclear Weapons5
POLISCI 123/PUBLPOL 101Politics and Public Policy5
PUBLPOL 102Organizations and Public Policy4-5
SOC 160Formal Organizations4

Students in the program enroll in IIS 199 Interschool Honors Program in International Security Studies, in Autumn, Winter, and Spring quarters for 3-5 credits for quarter (9-12 total credits). Information about and applications to this program may be obtained from the Center for International Security and Cooperation, C206-10, Encina Hall Central, telephone (650) 725-5365 or

Center for Space Science and Astrophysics

Emeriti: (Professors) Robert Cannon, (Professors, Research) Donald L. Carpenter, Aldo V. daRosa, Daniel B. DeBra, W.Gary Ernst, Von R. Eshleman, Antony Fraser-Smith, Robert A. Helliwell, Bruce B. Lusignan, Ronald J. P. Lyon, Laurence A. Manning, Bradford W. Parkinson, J. David Powell, Peter A. Sturrock, G. Leonard Tyler, Robert V. Wagoner

Director: Roger W. Romani

Associate Directors: Umran S. Inan, Philip H. Scherrer

Professors: Roger Blandford (Physics, SLAC), Elliot Bloom (SLAC), Lambertus Hesselink (Electrical Engineering), Umran S. Inan (Electrical Engineering), Steven Kahn (Physics, SLAC), Tune Kame (SLAC), Peter F. Michelson (Physics), Vahé Petrosian (Physics), Roger W. Romani (Physics), Norman H. Sleep (Geophysics), Guenther Walther (Statistics), Howard Zebker (Electrical Engineering, Geophysics)

Associate Professors: Tom Abel (Physics, SLAC), Steve Allen (Physics, SLAC), Sarah Church (Physics),

Assistant Professors: Stefan Funk (Physics, SLAC), Chao-Lin Kuo (Physics, SLAC), Risa Wechsler (Physics, SLAC)

Professors (Research): C-W. Francis Everitt (HEPL), Philip H. Scherrer (Physics)

SLAC Staff Physicist: Grzegorz Madejski

Center Offices: Varian, Room 340

Mail Code: 94305-4060

Phone: (650) 723-1439


Web Site:

The Center for Space Science and Astrophysics is an interdepartmental organization coordinating research in space science and astrophysics. Its members are drawn from the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences in the School of Earth Sciences; the departments of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Electrical Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering in the School of Engineering; the departments of Applied Physics, Physics, and Statistics in the School of Humanities and Sciences; the W. W. Hansen Experimental Physics Laboratory; and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. Its membership also includes all faculty and appropriate staff at the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, located at SLAC and the Physics department.

The facilities of the center are available to any interested and qualified student, who must be admitted by and registered in a department. The departments of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Applied Physics, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Physics offer opportunities leading to an M.S. or Ph.D. degree for work in space science or astrophysics. The center also offers opportunities to undergraduates who may, for instance, participate in research projects in their junior or senior years, on a part-time basis during the school year or on a full-time basis during the summer. The Astronomy Course Program operates a small student observatory where students may gain practical experience in astronomical observing.

Other Academic Programs and Centers, and Independent Research Laboratories, Centers, and Institutes